Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 1/13/14
A Short Week The Portland Trail Blazers played three games during Week 11, and while the competition wasn’t the stiffest, we got a good look at how this team must play the rest of the season. In three outings, the Blazers went 2-1. They surprisingly dropped the first game of the week against the Sacramento Kings, but they bounced back by winning contests against the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics. Damian Lillard torched Sacramento for 41 points. (Photo: Kelley L. Cox/USA TODAY Sports) Winning the winnable games is going to be crucial down the stretch, especially with a huge test ahead. In Week 12, the Blazers take on the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers, followed by the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks on the road. Week 13 doesn’t get much easier, which is why taking down inferior opponents is a must if Portland wants to remain a contender in the eyes of the national media. Jan. 7 @ Sacramento Despite the moves made by the Sacramento Kings this season, they remain the second-worst team in the Western Conference, besting only the tanking struggling Utah Jazz. Unfortunately for the Blazers, they’ve got the attention of everyone league-wide, and they get everyone’s best effort when they visit opposing arenas. The Trail Blazers took down the Kings during their first two meetings this season, but the third time proved to be the charm for Sacramento. It outscored Portland 123-119, outlasting the Blazers and their 41-point, career-high effort from Damian Lillard. Jan. 8 vs. Orlando Entering this contest, the Blazers had seemingly come back down to Earth. Despite starting the season 23-5, they had lost four of their last six, fueling the fire of those who felt they were never contenders in the first place. As it turns out, playing the Orlando Magic is a good way to get back on track, as Portland took down its Eastern Conference foe 110-94. Portland saw big performances across the board in this one, but the spotlight belongs to Nicolas Batum. The forward recorded a triple-double (14 PTS, 14 AST, 10 REB), and he did it with a fractured finger. LaMarcus Aldridge also deserves credit for his 36 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, and CJ McCollum gets a shout following his first career NBA performance. Jan. 11 vs. Boston Although you won’t be able to tell it from the final score (112-104), the Blazers began this game in familiar fashion — with a poor first-half showing. Prior to the matchup, the Celtics had lost seven straight. However, like we hit on above, everybody is giving Portland their best, and as a result, the Blazers are being tested night in and night out. In the end, Portland walked away with a near double-digit win. LaMarcus Aldridge had another big showing with 21 points and 13 rebounds, but Robin Lopez deserves a ton of credit for his 15-point, 13-rebound showing. CJ McCollum also got in on the action, scoring 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting in his second NBA game. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE BLAZERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
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