Once a handful at home, the Portland Trail Blazers have been left to pick up the pieces ahead of a visit Monday from the Los Angeles Clippers.
One of three NBA teams with double-digit home victories heading into play Sunday — along with the class of the Western Conference in the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns — the Trail Blazers were ripped apart in their own building Saturday.
Portland absorbed a humbling 145-117 defeat at the hands of the Boston Celtics. It was just their third home defeat in 13 games this season, but it came in convincing fashion. It marked the most points scored by a road team in regulation in Blazers history.
Not only was it the Blazers’ second consecutive defeat in Portland after a 10-1 home start, the punishing nature of the blowout has the team looking in the mirror.
“Obviously teams play well, you come out, it’s not your night, it’s cool, it happens,” Blazers first-year head coach Chauncey Billups said. “But there’s a way that I’m willing to lose, and that’s not the way that I’m willing to lose. It was embarrassing.”
Portland was without Damian Lillard (abdomen), while Nassir Little (ankle) and Anfernee Simons (ankle) also were out. The Celtics went right at their shorthanded opponent, taking a 21-point lead in the first quarter while winning going away.
“They come put 145 on us; that was shocking,” Billups said. “You’re going to have some of those type of nights, in all honesty, but you’ve still got to show some pride.”
The night got even worse when CJ McCollum left the game in the fourth quarter with a rib injury and did not return.
The Clippers are doing some head-scratching as well. They played one of their best games of the season Friday in defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 119-115. But one day later, they lost 104-99 on the road to a Sacramento Kings team in transition after head coach Luke Walton was fired last month.
In fact, the victory over the Lakers was sandwiched by defeats to the Kings. The Clippers also lost at home to Sacramento 124-115 on Wednesday. Los Angeles has now lost four of five as it continues to adjust to life without Kawhi Leonard, who is out indefinitely following knee surgery.
The Clippers’ recent five-game stumble came in a span of seven days as the schedule has tested the team’s stamina.
“We’re tired and all, but it’s more so about just the foundation, setting a foundation and principles with which we want to play,” said the Clippers’ Reggie Jackson, who had 18 points on Saturday.
But the jam-packed schedule has also taken a toll on practice time, which hasn’t allowed the Clippers to adjust on many of those principles.
“Everybody in the league is going through the same thing,” Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said. “We just got to figure out how we want to match up in our lineups and things like that. Just the hardest part about it is just running offense because guys are playing out of position.”
–Field Level Media