Blazers run ends in Phoenix

The Suns shoot 59 percent from the field and win 114-87
Nov. 21, 2012

Marcin Gortat scored a season-high 22 points in only three quarters and the Phoenix Suns routed the Portland Trail Blazers 114-87 on Wednesday night to snap a three-game losing streak.

"We came out ready to play," Gortat said. "We had two new guys in the starting lineup and we were a little bit better defensively. It's a great win but we need to forget about it really fast."

Gortat had told a reporter for Polish newspaper Przeglad Sportowy after the Suns' loss to the Lakers on Friday that he didn't believe he was "even an option for (Suns coach Alvin) Gentry."

But against the Blazers, Gortat was a key component of a Phoenix offense that shot 60 percent from the field in the first half en route to a 57-44 lead and a season-best 59.7 percent for the game. Gortat was 11 of 14 from the floor and added seven rebounds.

"Honestly, we can't get excited about that game because Portland didn't play their best game," Gortat said.

The new starters, Markieff Morris and Shannon Brown, were productive for the Suns.

Morris had 19 points and seven rebounds, and Brown added 10, including a pair of 3-pointers as Phoenix rallied from a four-point deficit in the opening minutes to take the lead for good with 7:23 left in the first quarter.

"I didn't want to put too much pressure on myself so I just came out and played hard," Morris said.

The Suns have been playing from behind nearly the entire season, trailing by double digits in each of their past six games and in all but one this season coming in. Gentry had been mulling a change for the past week.

"We never dug ourselves a hole so when we made those runs tonight we went from being up to putting the game in a pretty good position," Gentry said. "We weren't making up 10, 15 points and getting to where we were back to even."

Jermaine O'Neal added 17 points off the bench and Goran Dragic had 15 points and eight assists for Phoenix.

Clippers light up the Garden, past Blazers

Jamal Crawford, Portland's big signing last season, takes over in LA win
Nov. 8, 2012

Jamal Crawford showed the crowd at the Rose Garden Thursday just why their team was so passionate about signing him in the summer of 2011.

But, he made his statement in the uniform of the Los Angeles Clippers. leading them to a 103-90 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Crawford, who signed a one-year deal with Portland in 2011, then left for the Clippers following the season, scored a game-high 25 points and helped his team shoot 53 percent from the field in the win.

Chris Paul had 21 points and six assists and was the only Los Angeles player to play more than 29 minutes.

Portland got 23 points and 9 rebounds from Nicolas Batum, who was one of four Blazers starters who played 37 minutes or more.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 14 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds, while Damian Lillard scored 16 points.

Portland dropped to 2-3 on the season, while the Clippers improved to 4-1.

The Blazers trailed by 25 before rallying to within 86-82 midway through the fourth quarter. Los Angeles outscored Portland 17-8 for the remainder of the game.

Portland returns to action Saturday night with a home game against San Antonio at 7 p.m. At 2-3, the Blazers are tied for the eighth-spot in the West, which has only one team that has not won at least two of its first five games. The Los Angeles Lakers are 1-4.


Blazers fans getting boost in polls

Damian Lillard leads an optimistic view of the coming season(s)
Nov. 5, 2012 / By Chase Kunkle,

Outscored again in the fourth quarter - for the fourth time in ... four games, the Portland Trail Blazers dropped to 2-2 on the season Monday night with a 114-91 loss at Dallas. The Blazers got outscored 31-12 in the final quarter to turn a competitive game into a rout, at least on the scoreboard.

But, even after a sub-par performance, there's plenty of optimism for Portland's diehard fans.

Damian Lillard. He's just the second rookie in league history to start his career with three straight games of 20 points and 7 assists per game, living up to Rookie of the Year hype. His ability to slash and create his own shot at will has fans salivating at the mouth. And, his teammates, too - especially Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews, who desperately needed space for open shots last season but didn't get that. Matthews is shooting 50 percent from 3-point territory through four games. Lillard is getting great press this week for being the top ROY candidate.

