Archive for the ‘ Portland Trail Blazers Blog ’ Category

Trail Blazers putting up wins lately

The Trail Blazers didn’t just lose four starters during the offseason. They lost four starters who, along with Damian Lillard, comprised a unit that helped Portland win at least 50 games in back-to-back seasons. The revamped Blazers are building a new identity, though, and hanging tough in the Western Conference playoff race. An emerging CJ McCollum (20.7 ppg) has joined Lillard to form one of the NBA’s highest-scoring backcourts, and other young players such as guard Allen Crabbe (11.2 ppg) and center Meyers Leonard (9.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg) have made the most of their expanded roles. The Blazers (23-26) have won a season-high four consecutive games and eight of 10 to move into eighth place in the Western Conference, a half-game ahead of Utah (21-25). Portland is 4-1 on its seven-game homestand, which wraps up with games against Milwaukee on Tuesday and Toronto on Thursday.

– NBA News

The second-leading scorer on the Portland Trail Blazers (22-26) this season is shooting guard C.J. McCollum, who is averaging 20.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. Here’s the Oregonian with more on his game:

CJ McCollum is great at mid-range jumpshots

As NBA teams across the league look to maximize shot attempts at the rim and beyond the three-point line, Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum is capitalizing on a market inefficiency. He’s become a master of the mid-range and developed into one of the league’s most lethal scorers in the often forgotten area between the lane and three-point line.

“It’s been a part of my game for life. It’s tougher to finish in the lane so you’ve got to find different areas to score efficiently and the mid-range contested shot is a shot a lot of teams will live with,” McCollum says. “And it’s a shot I’m willing to live with as well just because I’ve gotten so many shots at it and I’m comfortable with it.”

McCollum is shooting 46.6 percent on mid-range shots season, according to NBA.com. He’s attempted the 12th most mid-range shots in the league and has the highest field goal percentage of anyone in the NBA who has taken at least 250 such shots. He’s shooting better than noted mid-range gunners Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki and, yes, even LaMarcus Aldridge.

Sixers enjoy blowout win vs Blazers

On Thursday night, the Philadelphia 76ers let a 24-point lead slip away in an especially difficult overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls.

Two days later, they made sure that wouldn’t happen again.

Jahlil Okafor had 25 points and 10 rebounds and the 76ers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 114-89 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night.

Richaun Holmes added 17 points, and Ish Smith and Robert Covington scored 16 apiece for the Sixers. They improved to 5-37 with their most lopsided win of the season, erasing many of the lingering bad feelings that come from blowing a game they thought they had in the bag.

– Associated Press

This is a new one. Here’s the Oregonian reporting on a clerical error resulting in one of the key Trail Blazers being unable to play tonight vs the Clippers:

CJ McCollum accidentally left off Blazers roster vs Clippers

CJ McCollum was not a part of the Trail Blazers’ active roster Wednesday night for their game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Moda Center.

And it was not by design.

A rare and confusing set of circumstances resulted in the Blazers’ starting shooting guard being left off the Blazers’ active list when official game rosters were submitted one hour before tipoff.

It was not immediately clear how the mistake unfolded, but when Blazers coach Terry Stotts signed the Blazers’ game roster, it included rookie Luis Montero instead of McCollum.

Blazers need reliable 3rd scoring option

The 11-15 Portland Trail Blazers are getting 24.7 ppg from Damian Lillard and 19.7 ppg from C.J. McCollum, but third on the list is Al-Farouq Aminu at 10.9 ppg on subpar 39.1% shooting. Allen Crabbe is contributing 10.0 ppg with 49.0% shooting off the bench, which is solid. But ideally there’s be a clear 3rd scoring option. Here’s the Oregonian reporting:

Blazers need reliable 3rd scoring option

Early in the season, Al-Farouq Aminu looked poised to seize that role. Then Allen Crabbe emerged as a possible third option with a strong start to December. Finally on Monday night at the Moda Center, Gerald Henderson threw his name into the mix with a strong performance off the bench in the Blazers 105-101 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Henderson scored 19-points, making 7-of-10 shots, including a career-high tying four three-pointers. His night overshadowed Mason Plumlee, who made his own compelling case for possible third option with 15 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and two blocks.

