It was a new game, but the same familiar problems plagued Portland in a 123-107 home loss to New York. That dropped Damian Lillard and Co. further out of the play-in race, but increased their odds at landing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft. Here’s a brief round-up of the latest Blazers news after the loss to the Knicks, including what the play-in standings and lottery odds look like now.
Different day, same problems for Portland
A strong start was outdone by an awful three quarters in a blowout loss to the Knicks. The Blazers led by 13 at the end of the first quarter and still lost by 16 points, at home, to a New York team playing without Jalen Brunson.
The same issues that have plagued the Trail Blazers all season showed up again:
- Lillard finished with 38 points. The next-closest scorer was Anfernee Simons, who had 22.
- Dame led the team in shot attempts, 3-point attempts, and free-throw attempts.
- Even with Jusuf Nurkic starting and notching a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds), Portland was outrebounded 52-38 and outscored 50-34 in the paint.
- The Knicks bench outscored the Blazers 45-12 despite 12 different Blazers getting minutes. Old friend Josh Hart finished the night with 16 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, and 3 steals.
The Blazers were also 38 of 99 from the floor in an almost-unbelievably-bad 38.4 percent shooting performance.
Lack of size, lack of bench, lack of offense outside of Lillard. It’s been a familiar recipe for Portland losses this season.
Updated Western Conference Play-in Tournament standings
This one might have been the death knell for the Trail Blazers’ postseason chances. The crows have been circling for awhile; now might be time for them to move in.
Portland is still sitting pretty at 13th in the West (for all intents and purposes, that’s last – San Antonio and Houston are 12.5 and 14.5 games behind the Blazers, respectively).
A play-in spot is now three games out of reach. The Lakers, Mavericks, and Thunder are all 34-35 after last night’s action and are tied for eighth in the conference, meaning Portland has to pass at least one of them to make the postseason.
With 13 games left on the schedule – the next two of which are against Boston and the Clippers – that’s just too tough of a hill to climb for a team playing this poorly.
Updated lottery odds
First of all, congratulations to all the pro-tank fans. Barring some unforeseen miracle, you can officially pop a bottle.
At 31-38, Portland is three games behind the Orlando Magic for fifth.
The Portland Trail Blazers have a new mascot! His name is Douglas Fur, and he’s apparently a “lost relative of the Blazers’ 80′s big foot mascot,” according to a news release, and he likes to dress like a hipster. So there’s that.