Portland plays host to playoff-inspired Kobe and Dwight Wednesday
April 8, 2013
Here come the Lakers.
After starting the season in a slump and getting hammered by national media for being a team that fought within itself more than opponents on the court, the Los Angeles Lakers are again challenging for a spot in the NBA Playoffs. And, they play in Portland Wednesday needing a win to keep pace with the Utah Jazz in the race for the No. 8 playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Lakers are 40-37 after losing to their neighborhood rivals the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. They're a half-game behind Utah (41-37) in the race for the eighth spot and a likely match-up with the San Antonio Spurs (57-20) in the first round.
Portland enters the game at 33-44 and with an eight-game losing streak.
The Blazers, though, are coming off one of their best performances in the past three weeks, losing just 96-91 on Sunday to the Dallas Mavericks.
There's really three places the Blazers can finish up this season. I want to know what's the best spot for them.
1. Make a run at a playoff spot and get bounced in the first round. This would cause them to lose their first round draft pick to the Charlotte Bobcats to complete the Gerald Wallace trade, top 12 protected.
2. Finish just outside the playoffs in the 13-14 spot. Assuming they don't move up in the lotto they would lose their first round pick here as well.
3. Get bogged down by playing the NBA's toughest remaining schedule and fall into the bottom 12 teams in the league. They would keep their draft pick, since it's top 12 protected through 2015, unless a team in the 13-14 slot moves past them, highly unlikely.
So what's best for the team? It really comes down to how the Blazers or you as fans value the draft pick. Making the playoffs sounds good, but with a very small chance of moving on is it really going to do much for you and you'd be giving up that draft pick?
The 13-14 spot might be the worst spot, no playoffs and no pick. However the Blazers will have to give up the pick as some point. Is this the year? Are there any impact players you want in the last stage of the lotto?
Perhaps you can get value for the pick if it's in the lotto.
Remember Neil Olshey, Blazers GM, has talked a lot about cap space this summer. If he doesn't feel that a draft pick would be much help I could seem him hoping to give it the Bobcats or getting rid of it another way. Any draft pick you have places a hold on available cap space come time to sign free agents.
So what do you think is the best scenario for the Blazers?
When do the Blazers kick into second gear, and what's the future for OSU?
Feb. 25, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal
With the NBA Playoffs slipping away every day, the Portland Trail Blazers face the interesting question of how much do they continue to stress their starting line-up with constant playing time?
Does Damian Lillard need to play 38 minutes per game for the rest of the season just to win a few more games? What about getting the bench some more PT?
The Washington Nationals shut down Stephen Strasburg last season in late season, even though he was one of the best pitchers in baseball to give his arm rest for the rest of his career. That something the Blazers should start thinking of with their starters?
That's a key point for Monday's Sportsland podcast, with hosts Cliff Pfenning and Derek Weber, recorded weekly from Blitz in the Pearl, located in Northwest Portland.
The other hot topic is what's the future for Oregon State men's basketball? The program has been going forward under Craig Robinson - including 20 wins last season, but the roster is looking very much like it's headed for second-division finishes into the near future. Is coach Robinson still the long-term coach in Corvallis?
Last-second three-pointer pushes Portland past New Orleans 95-94 at home
Dec. 16, 2012
Anthony Davis had the edge over Damian Lillard in a battle of top rookies when Lillard stole the spotlight with a game-winning three-pointer in the final second.
Lillard's 3 broke a 92-all tie and gave the Blazers a 95-94 victory at the Rose Garden.
The victory moved the Blazers to within a game of .500 after 23 games - 11-12, with a home game against Denver (13-12) on the schedule for Tuesday. After that, they play four straight games against teams with losing records.
Lillard finished with 16 points and four assists, while Davis, the top pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, finished with 15 points and five rebounds.
J.J. Hickson led the Blazers with 24 points and 16 rebounds, while LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 20 points before leaving with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter.
