Archive for the ‘ Portland Trail Blazers Blog ’ Category

Blazers play small-ball down stretch vs Clippers

Here’s the Oregonian with some insight on the Trail Blazers:

Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts turned to a small-ball lineup down the stretch and in overtime of the Portland’s comeback win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.

LaMarcus Aldridge shifted to center, Nicolas Batum played de facto power forward along with Arron Afflalo, Wesley Matthews and Damian Lillard in the backcourt. It was the second time in the last three games Stotts has turned to that group to close out a game, after employing the same unit in a win over Oklahoma City last week.

“You’ve got four very good three point shooters, you’ve got a couple guys who can penetrate, you’ve got a couple perimeter guys who can post up and obviously (Aldridge) is a matchup problem in a lot of different ways,” Stotts explained.

“Offensively it can be very effective and you kind of have to pick your poison if you’re the opponent. The key to that is being able to defend.”

Isaiah Thomas, Damian Lillard named Players of Week through March 1

isaiah thomas

Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas and Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Feb. 23, through Sunday, March 1.

Thomas helped the Celtics to a 3-1 week, which included wins over the Phoenix Suns and Charlotte Hornets. He placed third in the East in scoring (22.0 ppg) and tied for seventh in assists (6.5 apg). On Feb. 27, Thomas scored a season-high 28 points and dished out seven assists during the Celtics’ 106-98 win over the Hornets.

damian lillard

Lillard led the Trail Blazers to a 3-0 week, which included wins over the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder. He averaged 26.0 points (third in the conference) and added 5.7 assists and 4.7 rebounds. Lillard capped his week with a 31-point, seven-assist, four-rebound performance on March 1, during a 110-99 win over the Sacramento Kings.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Paul Millsap, Charlotte’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Mo Williams, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Houston’s James Harden, Indiana’s George Hill, Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul, New Orleans’ Tyreke Evans, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, and Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe.

Blazers survive monster game from Westbrook

Here’s the Oregonian reporting on the Portland Trail Blazers, who were able to come away with a win despite Russell Westbrook unleashing yet another monster game for the OKC Thunder as Kevin Durant continues to miss time due to injury:

Nicolas Batum looked over the stat sheet searching for something he could point to explain the Trail Blazers comeback win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“We…stepped up defensively,” Batum finally said after an extended pause. The Blazers’ small forward sat in front of his locker with ice on both of his knees after he was tasked with slowing Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook down the stretch of an exhilarating victory.

“That was a playoff game,” Batum said. “That was a playoff game.”

The Blazers rode the postseason atmosphere inside the Moda Center to a 115-112 win over the Thunder on Friday night, overcoming an 13-point fourth quarter deficit in the process.

Westbrook was electric. He ended his historic February with his third straight triple-double, finishing with 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. But the Blazers slowed him just enough in the closing minutes to escape with the win.

Winning time for Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers are 36-17 and in the mix to compete for an NBA championship this season. The time to win is now. Here’s the Oregonian reporting:

After all those roster rebuilds, after all that front office turmoil, after all the hyperbole about being a contender, the Trail Blazers on Thursday reinforced that there is a new era in Rip City.

“It’s winning time,” Wesley Matthews said.

The Blazers were a part of the busiest and most frenetic trade deadline in NBA history on Thursday, when they traded Thomas Robinson, Will Barton, Victor Claver and a lottery-protected 2016 first-round draft pick to the Denver Nuggets for Arron Afflalo and Alonzo Gee.

The addition of Afflalo, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard known for his tenacious defense and lethal long-range shooting, not only strengthened the Blazers’ bench for the stretch run, but also offered a no-doubt-about-it signal that the franchise believes it is primed for a deep playoff push. The Blazers’ window for contending has cracked open and President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey’s move to add Afflalo and Gee made it clear the franchise is ready to climb inside.

