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Damian, Blazers dominate Warriors

Lillard's 44 leads Portland past Golden State in ESPN showdown
Staff report

Damian Lillard turned Wednesday night's game with Golden State into a duel with Kevin Durant and although he lost that battle, the Blazers' point guard won the war with a 123-117 victory at the Moda Center in a nationally-televised game.

Portland led by 15 early on and never trailed in winning for the 10th time in its last 11 home games and snapping a seven-game losing streak to the Warriors.

Lillard finished with 44 points, while Durant tossed in 50.

 

UTAH 115, PORTLAND 96

PORTLAND - The Utah Jazz kept right on moving toward the NBA Playoffs Sunday night with a scorching performance in Portland.

An eight-game win streak turned into nine after a 115-96 win at the Moda Center as the Jazz - all decked out in orange and white - got 27 points from Donovan Mitchell to lead a team effort that overcame a 39-point performance from Damian Lillard.

Portland had its nine-game win streak at home snapped as it prepped for the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.

PORTLAND 118, SACRAMETO 100

It wasn't that long ago that C.J. McCollum dropped 50 points onto an NBA team in three quarters of action. Now, Damian Lillard has another 50-point game to his name.

Lillard didn't fight Portland coach Terry Stotts' decision to sit him in the fourth quarter, even though was was well within reach of his career high for points at 58. Having scored a season-high 50 in 29 minutes -- the fourth 50-point game of his career -- Lillard saw no reason to tempt fate.

Lillard scored 22 points in the third quarter, and the Blazers beat the Kings 118-100 on Friday night.

"I saw we were up 20 and I was like, 'OK, if we keep this lead, there's really no reason to go back in there," Lillard said. "I'd rather have a 50 in 29 minutes with some character than go out there and chase 60. I feel like that's bad karma."

Lillard scored at will, making 16 of 26 shots -- including eight 3-pointers -- and all 10 of his free throw attempts. His only action in the fourth came when Stotts sent him to the scorer's table briefly after Sacramento cut Portland's lead to 13.

When Shabazz Napier stopped the Kings' run with a 3-pointer, Lillard looked at Stotts and the two men nodded in agreement that his night was over.

Lillard, who also had six assists, joined McCollum and Houston's James Harden as the only players to score 50 points through three quarters this season.

 

PORTLAND 109, CHARLOTTE 103 (OT)

PORTLAND - Ahead by 17 points with 7:14 left in the game, the Portland Trail Blazers seemed headed for their ninth straight home with enough fans could head to their nearest Uber ride and go home.

Not the case.

The Charlotte Hornets rallied to send the game into overtime before Portland pulled out a 109-103 victory at the Moda Center Thursday night, ending a three-game skid.

Jusuf Nurkic led Portland with 24 points and 14 rebounds, while C.J. McCollum added 22 points and Damian Lillard scored 18 points and dished out eight assists.

Kemba Walker scored 40 pointsfor Charlotte to lead all scorers.

Portland led 92-75, but was outscored 22-5 in under six minutes. Amazingly, neither team scored in the final 1:45 of regulartion, which ended at 97-all.

The Blazers improved to 30-25 on the season an are a half-game ahead of Denver in the race for sixth place in the Western Conference heading into a game at Sacramento Friday.

 

 

Timbers keep roster fluid

Portland acquires another International standout
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

Samuel Armenteros, one of the most experienced players in Europe, has signed with the Portland Timbers, the club announced Friday.

Set to turn 28-years old this year, the twice-capped Swede is currently on the books of Serie A club Benevento, and will be on a season-long loan with the Timbers, who may then chose to purchase his contract.

Armenteros has had successful stints in Holland and Belgium prior to heading to Italy to play in one of the world’s best leagues.

During the previous season, Armenteros scored 22 goals in 32 matches with Heracles of the Dutch Eredivisie league.

He scored one goal in nine matches in Italy.

“Samuel Armenteros has a proven track record of scoring goals, and we will look for him to help bolster our attacking corps for the 2018 MLS season,” Portland GM Gavin Wilkinson said in a statement. “It was a priority of ours to bring in another attacker who can help influence games for us. As we looked to strengthen our group this season, we believe that Samuel has the proper mindset and characteristics to have a positive impact with this club.”

