PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Trail Blazers head into fall camp still stinging from last season’s first-round playoff sweep by New Orleans.
The trick now is not to overcorrect.
“You run the risk of overreacting to defeats, and maybe being blinded by victories,” coach Terry Stotts said. “I think it’s important that we learn from it, I don’t want our team to forget about it. I don’t want our team to forget about the feeling we had, not just after the series was over, but what we had to live through over the summer, and keep that edge. Hopefully, we use it as a learning experience.”
Portland returns the nucleus — Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic — of a team that went 49-33 last season. Apart from the early postseason exit, it was mostly considered a success.
Boosted by a 13-game winning streak that started with a victory over the Golden State Warriors just before the All-Star break, the Blazers secured the third seed in the Western Conference. They clinched the Northwest Division title for the seventh time in franchise history and went to the playoffs for the fifth straight year.
Lillard again drove the team’s success. In March he averaged 27.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 6.5 assists. He also set a franchise record by making 64 straight free throws. But New Orleans contained him in the playof