Henderson didn’t force his offense. He made his mark with an opportunistic and timely attack. He scored the Blazers first seven points of the fourth quarter and his reverse layup with 10:37 remaining in the game gave the Blazers their largest lead at 13 points. Two possessions later he added a three-pointer to help the Blazers maintain a double-digit edge.

Blazers lose 5th game in a row

The Trail Blazers on Sunday took a loss at the hands of the Charlotte Hornets. Nicolas Batum unleashed a huge performance in the win. The Hornets are now 5-5, the Blazers 4-7. Here’s the Columbian blog reporting:

Nic Batum scores 33 vs. Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers lost their fifth straight game, extending their season-long losing streak, Sunday afternoon in Charlotte against the Hornets 106-94. Former Blazer Nicolas Batum led the Hornets with 33 points, six assists and five rebounds. Damian Lillard had 23 points, eight rebounds and five assists in the loss. Hornets shot just under 50 percent and had 29 assists as a team.

Terry Stotts changed up his starting line-up on Sunday against the Hornets. Against the prodding, more bruising Memphis Grizzlies, Stotts went with veteran big man Chris Kaman who to that point in the season had barely seen the floor. He played well, but against the small-ball styled Hornets, he went with second-year man Noah Vonleh at power forward.

The Blazers went to Vonleh on their first possession, where he airballed a shot off a post-up. The Blazers went to him again on the left block, this time it ended with a sweeping hook. We’ve not seen Vonleh get this much meaningful playing time or use so many possessions. He was called for a cheap foul on a lay-up and fumbled a few passes, but overall continued to stoke curiosity about what is there.

Allen Crabbe playing well for Blazers

Here’s the Oregonian reporting on the Portland Trail Blazers bench:

Allen Crabbe playing well for Blazers

Allen Crabbe is emerging as the Blazers’ best and most consistent scoring threat off the bench.

Over the last five games, the backup shooting guard/small forward has reached double figures in scoring four times and is averaging 11.0 points. During the run, he’s shooting 59.5 percent from the field, including 45.5 percent from three-point range, while adding 2.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.

Twice, Crabbe has been perfect from the field, logging a 7-for-7 outing against the Detroit Pistons and a 5-for-5 performance in the loss to the Grizzlies.

Crabbe said he not only feels more confident, but also can see a more confident player when he watches himself on video.

Here’s the San Antonio Express-News blog reporting on Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who through five games this season is averaging 14.8 points and 10.0 rebounds per outing on his new squad:

LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Blazers coming soon

The Spurs have to face Charlotte tonight at the AT&T Center and Sacramento on the road Monday, but Wednesday’s must-see game in Portland – LaMarcus Aldridge’s homecoming – is already on their minds.

Aldridge played nine seasons for the Trail Blazers before signing in free agency this summer with the Spurs, an acquisition that has the potential to add more hardware to the team’s already crowded trophy case. Although many fans in Portland likely understand the Texas-ex’s desire to win a championship and appreciate his All-Star efforts for the Blazers, there will be many more who will shower him with boos for the move.

With that in mind, the Spurs are bracing for what Danny Green said will be a “more hostile” environment than usual.

The Portland Trail Blazers have waived guard Phil Pressey and forward Omari Johnson, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

Pressey appeared in four preseason games for Portland, averaging 4.8 points and 2.0 assists.

Johnson also appeared in four preseason games averaging 2.3 points and 1.0 rebounds per game for the Trail Blazers.

Portland’s roster now stands at 15.

The Portland Trail Blazers in 2015-16 look nothing like last season’s edition. A lot of key players left, and they’re going to take wins along with them. But as the Oregonian says — and we agree — this year’s Blazers should still be plenty of fun to watch:

Blazers should be fun to watch this season

The latest and perhaps most dramatic example of this came in an exhibition game Sunday night, when the Blazers overcame a 21-point deficit to beat the Utah Jazz in overtime, 116-111, before 16,532 at the Moda Center.

