Terry Stotts, after Trail Blazers suffer 20-point loss in home opener to Utah: 'We gotta get better'
Terry Stotts, after Trail Blazers blown out "We Need to Get Better" at home opening game, originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest
The first game of the season for the Portland Trail Blazers was very similar to their two previous exhibition games.
Just another blowout loss, this time for Utah Jazz, 120-100 Wednesday night.
And the common denominators of these defeats were obvious:
Portland not only defended poorly, but also fought on the offensive. The defence? The jazz shot 45.7 percent off the ground. They made 19 of 50 three-point field goals.
And Utah topped the Trail Blazers by 19.
On the offensive? Portland shot a total of 40.2 percent, making only 12 of 33 threes. The Trail Blazers were exceeded by the three-point line by 21 points. And if you are outdone by 19 it is almost impossible to win.
Damian Lillard was 4-12 off the floor and scored nine points. The Blazers probably won't beat a lot of good teams if their leader isn't double digits.
You see, the numbers are pretty simple. But the cause of these numbers is puzzling.
"I told the team we had to get better," said coach Terry Stotts. “It's about us right now. Every NBA season you worry about your opponent and prepare for your opponent, but now we have to get better. "
No question. Much better. Especially at the beginning of the games. The Trail Blazers were dominated in their last three opening halves, trailing by 21 at halftime in that game, which was the smallest deficit in those three games.
And don't try to say these two exhibition games don't matter, as they were bright red warning signs of what was about to happen for the Trail Blazers.
This was not unexpected given the way the team have played uncounted for the last three games.
Stotts' attitude towards the early deficits was similar after each of the three blowouts - that his team played okay after the slow start.
"They are a good team," he said of the jazz. “You shot the ball very well in the first half. We even played it in the second half. "
Anyone who has ever coached a team has likely used this line after a blowout loss.
All an opponent would want to do with a 31 point lead in the second half, as Utah did, is trade baskets for the rest of the game, usually with a high dose of benchers. In reality, it is quite difficult to find solace when the idea is to turn the game around.
The real point is, if you go down by a wide margin in the NBA, you are almost always expected to get back into the game in earnest.
The Trail Blazers didn't. And have not.
When asked if he had any concerns about his team's performance or energy levels, Stotts said, "To be honest, I thought we had good juice tonight, you know. So no, not me."
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