It was all coming together for Portland at the end of November, kind of. Carmelo Anthony graces the hardwood again for the first time in over a year and plays decent basketball in his return. However, it’s not enough to pull Portland out of a road slump, and they lose all but one game before returning home. The Blazers were able to regroup somewhat and win a string of home games against somewhat decent teams.
Portland’s shooting was nothing short of impressive over these home games, Whiteside found his stroke against the Thunder on November 27, going 8 of 13, including a couple of mid-range jumpers while Rodney Hood couldn’t miss from deep, splashing in 4 bombs.
Just as the Blazers were gathering momentum, Rodney Hood suffers a torn Achilles on the 6th of December against the Lakers and is helped off the floor early in the game, the Blazers go on to lose this game. This is the second Blazer who has needed surgery after Zach Collins underwent an operation on his shoulder early in November. On the same day, Melo is guaranteed a full contract, the Blazers desperate not to lose any more key pieces.
Carmelo, CJ, and Damian seemed to each take turns scoring 20 point games throughout December, without achieving any remarkable result; any team they did beat had a record much lower than .500.
Despite having a fairly decent offense, CJ and Damian are guns in the backcourt while Hassan Whiteside racks up double-doubles on a nightly basis, the issues seems to be their defence down the strech, which does not do them any favours. This can be seen in their late December game against the Phoenix Suns. Portland held their lead for 44 out of 48 minutes for this game, allowing it to slip away with less than 3 minutes left of the game.
After finishing third overall in the west and a Western Conference Final appearance last season, there were high expectations on Lillard, McCollum and Portland. However, line-up changes and injuries appear to have hampered their progress. There are many things that you could attribute the Blazer’s misfortunes on, but Kendrick Perkins thinks he has the answer. For some Blazers players, it’s a familiar criticism.