The Portland Trail Blazers easily despatched the Minnesota Timberwolves 135 – 117. Here are 3 takeaways from the win that took them back to a .500 record.
The Portland Trail Blazers haven’t been perfect yet this season, but their most recent win, this time a 135 – 117 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, has shown that they are trending the right way on one end of the floor.
Here are three takeaways from the blowout win.
Takeaway #1 – Harry Giles is struggling early in the season
New signing Harry Giles has started to get minutes as a backup big in the last few games. After the struggles the Blazers have had defensively, there have been calls for Giles to get minutes to help stem the flow of points at the rim, and on the perimeter.
But watching Giles play against the Wolves, it seems like he is a little tentative and may need more garbage time minutes to get his feet under him.
As a defender, he made five fouls in eleven minutes, and at least three of these weren’t smart ones. He lunged on pump fakes and was far too aggressive at the rim. Also, a couple of times, he seemed to lose his assignment.
Offensively, his jump-shot looks nice, but he had two turnovers and struggled to locate balls in his area on pick and roll feeds.
Giles has the skills to impact an NBA game positively, but at the moment, he isn’t there.
Takeaway #2 – Anfernee Simons has improved since the 2020 season
Third-year guard Anfernee Simons struggled in the 2020 season with his game management as a ball-handler, and at times, with his shooting.
Though he hasn’t had major minutes in 2021 yet, Simons composure and shooting looked good in the win over the Wolves. He threw a few nice passes for his teammates, and he made the right decisions in transition and the half-court. He was also three of five from the field.
Simons is looking more and more like a legitimate NBA player. His body is coming along nicely too, he looks stronger and is using his body better in situations at the rim.
I expect him to get more minutes moving forward.
Takeaway #3 – Damian Lillard is now back to his best
In his best game of the season so far, Dame had 39 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals on an Uber-efficient 61.9 percent from the field, and 58.3 percent from three.
He was getting anywhere he wanted in this contest, and showed a willingness to put the ball on the floor or pull up from deep. His passing was on point, and he had just one turnover.
Though this game was only against the lowly Timberwolves, Dame is now playing at a level that we saw in the 2020 season. This type of MVP-calibre play had only been seen partially in the win over the Lakers before the New Year.
Dame is the best and most important player on this Blazers team; they need him to be at this level if they are to be a serious contender next season.
Now with a four and four record, the Blazers’ next game is against the Sacramento Kings on the road in two days.