It only took the Trail Blazers 3 seconds to show this season’s future

Chauncey Billups, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Chauncey Billups, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

This is a season of transition for the Portland Trail Blazers. A young and inexperienced group would struggle at times, especially against some of the best teams in the NBA. But the Blazers opening-night loss to the LA Clippers gave us a glimpse at why this will be a frustrating season, and it didn’t take long.

Portland lost 123-111, but it took a 14-point fourth-quarter swing in garbage time to make the score even that close. LA led by 30 at one point.

Scoot Henderson didn’t score his first NBA points until the third quarter. He had 0 points, 0 assists and 3 turnovers in the first half. Deandre Ayton got into immediate foul trouble and only played 23 minutes in his Trail Blazers debut, scoring 4 points and adding 12 rebounds.

In the first few seconds of the year’s first game, a young Portland team showed what Blazers fans can expect in the 2023-24 NBA season, and it ain’t pretty.

It took a whole 3 seconds for the Trail Blazers to get a peek into this year’s future

On ESPN’s play-by-play breakdown of the Blazers loss, the first two plays, including the opening tip, read like this:

Deandre Ayton vs. Ivica Zubac (Matisse Thybulle gains possession)

Matisse Thybulle out of bounds bad pass turnover

Two plays – one, really – and three seconds into the season, the Trail Blazers threw away a possession. Things didn’t get better from there, either.

The Blazers committed 17 turnovers, most of which were wince-inducing. Poor communication, a lack of execution or simple carelessness.

Henderson led the team in minutes – and turnovers. Portland shot 31.3 percent from three. Ayton had four total field-goal attempts and zero free throws. Seven of the Clippers first 8 field-goals came on dunks.

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It was the first regular-season game for a team that underwent an enormous amount of turnover, is inexperienced, and happened to be playing one of the NBA’s championship-or-bust teams with a healthy Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Winning wasn’t really an expectation.

Things went pretty poorly, though, and it was clear from the opening tip (almost literally) that this Blazers team has a long way to go. But hey, things can only get better from here, right? Right?