Armenteros will likely compete for time with Nigerian striker Fanendo Adi, who is returning to play under new coach Giovanni Savarese after it briefly appeared he might make an overseas move. Also age 27, Adi has 42 league goals across the past three seasons, including 16 each in 2015 and 2016 before hitting 10 in an injury-obstructed 2017 campaign.

The Timbers were in the market for attacking depth after they traded Darren Mattocks to D.C. United this past offseason.

“We are pleased to add another quality attacker to our team," Savarese said. "Samuel is a player with good technical ability that can bring others into the game and has proved to be a prolific goal-scorer. We look forward to building Samuel into the squad during the remainder of preseason, and having yet another solid attacking option to rely on for the upcoming season.”

Portland begins its eighth season in Major League Soccer in March.

 

Jackie crashes out of Olympics

Canby native suffers serious injury during fall
Staff report

Jackie Wiles had the Olympic Dream within sight until this weekend, when it ended in Germany.

Wiles, the Canby native, suffered a spectacular crash Saturday in the downhill at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, the final World Cup stop before the Pyeongchang Olympics that begin this week.

She tore her left anterior cruciate ligament and fractured her left fibula and tibia, according to multiple reports.

Screams were audible in the television broadcast of the race. A sled eventually was used to remove Wiles from the course.

Lindsey Vonn, whose foundation financially supports Wiles, won the downhill by two-hundredths of a second for her 80th career World Cup victory.

"We're just all hoping Jackie is OK," Vonn told reporters.

Wiles, 25, is the third U.S. Alpine skier to suffer a serious injury in recent weeks. Travis Ganong, the only U.S. man to win a World Cup Alpine event in the last two years, tore his right ACL on Dec. 28. Fellow speed specialist Steven Nyman, expected to make his fourth Olympic team, tore his right ACL last month.

Laurenne Ross, returning from a severe knee injury last year, also crashed Saturday at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, but managed to escape serious injury and skied through the finish under her own power.

Wiles, who competed in the Sochi Olympics, battled pain in her left knee in recent months because of a small tear in the patella tendon and severe tendinitis. But she appeared to have overcome the injury, finishing third in the downhill last month in Cortina, Italy.

Portland Thorns History

NWSL Original Franchise

YEAR-BY-YEAR REVIEW

2013 - Sparked by UP great Christine Sinclair, and USA National Team member Alex Morgan, Portland finished third in the league standings, then beat Western New York 2-0 to win the first title of the eight-team NWSL.

2014 - International Player of the Year Nadine Angerer joined the team, and the Thorns set a women's soccer attendance record at 19,123 just two days before MLS played its All-Star Game at Providence Park. Portland lost in the league semifinals.

2015 - The team's roster shifted greatly during the off-season, but it resulted in a disappointing sixth-place finish in the now nine-team standings. The Thorns did manage to sell out the stadium for a game.

2016 - A return to the top of the league standings again resulted in a disappointing loss in the semifinals.

2017 - The Thorns won a team-record 14 games, of 24 played, and again won the league title after placing second in the season standings.

 

 

McCollum dazzles Portland's diehard fans

Portland shooting guard sets franchise record in win over Chicago
Staff report

PORTLAND - Fans who got to the Moda Center late Wednesday night missed a performance for the ages by CJ McCollum.

Taking advantage of an unispired opponent, McCollum scored 28 points in the first quarter, setting a franchise record for points in a quarter by one player, as the Portland Trail Blazers beat Chicago 124-108.

McCollum, in his fifth year with the Blazers, finished with 50 points in the win on 18-of-25 shooting from the field, including six three-pointers.

The win moved Portland to 29-22 overall, good for sixth place in the Western Conference, a game behind Oklahoma City and 1.5 games behind Minnesota in the battle for the Northwest Division title.

Portland plays at Toronto, the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, Friday.

Chicago dropped to 18-33.

