Portland Trail Blazers Stunned By the Philadelphia 76ers

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The Portland Trail Blazers were up by as much as 21 points against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday. However, that proved not to be enough. Things were already tough for Portland fans earlier in the day when it was reported by Jason Quick of The Athletic that forward Zach Collins is going to have shoulder surgery. Collins has missed the previous two games after dislocating his shoulder. The timeline for his return is going to be determined after surgery.

Portland Trail Blazers Lose Lead to the Philadelphia 76ers

Bright Spots

Despite the tough news about Collins, there were a few bright spots. Anthony Tolliver has been starting with Collins out, but with Hassan Whiteside also out, Mario Hezonja was inserted into the starting lineup.

Hezonja has not been very good this season, but in this loss, he was a bright spot.  He finished the game with 11 points on 4/10 shooting, 2/4 from three. Hezonja also pulled down 12 rebounds and dished out four assists.

Another bright spot from this game was Skal Labissiere. Labissiere has been solid off the bench this season, and in this game, he finished with 15 points on 7/9 shooting and four rebounds.

If Portland can get that type of production on a nightly basis, it will make it easier to sustain things while Collins is out and if Whiteside is forced to miss any more games with his knee injury.

Damian Lillard Goes Nuclear

Damian Lillard has put up huge numbers this season. However, this was the first game he went nuclear.

Lillard finished this game with 33 points, five rebounds, and nine assists. Those 33 points came on 11/16 shooting and 8/11 from three.

On the season, Lillard hasn’t been shooting from distance as well as most expect him to, but in this game, it felt like any shot he took from distance was going to go in.

With the injuries Portland is dealing with, it will be huge if Lillard is going to start a streak of shooting the ball like this at all.

Not Taking Advantage

Portland had a massive opportunity for a win over a top Eastern Conference team. Joel Embiid was out serving a suspension, Portland had a 21-point lead, but they weren’t able to take advantage.

Whiteside being out neutralized some of the advantage Portland would have gained by Embiid being out. However, with no Embiid, Philadelphia was still able to dominate inside. Al Horford went for 25 points, and Tobias Harris went for 23 points and was able to get in the paint whenever he wanted to.

Portland has been as good as anyone at two-point field goal defense this season, but they allowed 84 points in the paint in this game. Whiteside being out undoubtedly had a factor in that.

Another big reason for the loss was CJ McCollum struggling. McCollum has had an up-and-down season so far. However, tonight was down. McCollum only finished with 16 points on 6/15 shooting. McCollum was also unable to impact the game in other ways. This helped cancel out the 25 points on 9/11 shooting by Rodney Hood.

Portland Trail Blazers Fall Short Against the Philadelphia 76ers: Up Next

Portland now sits at 3-3 on the season and 0-2 at home. Following this loss, they will be taking a short two-game road trip to California. In those games, they will play the Golden State Warriors on Monday.

Following that is a primetime Thursday game on TNT against the Los Angeles Clippers.

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