Recent Close-Game Success Boosts Portland's Morale
The Trail Blazers took another step forward tonight in their 90-87 defeat of the Golden State Warriors on the Rose Garden floor. They tallied another mark in the win column, but more importantly they eluded a stat that’s been tackling them all season and achieved a victory within the margin of five points or less.
Since the changes of the trade deadline the Trail Blazers have shown marked improvement the category. The pre-trade deadline record was an abysmal 2-11, but in the two games since decided by the 5-point margin Portland is 2-0.
“I don’t know our record over the last six games with 5-points or less, but it’s a lot better, I’m sure. I think we’re getting more comfortable,” Jamal Crawford said. “We have a clear plan of what we’re doing at the end. Even if you look, the other team at the end couldn’t even get a clean shot off. We were switching and we knew exactly what we were doing. And that’s all it takes sometimes. It shows you can win in any situation.”
With a successful new plan in place the squad has also been able to adjust their attitude towards the tight games. There’s no denying confidence is a factor and confidence gets bruised when you continue to fall despite your best efforts, as the Trail Blazers have this season.
But tonight, the mentality was different. The Trail Blazers bench stayed positive during crunch time in the final minutes, always believing they would push through.
“We like ‘okay, we don’t want to lose this one,’” Nicolas Batum said. “We get down five, we ONLY down five. Not like down ten or down 15. We down five, so we score, get a stop, we score, we back in the game. And that’s what we did. We tie it up, we back in the game.
“Then in the last minutes we get some good stops, we made the free throw and the last twenty seconds we switch everything and give nobody a chance cause we play pretty good defense.”
What do you think of the turn around? Do you chalk it up to defense, mentality or both? Is two games even enough of a sample to see a change?
Now it’s on to Oklahoma City. A team the Trail Blazers have battled with all season, one of the outcomes being decided by five points or less, another by just ten.