The Trail Blazers ended a 6-game losing skid on Wednesday night with a 100-80 defeat of the Indiana Pacers in the Rose Garden. The much needed victory couldn’t have come in a better fashion either.
You’ve heard it before and it rings true now, it wasn’t just the win, it was HOW they won.
The guys, who’d been frustrated, but not down in spirits, knew it was going to take a strong effort to give the Pacers a fight. Indiana, one of the best defensive teams in the league, had won seven of their last nine games before tonight and planned to employ their gritty, grinding style again against the Blazers who’d been clearly struggling in the defense department. To their chagrin, Portland executed their defensive strategy extremely well allowing them to transition and capitalize on offense.
“Coach Stotts and the coaching staff did a great job at our defensive scheme tonight,” JJ Hickson
said. “I don’t think their bigs really did too much damage in the paint. All of our bigs did a great job at fronting the post and making their shots tough. That really helped us out tonight.”
The strong performance on both ends of the floor allowed Portland to get a substantial lead and relax a bit, adding to the cleansing nature of this win rather than squeaking it out by a narrow margin.
“It was refreshing, especially since we were on the good side of it,” Head Coach Terry Sotts said. “That ten game streak of last-minute games, that was fun basketball but it was tough. To be honest, when you’re up 15 with 3 minutes to go, you still don’t think you quite have it, but we needed a win like that. We haven’t had a lot of wins like that. To have it at this stage was pretty refreshing.”
Now, with the losing-streak snapped, it’s time to move forward with a clean slate. The mental aspect of the skid is gone and the added pressure that accompanied it has vanished. Besides, even with the tough stretch in the record books, you can’t be mad with where the Trail Blazers are sitting—currently tied with Houston for the 8th seed in the West.
Just ask Wesley Matthews
, “It was a good win. To lose six straight and then win one and to be at .500, it’s a good feeling. You built yourself a cushion and that’s a credit to what you did in the past, but you can’t dwell on that, you can’t think about it, you gotta move forward.
“Last year if we woulda lost six straight it woulda been terrible. It’s still bad, but we’re still at .500 with one win and we got time to keep building on it. This first game started the second half of the season and it’s a good way to go at it.”
Check out the photo gallery
from tonight's victory and some sweet highlights over on trailblazers.tv