LaMarcus Aldridge: C- Hot start, then became a ghost. Three rebounds not going to cut it in the future.
JJ Hickson: B Just got manhandled by Dwight Howard down low. Was to be expected, yet Hickson still managed a double-double. So, took some lumps, but found a way to still influence the game.
Nicolas Batum: A- Would like to see more assists, but this is precisely the type of performance that would justify Batum’s new paycheck.
Damian Lillard: A Yessir. Go Young Buck! Came out firing, looking well more confident than any rookie point guard should. Did a tremendous job scoring both inside and out, all the while getting teammates involved and pushing Portland’s pace. The only place Lillard looked like a guy getting his first NBA minutes was his six turnovers. Still, couldn’t have asked for a better debut.
Wesley Matthews: A+ Matthews was exacting. Busy mucking up passing lanes and scoring efficiently. 22 points on 11 shots is pure paydirt.
Meyers Leonard: B On a few defensive sequences, Leonard proved he’s got the size, speed and strength to match up with Dwight Howard. He’s just got to keep working on the smarts.
Three Things We Saw:
1: It’s only game one, but Terry Stotts’ offense sure looked a lot more wide-open and dynamic than anything Portland’s seen in about a decade.
2: That said, the Blazers figure to do a lot of living—and dying—by the jump shot this season. Wednesday, hitting 50% from the field, 45% from three, and over 80% from the line, Portland was nothing if not hot.
3: Not to take too much away from the Blazers’ fine, well-rounded performance, but the Lakers were atrocious in many facets of the game. Aside from LA’s porous defense, which allowed Portland 30+ points in each of the first three quarters, the Lakers gave out a whopping 24 turnovers. Thus far, Los Angeles is a team in name only—they have no idea yet how to play together.