Blazers get drilled again

On the return to the Rose Garden, Portland loses by 29 to Milwaukee
March 20, 2012

The friendly confines of the Rose Garden did little to stop the regular-season slide the Portland Trail Blazers are on.

After a competitive first quarter, the Blazers gradually fell to the Milwaukee Bucks, eventually losing 116-87 - a blowout by 29 points, Tuesday night in a game witnessed by Brandon Roy in his first visit to the Garden since retiring prior to the season.

Portland got 21 points and 12 rebounds from LaMarcus Aldridge and 21 points and nine rebounds from Wesley Matthews in the loss, which comes a week after the team set a franchise-low for assists in a 17-point blowout at Indiana, followed by a 42-point loss at New York that caused team executives to trade Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby and fire coach Nate McMillan.

Portland miraculously beat Eastern Conference leader Chicago on Friday before losing by 16 at Western Conference-leader Oklahoma City on Sunday to close a seven-game road trip in which the team went 2-5.

With Tuesday's outcome on the books, the Blazers haven't played in a game decided by 10 points or less since losing at home to the Los Angeles Clippers, Feb. 16.

The Blazers were outscored 45-9 off the bench Tuesday.

At 21-25, Portland is 3.5 games from a playoff spot and headed for its first losing season since 2006-07.


Blazers keep moving forward despite loss

Portland loses at Oklahoma City, heads home after eventful road trip
March 18, 2012

At least the Blazers are playing with some pride these days.

Criticized for not having pride in their game after consecutive blowout losses last week, the Portland Trail Blazers responded with a win at Eastern Conference leader Chicago and then survived a slow start to eventually lose 111-95 at Western Conference leader Oklahoma City Sunday.

Portland fell behind 31-15 after one quarter, but got within eight in the third quarter before the Thunder pulled away, ending a three-game home losing streak.

The Blazers, who went 2-5 on a seven-game road trip, return to the Rose Garden Tuesday to play Milwaukee.

Portland is 21-24 on the season and 2.5 games from a playoff spot, while Milwaukee is 20-24, but just a half-game from a playoff spot.

The Blazers will field a new-look roster after trading Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby, then firing coach Nate McMillan at the trade deadline Thursday. Portland established a franchise-low five assists in a loss Tuesday at Indiana, then got blown out at New York Wednesday. The Blazers also waived injury-prone center Greg Oden.

Portland assistant Kaleb Canales was bumped up to interim coach for the remainder of the season.

Mehmet Okur stands as the key addition from the trades, brought in from New Jersey, which got Wallace. Portland's roster features just three players: LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, and Wesley Matthews, who were in the regular rotation last season, although it did recently pick up center and fan favorite Joel Pryzbilla from the free agent listing.

Jamal Crawford, an off-season addition, led Portland with 23 points Sunday, while Raymond Felton added 19. Aldridge tossed in 15 points.

The Blazers have 21 games remaining on their 66-game schedule, 16 of which are against teams already secured among the playoff contenders in the East or West, or competing for a spot. With the eighth seed likely going to a team that finishes three games over .500, the Blazers would need to close the season at 14-7 or better to reach the playoffs for the fourth-straight year.


Trade Blazers sack McMillan

Portland makes wholesale changes at trade deadline
March 15, 2012

In an apparent attempt to shake up the current season in something of a positive manner as well as plan for the future, the Portland Trail Blazers traded two starters and fired coach Nate McMillan Thursday.

Small forward Gerald Wallace, who the team traded for at the close of last season, and center Marcus Camby were sent to other teams shortly before the trade deadline.

The moves, combined with moves from the offseason, leave the Blazers with just two regular starters from a year ago - power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and shooting guard Wes Matthews, although he is now an irregular starter.

Aldridge and small forward Nicolas Batum remain the lone regular players the team drafted.

Wallace was sent to the New Jersey Nets for Mehmet Okur and Shawne Williams, while Camby was sent to Houston for draft picks.

The moves came after the team lost by 42 points in New York Wednesday and by 18 at Indiana Tuesday night.

