Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard nodded in acknowledgment that his group had actually just concluded the hardest six-game stretch of its first-half schedule with a respectable 3-3 record.

Still, Lillard focused more on the video games that escaped rather than the triumphes. Lillard revealed frustration in opening the season with a 120-100 loss to Utah at house and that the Blazers failed to take both games at Golden State by losing 137-122 Sunday night to end up 2-2 on the group’s four-game journey through California.

” We have actually just to improve and go secure our house court now,” he stated.

And house is where this group might improve the season in a hurry. The Sports jackets play 10 of their next 12 video games at the Moda Center. Portland, currently connected with Golden State for 6th in the West, could utilize the next 12 games to increase up the standings prior to starting a six-game journey beginning Jan. 28.

Before we get to those 12 games, initially let’s analyze the very first 6. The Blazers’ 3-3 record is better than it might appear. Based upon opponent won-loss record, the Blazers have played a tougher schedule than every NBA group that was above.500 going into Monday’s schedule.

The Blazers’ 2-2 road journey included stops at the Los Angeles Lakers (5-2, getting in Monday), Los Angeles Clippers (5-2) and Golden State Warriors (3-3) for two games over the weekend.

” If you can go.500 on the road, in basic, that’s an advantage,” Portland coach Terry Stotts stated.

Doing so against that group of teams is more than acceptable.

That trip came after house video games against Utah (4-2) and Houston (2-2).

That’s five strong to elite challengers, giving Portland six video games versus groups with combined records of 22-14 (counting Golden State two times). The combined challenger winning percentage is.611, the greatest for any team above.500.

Here is a take a look at the five West groups with records above.500, plus the combined record and winning portion of their challengers:

In the Eastern Conference, six groups have records much better than.500. Again, none have actually played a schedule as rugged as Portland’s:

It also needs to be pointed out that some playoff teams from last season and teams expected to contend this season have left to slow starts. Denver (2-4) and Dallas (2-4) are expected by numerous to reach the playoffs. The Nuggets lost to the Lakers in last season’s Western Conference finals.

In the East, the Brooklyn Webs, led by Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, are 3-4 with three losses to sub -.500 groups. Toronto, a contender in 2015, is 1-4.

So, Portland is in a strong spot.

Still, the evidence remains in the scoreboard. Going 3-3 versus a strong list of challengers just matters if the Blazers take care of company versus lesser squads.

Portland this week hosts Chicago (3-4) on Tuesday night and then Minnesota (2-4) on Thursday night.

Down the line, the Blazers host San Antonio (2-4), and then Memphis (2-4) two times. Plus, Oklahoma City (2-3), the restoring New york city Knicks (3-3) and the aforementioned having a hard time Raptors.

Indiana (4-2) and Atlanta (4-2) aren’t slouches, but they are the only groups among the 10 coming to Portland in between Tuesday and Jan. 25 that had winning records entering Monday.

Portland going.500 versus that group would be cause for alarm.

As a bonus offer, the 2 road games throughout the upcoming 12-game stretch are at Sacramento (3-3). However, the Kings, 31-41 last season, seem much enhanced and have two wins over Denver.

The Blazers, like every group, were affected by a reduced training camp and preseason. Plus, new additions and working out brand-new schemes have actually contributed to a sluggish start defensively.

Those reasons, nevertheless, will use thin as time goes on.

After Sunday’s loss, Lillard was asked what he discovered his team during the 2-2 journey. He stated he liked how the group never ever stopped completing, even while getting routed by the Clippers and the Warriors.

” Even tonight, I felt like we never ever got discouraged,” Lillard stated. “We just kept coming, we kept competing, we went to completion. We didn’t stroll off the court distressed with each other or pointing fingers. I think that shows that we’re together … I think we’re ignoring this trip seeing that we’re ourselves, we’re that team. I believe that’s, that’s something that we should be proud of.”

Also, Lillard believes the team cares about enhancing and winning.

“I think we wish to be an actually excellent group,” Lillard said.

The Blazers can start showing that by functioning in your home.