The Trail Blazers didn’t win their last scrimmage Tuesday versus Oklahoma City. It wasn’t even close. Not really. The Thunder took off in the 2nd quarter and never looked back. Final score: Thunder 131 – Blazers 120.
That final score makes the game look closer than it really was. Oklahoma City was up by 20+ several times. Three. Three. Three. It was like the Blazers were holding a give away. The Thunder hit so many open or lackadaisically guarded shots at the arc. Muscala, Bazley, Roberson, everyone in a blue jersey it seemed were hitting threes like there was no tommorow.
The Blazers perimeter defense was not alone in atrocity. Their transition defense was also terrible. They were being beaten up the floor on so many fast breaks I lost count. They couldn’t get back on defense. They were always several steps behind.
But, hey, all the end of the bench players who won’t be playing come Friday got minutes. Lillard and McCollum didn’t play. The game doesn’t even count, or does it? It won’t show up in the standings that is for sure. Did the Blazers miss an opportunity to prepare for the season? Did it count in that the Blazers had this and two other games to prepare for a playoff like atmosphere when the real season starts?
Coach Stotts himself has said the Blazers got more out of the practices than the scrimmages. That can’t be good. Should Blazer fans be concerned here. For a team that has constantly said it is focused and knows what is at stake, didn’t seem to take things seriously. The Blazers are 0-3, the only team not to win a scrimmage.
I will say, it was nice to see Anfernee Simons find himself on Tuesday. His confidence and shot seemed to have returned in his 23 point effort. He was hitting threes and powering to the basket with ease. Hopefully, he keeps that with him into the season restart. The Blazers will need it off the bench.
Lillard and McCollum will play Friday. Everyone will be, fingers crossed, healthy. Maybe we haven’t seen the real Blazers yet. We haven’t seen the whole picture yet. We got our biggest glimpse in the 1st quarter of the game vs Indiana. The Blazers dominated.
The team we saw in practice echoes that quarter. Will we see that team Friday? Are the Blazers hiding from Memphis’s scouting report on them? Hiding their schemes, so no one knows the real Blazers till it’s too late? Maybe. We will see.
But, the three scrimmages should still leave you a bit concerned.