The Portland Trail Blazers hobbled into this matchup against Philadelphia, missing four of their five starters. Despite the odds being stacked against them, the Blazers pulled out an impressive 121-105 win over the 76ers.
Four of the five Blazer starters scored in double digits. Center Enes Kanter had a huge night, finishing with 17 points and 18 rebounds. Guard Gary Trent Jr. led the way for the Blazers, finishing with a team-high 24 points. Trent has enjoyed a breakout season in his third season in the NBA. The former Duke man is averaging 13.2 points per game while shooting an outstanding 45% from three.
With only 9 players active, players who had seen limited minutes up until this point in the season were forced to step up. C.J Elleby, the rookie guard out of Washington State, played 31 minutes for the Blazers off the bench tonight. He scored a career-high 15 points while shooting 55% from the field. Despite a rough shooting night, Blazers guard Anfernee Simons scored 14 off the bench to propel the Blazers to victory.
The Sixers struggled to shoot the ball tonight. They shot a dismal 7-27 from three, good for just 25.9%. Philadelphia was also careless with the ball, turning it over 18 times compared to just 11 from the Blazers. Philadelphia center Joel Embiid had 37 points on the night, but just 6 in the second half. Sixers guards Danny Green and Seth Curry had off nights, as they generated just one field goal between them.
Injury Problems Persist in Portland
The Blazers have been playing short-handed for most of the season, and tonight was no different. Already down C.J McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, and Zach Collins, it got worse for the Blazers tonight. The Trail Blazers ruled out star point guard Damian Lillard before tonight’s game due to an abdominal strain. While not a serious injury, it was one the Blazers could not afford at this point.
The Blazers will hope to get Lillard and Little back in these upcoming games. Portland will play the Knicks and Magic before facing off again with Philadelphia on Feb. 9. They will then face the Cavaliers, Mavericks, and Thunder to round out the next 6 games of the schedule. The Blazers need to get healthy fast to not fall out of the playoff race in the West.