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Three Things We Saw: Blazers vs Jazz

Saturday, October 11, 2014

 

For the second time in as many preseason games, the Trail Blazers fell to the Jazz, 109-105. But unlike the drubbing they took in Utah on Tuesday, Portland showed some spark in a contest that went down to the wire.

The Blazers were without Damian Lillard, who sat because of a "left ankle sprain" suffered in Tuesday's game. It is not believed to be serious.

Now, three things we saw:

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1. LaMarcus Aldridge was straight feeling it. In 24 minutes of duty--Aldridge played the entire first and third quarters--Portland's All-Star power forward poured in 22 points. Over and over, Aldridge put his head down and either bullied or finessed his way to the rim. The Jazz big men, who weren't double teaming, were simply outclassed. In particular, Enes Kanter was chewed up like lunch meat.

2. CJ McCollum is starting to show something. After a disappointing rookie season, McCollum is starting to make a case that he belongs not only in the NBA, but in the Blazers' regular rotation. As on Tuesday, the second-year guard's shot wasn't falling, yet he found a way to leave a stamp on the game. McCollum probed the lane, set the table for his teammates, and continued getting to the line. For the second straight game, McCollum made all six of his free throws.

3. Meyers Leonard showed his range. It's been talked about in practice that Leonard is a legitimate outside shooter. After hitting two 20-foot jumpers the young, oft-frustrating Blazer big rattled in a corner three. The crowd--and Twitter--went wild.

Indeed, the prospect of Leonard growing into a real stretch four--as well as a fearsome defender--is wholly tantalizing.

 

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