With McCollum scoring from the opening minute, the Blazers led 43-19 after one quarter and cruised to their eighth straight win at home. McCollum, who hit four three-pointers in the first quarter, sat out the fourth quarter and finished just nine points short of the team scoring record held by Damian Lillard.

Lillard finished with 13 points and seven assists.

 

NBA coaches finally select Lillard again

Damian gets third trip to All-Star Game
Staff report

The NBA chose to honor Damian Lillard again for his consistent play and social work - with a spot in the All-Star Game.

A unique All-Star Game at that set for Sunday, Feb. 18, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The 14 reserves, including reigning NBA Player of the Year Russell Westbrook, were selected by the NBA’s head coaches and announced Tuesday night.

Joining Lillard and Westbrook as reserves in the Western Conference player pool are LaMarcus Aldridge of the San Antonio Spurs, Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors.

Lillard will play in this third All-Star Game after being left off the roster the past two seasons.

With Green and Thompson earning spots alongside starters Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, the Warriors are the first team to have a record-tying four All-Stars in consecutive years.
The Eastern Conference reserve pool includes three first-time All-Stars: Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers and Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks. They are joined by Al Horford of the Boston Celtics, Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors and John Wall of the Wizards.   

The 67th NBA All-Star Game, featuring Team LeBron vs. Team Stephen, will air on TNT and ESPN Radio. The midseason classic is being promoted as potentially reaching fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages.

Under the new All-Star Game format that replaces the traditional matchup between conferences, Curry and Cleveland’s LeBron James – the All-Star starter from each conference who received the most fan votes in his conference – will serve as team captains and draft the team rosters from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves.  

All-Star team rosters will be unveiled on Thursday.

Curry and James will select the team rosters without regard for conference affiliation. Each captain will choose 11 players to complete a 12-man roster. The 2018 NBA All-Star Draft rules are as follows:

The eight All-Star Game starters (aside from Curry and James) will be drafted in the first round.

The 14 All-Star Game reserves will be drafted in the second round.

As the top overall vote-getter among fans, James will have the first pick in the first round (starters). Curry will have the first pick in the second round (reserves).

The starters, announced last week, were selected by a combination of fans, current NBA players and a media panel. The East starter pool is James, Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers) and Kyrie Irving (Boston). The West starter pool is Curry, DeMarcus Cousins (New Orleans Pelicans), Anthony Davis (New Orleans), Kevin Durant (Golden State) and James Harden (Houston Rockets).

 

Timbers have plenty of training camp talent

Portland's roster is stacked

2018 TRAINING CAMP

No. Name                          Age Home 

9 Fanendo Adi                    27 Nigeria

5 Vytas Andriuskevicius       27 Lithuania

19 Victor Arboleda              21 Columbia

27 Dairon Asprilla               25 Columbia

1 Jeff Attinella                    29 US/Florida

23 Jack Barnby                   23 England

10 Sebastian Blanco            29 Argentina

x Julio Cascante                  24 Costa Rica

21 Diego Chara                   21 Columbia

47 Rennico Clarke               22 Jamaica

x Caleb Duvernay                21 US/N.C.

17 Jeremy Ebobisse             20 US/Maryland

32 Marco Farfan                  19 US/Oregon

x Andrews Flores                 27 El Salvador

90 Jake Gleeson                  27 New Zealand

x Mamadou Guirassy           22 France

20 David Guzman               27 Costa Rica

x Stuart Holdthusen            22 New Zealand

x Modou Jadama                 23 The Gambia

x Foster Langsdorf               22 US/Washington

33 Larrys Mabiala                30 France

43 Kendall McIntosh            24 US/California

26 Lucas Melano                 24 Argentina

7 Roy Miller                        33 Costa Rica

x Tim Mueller                     22 US/Idaho

4 Chance Myers                  30 US/California

13 Lawrence Olum              33 Kenya

x Andy Polo                        23 Peru

2 Alvas Powell                    23 Jamaica

24 Liam Ridgewell               33 England

23 Bill Tuiloma                   22 New Zealand

16 Zarek Valentin               26 US/Pennsylvania

8 Diego Valeri                    31 Argentina

x Eryk Williamson              21 US/Virginia

COACH: Giovani Savarese, first season

 

Damian could easily be whining

Lillard gets All-Star Game flack from potential teammate
Staff Report

In the wake of Russell Westbrook's whining, complaining comments about teammate Paul George being, at least, temporarily left out of the All-Star Game, it's not hard to wonder ... how come Damian Lillard isn't whining about someone else not being left off the big roster that's going to be separated into two, basically playground teams.

