The Blazers are now 6-2 to start the season after a 90-89 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday Night at the Moda Center. The Blazers are far from perfect, but are showing signs of improvement from last year’s team that missed the playoffs. They have already won a game in Denver at the Pepsi Center. It’s hard to believe, but that was the first time LaMarcus Aldridge has won a game in that building. They have a home win over the best team in the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs. And, they won back to back games against the Sacramento Kings on back to back nights last Friday and Saturday.
The Blazers defense is still a work in progress as they adapt to a new system implemented by Head Coach, Terry Stotts in training camp, but one thing he does have this year is a bench. In the win over Phoenix tonight, newly acquired big man from the Rockets, Thomas Robinson had his best game as a pro with 15-points and 8-rebounds. On Monday against the Pistons, Joel Freeland came off the bench and chipped in 6-points and 6-boards. Mo Williams had 15-points on Monday and 12 tonight. Unlike last year, the Blazers starters know they don’t have to do it all on their own.
The starting lineup of LaMarcus Aldridge, Robin Lopez, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, and Damian Lillard has been solid, and with the added reserves, this team has a chance to compete every night. We will find out more about the Blazers over the next two-weeks. Five of their next six games are on the road, and that includes a road game at Golden State, and a home game against the Chicago Bulls. It’s still too early to know if this team is going to make the playoffs, but so far they are showing signs of growth. If this team stays healthy and continues to get solid production from the bench, a playoff berth seems likely even in the highly competitive Western Conference.