The struggles for the Portland Trail Blazers continued against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday Night. This 119-115 loss for the Trail Blazers marked the fourth straight loss for the team. It also wasted a big-time 60-point performance from Damian Lillard. The 60 points from Lillard was a franchise record.
Portland Trail Blazers Come Up Short Against the Brooklyn Nets
CJ McCollum Disappearing Act
CJ McCollum has not been himself so far this season. He’s had a couple of games where he still has managed to put up a good amount of points. However, he has been very inefficient at times this season.
That inefficiency continued on Friday night in a big way. With his backcourt mate Lillard going for 60 points on 19/33 shooting and 7/16 from three, McCollum was finishing with eight points on 4/19 shooting.
If Portland is going to be able to make a run this season and live up to preseason expectations, McCollum has to play better. There’s no way around that. With the injuries this team is dealing with at the moment, they need McCollum to step up more now than normal.
Add Two More to the Injury Report
Rodney Hood has been one of the bright spots for Portland so far this season. However, he now needs to be added to the ever-growing injury report.
Hood left the game after playing just six minutes due to back spasms.
At the moment, it’s unclear how long Hood will be out for or if he will miss any games at all with Portland having a day between this game against the Nets and their game Sunday against the Atlanta Hawks.
Also added to the injury report is Skal Labissiere. The forward left the game in the fourth quarter after rolling his ankle.
These two injuries are the last thing that Portland needed. With Jusuf Nurkic being out until at least 2020, and Zach Collins being out at least four months, this team is already short on frontcourt players. That doesn’t even mention the waiting game being played on Pau Gasol to make his Trail Blazers debut.
All of the pressure in the frontcourt right now is falling on Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside is putting up good numbers, but he lacks the sense of urgency at times, and it’s come back to bite Portland in big moments of games, especially on the defensive end.
If either of these guys ends up missing any time at all, it will only make things tougher on Terry Stotts and his coaching staff to put together a rotation.
Young Guys Getting an Opportunity
At this early point in the season, it’s clear that Anfernee Simons is going to be a factor. In this game, he scored 15 points in 36 minutes, but he also played some solid defense.
Much of the time Simons was on the floor he drew the assignment of Kyrie Irving. That’s no easy task for any NBA player, let alone a second-year player.
Irving did finish with 33 points, but it was on 12/27 shooting. Simons did a good job of staying in front of Irving, but down the stretch, Irving was able to make some tough shots. Overall though, it was impressive how well Simons was able to stay in position and make Irving make difficult shots.
Another young player that saw his most playing time of the season was Nassir Little.
The rookie first-round pick was expected to essentially take a “redshirt” year a la Simons last season. However, injuries forced him to be in the rotation at least in this game.
In 19 minutes Little was impressive. He finished with eight points, three rebounds, and a block. He also had a thunderous dunk that got Moda Center going.
YAMS ARE IN SEASON & NAS IS HUNGRY pic.twitter.com/pk7TKCcSKk
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) November 9, 2019
Little brought a lot of energy to the game and made a case to see more playing time going forward, which actually might be a necessity. There were times when he was out of position defensively, but that’s something to be expected for a rookie. The most important thing was the spark he brought to the game.
Portland Trail Blazers Lose to the Brooklyn Nets: Up Next
With Portland desperately needing to get back into the win column, the team will be welcoming the Hawks in Moda Center on Sunday.