The Portland Trail Blazers had a strong 107 – 103 win over the Chicago Bulls at home. With three wins on the trot they are rolling again. The addition of Carmelo Anthony to a near fit squad means this team can compete again in the west.
The Portland Trail Blazers have to be happy with this win. After a week ago staring down the barrel of the bottom of the Western conference, they are now only two wins away from the eight seed. One more strong win streak could push them as far as seventh also. Below are detailed three takeaways from the win over the Bulls.
Whiteside can still protect a rim
Seeing Hassan Whiteside block ten shots was a huge boost for both team and fans. Whiteside copped a lot of flak when this team was on its losing streak because of his poor defense and effort. His chemistry with Damian Lillard and Carmelo Anthony has seen him have some stronger games recently.
It looks like his bond with Lillard is strong and he has mutual respect for Melo and his game. His ten blocks were a franchise record and he was looking to swat everything into the crowd. When his timing is right like it was tonight he can be an absolute menace.
Though his scoring wasn’t on with just the eight points, he had 15 rebounds and the clutch basket to seal the game at the end. Whiteside seems to fit in well with Melo on the team. Here’s hoping this is the first of many strong games for him
Melo’s strong play isn’t a fluke
Carmelo Anthony is back. It seems like the last twelve months that Melo had away from the game have prepared him to come back better. His fit is great with Lillard and McCollum, and he now has his interior and mid range game working nicely. He is making quick decisions on offense which led to him having four assists.
He also had 23 points and 11 rebounds tonight. His conditioning is great, with nice finishes around and seven trips to the line. If Melo continues to play like this we will be seeing a very powerful Blazers offense. What a great signing for this team.
Good to see the young guys with less minutes
The younger guys have had to do a lot of heavy lifting in the least few weeks with the injury issues. Though this isn’t bad for their development, they need to be given the chance to prove themselves in the rotation. Anfernee Simons has struggled a little of late but will still be a great player for this team in the future. Nassir Little has played well but it was good to see both him and Simons play under 20 minutes in this win.
They don’t have the maturity or balance on both ends yet to be major contributors so playing them in spot minutes is a great idea. At 19 and 20, and Gary Trent can be added to this as well, they have plenty of time to prove themselves.
With Lillard and Whiteside plus the addition of Melo, the young guys can catch the breath while focussing on their skill development and learning how to play in the league.
Now with three wins on the trot, Rip City can enjoy their holiday weekend. This team is rolling again, with reinforcements still to come in the new year!