AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
After climbing the power rankings across multiple publications, the Blazers have taken a small step back. Back to back losses to open the road trip against the Lakers and the Wolves has caused a little bit of concern around Rip City, but morale is still relatively high for the team after a bounce back win against Washington. This next week is crucial for the team, as they close out their road trip against two of the best teams in the league. Getting a couple of wins during this week can give a positive end to the road trip and some momentum around Thanksgiving.
11/20- Blazers at Knicks
The Knicks seem to have finally committed to a full out rebuild. With new management in Scott Perry and Steve Mills, their rotation is one of the youngest in the NBA. With Kristaps Porzingis still recovering from his torn ACL, coach David Fizdale has relied on the likes of Mitchell Robinson, Allonzo Trier, and Kevin Knox. Despite the presence of veterans such as Enes Kanter and Lance Thomas, the team has committed to a full youth movement. The hope is that the Blazers can capitalize on their inexperience. Dame has always performed well at MSG, so be prepared for some Dame Time. Games like this that are marked as “easy wins” are always a little scary, and as long as the Blazers come out with energy, they should take care of business.
In addition to Porzingis being out, Courtney Lee (neck) and Lance Thomas (knee) will not play against the Blazers.
Mario Hezonja (illness) did not play against Orlando, and it has not been determined whether he will be active against Portland.
11/21- Blazers at Bucks
The Bucks look to take revenge after the Blazers soundly defeated Milwaukee in the Moda Center on November 6. The Bucks have continued their hot start to the year and are one of the leading contenders for the Eastern Conference title. The hire of Mike Budenholzer and his offensive system has done wonders for a team that seemed to have stalled in development with Jason Kidd and Joe Prunty as head coaches. Surrounded by four shooters, whether it be Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon, or even Brook Lopez and John Henson, has allowed Giannis to flourish. While the Blazers soundly defeated the Bucks in their first matchup, do not expect the same to happen, especially when the Bucks are at home.
John Henson will be out until the All-Star break due to wrist surgery.
Donte DiVincenzo is expected not to play due to a quad injury, which could mean more Pat Connaughton minutes.
11/23- Blazers at Warriors
Although playing the Warriors is never a great matchup for anyone, now might be a good a time as any. The Draymond Green drama and injury, along with the Stephen Curry injury, has left the team depleted. Despite the national media blowing the situation out of proportion, it is still a situation worth monitoring. Especially if Steph and/or Draymond are out, this is probably the Blazers best chance to beat the Warriors all year. Despite all of the “issues”, you obviously cannot forget about Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, who will be projected to play as of now. It will still be a tough matchup, (because, you know, they’re the Warriors,) but for some reason, I feel good about this game.
In addition to Draymond not confirmed to play, Alfonzo McKinnie, another diamond in the rough, also has a foot injury.
With the Blazers taking over the top spot in the Western Conference standings last night, the pressure is now established for the team. We are about to see if the team can keep up this success.
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