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Wednesday NBA grades: It’s over, but celebrate what a great season it was in Portland

May 15, 2014, 1:48 AM EDT

Wesley Matthews, LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard, Robin Lopez, Nicolas Batum Wesley Matthews, LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard, Robin Lopez, Nicolas Batum

Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while trying to figure out how you could afford the home from “Scarface”….

source:  The Portland Trail Blazers. Yes, they lost. Their season is over. If you think that deserves a low grade I pity you, learn to embrace the joy of the game — and these Blazers were worth embracing. They (and their fans) should look back on this season with pride. The Blazers had one of the best and most entertaining offenses in the NBA. LaMarcus Aldridge can hold his own with any four in the league. Damian Lillard’s star continues to rise. They need to be better on defense, some roster tweaks are coming, but this is a team on the rise in the West — one that was not expected to be this good this season. It was a great run, they should savor it.

source:   Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs. I don’t really care what you nickname him, if he plays like this you can call him anything you want. When Tony Parker went down he stepped up. Defensively he seemed to be everywhere. He shot 6-of-8 inside eight feet and was 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. He had some great dunks. It was an impressive game and him playing like that makes these Spurs better than last year’s version.

source:   LeBron James, Miami Heat. He wasn’t brilliant, but he was good enough — he had 12 points in the fourth quarter and helped spark the 13-3 run to close out the game that gave the Heat the win. He was there making defensive plays in the final seconds. He was the best player in this series, which is exactly what we expect him to be but we shouldn’t take it for granted. He alone can get the Heat to the Finals.

  1. jsala02 - May 15, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    I watched a lot of the Blazers games this year, and I just think they were playing over their head. LMA is great, Lillard is good, but the rest of the team is average.

    • ranfan12 - May 15, 2014 at 11:21 AM

      that statement makes it seem like you haven’t watched $#%.

    • adamsjohn714 - May 15, 2014 at 1:36 PM

      They did play over their heads, but Batum and Matthews were huge driving forces behind their success, not LMA’s miserable TS%.

      • ProBasketballPundit - May 15, 2014 at 3:38 PM

        I just looked it up, Lamarcus Aldridge had a TS% of 50.7%. Ouch. For comparison LeBron was 65% and Durant 63.5%. Of course it’s kind of unfair to compare him to those guys.

  2. cruzan80 - May 15, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    I’m sorry but I think the Blazers won about 10-15 games simply because their opponents underestimated them earlier in the season. Aldridge & Lillard are two straight up beast but the team isn’t that good. They got lucky by drawing the Rockets in the1st round (another severely flawed team) which still required 7 games to survive & then the Spurs promptly brought them back to reality.

    Next season…they’ll be the “hunted” & by All-Star weekend the story lines are gonna be “What’s wrong with the Blazers???” & “Should Blazers trade Aldridge now or gamble on him staying next summer????”

    • jamesinva - May 15, 2014 at 2:20 PM

      Porland beat Houston in 6 games. Houston also has one of the best, if not THE best Center in the league along with another “Superstar” in Harden. A much better supporting cast as well. Give Portland more props as your quotes were exactly what everyone was saying last year and projected them to be in the lottery and they went to the 2nd round.

      • cruzan80 - May 15, 2014 at 2:53 PM

        My mistake on how many games it took to oust the Rockets…still doesn’t change what my point.

        “everyone was saying last year and projected them to be in the lottery and they went to the 2nd round.”

        That’s pretty much exactly what my point is…”everyone” which includes other NBA teams…didn’t think much of this team once they looked at the roster…that got em a couple of wins early in the season.

        BTW….theres already an article about Aldridge possibly leaving Portland…on THIS site!

      • eugenesaxe1 - May 15, 2014 at 3:08 PM

        @cruzan80: That article you cite says he isn’t signing an extension because he’d lose big money, it says nothing about him leaving. Read your source material before citing it. And learn…how to…use…periods.

    • jamesinva - May 16, 2014 at 12:46 PM

      Couple of wins in the beginning? Go back and look at how Portland started. You proved my point; everyone was saying that they would not be good and THEY WERE WRONG hence give them credit.

  3. spursareold - May 15, 2014 at 12:22 PM

    The Blazers are a pretty darn good offensive team that plays pretty much no defense, That’s why they’re going home.

    Stotts also needs to worry less about 30 point wins in December and more about developing his bench.

  4. timberwolvesbrisin - May 15, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    It was a good year in Portland, but please it wasnt some huge over-achievement. They have two top 15 players in Aldridge and Lillard, good support players in Batum, Lopez and Mathews, and a good bench with Mo Williams, Thomas Robinson, etc.

    They’re def a team to reckon with over the next few plus years.

    • adamsjohn714 - May 15, 2014 at 1:41 PM

      1) 2 top 15 players? Are there 50 players in the top 15? I fail to see what is so spectacular about these guys

    • adamsjohn714 - May 15, 2014 at 1:42 PM

      Also, their bench was horrific.

    • cruzan80 - May 15, 2014 at 2:54 PM

      Their bench was one of the leagues worst….

    • eugenesaxe1 - May 15, 2014 at 3:12 PM

      +21 wins, when the only major changes were a starting C who barely gets mentioned outside of Portland, and Mo Williams. That’s +21 wins in the Bestern Conference, not the E-League. Yeah, they over achieved, and we appreciate it.

  5. jbeagles23 - May 15, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    Yeah that bench needs a lot of improvement

  6. lowercasejay - May 15, 2014 at 7:25 PM

    This entire off-season should be about adding bench depth. Starters played more minutes on average than all teams. Lowest scoring bench in the league past TWO years. They had a great year in part by avoiding injury.
    Can’t count on that every year.

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