The Portland Trail Blazers came into Wednesday’s game with a chance to start a winning streak after their win Monday against Orlando. It was also the return of Damian Lillard, who was playing his first game since the All-Star Break while dealing with a groin injury.
Lillard was solid in his return going for 22 points and five assists on 6/12 shooting, but the main reason Portland was able to get the 125-105 win was the overall balance of the starting lineup. Carmelo Anthony went for 25 points, Hassan Whiteside went for 24 points, 16 rebounds, and four blocks and CJ McCollum also went for 22 points. Not to mention, Trevor Ariza also chipped in 15 points.
All-in-all the starting lineup went for 108 of the team’s points on 36/62 (58.1 percent) shooting. Even with as little bench production as Portland got in this one, with nobody scoring in double-figures when the starting lineup is putting up that level of production it’s going to win a lot of games.
Perhaps even more impressive than the scoring output of the starting lineup was the defensive performance. Of course, the Trail Blazers haven’t been known for their defense this season, but tonight they did a good job. Davis Bertans was able to score 21 off the bench on 8/16 shooting, but while Bradley Beal went for 29 points, Portland held him to an inefficient 10/29 shooting.
Overall this was a big win even though it was against a bad team. They looked better against the Magic on Monday and now with the return of Lillard, the Blazers look like they could be building some momentum, especially with their upcoming schedule.
In the playoff standings, Memphis picked up a blowout win over the Nets, but the Pelicans lost to the Mavericks in overtime.
Portland will hit the road for a one-game trip on Friday against Phoenix before they come back home for a six-game homestand.
Top Photo: Bruce Ely/Portland Trail Blazers