Portland overcomes hapless Toronto with solid fourth quarter, 92-74
Dec. 10, 2012
It certainly wasn't pretty, but it went into the record books as a victory and after Monday night the Portland Trail Blazers have the same record as the Los Angeles Lakers 21 games into the NBA season.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 30 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and J.J. Hickson added 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Blazers to a 92-74 win over Toronto before an announced crowd of 16,863 fans Monday at the Rose Garden.
Rookie Damian Lillard struggled from the field and made just two of 14 shots on the way to nine points. He dished out six assists as the Blazers improved to 9-12 overall, which is the same record as the Lakers.
Portland led just 64-59 entering the fourth quarter, but outscored Toronto 28-15 to win going away.
Toronto got just 40 points from its starters and fell to 4-18. Jefferson High alum Terrence Ross returned to the Rose Garden for the first time as a professional and scored two points in 13 minutes.
The Blazers have two days off before a home game with San Antonio, then two more days off before a home game with New Orleans and three more days off before a home game with the Denver Nuggets, Dec. 20.
Neither Wes Matthews nor Nicolas Batum played Monday.
An inspired Sacramento squad gets its first road win of the season
Dec. 8, 2012
The Sacramento Kings had struggled to win away from their home arena to start the season, but that struggle ended Saturday night in Portland.
The Kings won their third game in a row for the first time this season with a 99-80 decision at the Rose Garden over the Trail Blazers, who played their previous seven games on the road.
Former University of Oregon standout Aaron Brooks had 14 points for the Kings, who had lost their first six away from Sleep Train Arena. Francisco Garcia and Jason Thompson added 12 each. All five starters finished in double figures as the Kings overcame a dismal second quarter and steadily pulled away, outscoring Portland by 19 points in the second half.
Portland got 12 points and nine rebounds from rookie Damian Lillard and 17 pointsand 10 rebounds from LaMarcus Aldridge. The Blazers were outscored from the bench only 21-18, but got just five points from forward Nicolas Batum and dropped to 8-12.
Babbitt's late three saves team for another road victory
Dec. 3, 2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - For a second consecutive game, the Portland Trail Blazers rallied late and then won a road game in overtime, beating Charlotte 118-112, Monday night.
Luke Babbitt nailed a 3-point shot to cap an 18-point rally in the final 5:17 of regulation, and the Blazers outscored the hosts 16-10 to improve to 8-10 on the season.
Charlotte scored the first 12 points of the fourth quarter and eventually led 97-79 when Portland stormed back.
LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 25 points and 13 rebounds, and Damian Lillard had 24 points and nine assists.
Four of Portland's victories this season, including three on the road, have been in overtime.
PORTLAND 118, CLEVELAND 117 (2OT)
CLEVELAND - Nicolas Batum sank a 3-point jump shot with 0.2 seconds left and that carried the Portland Trail Blazers past Cleveland 118-117 in two overtimes Saturday.
Batum made his shot from the right corner in front of the Cleveland bench, dropping the Cavs to 2-11 in their 13 games after opening the season 2-2.
Portland improved to 7-10 overall heading to games in Charlotte and Indiana that close out the team's seven-game Eastern Swing. The Blazers opened the trip with four straight losses.
Damian Lillard led Portland with 24 points, 11 assists and six rebounds. Shooting guard Wes Matthews had 11 points and 10 assists. Batum finished with 22 points and seven rebounds, and LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points and nine rebounds.
The game headed to overtime tied at 91.
BOSTON 96, PORTLAND 78
BOSTON - Rajon Rondo provided plenty of chatter for basketball fans Friday night. The Portland Trail Blazers didn't.
Fueled by a desire to support their suspended teammate, the Boston Celtics rolled to a 96-78 win over the Blazers at TD Gardens in a game they never trailed.
While star point guard Rajon Rondo began a two-game suspension, Boston got 19 points from Jeff Green and 17 from Jason Terry in the win that followed a 95-83 loss to Brooklyn in which the team's star point guard was involved in a scuffle and suspended for two games.
