Portland has finished the preseason on a great note. They have won their last five games of the preseason to finish with a 5-2 record. They will head into the regular season on a high note.
When looking at these last five games, there is one stat that speaks volume to me, and that’s rebounding. The Blazers have been dominating the boards during their win streak. They have been averaging 54.8 rebounds a game over the last five games, compared to the 40.2 rebounds allowed over that span.
If Portland can continue to rebound this well, then they are going to be very tough this season. The best rebounding team last year was the Indiana Pacers at 45.9 rebounds a game. That is a difference of almost 10 rebounds per game.
Now, I realize that this is a small sample size and it’s only preseason, but you can’t deny that the Blazers are dominating when it comes to rebounding. Even when you throw in the first two games in which they lost, their average only drops to 51.7 rebounds a game. That is still about 6 rebounds more a game than the number 1 rebounding team, the Pacers.
The only thing keeping these games close lately is Portland’s turnovers. With all the new additions to the team, it will take some time to gel and figure each other out. Turnovers are going to happen in this stage, especially when they have yet to play a game with their full starting five. Once they figure each other out, look out league!
A lot of analysts are underestimating Portland. Too many people think they will still finish 10th or 11th in the Western Conference. I have them listed in a 6-8 seed range, likely sitting at 7th at the end, but making the playoffs nonetheless. However, with rebounding like this, call me crazy, but I might even have them ranked too low. Only time will tell, though.
The Blazers will the season on the road against the Phoenix Suns Wednesday, October 30 at 7:00 PM PT. The Game will be televised on KGW Newschannel 8.