In the two years before this one

مارس 29 2014

Trail Blazers’ stretch run will go long way in determining commitment to current core

cheap air force There are always whispers and rumblings, and Trail Blazers guard CJMcCollum is aware of them. In the two years before this one, Portland has cheap jordans sale carved out an identity as a pretty good offensive team and a so so defensive team, and the results have been predictable. The Trail Blazers won 41 games last year on their way to a postseason spot, and 44 games in 2015 16, when they slipped into the second round of the playoffs by knocking off an injury battered Clippers team. cheap air force

cheap adidas That’s led to speculation that Portland, over the salary cap and sitting on two years of hefty contracts for Evan Turner, Meyers Leonard and Maurice Harkless ($39 million for the trio next year, and $41 million in 2019 20), would eventually have to deal either McCollum or fellow star guard Damian Lillard in order cheap jordans for sale to diversify the roster. cheap adidas

cheap jordans in china The pair is signed through 2021, slated to make $50 60 million per year combined. It’s not easy to build a true contender with half the available cap space spent on guards, but it’s where the Blazers are now. cheap jordans in china

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cheap jordans for sale But McCollum is not so sure we’ve seen the best from this Portland bunch. cheap jordans for sale

cheap jordans from china “Everyone has a right to their own opinion,”McCollumtold Sporting News. “I think that we live in an era where the art of the unknown scares people. But I think, consistently, we have won. Obviously, we haven’t won a championship, but we have made the playoffs four straight years in the Western Conference. We made it to the second round this is only our third full season playing together.” cheap jordans from china

Cheap jordans It’s only the first full season together for the Blazer backcourt alongside center Jusuf Nurkic, acquired last February in a trade from Denver. Before Portland determines what to do with the Lillard McCollum combination any change that big will come much later it must decide on the fate of Nurkic, a restricted free agent this summer. Without another roster move, the cheap jordans shoes Blazers Cheap jordans will be only about $10 million under the luxury tax, making Nurkic a difficult signing. Cheap jordans

Yet Portland is in position for one of its best finishes in years, which makes the next few weeks crucial. This has been a franchise struggling to establish its identity since LaMarcus Aldridge left in the summer of 2015, and the close of this season offers a good opportunity for the Blazers to raise themselves in the mix of West teams, and perhaps solidify the status of the Nurkic McCollum Lillard trio as the team’s foundation.

cheap jordans free shipping Since ending a three game losing streak in mid January, Portland has gone 13 5, the fourth best record in the league in that stretch. That’s brought the Blazers within a 1.5 games of the third seed in the West, going into Thursday’s game against the Timberwolves the current holder of the third seed, but facing an extended cheap jordans from china stretch without star guard Jimmy cheap adidas Butler. Portland has some tough foes in the next 12 games, but 10 of those come at home. cheap jordans free shipping

cheap jordan sneakers “We understand what is at cheap yeezys stake for the second half of the season,”McCollum said. “We understand how good a lot of different teams are in the West. A lot of games will be crucial.” cheap jordan sneakers

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cheap jordans china In making the playoffs cheap jordans in china the last two seasons, the Blazers have followed a frustrating pattern. They’ve gotten off to terribly slow startsand needed to barnstorm cheap air force their way into the postseason with strong finishes. Typically, that has meant accelerating their offense and dragging cheap jordan sneakers their defense from poor to average. cheap jordans china

cheap jordans sale Last season, they finished 17 6 to make up for a 24 35 start. Their offense went from 106.5 points per 100 possessions (13th) to 111.3, and their defense improved from 26thto 10thover the last 23 games, thanks in large part to the acquisition of Nurkic. cheap jordans sale

cheap nike shoes Two years ago, it was much the same. Portland was 15 24 in early January, with an offense rated 12th(102.9 points per 100 possessions) and a defense rated 25th(105.5). The Blazersclosed 29 14, with the offense jumping to fifth (109.0) in that span, though thedefense didn’t see much improvement(105.7). cheap nike shoes

cheap jordans shoes This year, even during the team’s early struggles, Portland never fell below.500. If they’re accelerating into the cheap jordans sale kind of stretch cheap nike shoes finish they’ve had the last two years, then, the Blazers are within range of cheap jordans on sale reaching 50 wins for just the 14thtime in franchise history. (Currently, they’re on pace for 47.) In their last 18 games, the Blazers havebeen eighth in offensive efficiency (109.5) and 11thin defense (105.3). cheap jordans shoes

cheap jordans on sale Lillard has been much more efficient in that stretch, upping his scoring from 24.8 points to 29.3 per game andshooting 40.8 percent from the 3 point line (34.7 percent in the first 43 games). Nurkic has cheap jordans online been cheap jordans free shipping more effective, boosting his shooting (from 46.4 percent to 52.8) and rebounding (from 7.9 to 9.3) in the last 19 games. McCollum, as usual, has been steady, staying above 40 percent on 3 pointersand averaging better than 21 points per game. cheap jordans on sale

cheap yeezys That’s the Blazers’ best trio, the closest they’ve got to a “Big Three.” There’s hope in the potential of rookie big man Zach Collins, who could change the roster’s dynamics as he develops. But the foundation could, eventually, need to be broken up, either by splitting the backcourt, letting Nurkic walk this summeror both. cheap yeezys

cheap air jordan Much will depend on how Portland handles the coming six weeks. The Trail Blazers arein a much better stretch run position than they’ve been in any season of the McCollum Lillard pairing, with a No. 3 seed and 50 cheap Air max shoes wins within reach. A strong finish and a good playoff run would make it more likely that the organization pays up for Nurkic and commits to the core cheap air jordan.

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