Impact of Evan Turner's injury, Al-Farouq Aminu's shooting: The good, the bad and the nerdy

The good, bad and nerdy from the past week of Portland Trail Blazers' games. Good: Chief finding his shot After an injury and brick riddled season, Al-Farouq Aminu has found his shooting stroke over the past 10 games. Since moving to a reserve...

Impact of Evan Turner's injury, Al-Farouq Aminu's shooting: The good, the bad and the nerdy

The good, bad and nerdy from the past week of Portland Trail Blazers' games.

Good: Chief finding his shot

After an injury and brick riddled season, Al-Farouq Aminu has found his shooting stroke over the past 10 games. Since moving to a reserve role, Aminu is shooting 39 percent (16-for-41) from beyond the arc.

He put up a season-high 26 points against the Boston Celtics on Thursday and has now made nearly as many three-pointers in his last 10 games (16) as he has in his other 26 outings (22-of-87) this season.

Aminu has his obvious limitations. His coast-to-coast dribble drives are often wild misadventures and even when his jumper is on he is prone to some emphatic misses. He has airballed an astounding 11 three-pointers this year and clanged five others off the backboard without catching any part of the rim.

However, he is the Blazers' best defender and their only capable option to log major minutes at power forward. Portland has been better with him on the floor all season and his minutes haven't declined much since moving to the bench.

So, ignore the trebuchet launch, ignore the ugly misses and peek at the box score. He is starting to find his shooting range and the Blazers need him to hold onto it.

Bad: Metacarpals

It took Evan Turner more than 30 games to settle into the Blazers' system and for the coaching staff to settle on an effective way to use his peculiar skillset. Naturally, once things started rolling the right direction he fractured a bone in his right hand and will have to miss at least a month of basketball.

"Sometimes when something good happens to you, five more bad things are going to happen," Turner explained on Thursday.

Turner might have unintentionally summed the Blazers' season there. With him out of the lineup, the rhythm and balance that the team was starting to find with its new starting group and revamped second unit will be put on hold.

His absence hurts Portland in a variety of ways. Turner landed a big payday in July because the Blazers' felt they needed a third ballhandler and playmaker to take some pressure off Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. None of the Blazers' other wings can provide that needed outlet. 

Additionally, Turner had recently stepped into the role of guarding the opponents' top perimeter threat in crunch time. Allen Crabbe will likely inherit that duty, but he hasn't been as effective stopping opposing scorers. Moe Harkless could get the defensive stopper call, too, but he lacks Crabbe's shooting prowess and neither provides much in the way of playmaking and individual offense.

Moving Turner into the starting lineup was, in part, an effort to add some balance to the bench lineups with Harkless and Aminu propping up the reserve groupings. With Harkless in the starting lineup, the bench rotation likely loses some pop unless Pat Connaughton takes an unexpected leap in productivity.

Nerdy: Quarter differentials 

At different times throughout this season, the Balzers have had games derailed by abysmal starts, bad endings to the first halves, lethargic third quarters or poor late game execution.

In the last six days alone, Portland had a poor start at home against Dallas, a bad fourth quarter at Oklahoma City and brutal final few minutes of the second quarter against Boston.

The Blazers' ability to consistently inconsistent is an unfortunate hallmark. With that in mind here is a look at how they have fared in each quarter this season and where that ranks in the NBA. 

  Quarter Off. RatingRank  Def. RatingRank  Net RatingRank 1st 110.5 6th 115.3 30th -4.9 22nd 2nd 108.6 11th 108.7 23rd -0.1 14th 3rd 102.0 17th 106.2 20th -4.2 22nd 4th 106.3 15th 105.4 16th +0.9 14th

For context, the Blazers are 12th overall in offensive rating (107.0 ), 25th in defensive rating (109.0) and 20th in net rating (-2.0).

--Mike Richman
mrichman@oregonian.com 
@mikegrich

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

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