Archive for the ‘ Portland Trail Blazers Blog ’ Category

CJ McCollum wins 2015-2016 NBA Most Improved Player award

Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum, who more than tripled his scoring average from the previous season, is the winner of the 2015-16 NBA Most Improved Player Award, the NBA announced today. The 6-4 guard joins Kevin Duckworth (1987-88) and Zach Randolph (2003-04) as the only Trail Blazers to earn the award, which is designed to honor an up-and-coming player who has made a dramatic improvement from the previous season or seasons.

McCollum received 101 first-place votes and 559 total points from a panel of 130 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets (seven first-place votes, 166 points) and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks (four first-place votes, 99 points) finished second and third, respectively. Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.

McCollum averaged a career-high 20.8 points (18th in the NBA) in his third season since being selected by the Trail Blazers with the 10th pick of NBA Draft 2013 presented by State Farm. He raised his scoring average by 14 points from last season’s 6.8, the largest increase (minimum 40 games each season) since Tony Campbell improved by 17 points from 1988-89 (6.2) to 1989-90 (23.2). McCollum established career highs in field goal percentage (44.8), three-point field goal percentage (41.7, eighth in the NBA), assists (4.3 apg) and rebounds (3.2 rpg), helping Portland make the playoffs for the third consecutive year.

Last season, McCollum appeared in 62 games (three starts) and averaged 15.7 minutes. He scored in double figures 18 times and reached the 20-point mark three times. This season, as one of four new starters for Portland, McCollum hit double figures in 79 of his 80 games, scored at least 20 points in 40 games and notched eight 30-point games. McCollum ranked ninth in the NBA with 197 three-pointers made, and he teamed with Damian Lillard to form the league’s third-highest scoring duo (45.9 ppg).

The Trail Blazers need all the help they can get against a tough first round opponent in the Clippers. Portland is down 1-0 in the series, which is no big deal, but they got smoked in Game 1 and need to look like a completely different squad in Game 2. Per CSNNW:

Chris Kaman may play increased playoff role for Blazers

When Chris Kaman entered Sunday night’s Game 1 of the playoff series between the Trail Blazers and Clippers for the first time, there was 9:01 left and Portland trailed by 18 points. When Kaman scored on a driving layup less than a minute later, the question you had to ponder was simply, “Where has this guy been?” Not just in this game, but all season? Where, exactly, has he been? Last season, Kaman was a key reserve for Portland, averaging six and a half rebounds and eight and a half points in 74 games. This season, Kaman appeared in just 16 regular-season games. Where has this man been?

Meyers Leonard having season-ending shoulder surgery

Portland Trail Blazers forward Meyers Leonard will undergo surgery to repair his injured left shoulder and as a result will miss the remainder of the season.

The surgery is scheduled to be performed on Friday, April 8 by Dr. Neal ElAttrache at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles.

Through 61 games this season, Leonard is averaging 8.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.

Spurs keep winning at home, beat Blazers

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The Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday became the latest victim of San Antonio’s AT&T Center.

With a little shooting from forward LaMarcus Aldridge, a lot of passing from guard Tony Parker and a host of contributions up and down the roster, the Spurs beat the Blazers 118-110, sweeping the three-game season series.

San Antonio (58-10) won its 43rd consecutive game at AT&T Center, improving to a perfect 34-0 at home this season.

Aldridge finished with 22 points and six rebounds, Parker recorded 18 points and 16 assists and Kawhi Leonard added 22 points and three blocks for the balanced Spurs, who received scoring from 10 players.

– Oregonian

brian roberts traded

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired guard Brian Roberts and a future second-round pick from the Miami Heat in exchange for cash considerations, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

“Brian is an experienced player and a quality person,” said Olshey. “He has a skill set we value and fills a positional need as we head into a critical time in the season.”

In four seasons with New Orleans and Charlotte, Roberts, 30, is averaging 7.4 points (41.2% FG, 35.2% 3-PT, 91.9% FT), 1.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists over 252 games (57 starts).