McMillan was in his seventh season, taking over the franchise following the "Jail Blazer" era and directing them to the playoffs the past three seasons.

Assistant coach Kaleb Canales will guide the team for the remainder of the season.

Portland plays at Chicago, which is leading the Eastern Conference, Friday and at Oklahoma City, which is leading the Western Conference, Sunday.


And the beatings go on

Knicks forget their problems, hammer the Blazers by 42 points
March 15, 2012

The Blazers showed up just in time for the New York Knicks and their new coach Mike Woodson.

Mired in a six-game losing streak, coach Mike D'Antoni resigned early Wednesday, and former Atlanta coach Woodson took over and watched an inspired group of players trounce an uninspired group of players, 121-79 at Madison Square Garden.

J.R. Smith scored 23 points for the Knicks, who shot 53 percent from the field, including 19 of 38 from three-point range.

LaMarcus Aldridge and  Gerald Wallace each scored 15 points to lead Portland, which shot 37 percent from the field and commited 23 turnovers.

A night after registering a franchise-low five assists, the Blazers bounced back with 11, but gave up 35 to the Knicks.

The win kept New York tied with Milwaukee for eighth place in the Eastern Conference, while the Blazers, who've won just twice in the past two weeks, slipped to 20-23 overall and are 3.5 games from eighth place in the West.

The Blazers close their seven-game road trip at Chicago Friday night and at Oklahoma City Sunday - the teams with the best record in the East and West, respectively.

In Portland's recent 2-6 skid, each loss has been by 12 points.

The Blazer play in Portland Tuesday against Milwaukee.


Historic loss for Blazers in Indiana

Portland manages a franchise-low five assists against the Pacers
March 13, 2012

On the downward spiral of their NBA season, the Portland Trail Blazers established a new low in a key statistical category Tuesday night - teamwork.

Portland managed just five assists, the stat that measures how a team sets up its own players to score, in a 92-75 loss at Indiana.

The Blazers got 17 points and five rebounds from All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge, but only Nolan Smith - virtually unknown to NBA faithful - scored in double figures with 10 points.

Smith had an assist as did Aldridge, Wesley Matthews had an assist off the bench and point guard Raymond Felton had two for the five that established a franchise low.

Indiana had 254 assists. The Pacers got 21 points from back-up center Louis Amundson, who hit 10-of-11 field-goal attempts in the game.

Portland, in the fourth game of a seven-game road trip, fell to 20-22 overall on the way to playing strugging New York at Madison Square Garden Wednesday.


Blazers show some fight in win over Wizards

Portland rebounds from demoralizing loss with 110-99 road win
March 10, 2012

A night after a crushing loss in Boston, the Portland Trail Blazers got exactly what they needed - a hard-fought win.

With LaMarcus Aldridge pumping in 30 points, and Marcus Camby pumping in enough passion to get ejected, the Blazer overcame the youthful Washington Wizards 110-99 in the third game of a seven-game road trip.

The win moved the Blazers back to within a game of .500 and put some life back into their playoff hopes, especially with Minnesota losing guard Ricky Rubio for the season during a home loss to New Orleans.

Portland remains two games from a playoff spot with the fourth stop on the road trip set for Tuesday in Indiana.

Jamal Crawford added 23 points and Raymond Felton had 21 for the Blazers, who trailed the Celtics by 35 points at halftime Friday.

"Whenever you lose, especially the way we lost, we're blessed to have an opportunity to come back the next night," Crawford told media after the game. "Usually if you lose a game like last night, you sit on it for two or three days with the schedule the way it is."

Aldridge also had 10 rebounds in 40 minutes on the court, leading the way to avenging a 124-109 loss to the Wizards in February.


Wheels come off in Boston, 104-86

Celtics cruise past hapless Blazers in second road stop of key trip
March 9, 2012


The Portland Trail Blazers did their best impression of the San Antonio Spurs playing without key starters and got clobbered 104-86 Friday night in Boston, with only a 32-16 edge in the fourth qaurter to mask the level of blowout.

