After the Trail Blazers dropped their fifth-straight game and nine of their last 11, Portland is searching for answers.
While frustrations were evident Sunday in Portland’s 120-113 defeat to Memphis, the overall chippiness was high.
Blazers head coach Terry Stotts would not say one way or the other that his team has been “out of sorts,” but he does believe they need to start playing “with a sense of desperation.”
“At this stage in the season with 12 games left and looking at the standings there has to be a certain measure of desperation when you play,” Coach Stotts said.
Frustrations seemed to boil over early Sunday in the Blazers the second-consecutive meeting with the Grizzlies.
At the end of the second quarter, Robert Covington was called for a technical foul after arguing a non-foul call, while CJ McCollum was whistled for a flagrant foul after hip checking Dillion Brooks midway through the third.
To finish the third, Carmelo Anthony and Brooks were hit with offsetting technicals after the two exchanged words during a pair free throws. Brooks was not in the game and instead standing on the baseline.
Stotts points to the Blazers close losses recently as a big reason for all the frustration.
In fact, the Blazers set a record for the number of home losses by a combined five points.
Friday's loss to the Grizzlies meant Portland’s four-game home losing streak by a combined five points was a new NBA record as confirmed by STATS Research. The previous low was seven combined points (1992-93 Nets and 14-15 and 15-16 Magic).
And as Damian Lillard looks for answers, while playing on a sore ankle, he says all he can do right now is “look at himself in the mirror.”
“I’m just not playing well enough,” Lillard explained. “If we’re going to be better, I know that our team’s success is parallel to me being better and I just haven’t played good.”
But as Lillard put onus on his own play, after shooting 8-of-27 from the field to finish with 23 points, he knows that this team will not lay down without a fight.
“We’ve been in the ditch, we’ve been having a hard time,” Lillard continued. “We’re trying to figure out a way to get out of it. I think if we just give in to the adversity, give in to what’s happening, then you’re going to keep going south.”
The Blazers have 12 more regular season games to continue the fight in the West.
And now, Portland will head out on the road for the next six.
The fight isn't going to get any easier.