Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers sticking with 'productive' three-guard lineup

Trail Blazers

With two days off in between games, Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts has been looking at the numbers.

Portland now has 26 regular-season games remaining.

The Blazers are currently battling with the Denver Nuggets for the fifth spot out West.   

And now having one game under their belt of this starting lineup:

  • Damian Lillard
  • CJ McCollum
  • Norman Powell
  • Robert Covington
  • Jusuf Nurkic

Coach Terry Stotts has liked what he has seen in the small sample size.

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Following Tuesday’s practice in Detroit while the Blazers prepare for their Wednesday night game against the Pistons, Stotts was asked about the three-guard lineup.

I think we’re going to stay with it to a degree. I haven’t really started thinking about starting lineups against Detroit, but if you look at the numbers, even though Norman got in foul trouble, the three-guard lineup numbers were good against Toronto at both ends of the floor.

Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts

In the Blazers 122-117 win over the Raptors Sunday, Portland’s starting lineup with Powell at the three was an overall positive 5.0 when looking at the plus/minus. But this group also dominated on the defensive boards, pulling down 12 rebounds in an average of 12.8 minutes. They also averaged 1.0 steal and 1.0 block.

 

By comparison, the starting five of Lillard, McCollum, Covington, Derrick Jones Jr., and Enes Kanter in 13 games played averaged a plus-minus of minus-1.7.

Coach Stotts elaborated on what he liked about the three-guard lineup saying, “it’s something that we’ll continue using. It’s just a question of how much and as I’ve said before, whether to start with it. But the good thing about starting with it is that -- that’s going to be 12 minutes a half where those three guys are playing together. If you bring them off the bench, I don’t know that you get that many minutes with the three-guard lineup.”

With Powell and Nurkic in the starting lineup for Sunday’s game, that group averaged 26.0 points to the Blazers previous starting rotation while Nurkic was out had averaged 18.3 points.

Yes, it’s just one game.

But there’s no denying that the smaller lineup is worth sticking with for the time being. 

Certainly it was productive for us against Toronto and it’s something that we’ll continue using.

Terry Stotts

Let’s see what game two’s numbers look like.  

The Blazers and Pistons tip-off at 4:00 p.m. PT on NBCSNW.