HOUSTON – The proof was in the pudding-- there was one team that seemed to be clicking on all cylinders, and there was one team that was is still trying to find its way.
The Rockets took it to the Blazers 132-108 at the Toyota Center on Monday night.
“I think at every point in the season you come across teams, and some teams are playing well, some teams are not playing so well,” Damian Lillard said postgame. “That’s how every season is. I think right now they’re just in a stretch where they’re playing really well, and we’re still finding our way. They played their game, and did a lot of things they wanted to do, and we didn’t take a whole lot away from them. That was the story of the game.”
But what about the story of the Trail Blazers 5-9 start to the season?
It may very well have to do with continuity.
Think about this for a moment – the Blazers have a total of nine new players on their roster, including their two, two-way players. Now, Carmelo Anthony is about to enter the fray.
Portland took pride in its continuity over the last handful of seasons and said many times that team’s familiarity had helped lead them to success. They talked about their maturity as a unit.
It’s ironic the Blazers were playing in Houston on Monday night.
Last season, the Rockets started out the season 1-5.
Houston kept with it, though, because like everyone says: It’s a long season.
The Rockets finished with the fifth best record in the league, 53-29. They eventually lost to Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals.
Fifty-three wins, after going 4-7 through their first 11 games.
The Blazers currently stand at 5-9 on the season, which is tied for 12th in the Western Conference standings with the San Antonio Spurs.
Nearly every Trail Blazer has referenced how much being on the road will continue to help them become more familiar with each other.
That takes time, and luckily for the Blazers, they still have that time.
Portland’s head coach Terry Stotts offered up this message postgame:
“It’s a long season. A lot can happen, and you’ve got to move onto the next one. In some ways, you’ve got to have a short memory. Winning two nights ago in San Antonio was a big win for us and we knew this would be a tough one coming in. But, the thing is, you never know when you’re gonna get on a roll, and all it takes is one or two games to get on that roll.”
We'll see if the Blazers will begin that roll Tuesday night when Portland is back in action against the 4-9 New Orleans Pelicans.