Every student dreads the word test. Some people thrive under pressure, some people shrink. But in school when all is said and done, if you fail the test, you fail the class.
Test time is here for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Expectations were extremely tempered when it came to the 7 game road trip this team came home from. After winning two overtime games against subpar teams, the trip was seen as a tough growing experience for this young team.
The thing no one knew then was that things would get even worse when they got home. On the first game of the 6 game home stand, the Blazers got beat up by the Sacramento Kings. Not only did the Blazers lose the game but they lost two starters for the next game or two.
Nicolas Batum came into the game with a sore lower back and after taking a couple big hits during the game, he said that it is one the worse pains he has ever felt. He is now seen as doubtful for the Monday game against the Toronto Raptors.
Another tough loss midway through the game was that of Wesley Matthews. Matthews injured his hip and then aggravated it later. He said after the game that he was having trouble with his leg. As of after practice on Sunday, he said he was feeling much better and believed he would be a game-time decision on Monday night.
The reason I believe this is test time for the Blazers is that it is time for some of the bench guys to step up and get things rolling. If the bench does not step up at this point and start helping to win some games, this season might be at a loss.
I look for guys like Will Barton and Joel Freeland to really step up, especially on the offensive end of the court. If those couple guys can step up and if Luke Babbitt can continue to give some good minutes off the bench, this team could get some momentum going on this home stand.
You never know how a team will react under pressure, especially a young team, but having the next 5 games at home can't be a bad thing for this reeling team.
Garrett Thornton is on Twitter. Follow him at @PortlandGarrett