Never mind that three Jazz starters didn’t play. Or that most of Utah’s key rotation players rested for the bulk of the fourth quarter and overtime after building that sizeable lead. The young-and-hungry Blazers refused to end the night without putting on a show, riding the hot hand of CJ McCollum, the prolific scoring of Damian Lillard and the impressive defense of Ed Davis to outscore Utah 50-27 over the final 17 minutes.

“This is a young team, athletic and we have an All-Star point guard, so every night we’re going to be in games,” Davis said. “We’re going to fight, it’s going to be a long season, it’s going to be a lot of up and downs. But every night we’re going to fight and give it our best effort.”

For much of the night, it looked like it would be one of those nights where the effort wasn’t enough. Instead, with more than one memorable highlight and plenty of late-game drama, the effort and success went hand-in-hand.

Minor injury scare for Damian Lillard

Here’s the Oregonian reporting on Damian Lillard, the heart and sole of the Portland Trail Blazers. Lillard has managed to play all 82 games in each of his three regular seasons, and to keep things that way may want to cut down on his preseason minutes:

Minor injury scare for Damian Lillard

It was the one sight no Trail Blazers fan wanted to see Thursday: Damian Lillard limping off the court.

But there was the Blazers’ star at the end of the third quarter, hobbling off the court with a wince because of a re-aggravated left ankle sprain.

Although Lillard called the injury “minor” it was enough of a scare to cause him to reverse his thinking about his play moving forward this preseason.

“I need to stay off the floor,” Lillard conceded after Thursday’s 118-101 exhibition victory over Golden State.

The Trail Blazers beat the Warriors 118-101 yesterday. It’s just preseason, but for a rebuilding squad like Portland any sign of positivity is welcome. Here’s the Oregonian reporting:

Allen Crabbe steps up in Blazers preseason win

Allen Crabbe played his best game with the Blazers, Damian Lillard powered through a tough shooting night and the Blazers saw a wide range of contributions from virtually everyone who played. Eleven players scored and nine recorded an assist as the Blazers leaned on their entire roster.

But none was better than Crabbe, who finished with 25 points and four assists on 9-for-12 shooting, including 5-of-6 from three-point range. He swished threes, buried pull-up jumpers in transition and nailed midrange shots from all over the court. Crabbe was such a factor, he recorded a ridiculous plus-minus of plus-42. It was the first time he’s scored 20 or more points in any pre-or-regular season game with the Blazers.

As he scored from everywhere, his teammates followed suit. Lillard recorded 22 points, six rebounds and three assists, shaking off a 3-for-18 shooting night by making 15 free throws. CJ McCollum had 19 points and five assists, Al-Farouq Aminu had 11 points and eight rebounds and Pat Connaughton added 10 points. Every Blazer played less than 29 minutes as Stotts opted to limited minutes.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard averaged 21.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game last season. Enjoy this video showcasing some of his best highlights:

Blazers exercise options on CJ McCollom, Mason Plumlee, Noah Vonleh

The Portland Trail Blazers have exercised team options on guard CJ McCollum (fourth year), center Mason Plumlee (fourth year) and forward Noah Vonleh (third year), it was announced today by President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey.

McCollum, the 10th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, holds averages of 6.3 points, 1.4 rebounds, 0.9 assists and 14.5 minutes in 100 career games in his first two seasons with Portland.

Plumlee, the 22nd overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft by Brooklyn, has averaged 8.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.77 blocks and 19.9 minutes in 152 games during his first two NBA seasons. Portland acquired Plumlee and the draft rights to guard Pat Connaughton from Brooklyn for guard Steve Blake and the draft rights to forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

Vonleh, the ninth overall pick by Charlotte in the 2014 NBA Draft, appeared in 25 games for the Hornets during his rookie season, averaging 3.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 0.2 assists in 10.4 minutes. Portland acquired Vonleh and guard Gerald Henderson from Charlotte in exchange for forward Nicolas Batum.

The Portland Trail Blazers have promoted Jim Moran to assistant coach on Head Coach Terry Stotts’ staff, it was announced today by President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey.

“I am excited to add Jim to our coaching staff,” said Stotts. “He is a young coach with a bright future. He has a terrific work ethic coupled with a refreshing personality. He has already demonstrated a unique ability to work with our players and he will add a new perspective for us.”