Steve Blake will change jersey number to honor Jerome Kersey

steve  blake

Following the untimely and tragic loss of Trail Blazers legend Jerome Kersey, Portland guard Steve Blake will switch his jersey number to 5, hanging up the No. 25 that Kersey wore for the Trail Blazers from 1984-95.

“Jerome Kersey meant a lot to this team and to this city,” said Blake. “I’ve known Jerome for a long time now and wanted to honor him and his vast contributions both on and off the court. I consider it an honor to wear the number 25, but this just seemed like the right thing to do.”

Blake asked for and received NBA permission to change his jersey number to 5, effective beginning Friday at Utah.

Here’s the Oregonian with quotes on Jerome Kersey, the former Trail Blazers who has unfortunately passed away:

Danny Ainge discusses playing with Jerome Kersey

Danny Ainge will remember many things about Jerome Kersey, but one thing will always stand above all: His smile.

“He always played happy and hard,” Ainge said Thursday morning. “And that made him a great joy to be around on a day-in-day-out basis.”

Kersey died unexpectedly on Wednesday in Tualatin. He was 52.

Kersey played his first 11 seasons with the Blazers, including two with Ainge - the record 63-win season in 1990-1991 and the NBA Finals season of 1991-1992.

Jerome Kersey dies at age 52

Former Trail Blazer Jerome Kersey dies at age 52

A beloved figure and one of the most prolific Portland Trail Blazers, Jerome Kersey, has passed away at age 52. Cause of death has not been confirmed. A long-time resident of Portland after his 17-year NBA career, Kersey was employed by the Trail Blazers as Director of Alumni Relations as part of the team’s Social Responsibility Department.

“Today we lost an incredible person and one of the most beloved players to ever wear a Trail Blazers uniform,” said Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen. “My thoughts and condolences are with the Kersey family. He will be missed by all of us. It’s a terrible loss.”

“We’re shocked to lose such a great member of our Trail Blazers family,” said Trail Blazers President and CEO Chris McGowan. “The news is so sudden, and we’re sure more details will be forthcoming. But it is indeed a sad day for our organization, the city of Portland and the NBA. Jerome will be remembered not only for his incredible contributions on the court, but his tremendous impact in our community.”

“Jerome was an incredible influence on our players as a model for life after basketball,” said Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey. “He set the bar extremely high with his long-lasting influence in this community.”

Kersey was part of the great early 90s Portland nucleus that led the Trail Blazers to the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992. He ranks fifth on the team’s all-time scoring list (10,067) and third in rebounds (5,078) after an 11-year tenure in Portland from 1984-95. He continued his career with Golden State, L.A. Lakers, Seattle, San Antonio and Milwaukee, and he won an NBA Championship with the Spurs in 1999.

Damian Lillard named to 2015 West All-Star team as replacement for injured Blake Griffin

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has been named a 2015 NBA All-Star by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to replace injured Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, the league announced today.

Lillard was the expected pick as an injury replacement on the West All-Star team. DeMarcus Cousins had already been picked to replace the injured Kobe Bryant. Both Lillard and Cousins are having terrific seasons, and it seemed like a toss-up as to which was more worthy. There’s simply a lot of talent in the Western conference this season.

Lillard, 24, is averaging career highs of 21.6 points (42.9% FG, 34.4% 3PT, 85.7% FT), 4.6 rebounds and 1.49 steals to go with a team-high 6.3 assists in 51 games this season. The NBA Western Conference Player of the Week for the week ending Nov. 16, Lillard is one of just five players averaging 21 points and six assists per game.

The NBA’s late-game scoring leader with 311 points in the fourth quarter, Lillard ranks 13th in scoring, 15th in assists and is sixth in 3-pointers (129).

Lillard is playing in back-to-back NBA All-Star games, becoming the fourth Trail Blazer to be selected twice in his first three seasons (Maurice Lucas, Brandon Roy and Sidney Wicks).