Roberts (6-1, 173) was traded to Miami from Charlotte on Tuesday, and did not play for the Heat.

One of the league’s top shooters from the free throw line, Roberts has made at least 90 percent of his free throws in three of four seasons, including an NBA-best 94 percent in 2013-14.

anderson varejao traded

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired a future first-round draft pick and forward Anderson Varejao from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for a future second-round pick, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

“This was an opportunistic way to use our cap room to acquire a valuable asset,” said Olshey.

Varejao, 33, holds career averages of 7.6 points (51.2% FG, 63.2% FT), 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists over 12 seasons with the Cavaliers. He is posting averages of 2.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 10.0 minutes in 31 games this season.

Trail Blazers waive guard Tim Frazier

Trail Blazers waive guard Tim Frazier

The Portland Trail Blazers have waived guard Tim Frazier, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

Frazier, 25, averaged 1.5 points, 1.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 7.8 minutes in 35 games (one start) for the Trail Blazers this season.

Signed as a free agent on March 30, 2015, Frazier posted averages of 1.9 points, 1.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 8.5 minutes in parts of two seasons with the Trail Blazers.

CJ McCollum replaces Chris Bosh in 2016 NBA Three-point Competition

Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum has been added to the 2016 Three-Point Competition, the NBA announced today.

McCollum, 24, is already competing in the Skills Challenge, and will replace Miami’s Chris Bosh in the Three-Point Competition. Both events are part of All-Star Saturday Night at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

In 52 games played this season, McCollum ranks second on the team in both scoring (20.7 ppg) and assists (4.2 apg). He is shooting a team-high 39.2% from beyond the three-point line, and ranks ninth in the NBA with 125 three-point field goals.

McCollum recorded 35 points (14-28 FG), 11 rebounds, nine assists and four steals against Sacramento on Dec. 27, making him the first NBA player to log at least 35 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and four steals in a game since Kevin Garnett on Dec. 10, 2004.

He becomes the eighth Trail Blazer in franchise history to compete in the Three-Point Contest, joining Kiki Vandeweghe (1987), Danny Ainge (1991), Clyde Drexler (1991), Terry Porter (1991, 1993), Cliff Robinson (1996), Damian Lillard (2014) and Wesley Matthews (2015). No Portland player has ever won the event.

McCollum will compete against Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, Houston’s James Harden, Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, the L.A. Clippers’ JJ Redick and Phoenix’s Devin Booker.

Damian Lillard added as Team USA finalist

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has been added to the roster of finalists for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team, USA Basketball announced today. The addition was approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors. The official 12-member 2016 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team roster will be announced later this year.

Named to the 2014-16 USA Basketball Men’s National Team in January 2014, the 6-foot-3 guard was a finalist for the 2014 USA World Cup Team, and played in two exhibition games during the 2014 USA National Team Tour, recording seven points, three rebounds, three assists and one steal in 24 minutes of action in the USA’s 105-62 win against Dominican Republic on Aug. 20, 2014.

Currently in his fourth NBA season, Lillard in 2015-16 is averaging career-highs of 24.2 points (6th in the NBA) and 7.3 assists per game (7th in the NBA), while adding 4.4 rebounds per game, and shooting 41.8 percent from the field, 36.2 percent from 3-point and 86.5 percent from the foul line.

“I recently received a call from Damian, and during our conversation he expressed his desire to be considered for the U.S. Olympic Team and to remain involved with the USA National Team in the future as well,” said Jerry Colangelo, who has served as the managing director of the USA Men’s National Team since 2005. “Both Mike (Krzyzewski) and I feel like Damian is playing at a very high level and that he should be added to our list of Olympic finalists. Damian has been a member of the USA National Team since 2014, and he participated in National Team training camps in 2013 and 2014, so he does have equity in USA Basketball, which is always important to me.”

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.

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