PHILADELPHIA – It was a 10am pacific tip-off on Saturday as the Trail Blazers visited the Philadelphia 76ers, but it looked like Portland had already adjusted nicely to the East Coast time change.
Saturday’s game was close throughout the first half, yet the Blazers put up 41 points in the third and cruised to a 130-115 win over the Sixers to improve to 2-0 on their current seven-game road trip and snag their third straight victory overall.
Here are some quick thoughts from the Blazers second straight road win:
1.Simmons is gonna need to develop a three-point shot at some point, right?
With Sixers All-Star wing Ben Simmons not being a threat to shoot the three-point ball at all meant Maurice Harkless or whoever had the defensive assignment on Simmons at the time was really able to sag off him. You don’t see that hardly at all in the modern-day NBA. With that though the Blazers were able to help off Simmons more and focus on Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler, especially early on.
2. The Layman factor
What a sequence it was for Jake Layman early in the second quarter.
With Evan Turner out for Saturday’s game because of knee sorness, Layman and Rodney Hood saw the floor a little bit more.
Layman showed once again why he has earned a spot in the Blazers’ rotation.
Layman drove to the hoop hard and finished with a driving dunk that seemed to stun the 76ers crowd at the 10:11 mark of the second. He then followed that up two possessions later with a block on Sixers All-Star Jimmy Butler.
The block on Butler is just another play that proves Layman has made a point to improve on the defensive end. So often, the talk is all about Layman’s offense – his dunks, his back-cuts, his rainbow threes – which makes sense, but people should really start examining his defensive efforts. The stops and the blocks on that end are probably more of a reason why coach Terry Stotts has been giving him even more of an opportunity.
According to the referees in Philly though, Layman was a little too aggressive. He got into early foul trouble, picking up his third foul at the 2:46 mark of the second quarter. Layman still stayed aggressive and since the Blazers started blowing out the Sixers late in the third quarter, Layman wasn’t needed much late down the stretch.
3. Blazers gobble up offensive rebounds
At the end of the third quarter, 17 of the Blazers’ 44 rebounds were offensive. Portland also outscored Philadelphia 50-44 with points in the paint after three, which meant the Blazers were taking advantage of Joel Embiid not playing due to knee soreness.
The 76ers, on the other hand, were unable to get very many extra possessions. At the end of the third period, Philadelphia had just four offensive rebounds and only totaled 23 rebounds at that point.
One last thing – the second half turned into a dunk fest for the Blazers and Philly fans were not happy about it. The crowd let out some loud boos when the Sixers called a timeout at the 10:31 mark in the fourth with the Blazers up 21 and then later in the game as well.
NEXT UP: The Trail Blazers visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night with a 4:30pm PT start time. Our pregame coverage tips off at 3:30pm on NBC Sports Northwest.
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