The well-rested Trail Blazers hosted a Miami Heat team who is embarking on a tough six-game road trip that started with this one in Portland and will end in Philadelphia in two weeks.
Here are some quick thoughts from the Blazers loss:
1. Not all the rust was off...
It was not as if the Blazers were struggling too much as a team on offense in the first half against the Heat, but there were struggling to keep it together on the defensive end. A few times throughout the first half it was apparent the Blazers were not communicating as well on screens and there were even times when a Heat basket was made and the Blazers were standing around looking at each other like ‘who should’ve picked him up?’
Despite the defensive miscues, Portland was still sticking around until late in the fourth quarter and a lot of that had to do with Jake Layman and his backdoor cuts. The Blazers were finding Layman down low whether it was an alley-oop dunk or finding him slashing to the hoop for the lay-in. Layman finished with 25 points on 11 made shots.
2. The rest was good for the shooters...
Not only was Layman finishing around the basket, he was hitting from three, as was CJ McCollum. You could see McCollum seemed to have an extra pep in his step. In the third quarter he had one of his signature crossovers that led to a midrange jumper over Heat center Hassan Whiteside and he must’ve made a comment to Whiteside because has they jogged back up the floor Whiteside had a big smile on his face.
The Blazers as a team really didn’t find their stroke until the fourth quarter when Seth Curry and Meyers Leonard came up with big threes. Really though, the fourth quarter attempt at a comeback was in big thanks to the continued hot shooting of McCollum or I should say, thanks to #3J. But despite McCollum's 33 points it wasn't enough to get it done against the Heat.
3. Rodney Hood is eager for new adventure in Portland...
Even though the Blazers recent acquisition wing Rodney Hood did not play on Tuesday, we got an update on him before the game started. Blazers head coach Terry Stotts says Rodney Hood will make his Blazer debut on Thursday vs. the Spurs. Hood will gradually introduce Hood to the Blazers’ playbook.
As for Hood, when he addressed the Portland media tonight for the first time on Tuesday night, you could see in his smile at the start of the interview that he is happy for this new start in Portland.
It’s talked about all the time – sometimes a player needs a change of scenery to get his game their career back on track. What stood out to me the most? – Hood is eager to getting back to being his old self, where he is dialed in and not worrying about all the outside noise.
NEXT UP: The Blazers host the San Antonio Spurs. Tip-off is set for 7:30pm on TNT with pregame coverage beginning at 6:30pm on NBC Sports Northwest.
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