That's how far the All-Star Game has devolved to get people to pay attention. There's now two captains who pick teams based on a draft system.

They should hold the draft on game day - make it like the captains used to do when they were younger. That would get some attention at the start of the game. Then, make them trade a couple guys at halftime. Like the playground days.

Instead of whining like Russell, Damian took the high road Wednesday in talking to media:

"I respect Russ a lot, so it was kind of disappointing to see him say that," Lillard said prior to Wednesday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. "Because he's played against me, he's played against our team, he knows what I've accomplished. Not just this year, but over my career. So it was a little bit disappointing, but I know that I earned my spot this year. And that's pretty much what it is: I earned my spot."

What are the odds Westbrook and Lillard end up on the same team?

Pro sports has always been about, heck being in the public eye, has always been about getting headlines, and that means shooting your mouth off on a regular basis.

Westbrook could have gotten some of the same headlines by saying people might say Damian is having a great season, and he's been overlooked the past couple years (and he has), but Paul George is having a great season and deverses a spot as well. So if Damian pulls a muscle and needs to sit out, or anyone else does, then Paul George should be the first call. Otherwise, he'll probably be at home toasting those of us who are still working while he's got a weekend off.

 

Jackie keeps impressing world

Oregon native finishes third in downhill
Staff report

Jackie Wiles reached the podium again Saturday afternoon.

The Portland native finished third in the World Cup downhill race at Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy, where teammate Lindsay Vonn won by nearly a second.

Vonn clocked 1 minute 36.48 seconds on the sun-drenched Olympia delle Tofane course for a 0.92-second advantage over Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein.

Wiles finished 0.98 behind Vonn for her second career podium result. She was on course to finish second - trailing Vonn by just 0.30 seconds at the penultimate checkpoint - but then drifted too wide on a turn and lost a big chunk of time.

Wiles placed third in a downhill last year in January as well.

The win was Vonn's record 12th win in Cortina and 79th in her career, moving her within seven of Ingemar Stenmark's record 86 World Cup victories.

At 33, Vonn became the oldest woman to win a World Cup downhill, beating the previous mark established by Elisabeth Goergl, an Austrian who was 32 when she won in 2014.

A super-G on Sunday rounds out the racing in Cortina before the circuit moves to nearby San Vigilio di Marebbe for a giant slalom on Tuesday. Then there are two more weekends of racing before the Pyeongchang Olympics begin Feb. 9.

 

 

Timbers introduce Gio to Portland

New Portland coach talks of his first experiences in the Rose City
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - Giovanni Savarese said all the right things in all the right ways during his first press conference as head coach of the Portland Timbers Monday at Providence Park.

Savarese flew into Portland this past weekend and has been getting a fast introduction to the city, including getting his hair cut.

"The lady cutting my hair asked where I was from because of my accent," said Savarese, a native of Venezuela who speaks four languages. "She told me it was easy to spot because I had walked in with an umbrella. I know now people from here don't use umbrellas."

Savarese is the team's third head coach, and follows Caleb Porter, who guided the team to the MLS Cup title in 2015. Porter left the franchise following the 2017 season after a dispute with management.

After five seasons as coach of the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League, which came with three league titles, Savarese, 46, said the move to Portland was the right fit.

"This is a great franchise, and I think any coach would love to be here," he said during the 25-minute press conference. "I've had other opportunites to move from the Cosmos, but this just felt like the right move at the right time."

Portland begins it's eighth season in Major League Soccer March 4 in Los Angeles against the Galaxy, and plays its first home game April 12 against Minnesota.

 

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