Q: When is a win just about as bad as a loss? A: When it takes overtime to beat the NBA’s worst team at home.
In a lethargic, poorly-executed, low-energy experiment in which the home team tested just how far down they could play to an inferior opponent and still manage not to lose, the Portland Trail Blazers begrudgingly defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in overtime, 120-115.
There really wasn’t much to like here. From the airballs, to the missed dunks, to the defensive rotations that saw the Blazers’ guards literally stand and watch as the opposition flew by, it was just a really, really bad game.
It was so bad that broadcasters cut away to Yule Log footage to prop up ratings. It was so bad that the crowd figured that four periods was quite enough torture for one evening, and people streamed out of the building even as Damian Lillard drove for the tie to force overtime.
One of those things actually happened, by the way.
The Blazers aren’t at full strength, going without LaMarcus Aldridge for the third straight game due to his back, but neither are the Bucks. The difference is that the Bucks were pretty bad even before starting center Larry Sanders went down.
This should have been a blowout. This should have been a confidence-booster to get Portland’s juices flowing before facing another 5-game road trip.
Instead, it was a game with more questions than answers. Can the Blazers play decent defense? Will they be able to recognize when their offense is stalling and start moving the ball and themselves accordingly? Why does Batum fluctuate between “dominant” and “non-existent” over the course of a few quarters, let alone a few games?
To that last point, Batum had 16 points in the first quarter. That’s amazing. He had every opportunity to have a career night, but instead finished with just 21. His 9 rebounds and assists should have made this one of Batum’s better performances, but there was no individual accomplishment that could possibly outshine the egg laid by the team. Count yourself lucky if you didn’t watch this one.
The 43-24 Blazers take on the 35-31 Washington Wizards at the Moda Center on Thursday at 7:00 p.m.
Here’s T-Rob with a huge block to make you forget for 12 seconds just how bad this game was.
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