Rondo's "our leader, so it's tough when he's not here,'' Green told media afterward. "So everybody as a group has to pull together as a team and try and take his place.''
LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers with 23 points, but none of his teammates contributed more than 11.
The loss was the fourth straight for Portland and dropped the team to 6-10 overall heading into a game Saturday at Cleveland (4-12).
Portland plays at Charlotte (7-8) Monday and Indiana (8-8) Wednesday to close out a seven-game road trip that's begun with four losses.
The NBA's last winless team edges Portland to improve to 1-12
Nov. 28, 2012
WASHINGTON (AP) After their worst start in history, the Washington Wizards became a national punch line. On TNT, Charles Barkley compared them with the Washington Generals, and a local newspaper had photos of fans wearing paper bags over their heads at Monday's 26-point loss to San Antonio.
The jokes can stop - at least for now. Washington earned its first victory after starting the season with 12 straight losses, beating the Portland Trail Blazers 84-82 on Wednesday night.
"When you're 0-12, guys are going to make fun. That's our business, guys,'' Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "When you get to this level, you've got to have some thick skin, and you've got to be able to overcome those kind of things.''
Washington survived a scoreless 6:47 in the fourth when Jordan Crawford, who had 19 points, hit on a 3-pointer with 2:06 to play.
The Wizards finally took the 84-82 lead on Emeka Okafor's two free throws with 39.1 seconds remaining.
Damian Lillard was called for traveling with 28 seconds left.
After Nene was called for an offensive foul, J.J. Hickson missed a jumper with 2.8 seconds to play.
The Wizards lost the ball with 0.2 seconds to go, but held on to end the skid.
"Well, we made it interesting, but we won,'' Wittman said. Nine teams started the season 0-13, and the Wizards were tired of the ridicule they'd been subjected to - locally and nationally - as they crept toward the Nets' NBA record-worst start of 0-18. "
NEW YORK - Deron Williams had 15 points, 12 assists, four blocked shots and three steals and the Brooklyn Nets tuned up for their first outing against the New York Knicks with a 98-85 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers Sunday at the Barclays Center.
Kris Humphries had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Nets, who play host to the Knicks Monday in a game postponed by Superstorm Sandy.
Portland got a standout performance from Wes Matthews with 20 points, and J.J. Hickson added 19 points and 10 rebounds for Portland, which played without LaMarcus Aldridge.
The Blazers played evenly into the fourth quarter when the Nets went on a 9-0 run to break a 74-all tie and take over the game.
Damian Lillard had 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds for Portland.
Aldridge was in uniform, but did not play after receiving treatment from the training staff.
Portland dropped to 6-7 and will play at Detroit (3-11) Monday in the second game of an 11-day road trip.
While the Pistons have struggled this season, former South Medford standout Kyle Singler has fit into the team's line-up and long-term plans averaging 24 minutes, 8.8 points and 48 percent shooting.
Aldridge returns, but Lillard's shot doesn't show in a 108-101 loss in Detroit
Nov. 26, 2012
DETROIT - Damian Lillard had an off night, and the Detroit Pistons didn't, which led to a 108-101 victory for the Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills Monday night.
Lillard, the leading candidate for Rookie of the Year averaging nearly 20 points per game, missed his first 12 shots, while seven different Detroit players worked their way into double figures led by Brandon Knight with 26 and Kyle Singler with 16 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
The Pistons, who lost their first eight games, shot 52 percent from the field and had five different players with two or more assists while improving to 4-11.
Portland got 32 points from LaMarcus Aldridge, who missed Sunday's game at Brooklyn with a sore back, and Lillard finished with 12 points on 4-of-18 shooting from the field. Portland got just seven points from Nicolas Batum, but only lost the battle of the bench 25-22. All of Detroit's starters, though, played 31 minutes or more.
The Blazers, who dropped to 6-8, play at winless Washington Wednesday.