Falling to the Warriors without Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole and Draymond Green makes little sense, with or without Lillard.
And losing 131-98 after sputtering to an 0-3 record against NBA teams makes zero sense, and should only add to the alarm regarding the Blazers, who have not looked much better this exhibition season than they did over the final two months of last season when they tanked.
It’s fair to note that this was just another preseason game and that the Blazers have been experimenting with rotations as they work new players into their schemes. However, none of that explains away all of their issues.
Defensively, the Blazers looked about as bad as they ever did last season, when they finished last in defensive rating. Golden State shot 51% in the first half, with 32 points coming in the paint, as they built a 68-56 halftime lead. That deficit ballooned by the end of the third quarter, when the Blazers were outscored 35-15 and shot 27.3% from the field.
Offensively, the Blazers have shown flashes of possessing immense firepower. Jerami Grant played well in his first three games, but struggled from the field Tuesday, making just 4 of 12 shots and scoring nine points in 19 minutes. Most of the rest of the team followed suit.
Portland shot 38.6% from the field, including 28% on threes (7 of 25). Portland entered the game averaging 18 turnovers against NBA teams, and coughed up the ball 17 times against the Warriors.
Despite the struggles, Blazers coach Chauncey Billups found the positives.
“Today, I thought we competed in this game,” Billups said. “We just didn’t play very well. We didn’t make shots … But I wasn’t worried about our competition level. We actually played hard.”
That leaves effort as one of the few elements that won’t need to be fixed before the regular season begins next week.
Sharpe was one of the bright spots for the Blazers.
He entered the game in the first quarter and put forth a strong effort, scoring nine points on 4 of 6 shooting in the first half. His shot cooled in the third quarter, but he finished with 17 points on 7 of 19 shooting and added six rebounds.
His alley-oop dunk in the third quarter on a pass from Keon Johnson was the Blazers’ most impressive play of the game.
Sharpe was the first player off the bench entering the game for Johnson, who started in place of Lillard, at the 6:48 mark of the first quarter. At 4:27, Grant, Hart and Nurkic left the game for forwards Nassir Little and Trendon Watford and center Oliver Sarr.
With 2:45 remaining in the quarter, Simons left the game and Johnson returned.
It appears clear that the 7-foot Sarr, who has played ahead of Drew Eubanks, will make the final roster as the backup center.
In the second quarter, Watford aggravated the right hip flexor injury that caused him to miss the Blazers’ first two preseason games and did not return. Sarr also left the game in the second quarter with a sprained right wrist and did not return.
Justise Winslow missed his second consecutive game with an undisclosed illness.
The Blazers open the regular season Oct. 19 at Sacramento.