Ray Allen and Paul Pierce each had 22 points in 26 minutes and only one of the Celtics starters played more that as they led by 35 points at halftime and 34 after three quarters. Boston lost by 35 points at Philadelphia Wednesday.

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field, but those stats were fruitless as the team continued to sputter following the All-Star Break. Portland is 1-5 since then.

Portland outrebounded Boston 53-32, but the Celtics had a 27-12 edge in assists.

The Blazers fell to 19-21 but remained just two games from a playoff spot as they head for Washington, D.C., to play the Wizards (9-29) Saturday.


And it just keeps getting worse for Blazers

Portland loses to Minnesota and Kevin Love again in start of road trip
March 8, 2012

That sound you hear in the background is the Portland Trail Blazers' playoff hopes crashing into the ground.

Wednesday, the Blazers began a seven-game road trip with a decisive 106-94 loss at Minnesota, the second loss to the Timberwolves in five days.

Portland fell to 19-20, and is 1.5 games behind Minnesota for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference.

But, worse, the teams are going in the opposite direction.

While the Blazers are 4-6 in their last 10 games, the Wolves are 7-3 and have won three straight games.

Portland got 23 points from Raymond Felton and 22 from LaMarcus Aldridge in the loss.

Minnesota got 29 points and 16 rebounds from Kevin Love, who hit 3 of 5 three-point attempts, and 8 of 11 free throws

The Blazers were a mess Wednesday in their starting line-up. Felton scored 23 points to improve his trade-bait status, but while he was on the floor the Blazers lost ground by 15 points. Aldridge hit 10 of 18 shots, which helped Portland shoot 47 percent from the field, but he had just seven rebounds, nine fewer than Love. The team lost ground by six points in his time on the court.

Jamal Crawford returned to a reserve role, but scored just six points.

Portland got outscored 19-3 at the free-throw line.

The Blazers return to action Friday at Boston.


Blazers get healthy before road trip

Portland rolls past New Orleans, begins key stretch at Minnesota
March 5, 2012

Nicolas Batum tossed in 19 points and struggling Raymond Felton added 10 to lead the Portland Trail Blazers past New Orleans, 86-74, Monday at the Rose Garden.

Although LaMarcus Aldridge struggled again with just 10 points, he did grab 11 rebounds and help the team end a three-game losing streak and move back to .500 at 19-19.

The Blazers begin a seven-game road trip Wednesday at Minnesota, which beat Portland Saturday and edged the Los Angeles Clippers 95-94 Monday night.

Portland heads for the road two games behind Houston in the race for eighth place and a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Blazers, who are a half-game behind Minnesota, play four playoff teams in the six games after Wednesday's game at Minnesota.

Wednesday: Minnesota (10-19)

Friday: at Boston (19-17)

Saturday: at Washington (8-29)

Tuesday: at Indiana (23-13)

March 14: at New York (18-19)

March 16: at Chicago (32-8)

March 18: at Oklahoma City

Love, T-Wolves rampage at Garden, 122-110

Minnesota ends a 16-game skid against the Blazers
March 3, 2012

Kevin Love returned to Portland and had a monster game Saturday, leading the Minnesota Timberwolves past the Portland Trail Blazers 122-110.

Love hit 15 of 27 shots, including 5 of 8 three-point attempts, and finished with 42 points, just one short of his career high. Minnesota moved past the Blazers in the Western Conference standings to 19-18, while Portland dropped to 18-19, falling under .500 for the first time this season.

Nicolas Batum scored 29 and Gerald Wallace added 25 points to lead the Blazers, but All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge managed just 14 field-goal attempts and finished with 145 points before fouling out.

Minnesota hit 53 percent of its shots and got 21 points from former Blazer Martell Webster.

Portland, which has lost three straight, plays host to New Orleans Monday and then begins a seven-game road trip at Minnesota Wednesday. The seven games include six teams battling for playoff spots or positioning.


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