If you’ve only been paying cursory attention to the NBA in its early stages this season, you may not have noticed the rise of the Portland Trail Blazers.
But following Friday night’s 130-98 pasting of the Utah Jazz, Portland now has a record of 17-3 — the best in a very deep Western Conference.
Guys like Wesley Matthews have been shooting at historically great levels, LaMarcus Aldridge has been playing like an elite big man and Damian Lillard has been masterful in running the show.
The Blazers are playing so well right now that they’re setting NBA records.
In Friday night’s victory, the team made 17 of its 23 attempts from three-point distance, good for a mark of 73.9 percent. It was the highest percentage from beyond the arc in history for a club with at least 15 attempts, and it would have been even better if Will Barton hadn’t jacked up two misses from distance during the fourth quarter’s garbage time.
Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.
Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.
Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.