The first East-coast road trip this season resulted in a sweep for the Portland Trail Blazers (20-4), and Saturday marked the second round across the country, going to snow-covered Philadelphia to face the crummy 76ers (7-18) at the Wells Fargo Center. While the Blazers are basking in getting nationally recognized as a legit Western Conference powerhouse, the Sixers haven’t had the same luck. After starting the season 4-1, the 76ers have now lost 14 of their last 16 and drop six-straight games; they watch in horror as the Blazers set a new franchise record on three-point shots with 21 made, just two shy of the all-time NBA league record. They sprint away in the third quarter with the game already decided to win 139-105. If you love watching a free flowing offense, this was it.
Philadelphia is nicknamed “The City of Brotherly Love” but the Blazers were not nice from beyond the arc. The Blazers nailed 11 and Philly started 3-3 after one by Spencer Hawes. The glaring problem that allowed the Sixers to tie and/or take the lead 17 times was horrendous defense from all over the court. Because of Hawe’s extended range for a big-man, it forced Robin Lopez to come out to the perimeter and therefore, allowed Philly uncontested looks in the paint. The Blazers buckled down near halftime and the shooting flaws of the Sixers reared its ugly head as Portland took their largest lead of the game 71-64 to break.
Returning from the locker room, Portland’s guards show no mercy from downtown and Philadelphia can’t keep up and can’t match the insane scoring outburst. The Blazers end the third quarter scoring 40-15, 73% from the field (23% by the Sixers) and hit the century mark with less than three minutes left with the fourth period left to play.
The only eventful action in the fourth period was Meyers Leonard getting into a wrestling match with Daniel Orton. Leonard was issued a flagrant 2 and was ejected, as did Orton who received just a technical. Allen Crabbe, Will Barton and Earl Watson saw some extended amount of time and once Crabbe surfaced in the last few minutes of the third, you knew the game was already over. The Portland bus spent the fourth quarter warming up, as the Blazers will face the Pistons in less than 22 hours.
Who Was Hot
- LaMarcus Aldridge: Game-high 20 points, 16 rebounds, five assists on 10-15 makes and is now number five on the MVP ladder. He was more than happy to pass out when Philly threw a double on him that led to three-pointers galore. He only played 29 minutes but will be counted on tomorrow against Detroit.
- Nicolas Batum: The birthday boy today turned 25 and celebrated by scoring 17 points, five rebounds, nine assists and 3-7 from three.
- Damian Lillard: He struggled against the Rockets and started the game hot, then cooled off some as he went 16 points, six assists. He did much of his damage from distance hitting 4 of 6.
- Wesley Matthews: You would think with the lackluster perimeter defense Philly was giving that Matthews would have a feeding frenzy but tonight wasn’t the best. Most of is looks were on target but were too long. He goes for 14 points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals and 4-10 from distance.
- Robin Lopez: Like I mentioned, he had to come out of the paint for much of the time to guard Hawes but once he solidified himself defensively in the third, there was nothing Philly could do to score. He had 12 points and four blocks but the boo-boo here was only three rebounds.
- Dorell Wright: His old stomping grounds last season was the perfect place to go a perfect 5-5 from the field for 15 points, all of which came from downtown. He had a remarkable bank shot three off the glass from the top of the key at the horn to end the third quarter and not even the cold snow outside Philadelphia could cool him down.
- Mo Williams: Hours after flying in from Mobile, Alabama to attend a funeral for his late uncle, Williams returned to score 14 points and dish seven assists and nail 3-5 threes. He started sloppy with three turnovers but collected himself and was very productive in 23 minutes.
- Thomas Robinson: 10 points, five rebounds, two steals and a solid 4-6 from the foul line.
- Now the stat we’ve all been waiting for: the three-pointers. We’re talking 21-37, 56% compared to 9-15 for the Sixers. The previous mark of 18 came just a couple games back at home against the Jazz, and Portland broke that mark in the third quarter.
- Shooting percentage: Blazers 55% – Sixers 44%
- Rebounds: Blazers 46 – Sixers 33
- Assists: Blazers 41 – Sixers 26 (that’s 41 assists on 52 makes for Portland. There hasn’t been a game were sharing the ball was so visible as it was tonight. Everyone was so unselfish).
- Fast break points: Blazers 17 – Sixers 9
Who Was Cold
The only thing Philly did worth noting is 52 points in the paint to Portland’s 38, but you can’t outscore us. No matter whom you picked to defend, there was a sharpshooter wide open at some point on the court and the Sixers had zero answers.
Mike Rice quote of the night
“I think Bill Russell has left the building.” – He said during a 10-4 Blazer run near halftime. I’m pretty sure he actually meant to say Julius Erving because Bill Russell never wore blue at any point in his playing days.
The net at the Wells Fargo Center has got to be fried. Don’t expect this same kind of offense tomorrow afternoon against the Pistons. While the scoring was free and flowing, it’ll be a slugfest down in the paint, low scoring and probably ugly. Tipoff will be 3pm Pacific Time as the Blazers look to stay undefeated against Eastern teams.