Something has to give when the worst in the Western Conference meets its counterparts from the East.
The Trail Blazers were routed 114-81 Sunday by the Toronto Raptors. Portland has dropped its last three games by a combined 97-point margin.
Nate McMillan, in his first year with Portland after leading the Seattle SuperSonics to 52-30 mark a year ago, was discouraged with his new team’s effort.
“It looks like the spirit is gone, the fire is not there,” he said. “There is absolutely no presence on the defensive end of the floor the last couple of games.”
The Blazers’ defense has given up an average of 108.8 points in the last four games, far above the 96.3 they normally allow.
After posting a franchise-record three-game winning streak from Feb. 3-8, the injury-riddled Bobcats have dropped two straight including a 99-93 loss Saturday to the Milwaukee Bucks,
“We have to ad lib, which is basically what we’ve been doing,” Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. “The group has done a nice job adjusting. We have to do different things with different personnel.”
Melvin Ely, who scored 21 points against the Bucks, has a 13.3 points average in his last 11 games, since returning from an ankle injury that sidelined him for 11 games.
No Bobcat has played in every game this season. Rookie Raymond Felton missed Friday’s 88-73 loss to the Raptors, ending his streak at 50 games.
Charlotte is looking for its first win in three tries against Portland.