Injured players of high quality -- CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, to name just three -- have been sitting on the sidelines for a good portion of the season.
Yet, here are the Portland Trail Blazers, after sweeping a three-game homestand, now sitting at 15-10 and in fifth place in the loaded Western Conference.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were easy pickings for Portland Friday night, falling 129-110 in a game that wasn’t really that close. And it was another of those full-squad wins, with a lot of players pitching in to make it happen.
The Cavs, who lost by 38 in Denver Wednesday, were buried from the outset and never held a lead. The Blazers led 23-6 a little more than halfway through the first quarter and just coasted home like a fully waxed sled down a steep southwest Portland hill.
“I thought it was a very solid homestand,” Coach Terry Stotts said. “Orlando, Philly and in the game tonight, I thought each game was a very solid win in its own way.
“I like the way we played in each of those games in a different way. Orlando was the kind of a game that we were able to control for the most part. Philadelphia obviously was a great win for us. And then tonight we came out with good energy at both ends.
“I liked what we did. We took care of business that we needed to take care of and, you know, kept our starters under 30 minutes in the game -- that was a positive.”
The Portland backcourt was solid, with Gary Trent scoring 26, Damian Lillard 20 and Anfernee Simons 16. And Carmelo Anthony scored 23 in just 20:22.
Enes Kanter just continued to roll along toward one of the great offensive-rebound seasons in team history. He hauled in seven of them for the second game in a row, had 13 total boards and also made 9 of 11 shots on his way to 21 points, playing against Andre Drummond, a man much bigger than he is.
He makes a lot of missed shots look like assists.
Up next is a road trip that begins Sunday in Dallas, then goes to Oklahoma City and New Orleans, the latter two a difficult back-to-back.
Sounds difficult, but with the way this surprising group has been playing, it should be interesting.