Dear Portland: Please send more help. Sincerely, Idaho.
The Portland Trail Blazers assigned two players from their roster to the Stampede on Friday before Idahos home opener against the Austin Toros.
But Will Barton (18 points) and Victor Claver (five points) couldnt prevent Idaho from dropping its fifth straight game to begin the season.
Austin led by as many as 29 points as it rolled over the Stampede 113-91.
The same old song and dance, first-year coach Mike Peck said. But well make strides and well improve.
Idaho (0-5) will try to break into the win column again when it hosts Austin (3-2) at 7 p.m. Saturday at CenturyLink Arena. It will be the fourth time in a row that the two teams have squared off in the early stages of this NBA Development League season.
Win or lose, Idaho will likely be glad to be putting last seasons NBA Development League champion in the rear-view mirror for a while.
Barton has played in 16 games with the Blazers this season, with his best outing coming Nov. 26 when he scored 12 points on the Pistons home floor.
The rookie out of Memphis joined the Stampede on Friday and played later that day without practicing with his new teammates. A tough situation, but he was determined to make the best of it.
We play the same team (Saturday), so weve got to compete harder and play better defense, Barton said.
Peck said he was frustrated with the teams slow start, but that it wasnt completely unexpected. Hes a new D-League coach, and most of his players are young and unfamiliar with the system Idaho is running. Also, the Trail Blazers took over the Stampedes basketball operations in the offseason.
Everythings new, Peck said. Its just something thats going to take some time. But there are elements that are frustrating because they are elements we can control. Effort and toughness are two things that come to mind right off the bat.
The Stampede lacked those two things Friday, and the Toros made them pay. Austin outscored Idaho 62-46 in the paint. Aubrey Coleman went 8-for-10 from the field and Tyler Wilkerson went 9-for-12. A majority of those baskets came as they took advantage of the Idaho defense in the key.
Weve got to limit their touches in the paint and limit their straight-line drives, said Idaho forward Sean Evans, who finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Idaho led just once, after Coby Karl hit a 3-pointer to make it 25-24 in the first quarter.
After that it was too much Austin. Too many Toros penetrating inside for easy buckets. Too many baskets from Austin guard Justin Dentmon (he finished with a game-high 28 points, including going 6-for-11 from 3-point range). Too many rebounds for the men in black (Austin outrebounded Idaho 45-36).
Peck said he challenged his players after the game.
You guys can take it how you want, he told them. You can roll over and accept it or you can say that enough is enough. At some point well get enough guys to say Thats enough.