PORTLAND – The Portland Trail Blazers have begun the season 7-5 but despite winning some close games they have been outplayed defensively and on the boards. Portland is ranked 25th in rebounding with 41.8 rebounds a game and have been outrebounded in every game so far this season. They are allowing 111.3 points a game which is 29th in the NBA.
Portland has one win against a team with a winning record. In fact, against teams with winning records so far this season, Portland is 1-4.
The Trail Blazers lost to the Chicago Bulls Tuesday night 113-88 and the lost the rebounding battle 75-54. According to Jen Beyrle, The Oregonian head coach Terry Stotts said after the loss to Chicago “Our defensive rebounding is a concern. It’s addressed and we just gotta keep getting better and focus on it.”
Portland will need to improve its rebounding if they want to beat teams with winning records. Being outrebounded in the first 12 games of the season is not a good sign. Portland now will go on the road for a five game road trip where they will face two teams with winning records, the Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Al-Farouq Aminu, who is one of Trail Blazers’ best defenders and rebounders, has missed the last four games but will make the road trip with the team. That could be welcoming sight for Portland if he is able to return to the lineup at some point, as the team has struggled early on this season.
Portland hasn’t had a lot of consistent contributions from anyone other than Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Allen Crabbe and Maurice Harkless. Lillard and McCollum have gotten off to a hot start but when good defensive teams force other players to beat them, Portland hasn’t had an answer so far this season. This Trail Blazer team is still trying to figure itself out and work through some of the kinks but it’s been a bumpy start despite the 7-5 start.
The upcoming five game road trip might be just what the Trail Blazers need to come together. According to Mike Richman, The Oregonian Damian Lillard said “It’s going to be a tough trip, but I do think sometimes you find yourself when the situation is toughest.”