Despite 'Ultimate Confidence,' Norman Powell Is 'Never Satisfied'

by Casey Holdahl
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Trail Blazers guard Norman Powell was just fine in the first three games of Portland’s first round playoff series versus the Denver Nuggets. Sure, his three-point shot wasn’t falling -- he combined to shoot 3-of-14 from distance -- but he was still shooting nearly 50 percent from the field while doing an admirable job of defending Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. despite giving up seven inches.

But while there might have been some moments of frustration for Powell through the first three games of the series, there has never been any doubt. He’s been justifiably angry, especially when it comes to defending, but his belief never wavered.

“I was mad at the fouls, never when it comes to my shots,” said Powell. “Shots are gonna go in, shots are not, you just gotta keep rolling with it. Keep doing what you worked on. That’s my whole focus: keep doing what you’ve worked on and have confidence. The numbers and everything are going to play out.”

Which they did in Game 4 Saturday afternoon at Moda Center. After making just three three-pointers total in the first three games, Powell made all four of his attempts from beyond the arc in Game 4 and went 11-of-15 from the field to tie his playoff career high with 29 points in Portland’s 115-95 win in Game 4.

“I have the ultimate confidence in my shots,” said Powell. “I work on them continuously, people don’t even know how much I work on my game. I have the ultimate confidence in my shots and I take them without even thinking about it. Whether they going in or not, the next one going up.”

And on the other end, Powell was primarily responsible for holding Porter Jr., who entered Game 4 having averaged nearly 19.3 points per game on 15 attempts thus far in the 2021 postseason, to just three points on just three attempts in 23 minutes. Jusuf Nurkic holding Nikola Jokic to 16 points while scoring 17 of his own certainly played a pivotal role in the win, but Powell’s effort, especially with Damian Lillard would scoring just 10 points on 1-of-10 shooting from the field, was the main reason the Blazers were able to pull off a blowout in their second playoff game on the 2021 postseason in front of a large crowd at Moda Center.

Leading his still new team in all but a must-win game while tying his playoff career-high and holding an up-and-coming player nearly scoreless sure sounds like cause for celebration, but for Powell, Game 4 goes down as a good night, though not one without issue. He wasn’t disappointed with his performance, but he wasn’t content with it either.

“I’m never satisfied, honestly,” said Powell after Game 4. “I’m not even satisfied tonight -- there are ways I could get better. That’s one thing about me: good games, bad games, okay games, I’m always trying to improve. I’m always talking to my trainer, my mental coach about different things I can do to get better and improve my performance going into the next game. I always think there are areas I could improve in.

But every game I’ve gotten more and more aggressive in finding my spots, picking my spots.... I’m always trying to improve and get better, it’s just a concerted effort and being aggressive.”


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