Monday night marked the Trail Blazers' fifth road games of their early seven-game season.
Despite no Zach Collins (left shoulder), Portland was expected to beat Golden State, who was without all of its stars.
The Blazers’ offense wasn’t really to blame for Monday night’s loss. All-Star point guard Damian Lillard had 39 points, while Blazer center Hassan Whiteside finished with a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds.
After the game, the Blazers put the onus on their defense in the 127-118 loss.
Blazers head coach Terry Stotts described his team’s defense as “not very good.”
“We didn’t really take away anything. Golden State was comfortable all night,” Stotts told reporters postgame. “They had rhythm to their shots. It was a little bit better in the second half, but by that time, they were feeling pretty good. Our defense was very disappointing tonight.”
Warriors rookie forward Eric Paschall led Golden State with 36 points and 13 rebounds.
Stotts admitted he doesn’t know if Paschall was just having one of those really hot shooting nights or if that’s how he’ll continue to shoot.
“We watched film on him, but he shot the ball really well,” Stotts said. “I don’t know if he is that good of a shooter or not, but tonight he was.”
Monday’s loss was the first time this season, that Stotts had plenty to say about how his team did not deserve to come out on top.
“I give credit to Golden State, they played harder than us, they out executed us, they out coached us, they deserve the win. We did not play well enough to win a game, they had a lot of young guys playing hard and competing, got into a rhythm, and they deserved to win,” Stotts said.
Lillard agreed with his coach. He chalks up a big part of the loss to the Blazers’ inconsistent defense.
“I think the defense is where we lost the game. Allowing them to be comfortable and move the ball around. And, miscommunications, not being physical enough, not coming up with the ball… They got a lot of the things that they wanted, they got pretty comfortable… In stretches we played better defensively, we’d clean it up for a few minutes, and then fall off, and then clean it up, it was too much of that,” Lillard said.
Lillard also added that Monday’s loss “wasn’t alarming” but rather “a wakeup call.”
“Knowing how shorthanded they were as far as their main guys being out and still being beat, it’s a wakeup call that you got to come correct in the NBA. You can get beat on any given night regardless of who’s on the floor,” Lillard added.
Coach Stotts echoed that same sentiment.
“I hope we learn that everybody is in this league for a reason, we had some close games on the road our last road trip. There are no easy ones in this league,” Stotts said.
Now the Blazers will go from playing a very inexperienced team to playing one of the best teams, if not the best team in the league. The Blazers face the Clippers for the first of three meetings this season on Thursday night.
Just as Lillard mentioned, the Blazers will ‘have to come correct’ on Thursday night.