This year’s NBA All-Star Game will mark the 10th time the Trail Blazers will feature multiple players in the game, and the second consecutive year the duo of LaMarcus Aldridge and Lillard earn All-Star honors.

Golden State head coach Steve Kerr, who earned the right to coach the West team because the Warriors had the best record in the conference through games played Feb. 1, will determine Griffin’s replacement in the starting lineup.

The 2015 NBA All-Star Game will tip-off at 5:30 p.m. (Pacific) on Sunday, Feb. 15, from Madison Square Garden in New York. The game will air live on TNT.

Nic Batum status uncertain for Friday

Here’s the Oregonian with a Trail Blazers update for a very big Friday matchup:

Nicolas Batum’s status for the Trail Blazers’ Friday night game against the hottest team in the NBA is uncertain.

Batum was a game-time decision before the Blazers visited the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, and the starting small forward did not decide to play until about an hour before tipoff, after going through a pregame shooting session. Batum, who has played with a sprained right wrist since Dec. 17, was grimacing throughout the session, but decided to play through the pain.

The National Basketball Association has announced that tonight’s Portland Trail Blazers at Brooklyn Nets game, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Barclays Center, has been postponed due to severe weather conditions. The game has been rescheduled for Monday, April 6, at 7:00 p.m.

All tickets for tonight’s game will be honored on the rescheduled date, April 6.

LaMarcus Aldridge delays surgery, will try to play through thumb injury

Here’s the Oregonian reporting some good news — maybe — for the Trail Blazers. Why are we saying “maybe?” Because presumably, if Aldridge had surgery, came back in 6-8 weeks and was fine, maybe he’d be as good as ever as the playoffs approach. But since he’s returning now, he needs to figure out just how effective he can be while playing through the injury. If he’s still himself, fine. But if he’s semi-limited and can’t help the Blazers as needed, he may have to change courses yet again and opt for surgery sooner rather than later. As for the report:

LaMarcus Aldridge delays surgery, will try to play through thumb injury

Forward LaMarcus Aldridge has put surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb on hold indefinitely and will play through the injury the Trail Blazers confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive on Saturday.

Aldridge underwent two MRI tests and consulted with two doctors — one in Portland and one in Cleveland — before announcing on Thursday he would undergo surgery and miss six to eight weeks.

Aldridge said on Thursday that no surgery date had been set, but he would see a surgeon “within the week.” On Saturday, the Blazers announced Aldridge will hold off on surgery and try to play through the remainder of the season.

JANUARY 24, 2015 UPDATE: LaMarcus Aldridge Changes Mind, Puts Off Surgery, Returns to Lineup: LaMarcus Aldridge (ligament tear left thumb) puts surgery on hold; will play tonight versus Washington.

LaMarcus Aldridge thumb injury requires surgery

Bad news for the Portland Trail Blazers: They’ll be without star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge for 6-8 weeks.

A second magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) confirms that Aldridge has a radial collateral ligament tear in his left thumb. He will undergo surgery later this week and is expected to be out for 6-8 weeks.

Aldridge sustained the injury in the second quarter of Portland’s 98-94 win over Sacramento on Monday at the Moda Center.

A three-time NBA All-Star, Aldridge is averaging a team-high 23.2 points (46.2% FG, 51.2% 3PT, 86.3% FT) and 10.2 rebounds to go with 1.9 assists and 1.18 blocked shots in 38 games this season. One of just three players averaging 23 points and 10 rebounds per game, Aldridge was named NBA Western Conference Player of the Week for the weeks ending Dec. 7, and Dec. 21, respectively.

Aldridge passed Jerome Kersey for second on Portland’s all-time rebounding list on Friday at San Antonio. Earlier this season, Aldridge passed Terry Porter for second place on the Trail Blazers’ all-time scoring list. Trailing only Clyde Drexler (18,050 points, 5,339 rebounds) in both categories, Aldridge currently has 11,782 points and 5,095 rebounds in 615 games over nine seasons.

