Switching it up: The Rockets defense led to the Blazers stagnation

Jamie Hudson

HOUSTON – The Trail Blazers finished with a season-high 28 assists on Monday night, but yet watching the game you might not believe that.

After the 132-108 loss to the Rockets, the Blazers explained how their offense went "stagnant."

Just as the Rockets do, they switched on nearly all screens against the Trail Blazers. And as many opposing teams often do, Houston tried to take  Damian Lillard out of the game.

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Early in Monday night's loss, the switches opened up the lane for Nassir Little and Hassan Whiteside. Yet, the Blazers weren't able to continue to take advantage of those mis-matches.

"They played their game. They played a good game. I think we could've done a better job, but give them credit. They did what they do. They got up a lot of threes and really hurt us on the offensive rebounds… They made us stagnant a little bit offensively because they switch a lot. We'll be better prepared for it next time." -- Rodney Hood

On the season, the Trail Blazers are averaging 18.6 assists per game, which ranks dead last in the league. 

Damian Lillard was dropping dimes against the Rockets, however. He finished with 13 points, 11 assists, and six rebounds.

Lillard leads the Blazers in assists with 7.1 per game, which is actually 10th best in the league.

Lillard acknowledged he was able to get those assists by the Rockets switching.

 "Usually when a team is switching, you end up getting bigs matched up on guards, and naturally you're gonna try to take advantage of the match-up," Lillard said. "Early, we were throwing it into Whiteside when smaller guys were on him, and then other times when a big was on me, or CJ, or Hoodie, we were attacking the bigs. But, when you're up against that, there's ways to take advantage of it with still having movement and moving the ball… Instead of just playing one-on-one. It did get stagnant."

Lillard had a tough night shooting, going 4-of-15 from the field and just 1-of-6 from deep, so he got involved in other ways.

CJ McCollum, however, remained hot from the field, a carryover from Saturday's game in San Antonio.

McCollum shot 10-of-19 from the field, while also hitting five of his 12 three-point attempts vs. the Rockets. He led the way with 25 points. 

Despite shooting well, McCollum agreed there wasn't much movement at times.

"They switched everything and it makes it hard to play offensively and then you get into playing one-on-one."

The Trail Blazers will now look to bounce back on Tuesday night when they visit the New Orleans Pelicans, who are currently 4-9 on the season.

Switching it up: The Rockets defense led to the Blazers stagnation originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

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