Originally written on Oregon Sports News  |  Last updated 11/18/14
The Trail Blazers have left town and they aren’t coming back … at least not for a while.  They are in the East Coast for a seven game road trip that will test the mettle of this young team.  They departed with a .500 record after an exciting victory at the Rose Garden against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Black Friday.  Road trips always challenge a team, but if the Blazers continue to play as they have been a 4-3 record on this trip is not out of the question.  The trip begins In Brooklyn, in the newly opened Barclays Center.  The Blazers were greeted with the unfortunate news that power forward LaMarcus Aldridge would be out with a sore back that apparently tightened up on the flight out.  It is unknown how long the Blazers will be without him.  On the bright side, this presents a nice opportunity for Meyers Leonard to get some minutes and valuable experience with the first team.  After the Brooklyn game, the Blazers travel onto Detroit, Washington, D.C., Boston, Cleveland, Charlotte, and Indiana.  Seven games in ten days.  A grueling travel schedule, however these are all opponents the Blazers are capable of competing with.  Brooklyn, Boston and Indiana should prove to be most difficult games.  Detroit, Washington, Cleveland, and Charlotte are teams the Blazers should be able to handle.  To be successful on this trip and come home one game over .500, the Blazers are going to have to capitalize on opportunities in close games and play smart basketball.  Tighten up on defense.  They should look to Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews to exercise some veteran leadership with Aldridge potentially out of the lineup.  Meyers Leonard will need to stay out foul trouble and J.J. Hickson needs to continue to play with a lot of energy.  And of course, Damian Lillard needs to keep doing what he does, score and facilitate, but reduce the turnovers. The Blazers are proving they can be a good team, but not be a great team this year.  They have some good pieces, but they don’t have a lot of them.  In order for the Blazers to have a winning road trip, they need to maximize the talent from their starters and players like Leonard, Ronnie Price and Jared Jefferies.  Great teams can play good basketball or even poor basketball and still win on talent alone.  The Blazers are not yet in this category.  They need to execute, take smart shots, play solid defense, and hustle more than their opponents.  If they do this, it is fair to think that they can be a team that hovers around the .500 mark.  When the Blazers return to Portland after the December 5th game against the Indiana Pacers, it should be a little bit more-clear where the team is in its development. Patrick Hughes is on Twitter. Follow him at @phughespdx
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Pats employee taking footballs into bathroom on video

Greg Anthony caught offering $80 to undercover officer for sex

Robert Kraft wants apology from NFL if nothing found

NFL may be very close to returning to Los Angeles

Report: Kobe definitely returning next season


Report: Yankees don't want to pay A-Rod home run bonuses

Browner wants Patriots to injure Sherman, Thomas

Report: Rams, other teams interested in Nick Foles

Tom Brady: 'My feelings got hurt' in Deflategate controversy

Odell Beckham Jr. says he played with two hamstring tears

Pete Carroll empathizes with Belichick, Pats in Deflategate

Six best Super Bowl coaches of all-time

Five key matchups for Super Bowl XLIX

Early B1G predictions for 2015

Remembering Ernie Banks

Allenby rang up $3,400 strip club bill on night of 'kidnapping'

Brady's dad: QB's relationship with Pats 'will end badly'

WATCH: Skittles Super Bowl commercial looks ridiculous

The five best Super Bowl defenses of all time

Mark Brunell explains why he got emotional over Deflategate

NFL was profiting off Marshawn Lynch's crotch grab

NFL finally getting its own YouTube channel

20 most amazing stats in Super Bowl history

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Six best Super Bowl coaches of all-time

Five key matchups for Super Bowl XLIX

Early Big Ten predictions for 2015

Remembering Ernie Banks

Pats employee took footballs into restroom?

Report: Kobe not retiring

More questions about Allenby's story

Yanks don't want to pay A-Rod bonuses

Looking back at Super Bowls 1-48

Super Bowl MVPs through the years

The five best Super Bowl defenses

Burnell explains why he got emotional

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.