Portland Trail Blazers: Team to Beat in the Northwest
The Portland Trail Blazers were candidates this season to regress slightly after a 54-win breakout season last year. However, coach Terry Stotts has the club quietly working its way up the Western Conference leaderboard emerging as a threat to the likes of the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors. On Wednesday night, the Trail Blazers routed the Denver Nuggets 130-113.
In the game, the Blazers scored their season high and 84 in the first two quarters.
Portland also recorded a season high with 30 assists and 16 made three-pointers.
Ty Lawson the point guard for Denver said his team lost to Portland because of the miscues on defense from three-point range. The Trail Blazers have so many options at that range it is hard for opponents to shut each one down.
Portland is on a role offensively having scored 100 points or more in six consecutive games. However, the success Portland has enjoyed is not due to just offense.
After nine games of the season, Portland is allowing only 101.3 points for every 100 possessions, which is a big improvement of 104.7 from last season that ranked them just No. 16.
While San Antonio has started to appear from its deep summer sleep following a sluggish start, the Trail Blazers have an opportunity to stamp their mark on a Western Conference full of big questions marks.
The Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks are trying to get footing in the early going due to defensive lapses.
The Oklahoma City Thunder has lost its two best players Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to injuries.
Portland has emerged in the early going as the favorite in the Northwest Division.
The division is likely the worst in the league after just three weeks. Following the games on Wednesday, the Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz and Thunder are a combined 9-23.
With OKC the only real possibility of making the postseason in that aforementioned group, Portland has been given the opportunity to capture the division title for the first time since 1999.
The season is long and only 9 of 82 games have been played. Injuries can hit the team at any time, just ask Oklahoma City. However, thus far it looks as if Portland will have the best chance of any team in the Northwest to win the division title.
Anthony Davis is playing great basketball for New Orleans. The power forward had 25 points, 12 boards and 6 blocks on Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Davis now has tallied at least 25 points, 10 boards and 5 blocks in three of the seven games New Orleans has played to open the season.
The Houston Rockets won in Mexico on Wednesday night by 12 points over Minnesota giving them 7 wins to start the season by 10 or more points.