The Portland Trail Blazers have been one of the league’s best teams these first few months, and there’s no reason for their status to diminish anytime soon. Especially with young star guard Damian Lillard showing no fear, especially when it matters most. Here’s the Oregonian with more:

The Blazers’ All-Star point guard added another memorable and clutch performance to his late-game resume, willing the Blazers to a 98-94 victory over the Lakers Monday night before a sellout crowd of 19,827.

Lillard finished with 39 points, six rebounds and five assists and, as he is prone to do, saved his best for when it mattered most. After that All-Star pow-wow with Aldridge, Lillard exploded for 16 of the Blazers’ final 22 points, nailing back-to-back three-pointers before to start the run, before finishing with timely drives and game-sealing free throws. When it was all said and done, he made 5 of 8 shots, including 3 of 5 three-pointers, in the fourth quarter, enhancing his reputation as one of the NBA’s best late-game players.

“He saved out butts again,” center Chris Kaman said.

It wasn’t just the sheer volume of the fourth-quarter scoring that made Monday night’s performance so clutch. It was also the magnitude of some of the shots.

al horford

Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford and Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Dec. 15, through Sunday, Dec. 21.

Horford led the Hawks to a 3-0 record, which included a home win over the Chicago Bulls and road wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets. He led the Hawks in scoring at 18.3 ppg and stuffed the stat sheet with 6.7 rpg, 5.0 apg, 1.67 bpg and 1.0 spg. Horford’s .605 field goal percentage ranked eighth in the conference. On Dec. 15, he posted 21 points on 10-of-19 shooting, and added 10 rebounds, six assists and two steals as the Hawks topped the Bulls 93-86. Winners of 9-of-10 and with a 19-7 (.731) overall mark, the Hawks are tied for the Eastern Conference’s second best record.

lamarcus aldridge

Aldridge helped the Trail Blazers to a 4-0 mark on the week, which included two wins over the San Antonio Spurs and wins over the Milwaukee Bucks and New Orleans Pelicans. Aldridge, who posted point-rebound double-doubles in all four games, ranked sixth in the West in scoring (26.3 ppg), second in rebounding (14.3 rpg), and eighth in steals (2.25 spg). On Dec. 19, Aldridge collected 32 points, 16 rebounds, five steals and two blocks during a 129-119 triple-overtime win over the Spurs in San Antonio. At 22-6 (.786), Portland owns the second best record in the West.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Boston’s Kelly Olynyk, Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Cleveland’s LeBron James, Dallas’ Monta Ellis, Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, Portland’s Damian Lillard, and Toronto’s Kyle Lowry.

Blazers center Robin Lopez breaks hand

Portland Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez breaks hand

Here’s the Columbian reporting some rough news for the Trail Blazers:

Blazers center Robin Lopez breaks hand

The Trail Blazers scored another win against a Western Conference contender, even though the win came with a caveat and a cost.

Behind 21 points, a career-high 10 rebounds and six assists from Damian Lillard, the Blazers defeated a short-handed San Antonio Spurs squad 108-95 Monday at the Moda Center.

But starting center Robin Lopez left the game in the third quarter with a right hand injury and did not return. Terry Stotts said he would be out “a while” with a fractured hand.

“I haven’t seen the play,” said Lopez, with a cast covering his right hand. “I think it’s a couple of fractures.”

A win is a win, right? That’s what they say. Some wins are pretty, others not so much. And the opponent? Can’t fault the winning team for beating the opponent they were required to face. Here’s the Oregonian reporting on Portland’s win Thursday:

The Portland Trail Blazers set season lows in a handful of offensive categories, but still managed to grind out an 88-82 win over the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night at the Moda Center.

The Blazers set new seasons lows for points scored (88), field goal percentage (.398) and three point field goal percentage (.190) in an ugly win over the defensive minded Pacers.

Damian Lillard led Portland with 23 points and eight rebounds and LaMarcus Aldridge chipped in a double-double with 18 points and 13 boards on a night where the Blazers never settled into an offensive rhythm.

