ChrisHaynes, CSNNW.com NBA & Trail Blazers InsiderOntario,Calif. The Portland Trail Blazers' new uptempo, pass up-courtoffense orchestrated by head coach Terry Stotts impressed tonight asthey defeated the Los Angeles Lakers by a final score of 93-74 atCitizens Business Bank Arena.
With this new offense implemented, the Trail Blazers were able to get up 14 more shot attempts than the Lakers thanks to their style of play.
Conditioningwas good, we played at the tempo that I liked," Stotts said. "Some of our executionswere spotty...our movement offense was very effective."
He later added: Westill have a lot of work to do. Defensively, we can get better, wecan't lose our men, we gotta keeps bodies on bodies. Offensively,we were getting in positions where we were trying to do too much andit gets a little ragged at times.
Thevictory wasn't as important as the stellar play of the team's twofirst round picks. Damian Lillard finished the game with a stat-lineof 14 points, 7 assist, 5 rebounds and only 2 turnovers.
Ithought he (Lillard) got a sense of the game as it went on and in the thirdquarter, he definitely made some plays that turned the game around," Stotts said.
Andit didn't take long for Meyers Leonard to assert himself once he gotin the game. He had six quick first-quarter points and his firstfield goal was a high alley-oop pass thrown by Ronnie Price that hemanaged to catch and flush down.
Hefinished the game with 10 points and 5 rebounds in 17 minutes of play.
Ilike the fact that he's not necessarily trying to force his offense,if it's there, it's there," Stotts said. "Otherwise, he's playing within the contextof the way we want to play.
LaMarcusAldridge was in mid-season form as he ended the game with 14 pointsand 7 rebounds in 24 minutes. He went 4-of-12 from the floor, but hereally didn't try to establish himself in the paint.
"I was just taking what they gave me," Aldridge said. "My shots didn't fall late, but I felt good."
NicolasBatum chipped in 12 points and suffered a blow to the knee. Midway in the second quarter, he attempted to take a charge on Jodie Meeks and the two banged knees. Batum began to cringe and limp, but stayed in the game.
"It's just a little sore," Batum said. "I'll be fine."
KobeBryant (right shoulder strain) and Dwight Howard (back) did not playtonight for the Lakers.
Although it was only a preseason game, it was a great glimpse into where this Trail Blazers organization is headed. This coaching staff has laid down the foundation and it showed like no other tonight.
The Trail Blazers will now travel to Phoenix to get ready for their second exhibition game against the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.