By Andy / PNW Sports Fans
WHAT IN THE WORLD JUST HAPPENED?! One minute we’re basking in the glory of capturing the three seed in the west after a convincing win over the Jazz and the next we’re crying in our beers as Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis run the Blazers out of their own gym. As excited as I was for this series going in, I’m equally as distraught heading into game three. Do the Blazers still have a chance to win this series? Sure, but the team that we saw in March and early April will need to show up to make that happen. If the team we’ve seen for the better part of three weeks shows up, we might be looking at swift exit.
After suffering through two games of this series I wanted to share some of my thoughts on what I’ve witnessed thus far.
Rip City? More like Brick City:
It is hard to fathom how poor the Blazers have been shooting. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have combined to shoot 29 of 80 from the field. 36% isn’t good enough from your two best scorers when the team is fighting for its life. Especially considering that both guards shot over 43% from the field during the regular season.
Figure out how to handle a double team:
At times it honestly looks like the guards haven’t seen a double team in their lives. However, I can’t put it all on Dame and CJ. A double team means open looks for teammates and the other guys aren’t capitalizing on those opportunities.
Holiday and Rondo have been > Lillard, McCollum:
It pains me to write this, but it’s true. or should I say Jrue? Holiday is averaging 27 points a game so far as well as 5.5 assists. That alone is impressive, but combine it with his presence on the defensive end of the court and he creates an absolute nightmare for Portland. Meanwhile, Rajon Rondo has been his vintage, facilitating self. He is averaging 11 points and 13 assists. He even hit the dagger three in game two. Very annoying.
Dame and CJ need to solve the puzzle offensively and do more to make their counterparts feel uncomfortable on the other end.
Anthony Davis isn’t Human:
This one is pretty self explanatory. Davis has clearly been the best player on the court. I feel like he would match up well physically with the characters in Avatar.
Nurkic needs to be better:
Missed layups, lack of agression and the intimidation factor of the aforementioned Anthony Davis have all contributed to a tough start for Nurk. He was much better in game two, but if the Blazers are going to climb out of this hole, he’s got to play at a higher level.
50/50 Balls. . . fight for them:
This has probably been the most sickening part of the series. There have been a ton of loose balls where it appears that the Pelicans are just hungrier. In a playoff series every 50/50 ball is crucial. Get on the floor! It’s especially disheartening to see them lose these effort battles at home. Have some pride and go get the ball.
Wrap it up, you’re rambling:
That’s all I’ve got. I know there weren’t a ton of positives in there, but we keep it real here at PNW. The truth is the Blazers are trailing the series 0-2 and aren’t playing the basketball they are capable of. It’s frustrating and my thoughts reflect that. However, I’m clinging to the hope that they can get it turned around. I don’t believe this team is going to just lay down and get swept or lose 4-1. I know they are better than what they’ve shown. That might be the fan in me, but it’s better than going full doom and gloom. So until the Pelicans beat the Blazers two more times, I’m going to believe this series is still winnable.