Defense to Blame for Portland Trail Blazers’ Recent Struggles

By Cody Williams
LaMarcus Aldridge Damian Lillard
Kim Klement – USA Today Sports Images

The Portland Trail Blazers entered the month of February with a solid .500 record and with hopes to make a run at a lower seed in the NBA Playoffs in the Western Conference. However, they’ve since dropped to 25-28 and are three games out of the playoff picture.

That’s because they’ve dropped six out of the eight games that they’ve played in February, including dropping their final five games before the All-Star Break. The Blazers have looked like a different team in February—a much worse team.

Portland has looked way worse defensively in particular in the first half of February. Over the month, the Blazers are tied for the worst defensive rating in the NBA over that span at 114.3, the fourth worst opposing effective field goal percentage at 53.4 percent and the worst opponent turnover ratio at 10.4 percent.

For the entire season, the Trail Blazers have a defensive rating of 105.5, an opposing effective field goal percentage of 50.7 percent and an opponent turnover ratio of 14.4 percent. Those aren’t exactly great numbers, but they allowed them stay in the hunt for a playoff spot, something that their February numbers have failed to do.

The Blazers have an abundance of offensive talent with guys like Damian Lillard, Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge. However, when it comes to their defense, none of their starting-five has a defensive rating under 105. That’s frighteningly bad, especially considering how heavily the Blazers rely on their starters.

There’s no denying that Portland has a great deal of talent and potential, as well as the potential to be a quality team in this league, but that’s not going to happen until they get their defense headed in the right direction.

Cody Williams is a Senior NBA Writer with Rant Sports. Follow Cody on Twittter @TheSizzle20 and like his Facebook page.

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