Moran joins a staff that includes fellow assistant coaches Jay Triano, David Vanterpool, Nate Tibbetts and Dale Osbourne.

Moran begins his first year on the Trail Blazers bench in 2015-16 after spending last season in Portland as an associate video coordinator. A player development coach for the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League in 2013, Moran played his entire professional career for CB Gran Canaria in the Spanish ACB League from 2001-11.

He is the only player in team history to have his number retired by Gran Canaria, finishing his career with 2,060 points, 802 rebounds and 321 assists. Moran played collegiately at William & Mary, where he was twice named to the All-Colonial Athletic Association Team his junior and senior seasons. A native of Syosset, New York, Moran played for the Irish Men’s National Team from 2001-06.

This summer, basketball teams around the world are trying to lock down spots in the 2016 Olympics. Here’s the Oregonian reporting on a new member of the Portland Trail Blazers:

Al-Farouq Aminu steps up for Nigeria at AfroBasket

Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu helped Nigeria get one step close to qualifying for the 2016 Olympics on Wednesday. Aminu led his home country to an 88-63 win over the Central African Republic at the AfroBasket, a FIBA tournament held in Tunisia in which the winner earns an automatic bid to the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil.

Aminu scored a team-high 15 points to go with eight rebounds and three assists in just over 20 minutes of playing time. He hit 6 of 8 shots and added an impressive dunk in the opening minutes of the game when he finished a half court alley-oop lob from teammate Olaseni Lawal.

Power forward LaMarcus Aldridge has taken his talents to San Antonio, but feel free to enjoy some of these memories of his time on the Portland Trail Blazers:

Trail Blazers waive Brendan Haywood

Trail Blazers waive Brendan Haywood

The Portland Trail Blazers have waived center Brendan Haywood, it was announced today by President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey.

Portland acquired Haywood, guard Mike Miller and two future second round draft picks from the Cleveland Cavaliers on July 27 in exchange for cash considerations.

According to the Oregonian, “the Blazers acquired Haywood on Monday, along with sharpshooter Mike Miller, in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Cleveland moved Haywood to shed his $10.5 million salary and gain luxury tax relief, and the Blazers — who acquired two second round draft picks in the deal — never planned to keep him on their roster.”

Cavs trade Mike Miller, Brendan Haywood to Blazers

The Cleveland Cavaliers have traded center Brendan Haywood, guard/forward Mike Miller and two future second round draft picks to Portland, General Manager David Griffin announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts.

As a result of the trade, the Cavs will receive two trade exceptions of approximately $10.5 million and $2.8 million, respectively. The two draft picks that Cleveland is sending to Portland in the deal are the Cavaliers’ own 2020 second round draft pick, and the more favorable of Minnesota’s own 2019 second round draft pick and the Los Angeles Lakers’ own 2019 second round draft pick.

Haywood, a 13-year veteran, has played in 816 games (549 starts) with Washington, Dallas, Charlotte and Cleveland, averaging 6.8 points on .528 shooting from the field, 6.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 22.9 minutes per game. This past season with the Cavs, he played in 22 games (one start) and averaged 1.6 points and 1.3 rebounds in 5.4 minutes per game.

Miller, a 15-year veteran, owns career averages of 11.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 28.3 minutes over 965 games (568 starts) with Orlando, Memphis, Washington, Miami and Cleveland. During the 2014-15 regular season, he played in 52 games (15 starts) with Cleveland and averaged 2.1 points and 1.8 rebounds in 13.5 minutes per game.

Here’s ESPN.com reporting on an agreed trade that should be official soon:

Mike Miller and Brendan Haywood being sent to Blazers

The Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed to trade Mike Miller and Brendan Haywood to the Portland Trail Blazers in a deal aimed to create future options and save luxury-tax money, sources told ESPN.com.

The Blazers will likely cut Haywood and could eventually work a buyout with Miller and will receive two future second-round picks from the Cavs for facilitating the deal with their cap space.

The Cavs will create two trade exceptions with the move, one for $10.5 million, which will be the largest active trade exception in the league, and the other for $2.94 million. The Cavs will also receive cash in the deal, sources said.

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