The 114-83 defeat by Spurs on Thursday evening ended the Trail Blazers’ winning streak in 10 games at home. They are at home 10-2 now, but it’s their dismal road record of 1-10 that really pulls their overall record down.
After Thursday’s five games, Portland is ninth in the west with an 11-12 record under its new coaching staff led by Chauncey Billups.
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While the former NBA champion and Finals MVP had a lot to say when he got into the job about how the team would change, but about a quarter of the way into the 2021-22 season, the team still faces the same thing Problem and trying to overcome it haunted her in recent years.
After 23 games, their defensive rating of 111.8 is 28th in the league, just ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies (29th) and the New Orleans Pelicans.
This grim game at one end of the floor often reverses the effects of the offensive, which not only ranks in the top 10 this season but has also been one of the best in the league in recent seasons.
|season||Defensive Rating (Rank)||Offensive rating (rank)|
|2019-20||114.3 (27.)||113.2 (3.)|
|2020-21||115.3 (29.)||117.1 (2.)|
|2021-22 (23 games)||111.8 (28.)||110.4 (8.)|
Since the 2017/18 season, when they finished with the sixth best defensive score in the league, things have gone downhill, as the table above shows.
Failure to change things, especially at this end of the floor over the past two seasons, resulted in, among other things, the nine-year separation between the team and former head coach Terry Stotts.
However, nothing seems to have changed under the new head coach. It’s just getting started, but a team with that kind of talent shouldn’t and can’t be that far behind in the league’s defensive standings.
They allow their opponents to score 110.2 points per game, which puts them in 24th place in the league. They are almost at the bottom of the 3-point defense ranking, which allowed an average of 13.7 3-points per game (27th) with an efficiency of 38.1 percent (28th).
Those defensive totals seem to plummet even further to the league’s worst 119.1 when they play away, a big reason for their miserable 1-10 record outside the Moda Center.
In order for the team led by his All-NBA talent in Damian Lillard to have a legitimate postseason run, their efforts and performance must soar at this end of the floor.
Otherwise, they could extend their NBA best active playoff streak but stay in the bottom half with only first-round exits to show off.