Trail Blazers

Blazers still searching for sense of urgency following loss to Nuggets

Trail Blazers
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It was another heartbreaking loss for the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday night.

There’s no doubt that the Blazers have been playing better basketball. The effort has been there over the last five games.

It just hasn’t been sustainable.

All season, the Blazers have struggled to put together complete games.

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But this past week, it has been very apparent that this team gets comfortable with a lead and then lets up.  

Following Wednesday’s 106-105 loss to the Nuggets, that’s exactly what Damian Lillard discussed.

We’ve got a bad habit of working hard and putting possessions together and putting stretches together and then we relax.

Damian Lillard

“We build a 10-point lead or an eight-point lead and then we feel like we got room, and we just relax, and you can see it and you can feel it sometimes,” Lillard added.

 

After missing three straight games with right hamstring tendinopathy, Lillard looked in rhythm from the jump Wednesday, notching 13 first-quarter points.

The six-time All-Star said he felt “fresh” during the game, but added that playing extended minutes after not playing in a game for over a week may have gotten to him down the stretch.

With the Blazers’ last five games being decided by a single bucket, the team and head coach Terry Stotts know that their play needs to be more consistent overall.

“Three of our last four losses have been – last shot – could’ve gone one way or the other,” Coach Stotts said. “I was pleased with the way we competed for most of the game… We had a couple lulls offensively.”

That urgency and that focus it can’t waver. When it’s up and down and you playing against good teams, they’ll make you pay for it. They’ll get themselves back in the game, like tonight.

Damian Lillard

Portland is now 32-26 on the season.

As they look to keep hold of the sixth spot out West, the Blazers are going to have to shake their bad habit of letting off the gas. Yet, with just 14 regular season games left, Lillard admitted, “You’re not just going to magically find it.”

But Lillard is hoping they can find a way to eliminate such big lulls.  

“It’s not going to be perfect, but we could do a much better job of not having such big drop-offs. It’s either high or low. It’s never just in the middle… We just gotta be better about that.”

I think that’s the thing we need to focus on.