Run! Run! The sky is falling! The ship is sinking! The Blazers are dead in the water!
Now breathe, because none of that is true. Yes, the Blazers have lost four in a row following a 119-115 loss to the Nets. Yes, the offense outside of Damian Lillard has been missing in action. Yes to a lot of things. But hitting the panic button is not one of them.
The season is young, and though the Trail Blazers are 3-6 and winless at home it can turnaround in an instant. Like Lillard said postgame, "We could very well win the next three and be at .500." He's not wrong.
It's easy to want to jump ship. To freak out and wonder what's wrong with the Blazers. The reality is, they are still a good team, they are just off to a slow start. It happens.
Not to mention, they are without Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, and Pau Gasol due to injury, and both Rodney Hood and Skal Labissiere went down with injuries on Friday night. Oh, and there are the growing pains of adding Anthony Tolliver, Mario Hezonja, Kent Bazemore, and Hassan Whiteside to the rotation. You haven't seen the real Blazers yet. Instead, you have seen a very talented team that is still trying to find itself. When it does, watch out.
The Blazers may have lost their fourth in a row, but the team isn't panicking, and neither should you. Take it from Lillard, it's too early to worry.
Said Lillard postgame:
It's just so early. I know that's the easy thing to say but we could very well win the next three and be at .500 and playing better basketball and it's like, okay here we go. But right now, we're just not getting the job done down the stretch when it's time to win games... It is what it is. We've got to stay down, we can't fold. In these type of situations, the most important thing is obviously staying together and never folding. The teams that fold and just give into it, it keeps going. The teams that keep working and stay together and keep our minds right even though y'all don't want to hear that, keep our minds right and not fold and stuff will start going in the right direction.
Of course, the Blazers will get things turned around in their favor. The Blazers started the season 3-3 in 2014 before going on a nine-game winning streak. They started 2-2 in 2013 before winning 11 in a row. Just last season they were 6-6 through 12 games. They went on to win 49 games and earned a trip to the conference finals. Never jump ship and count a team out. If they lose four in a row in January and are below .500, then we can talk.
Besides, it wasn't all doom and gloom Friday. Despite the loss, Lillard set a franchise record with 60 points. As amazing as that was, an eight-point performance may have out shadowed it.
Rookie Nassir Little made his NBA debut and was a spark plug for the Blazers. He helped the Blazers return to life, and nearly gave them the energy to pull off the victory.
Said Lillard after the game:
I thought (Little) was great. Any time you are a guy that is not playing regular minutes, or just a young player where you don't have any experience, you haven't been in the league or you've just been on the bench and games are going by and your name's not getting called – so for him to just be ready and come in fearless and have an impact on the game – because he had a huge impact on the game. That's special. That has nothing to do with talent, that has nothing to do with hype or any of those things, that's just coming in and helping the team and being ready to do that. Being called late in the game or random moments of the game, he comes in with energy flying around, effort and fearless like I said. So I thought he was great. I was proud of what he did tonight.
The Blazers got a glimpse of their future, and no, I'm not talking about the loss. They got a chance to see what Little can bring. Again, a loss is a loss, and just like any other, you move on and look to rebound the next go around.
Fifty wins has been the standard that most people have put on this team. Guess what? If you win 50, it means you lost 32. The Blazers still have 26 to play with. Can they rebound and get back in the win column? We will find out Sunday against the Atlanta Hawks.
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Take it from Damian Lillard: It's too early to worry originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest