(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Over the course of the this season, most of the Portland Trail Blazers wins have come because of star point guard Damian Lillard. He has been the most clutch player in the NBA this season. Most of the Blazers wins had come when Jusuf Nurkic and CJ McCollum were both hurt.
Well Friday night, Lillard will get some much needed rest. But you hope its nothing serious. He’s listed on the injury report with a hamstring injury. The Trail Blazers just have not been able to stay healthy this season. There has not been a single game (all except games 1 through 5) that the Blazers have had a fully healthy roster. So yes, you can say the injury bug has hit the Blazers hard this season.
“He felt it yesterday in practice… Today it was still bothering him,” Coach Stotts explained. “He wasn’t getting any better. So it felt like it was best to not play tonight.”
So with Lillard out, the Blazers had a few options they could do with starting lineup. You could have inserted Anfernee Simons, Carmelo Anthony, Nassir Little, Derrick Jones Jr. or even kept the rotation in tact and started CJ Elleby. But, it looks like Jones Jr. will get the starting nod in replace of Lillard. So the staring lineup will consist of McCollum, Powell, Jones Jr., Robert Covington and Jusuf Nurkic
MVP CHANCES OUT THE WINDOW?
Damian Lillard does not have very many games left in order to prove why he is the MVP, and he knows he needs every game. He also needs the Blazers to win.
This season Lillard has been one of the brightest stars in the NBA. Everyone witnessed his long range in the All-Star game this year when he hit one from beyond half-court. He’s averaging 28.7 points while shooting 44 percent from the field, 37.8 percent from three, and 90 percent from the charity stripe. Lillard is also averaging 4.2 rebounds and 7.7 assists (9th best this season). He also has a league best 30 3-pointers.
Damian Lillard is currently tied with Jason Kidd for the 10th most three-pointers in NBA History (1988). Paul Pierce is in 9th with 2,143. Lillard has a long ways to go to reach the next man up. But, overall Damian Lillard is arguably having the best season of his career, and has been mentioned in MVP races multiple times. But, with the Blazers struggling to find a win recently. His chances of winning have dipped a bit.
“That’ll be special,” Lillard said. “I think I am having the best season of my career. I think for that to really happen, we gonna have to get ourselves back on the winning track. I think the chances of that happening had been really, really strong when we had got on the road and was winning a lot of games and I was playing well…
I know that I still have a chance, but I know that we got to start winning games.”
Lillard is correct. In recent years, the award has been given to a player on a winning team. Even though it should be given to the a player, who’s team can’t do well without him.
Why aren’t the Blazers winning Games?
Well, when you take a deep look at the Blazers. The offense has been better than most teams in the NBA. But, the problem comes on defense. The Blazers have the third-worst defensive rating in NBA history according to Stat-muse.
Hopefully, Lillard is just out one game. The Blazers will need him if they want to propel themselves higher in the Western Conference over the next couple weeks. He will need to be a better player than he has been this season, and propel the Blazers deep into the playoffs, if he wants to win the MVP award and a championship this season.
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