By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers were riding high after beating the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night. They faced a tough Portland Trailblazers squad that had revenge on their minds. After being beaten by Philly earlier in the month. Portland played like a team that was desperate for a win. They rode an offensive explosion to fry Philly 118-111.
It did not start out well for Philly. They were missing shots and on the defensive end they were missing their assignments. Portland made them pay for the miscues. CJ McCollum (18-points) and Damian Lillard (39-points) could not be stopped. They combined for 57-points and were hitting shots from all over the court. It did not matter who defended them. They made it rain from the three-point line, hitting nine combined threes. There was nothing any Philly defender could do to stop them. If they ran them off the three-point line, they would hit a lay-up or a pull-up jump shot. Philly had no answers for them.
Despite the explosions from Lillard and McCollum, Philly did not give up on the game. They continued to fight and retook the lead late in the first quarter. They were powered by Tobias Harris. Who picked up right where he left off against the Nuggets. He made the Blazers pay for daring to give him any open space. He scored 28-points and hit two three-pointers. His ability to hit clutch buckets has been extremely important during this road-trip. It will continue to be important as Philly continue trying to stabilize their offense without Joel Embiid (Health and Safety Protocols).
Philly could not overcome the defensive miscues throughout this game. They just could not locate their man at times, and that allowed the Blazers to be able to make their shots. That was their undoing in this game.
They now will prepare to face the Sacramento Kings on Monday night. Philly will need to play better perimeter defense if they want to stifle Sacramento’s offense and get their 10th win of the season.