Photo: AP Images
The Portland Trail Blazers are getting ZERO attention so far this NBA season.But if they keep their excellent play up people will have to start noticing.
They sit atop the Western Conference with a 5-1 record, are the third highest scoring team at 102.8 points per game, and boast a fifth best +8.5 point differential.
Their bigs can match up with anyone in the league. LaMarcus Aldridge is a legitimate All-Star calibre power forward and dark horse MVP candidate averaging 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 steal per game. Fellow big man Marcus Camby provides his usual solid defence in the middle.
Strong point guard play has been key. On the wings, newly acquired point guard Raymond Felton is doing what he does best: run a high-powered offence. Felton’s dishes are leading to plenty of easy baskets for Aldridge and the rest of the team. His play has also encouraged the whole team to spread the ball around as six different players are averaging double figures in points.
Portland is a complete team. Eight players form their regular rotation, all averaging under 40 minutes per game – a key to keeping fresh legs during this year’s jam-packed regular season and playoffs. The Nate McMillan-coached squad also gets quality minutes off the bench from the likes of Jamal Crawford, Kurt Thomas, and Nicolas Batum.
LeBron James’s efficient play leading the 6-1 Miami Heat, LA’s transition from a Lakers to Clippers town, and the continued ascension of Oklahoma City and Chicago are stealing all the headlines. All the while, Portland is quietly coming together as a squad that could challenge the western conference’s elite teams.
They have already handed losses to playoff contending teams like the Lakers, Thunder, Nuggets, and 76ers.
Portland won’t go untested, though, as they play the LA Clippers, Orlando, and San Antonio over the next eight days.
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