Winners of seven consecutive games coming into a matchup on Wednesday night against the struggling and short-handed Milwaukee Bucks, the Portland Trail Blazers were certainly riding high as one of the hottest teams in the NBA. Playing against a sub-par competitor on Wednesday, that hot-streak and the wins didn’t stop.
On their way to a relative ho-hum 91-82 victory over Milwaukee, LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard continued to lead their high-powered offense, scoring 21 and 19 points respectively. They were also again aided by solid contributions across the board from their role players.
What has been incredibly impressive about this team and why so many people are singing their praises recently has not just been their productivity offensively, but how they’ve been able to remain so productive. Four players for the Blazers are currently hitting above 40 percent of their attempts from long-range on the season and, surprisingly, that doesn’t seem like much of a fluke. The Blazers have been masterful in creating space for shooters to set up in and finding those shooters for open looks. It’s been fun to watch.
Raining on their parade a bit, though, the Blazers have had some relatively easy competitions over their winning streak. No team that they have played over their last eight games currently has a record at .500 or better. However, the level of competition is about to be stepped up for Portland over the next week and will put them to the test.
Between Friday and Monday, the Blazers will face off against the Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors and New York Knicks with their matchups with Chicago and Golden State coming on a back-to-back. Though the Knicks and Bulls have struggled a bit out of the gate, there’s no doubt that they have the ability to cause Portland some trouble. This Blazers team has certainly made believers of many as of late, which makes it all the more interesting to see if they can maintain this level of play against, quite frankly, better teams in the league.