Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/18/14
Top Blazers Last 7 Days After posting an impressive 2-1 record during the first week of the NBA season, the Portland Trail Blazers came back down to earth a bit in their second week. Squaring off against more top-tier Western Conference talent, the Blazers failed to record a win (0-3), and it’s becoming more apparent that the bench is a serious issue with this team. In the three games this past week, against the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Clippers, and the San Antonio Spurs, the Blazers’ bench put up 17, 22, and four points, respectively. You read that correctly: four bench points against the Spurs. You won’t win many, if any, games with poor bench production like that. Even though GM Neil Olshey has repeatedly insisted that Portland is in the business of rebuilding, taking a serious look at improving the bench could greatly benefit Portland and allow them to be competitive for all 82 games. In light of the lackluster bench production, and no wins to show on the week, there were a few performances that were noteworthy enough to deserve some attention. First Star: LaMarcus Aldridge (11/10: L vs. San Antonio) LaMarcus Aldridge proved this week that he is one of the best power forward’s in the NBA. (Photo: AP) In the one game that was actually close near the final whistle, LaMarcus Aldridge was proving, yet again, he is one of the best power forwards in the game today. Squaring off against the Spurs, and future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan, Lamarcus Aldridge kept Portland competitive, putting up 29 points on 12-of-26 shooting from the floor and 5-of-6 shooting from the free-throw line. LA also added seven assists, four rebounds, two steals and an incredible four blocks in 41 minutes of action. It’s this kind of nightly production Portland has grown familiar with out of Aldridge, and even against, arguably, the best power forward in the Western Conference, LaMarcus was holding his own. Unfortunately, the 29 points was not enough, as the Spurs prevailed 112-109 behind an impressive 27 points off the bench from guard Gary Neal. Second Star: Nicolas Batum (11/10: L vs. San Antonio) With poor bench production comes more of a need for your starters to put up big numbers. On Saturday night, Nicolas Batum was just as productive as Aldridge against the Spurs Yet, as noted above, the performance didn’t equate to a victory. Batum, logging 39 minutes, recorded 33 points, on 11-of-18 from the floor, 5-of-7 from three point land and 6-of-6 shooting from the charity stripe. Nic also added four assists, seven rebounds, two steals and one block on the night. So far, Portland’s new $46 million dollar man has proven he was worth the big contract, and his play against San Antonio displayed his ability to impact the game in a number of ways. Third Star: Nicolas Batum (11/8: L vs. Los Angeles Clippers) Batum’s getting double recognition this week in Rick’s Picks, and for good reason too. The frenchman once again stuffed the stat sheet in last Thursday’s contest against the Clippers, putting up 23 points on 6-of-18 shooting from the floor, 3-of-10 from beyond the arc and 8-of-12 from the line. Nic added five assists, nine rebounds, three steals and one block in 41 minutes of play in yet another Blazers loss. It was Batum’s effort on the defensive end that allowed Portland to have a fighting chance against the Clippers, as he locked down Los Angeles in the third quarter. Portland found themselves in a 60-39 hole heading in to half time, and behind Batum’s nagging defense, they were able to cut the deficit to just six heading in to the final quarter. Fatigue set in on the Blazers, as Los Angeles was able to build up an insurmountable lead yet again, but Batum’s efforts on both the offensive and defensive ends allowed Portland to at least flirt with a victory against the Clippers. Dunk of the Week: Damian Lillard vs. San Antonio Spurs Rookie Damian Lillard continues to impress in his inaugural season as the Blazers’ starting point guard, and this steal and dunk against the San Antonio Spurs put his talents on display. Enjoy. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE BLAZERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Mayweather beats Pacquiao by unanimous decision

Manny Pacquiao after loss: 'I thought I won the fight'

Did Evan Mathis respond to Chip Kelly's slight with barb?

WATCH: American Pharoah wins Kentucky Derby

Report: Rams trade RB Zac Stacy to Jets

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Falcons draft pick's house burned down during draft

Packers trade up to draft Brett Hundley

Greg Hardy apologizes for joke about 9/11

Mayweather bans Rachel Nichols, Michelle Beadle from covering fight

Five takeaways from Day 2 of the 2015 NFL Draft

Elite recruit Jaylen Brown commits to California

Clippers beat Spurs on Chris Paul shot in Game 7

Jimmy Kimmel's Manny Pacquiao T-shirt goes viral

Big fight packs airport, leaves no room for planes

Pete Carroll discusses Russell Wilson's contract status

Jim Harbaugh not happy Lou Holtz is out at ESPN

Cubs fans want Harry Caray video for seventh inning stretch

Winners and losers from the NFL draft

Brooklyn Decker expecting first child with Andy Roddick

Michigan using other programs' draftees to recruit players?

Texas staffer takes shots at Baylor, Texas A&M during draft

Rob Gronkowski wears awesome suit to Kentucky Derby

WATCH: Bryce Petty reacts to being drafted by the Jets

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Winners and losers from the NFL draft

Report: Zac Stacy traded to Jets

Hardy apologizes for joke about 9/11

Jerry Jones sends letter to Pacquiao

Mayweather bans Beadle, Nichols

WATCH: A-Rod fights back tears

A-Rod hits 660th home run, ties Willie Mays

Mayweather vs. Pacquiao: Celebrities make their picks

Ryan Succop offers to arm-wrestle Marcus Mariota for No. 8

Laila Ali rips Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Peterson wants more money from Vikes

Chip Kelly just doesn’t care about defense

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

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

Company Info
Help
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.