It’s not news that the Trail Blazers have struggled on the road so far this season. Winning just three of eight games, leaving the comforts of the Rose Garden has become perilous for Portland.
Home is a different story. After obliterating the Charlotte Bobcats 112-68 the Trail Blazers now hold a 10-1 record in the Rose City, second in the Western Conference only to the San Antonio Spurs who are 11-1 at the AT&T Center.
You’re probably wondering why there’s such a glaring difference in how the Trail Blazers play based on location. Welcome to the club.
There’s no rhyme or reason for a team to have such wildly skewed results based on venue, but regardless of logic that’s the case this season. There are only three teams in the West with winning records on the road. Three. So Portland isn’t alone. The Spurs and the Trail Blazers are identical on the road at 3-8 while being the two best home squads in the conference.
With such a confounding trend defining the season thus far, it’s become ever important for Portland to capitalize at home and use the Rose Garden as a recovery center of sorts. A place they can come to and count on a win.
“Anytime you get a win after a tough loss, especially a game where you pretty much controlled the whole game, it’s always kinda like a healing,” Gerald Wallace said of the win over Charlotte after the loss at Utah. “That’s something that we gotta take on the road and I think it starts with me out on the road. I don’t think my performance is as up to par on the road as it is at home, so I gotta figure out a way to get us going on the road.”
The team’s struggles are staring them in the face. They have a crystal-clear understanding that they’re not playing anywhere near solid basketball in opposing arenas and the time for a change is near.
This Trail Blazers team is too strong at home for their wins to be a fluke or just luck. Instead it’s the road woes that are the outlier. Six of Portland’s losses on the road were five points or less. Such a slight differential speaks volumes. They’re right there, they’ve just got to get over the hump.
Following the Bobcats shredding point guard Raymond Felton spoke about the return to playing at a faster pace, an aspect that brought the team success early in the year but has been lacking as the Trail Blazers have been challenged on the road.
“It was good to be back playing the way we can play, pushing the ball up and down the court,” he said. “The Bobcats is a team that’s struggling this year, but at the same time the way we beat them really showed our character of our team. The way we tryin’ to move forward.”
When asked if tomorrow night in Sacramento could be the first step in mending the road woes Felton nodded emphatically, “I think tomorrow can be that game.”
We’ll know then if getting back to pushing the tempo at home is just what the doctor ordered for the road.