11/14 Blazers 117, Lakers 126
The Portland Trail Blazers fell short in LA on Wednesday, losing their first road game to the Lakers since February 22nd, 2013. Not only was Lebron James just one assist shy of his 75th career triple double, but he also passed Wilt Chamberlain in the fourth quarter to move into fifth place on the all-time scoring list. James was unstoppable, finishing with 44 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists while shooting 13-19 from the field and 5-6 from distance. The Blazers battled hard to keep it close behind 31 points from Damian Lillard despite a tough shooting night. CJ McCollum chipped in 23 points, and Jusuf Nurkic added 21, but it just wasn’t enough to close the gap down the stretch. Lebron’s arrival in LA has undoubtedly changed the dynamic of a rivalry that Rip City has dominated for years now. The Lakers have already claimed two of the first three meetings this year. Unfortunately, due to a schedule quirk, we will have to wait until the regular season finale on April 9th before the Blazers get their chance to even the series.
11/16 Blazers 96, Timberwolves 112
On Friday night, the Blazers were in Minnesota facing a team that looked nothing like the one they beat by 30 points at the Moda Center earlier this month. Rocking their new purple and black alternate jerseys on an evening dedicated to the music of Prince, the Wolves showed up with a solid defensive effort, holding the Blazers to their lowest point total of the season, and cruised to their third consecutive victory since Jimmy Butler’s departure. Portland struggled from the 3-point line, shooting just 28% from deep. CJ McCollum led the way for the Blazers with 18 points and Jusuf Nurkic notched another double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Andrew Wiggins led the charge offensively for the Wolves with 23 points, and Derrick Rose continued his throwback play of late, contributing 17 points, 6 assists and 7 rebounds. Karl Anthony-Towns and new addition Robert Covington each had 14 points. It will be interesting to see what happens with the talented Timberwolves, who seem to have a new lease on life after a very slow start. Look for the Blazers to take back control of the season series when the two teams meet again on December 8th in Portland.
11/18 Blazers 119, Wizards 109
After dropping two consecutive games for the first time this season, the Blazers got back on track in our nation’s capital on Sunday. Behind an impressive 40 point effort from Damian Lillard, Portland captured their first win on this six game road trip. It appears Lillard hadn’t forgotten about his team’s overtime loss to the Wizards nearly a month ago at the Moda Center, and took matters into his own hands to ensure there would be a different outcome. CJ McCollum added 25 points while shooting an efficient 56% from the field, and Jusuf Nurkic flirted with a triple-double, tallying 13 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists. The dangerously dysfunctional duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 36 points, but Lillard and McCollum clearly won the battle of the backcourts in this one. Kelly Oubre Jr scored 19 points for Washington. Dwight Howard left the game in the second quarter due to an glute injury and didn’t return after scoring just two points in the first half. The Wizards fall to 5-11 while the Blazers Improve to 11-5. Don’t look now, but Portland currently has the best record in the Western Conference.