The Portland Trail Blazers are 19-21, the first time their record has been two games below .500 in the second half of a season since the 2006-07 campaign. Because of their poor record, pressure is mounting for head coach Nate McMillan.
“I’ve never been in this position,” forward LaMarcus Aldridge said after Portland’s humiliating 104-86 loss to the Celtics on Friday, according to The Oregonian. “I’ve never been below .500 and I can’t get used to it. I’m not satisfied with just going out and losing. I’m really trying to figure out what can change and I’m not coming up with nothing.”
What about throwing your coach under the bus?
As the Blazers, who have lost 11 of their last 16, continue their descent in the West’s standings, McMillian has reportedly lost control of his locker room. According to Hoops World, a “growing number of players” want the Blazers to replace McMillan with assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff. Others in the organization are also reportedly growing weary of McMillan and his in-game coaching tactics. Criticizing his players’ effort in Friday’s Celtics loss probably doesn’t help his standing. In McMillian’s defense, the Blazers did trail by 43 at one point.
“That’s an unprofessional approach,” McMillan said after the game. “There was no basketball being played out there tonight. We can try harder than that. We can play better than that. We pretty much allowed their team to jump on us and I don’t think we responded.”
McMillan has led a Blazers squad that for the last several seasons has shown plenty of promise, but injuries always managed to derail any big hopes. If McMillan has lost his own players’ faith, Blazers management probably has no other choice but to show him the door. But it’s worth noting his cause this season wasn’t helped by Brandon Roy’s abrupt retirement and Greg Oden once again showing us parts of his body are made of paper clips and bubble gum.
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