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After up-and-down start to season, Blazers have opportunity to surge as schedule eases up

In Portland's next 16 games, the Blazers will play only four teams that made the playoffs last season.
Credit: AP
Portland Trail Blazers forward Derrick Jones Jr. (55) blocks a shot by Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

PORTLAND, Ore. — It's been an up-and-down start to the season for the Portland Trail Blazers. In their first four games, they've either been very good or very bad.

In their two wins, Portland showed a lot of promise. The Blazers were great in the second half against the Rockets, and they were awesome against the Lakers. But Portland played terrible in blowout losses against the Jazz and Clippers.

It's only four games, but analytically, the Blazers don't look great. They rank 15th in offensive rating, 29th in defensive rating and 28th in net rating.

Individually, only CJ McCollum and Gary Trent Jr. are playing consistently well. You can also put Enes Kanter in that group.

Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic have been inconsistent or just plain bad. Carmelo Anthony has been up and down. Derrick Jones Jr. and Robert Covington have been a revelation on defense but they've been terrible defensively.

It's only four games at the start of a long season. But for a team that wants to compete for a top spot in the West, the Blazers' season is off to a middling start.

After four tough opponents to begin the season, the schedule eases up considerably for the Blazers, giving the team a chance to gel and put together some wins before a tough stretch in February.

RELATED: Lillard, Trent shoot Blazers past champion Lakers, 115-107

In the Blazers' next 16 games, starting Friday against the Golden State Warriors, Portland plays only three teams with winning records. Of the 12 teams the Blazers play in the next 16 games (Portland plays the Warriors, Bulls, Kings and Grizzlies twice), only four made the playoffs last season.

KGW's 3-on-3 Blazers podcast team got together Thursday to talk about the start to the Blazers season. They also welcomed two special guests, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden and Blazers center Enes Kanter, who talked about their friendship.

LISTEN: KGW's 3-on-3 Blazers Podcast 

CHIME IN! If you have a question about the Blazers that you'd like us to answer on the next podcast, email us at 3on3blazers@gmail.com or tweet your questions to Orlando SanchezNate HansonJared Cowley or Max Barr.

RELATED: 3-on-3 Blazers podcast: Sen. Wyden, Enes Kanter discuss friendship, special connection with Rip City