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Blazers’ Chemistry Brewing Strong Amid Loss to Timberwolves


The Portland Trail Blazers looked like they might pull off a stunning upset for the first three quarters against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.

A one-point game entering the fourth quarter got away from the Blazers as Anthony Edwards and Nickeil Alexander-Walker slammed the door shut, but Portland coach Chauncey Billups was pleased with the way the team played for the most part, and pointing to growing chemistry among the players.

Said the Blazers coach, “I’ve always been talking about what we can continue to learn, how we can develop some chemistry. Look at [Deandre Ayton]. He has a big night tonight. 11 for 12, and just the chemistry that Scoot [Henderson], him, and Ant [Simons] are developing has been pretty neat to watch. And this is against the best defense in the league. Maybe the best team right now in the league. So, a lot of different things that we can take from it. You feel like you got better tonight.”

The Blazers were led by Ayton’s monster game. The Portland center had 22 points and 16 rebounds in 32 minutes of action. Henderson made his return from a sprained left foot and had 14 points and 9 assists in 34 minutes.

With their youth and so many new faces on the roster this season, the Blazers have focused on building chemistry on their roster all season long. Unfortunately, the sheer quantity of injuries has made it difficult to build any real momentum in that regard. Simons missed six weeks early with a torn thumb ligament. Then Robert Williams III was lost for the year with a knee injury. Ayton, Henderson, and Malcolm Brogdon have all missed extended stretches. Shaedon Sharpe had lower abdominal surgery last week and is out for at least a month-and-a-half.

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But the signs are there for the Blazers. Ayton has been on the receiving end of more lob passes in the last six or seven games than probably the entire season before that. Henderson has shown much more adept at finding the open man and running the offense. Jabari Walker is always in the right place at the right time.

The Blazers need to string together some games without additional pieces going down due to injury so that these gains can continue. The glimmers that fans have seen over the last couple of weeks are promising.


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