The Philadelphia 76ers can only hope they end up like the Portland Trail Blazers one day. While the Sixers are enduring massive rebuilding, the Trail Blazers have suddenly risen from several mediocre seasons to become the best team in the West so far. Portland reached another milestone at Philadelphia's expense on Dec. 14, as it drained a franchise record 21 three-pointers during a whopping 139-105 victory.
The Sixers actually kept up with the Trail Blazers in a first half devoid of defense. While Philadelphia had 64 first half points, it gave up 71 and couldn't make any halftime adjustments from there. As the Sixers cooled off, the Trail Blazers just kept sinking shots, especially from beyond the arc.
Dorell Wright came off the bench to make all five of his three's, while Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews had four each. Eight Trail Blazers scored in double figures, which canceled out the Sixers getting double figures from four of their five starters. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, Evan Turner was the exception with only three points.
While the Sixers are on a 4-18 skid after their 3-0 start, the Trail Blazers have kept rolling with a 20-4 start to their season. Only the Indiana Pacers have as many wins, although Portland has stayed ahead of a much deeper roster of Western Conference teams.
This kind of run is well ahead of schedule for the Trail Blazers, yet because they have no championship experience, they will be expected to cool off before long. Time eventually has a way of exposing teams, like it did to the Sixers after they won more early games than expected.
With Michael Carter-Williams still sidelined and the realities of a depleted roster becoming clear, the Sixers are sinking to the depths most expected in the preseason. Yet giving up almost 140 points is a depressing new wrinkle, even against the most surprising team in the NBA.