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Trail Blazers Start Seven-Game Road Trip In Brooklyn

  1. Written by: erikgundersen  / avg. rating: 4.0

    The Trail Blazers (6-6) begin the first of a seven game road trip on Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn against the Nets (7-4). The game will tip off at 12 noon and will be shown on CSNNW and can be heard on the radio on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.

    • The Trail Blazers put together their best defensive performance of the year in their previous win against the Timberwolves. After allowing the Wolves to shoot 57 percent in the first quarter, the Trail Blazers kept them at 35 percent the rest of the game. They will have a tough task against an efficient Brooklyn offense. The Nets currently rank fifth in the league in offensive efficiency. The Trail Blazers held their own defensively against the Timberwolves and made Minnesota's Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Love fight for everything they got offensively. Against the Nets, the challenge will likely come mostly from the backcourt. Although Brook Lopez is a very good scorer and the fact that Portland has been pounded in the paint, the backcourt of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson are the engine that keep the Nets going offensively. Shutting down, or at least mitigating the damage done by them will be key to Portland getting a win in this one. The Nets are also likely to slow things down as they currently play at the slowest pace in the NBA, averaging fewer possessions per game than any other team.
    • Another marquee point guard match-up for Damian Lillard in this one. In this game he is facing one of the best in the league in Deron Williams. Lillard has faced many of the elite guards in the NBA already this year. However, with the numbers he's been putting up, there is no doubt people want to see him pass the "eye test" against the league's elite. He has, but against Williams he will have another chance to do so. Lillard and Terry Stotts, will likely not be looking at it that way. But we will certainly be paying attention to that individual match-up. Lillard has been on a hot streak as of late, scoring 52 points in his last two outings. It will be interesting to see how he follows up those performances. If Lillard begins to get hot, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Joe Johnson take over the task of guarding him. On the other hand, if Williams gets loose, Batum's added length could be used against him.
    • This game is on the front end of a back-to-back to start a seven-game road trip. It will be interesting to see what kind of rotations Stotts will use against the Nets. In the previous game, a win against Minnesota, he used eleven players. This game was not a blow out, so seeing so many players being used in a close game was interesting. None of the minutes played by the bench can be considered "garbage time." Tomorrow's game may be telling as far as what kind of rotation he will use going forward. Was the Minnesota game the start of a trend? Was it only because LaMarcus Aldridge was in foul trouble and Nicolas Batum was fighting a cold that they went so deep? Sunday could help us find out more.

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