The Blazers shooting woes never allowed them to pull away. The Portland defense held the Pacers to 39 percent shooting from the floor and forced Indiana into 17 turnovers, but never Portland largest lead was just 11 points.

Trail Blazers on 9-game winning streak

Here’s the Oregonian reporting on the Portland Trail Blazers, who have won nine games in a row, and for the 2014-15 regular season have a 12-3 record, which ties them with the Houston Rockets for the fourth best winning percentage in the league through Wednesday’s games:

Go ahead and celebrate the Trail Blazers’ nine-game winning streak.

Feel free to savor a nice little three-game sweep of an East Coast trip and yet another second-half comeback.

But, as you do, take your largest dose of satisfaction in this:

“I don’t think we’ve played our best yet,” LaMarcus Aldridge said.

The Blazers continued their sizzling early-season run Wednesday night, defeating the Charlotte Hornets 105-97 before 16,972 at Time Warner Cable Arena. But afterward, the sentiment in the visiting locker room was that this team, despite everything it has done, has a whole lot of room to grow.

“We’ve had games where we’ve looked really good,” Damian Lillard said. “But I still don’t think we’ve played our best.”

CJ McCollum injures finger, out 4+ weeks

CJ McCollum injures finger

Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum sustained a fracture to his right index finger during Portland’s 102-93 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night at the Moda Center, it was announced today by the team.

The injury occurred at the 7:50 mark of the fourth quarter, when McCollum grabbed an offensive rebound and was subsequently fouled by Pelicans guard Eric Gordon.

McCollum will be re-evaluated in four weeks.

Through 11 games, the second-year guard is averaging 5.0 points, 1.1 assists and 1.1 rebounds in 13.1 minutes of action. McCollum is also shooting 46% (11-for-24) from three-point range this season.

Damian Lillard shines in Blazers win vs Nets

The Portland Trail Blazers are 7-3, including a 6-1 record at home. Here’s the Oregonian reporting the latest:

Damian Lillard shines in Blazers win vs Nets

With LaMarcus Aldridge home sick and Nicolas Batum on the bench in a suit there were some holes to fill for the Trail Blazers heading into Saturday’s meeting with Brooklyn Nets.

Damian Lillard provided another impressive performance recording 28 points, 10 assists and five rebounds, but the key to the 97-87 win came from an unexpected source: the Blazers young reserves.

“It was definitely a team win because we needed everybody’s contributions,” Stotts said. “It just goes to show you that the young guys are getting better.”

Against the Nets, the “young guys” were a necessity. Wesley Matthews (3-for-13) and Chris Kaman (3-for-11) both struggled shooting the ball while Robin Lopez missed his first three shots and couldn’t found his rhythm early. Other than Lillard, who was sensational throughout, the Blazers regulars struggled.

Maintaining bench depth, Trail Blazers exercise options on Meyers Leonard, CJ McCollum

Trail Blazers exercise options on Meyers Leonard, CJ McCollum

The Portland Trail Blazers today exercised team options on the contracts of center Meyers Leonard and guard CJ McCollum, according to General Manager Neil Olshey.

According to the Oregonian, the team “declined doing the same for Thomas Robinson. The moves, which will impact next season’s roster, guarantee that McCollum and Leonard will be with the team through the 2015-16 season and make Robinson a free agent next summer.

The Blazers exercised their fourth-year team option on Leonard, who holds averages of 4.4 points (52.2% FG), 3.4 rebounds, 0.5 assists and 14.3 minutes in 109 games over two seasons with the Trail Blazers. The team selected Leonard with the 11th overall pick in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft out of Illinois.

And Portland picked up the third-year team option on McCollum. The 10th overall selection in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft out of Lehigh, McCollum averaged 5.3 points (37.5% 3-PT), 1.3 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 12.5 minutes in 38 games during his rookie 2013-14 season.

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