Trail Blazers

Blazers bench makes impact that will be necessary down the final stretch

Trail Blazers

Over a two-week span, the Trail Blazers went from losing five straight to earning five wins on their six-game East Coast swing that featured two back-to-backs along with tough matchups against the Nets and Celtics.

That’s quite the turnaround.  

And while Portland was blowing out shorthanded teams and teams that they should beat, the Blazers talked about how a big key to their success was how they’ve played together as a cohesive unit.

Following Wednesday’s road trip finale, a 141-105 drubbing over the Cleveland Cavaliers, that was once again the case -- but Portland saw even bigger contributions from its bench. 

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For the game, the Blazers second unit shot an impressive 69 percent after hitting 29 of its 42 attempts for 70 points.  

 

Between Carmelo Anthony, Anfernee Simons Nassir Little, and Enes Kanter, Portland’s bench poured in the scoring in the first half to help extend the lead.

We needed it. It kind of got off to a slow start and they came in and helped.

Terry Stotts

 Coach Stotts also pointed out the impact that his main rotation players made Wednesday night.

“Melo got it going in the first half that was good to see. Ant bounced back from a tough game in Atlanta, that was good to see. Enes – obviously, very productive.”

I always keep track of plus-minus and those three in particular were very good.

Terry Stotts

Those three had a combined plus-minus of plus-85.

Melo finished with 16 points, while Simons added 10 and Kanter notched 18 points and 13 rebounds. 

As the Blazers look to close out the regular season strong with all the focus on positioning in the West Conference playoff hunt, Damian Lillard, who notched 32 points in the win, knows just how important the second unit is going to be going forward.

Complete teams get a lot of production from their bench and obviously, when we get that type of production, it’s most likely we gonna win the game and I think that showed.

Damian Lillard told Blazers reporter Brooke Olzendam

Before the Blazers now shift their focus to Lakers, with Friday’s contest a playoff tiebreaker, Coach Stotts reflected on the road trip.

“An understatement -- it was a great road trip,” Stotts said. “Going into it six-games on the road, if you can go .500 on the road, it’s usually a decent trip… 5-1 at this stage in the season, where we are in the standings, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”