After an incredibly exciting offseason, or so we thought, for the Portland Trail Blazers (0-1) a 104-93 opening night loss to the Phoenix Suns (1-0) has fans and analysts alike scratching their respective heads.
“The Phoenix Suns outplayed us,” Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said. “They were ready from the get-go. They got out and ran. All the things that we were working on, we had a setback today. Transition defense; we were slow reacting to that. Their guards did a good job of penetrating.”
As was the issue last season, the Blazers’ bench failed to help out and a lack of depth sill seems present. Only two Portland players scored in double-digits – LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard – and the collective bench only managed 12 points.
“We were not ready,” Blazers SF Nicolas Batum said. “We can talk about how much better we are and all the things we want to do, but we’ve got to be ready. We had a good preseason. We had a good training camp. But the preseason is over.
“That was a good warning for us.”
Batum was the next leading scorer for the Blazers behind Aldridge and Lillard with nine points on 3-of-9 shooting and seven rebounds.
But as has been mentioned, the two bright spots were Portland’s two stars in Aldridge and Lillard who finished with 28 and 32 points respectively. Should the Blazers find a way to get the rest of its players more involved, this team is talented enough to make a playoff push. It’s only game one.
“We have 81 more games — that was only one,” Batum said. “But we have to correct things now. We can’t wait.”