The Portland Trail Blazers remain one of the few undefeated teams in the league. Along with the Utah Jazz, Portland is one of the surprising teams to start the season. Although many expect this to be a rebuilding year for Portland, the trailblazing Blazers have other things on their minds. They dominated to start the new NBA season. The point guard, Damian Lillard, is bringing “Dame Time” back, but the fans and the coach deserve just as much respect as the superstar.
Trail Blazers continue to surprise everyone.
Portland’s hot start
Not many expected the Trail Blazers to start the year 4-0. They are in first place in the Western Conference after big wins over the Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and most recently the Denver Nuggets. Perhaps most impressive is the team’s ability to shut down teams and win games down to the wire.
Against the Phoenix Suns, Dender Eyton missed both free throw attempts and won by two. Against the reeling Los Angeles Lakers, the Trail Blazers survived a late onslaught and earned another two-point win. Damian Lillard is making an early case for MVP. He currently has 34.0 points, 4.3 assists and 5.3 total rebounds per game. Since CJ McCollum was traded to New Orleans last offseason, it can be argued that he can play freely now that he hasn’t shared the load with another star teammate. Not to mention, he is shooting 47.1 percent from the field along with 92.9 percent from the free throw line. However, Lillard isn’t the only reason for Portland’s success so far.
It should be noted that head coach Chauncey Billups has one of the best basketball minds. He was one of the smartest players when he played. Now he’s starting to show what it takes to be an effective coach in this league. The Trail Blazers made some smart moves this summer, adding Jeremy Grant, retaining Josh Hart and signing Gary Payton II.
All three players are solid defensive players. Grant continues to be a versatile weapon both offensively and defensively. We’ve seen Payton II in action so far, but Hart continues to prove himself as a solid lone defender. Damian Lillard is the obvious star for Portland, but the fans have followed and it’s a big reason for their 4-0 start.
Trail Blazers made a statement on the red-hot Denver Nuggets
Many predicted that the Denver Nuggets would hand the Portland Trail Blazers their first loss. After all, the Nuggets are a dark horse playoff team and are coming off wins over the Thunder and reigning champion Golden State Warriors. Still, Portland held two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic to less than a double in scoring.
Jamal Murray also finished with eight points, while Lillard had another impressive outing with 31 points and eight rebounds. Anfernie Simmons also deserves a shout out as he went off the bench with 29 points and five rebounds. With a statement win like this, the rest of the league might start to take notice of what’s happening in Portland.