SACRAMENTO – When the 2019-20 regular season schedule came out in August, the month of November was circled, as a month Portland would need to ‘survive.’
As the Blazers now work towards getting back to .500 basketball, with their 4-7 record after Tuesday’s 107-99 loss to the Kings, the team is on the same page:
Don’t look too far ahead.
Portland will now have just one home game before setting its sights on a six-game, 11-day trip.
At this point in November, the Blazers are focused on ‘staying in the moment.’
Damian Lillard, who was voted top leader in the league by NBA GMs this season, has made it clear to his team they must have a certain approach to this month of travel.
“Because we know it’s a difficult month for us, so, I think that makes it even more important to stay in the moment. When you look ahead and start talking about how hard it is, and what type of challenge it is, it only makes it more difficult,” Lillard said.
Tuesday in Sacramento marked start of seven of the Blazers’ following eight games on the road. Seven of eight, that’s not for the weak.
Yes, players and coaches consistently talk about taking it ‘one game at a time,’ but even Blazers head coach Terry Stotts mentioned that’s really how it has to be right now.
“It’s cliché, but worry about the next game. I know we’ve got a lot of games on the road, we’ve got a road trip coming up… But [we need to] prepare for each game,” Stotts said.
“When you just focus on what’s in front of you and handle it that way, I think it makes it less stressful, easier to deal with, and I think that’s what our approach is – just one game at a time, just work our way through it, and keep our heads above water,” Lillard added.
As Lillard expressed it can be ‘stressful’ to look too far ahead, CJ McCollum explained how he gets anxiety if he doesn’t take the advice of staying in the moment.
“I try not to (look ahead at this month of road games)," McCollum said.
“It gives me anxiety. It’s too many games, so I just try to look at one or two games at a time, understanding when I need to pack, when I don’t need to pack, but we’ve just got to take advantage of the present.”
McCollum continued, “We’ve only played four games at home. We’ve got a lot of road games ahead of us.”
Yes, the Blazers realize how grueling the month of November has been and will continue to be, but there best advice to each other is staying true to the cliché of taking it game-by-game.