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Portland Trail Blazers Using iPads for in-Game Adjustments

Nov 25, 2013; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers small forward Nicolas Batum (88) drives to the basket against the New York Knicks at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports
Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Spo
Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistNovember 1, 2016

We finally have the secret behind the Portland Trail Blazers' stunning success at the beginning of the 2013-14 season. 

Is it the change in defensive strategy, one that has the team ignoring shots at the rim in favor of completely shutting down the perimeter while holding teams to just 97.6 point per game? Maybe. 

Is it the incredible offense, one—led by LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard—that has scored more points per possession, according to Basketball-Reference, than all teams but the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers? Maybe. 

But the real reason behind the blazing (sorry for the lame pun) 13-2 start to the season is...iPads.

According to BlazersEdge's Ben Golliver, the team has been looking at iPads on the bench throughout games this season, reviewing tape of the contests and using them to make in-game strategic adjustments.

Talk about a nice implementation of technology. 

November 23, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts (right) instructs point guard Damian Lillard (0) and shooting guard Wesley Matthews (2) against the Golden State Warriors during the second quarter at Oracle Arena. The Tr
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

As Wesley Matthews told Golliver, "You're not replaying [a possible mistake] in your head, psyching yourself out. You can actually see it."

LaMarcus Aldridge also weighed in on how he uses these tablets: 

I get double-teamed a lot, so I just have them put my double-teams on there. I want to see how they're double-teaming me, where they are coming from. Of course [it helps]. If I'm getting double-teamed and I can see how they're doing it, that helps me and all my teammates.

This is in pretty stark contrast to the Toronto Raptors, who are moving backward. After all, while Rip City is looking at film during games, Rudy Gay is banning stat sheets from the locker room. 

As B/R's Alec Nathan wrote, the Blazers are for real. 

Obviously, I'm exaggerating for effect by saying that the iPad use is more vital to that "real" status than the impressive defensive philosophy and the scorching nature of the offense, but let's not minimize the value of what we're seeing. Portland is doing everything possible to increase its chances of winning, and it's working. 

Now, I just can't wait to watch and see if anyone starts playing Angry Birds during a blowout. 

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