There's Lillard and there's hustle. If there was a stat for hustle, the young Blazers team would be leading the NBA. It's the heart we haven't seen in recent Blazers teams. Heart shows up online, too. After Monday's loss, Lillard posted on Facebook: “Tough one, but my head gone always be up. I'm just trying to learn and continue to grow.”

The Blazers were ranked 13th out of 15 Western Conference teams at the beginning of the season, mostly because there are so few players with more than two years of experience in the league, and that's an issue for the bench, and an issue for defense, and an issue in the fourth quarter. But, the team is 2-2 with an overtime win on the road and season-opening pounding of the Los Angeles Lakers. They're not playing like the No. 13 team out of 15.

There's plenty of light at the end of the tunnel.

Next up: the Clippers at home on Thursday night.


Blazers tame Harden, Rockets in OT

After getting burned by the Spurs, Oklahoma City brushes Portland aside 106-92
Nov. 3, 2012

Red-hot James Harden cooled off enough for the Portland Trail Blazers to take Houston into overtime Saturday night, and the Blazers then scorched the home team for a 95-85 victory.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists to lead the Blazers, who held Harden to 24 points on 8-of-24 shooting from the field.

Portland got 20 points, nine assists and six rebounds from rookie Damian Lillard and held a 28-19 edge in assists by game's end.

Portland, 2-1, won despite being outscored 23-6 off the bench.



Nov. 2, 2012

The Portland Trail Blazers looked like a playoff contender for a second straight game, even if they didn't win Friday.

Oklahoma City, spurned by San Antonio the night before, got plenty of pressure from the Blazers before settling in for a 106-92 victory in their home opener.

Russell Westbrook scored 32 points, Kevin Durant added 23 points, 17 rebounds and 7 assists, and Kenyon Martin tossed in 19 points off the bench to lead the defending Western Conference champions, who lost on a last-second shot to the Spurs Thursday.

Portland trailed by 1 late in the third quarter, but couldn't overcome the Thurnder's inside game and shaky outside shooting. The Blazers hit just 36 percent of their field-goal attempts, 26 of which were from 3-point territory.

LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers with 22 points and 15 rebounds, while rooking point guard Damian Lillard had 21 points and 7 assists. Portland's bench got outscored 42-15.

The Blazers, 1-1, travel to Houston Saturday to face red-hot James Harden and the Rockets.


Blazers move closer to starting line-up, Lakers

Portland's season-opener is only two weeks away - finally
Oct. 16, 2012

LaMarcus Aldridge is a lock.

Nicolas Batum is a lock.

Damian Lillard is a lock.

That leaves shooting guard and center as positions still waiting to be filled as the Portland Trail Blazers head toward their season-opening game at home against the star-studded Los Angeles Lakers on Halloween eve.

The Lakers added point guard Steve Nash and center Dwight Howard to go with Kobe Bryant, while losing center Andrew Bynum during the offseason, and appear as a top candidate to unseat Miami as league champion.

Portland added a number of rookies and features one of the youngest rosters in the NBA.

The team did, though, find a head coach in Terry Stotts.


Terry Stotts is as good a good fit for Portland

Tue, 10/09/2012 - 2:47pm
Cliff Pfenning
Cliff Pfenning's picture
Last seen: 9 hours 16 min ago
Joined: 2010-07-01

The Portland Trail Blazers finally answered the question about their head coach by naming Terry Stotts to the position Tuesday afternoon.

After months of uncertainty, the team has a leader with experience in the position.

Stotts gets credit for helping develop the offense the Dallas Mavericks used to win the 2011 NBA Championship.

Of course, that offense had Dirk Nowitzki at its center, Jason Terry dashing down the lane and Jason Kidd handling the ball. Don't forget the energetic, involved owner, Mark Cuban, and years of previous near-misses as a playoff team.

In Portland, Stotts takes over a franchise basically re-starting its drive to become a playoff team, which chose him as coach over ... Caleb Kanales, who is regularly noted for having started with the team as a video coordinator.

Stotts inherits a team with an All-Star in LaMarcus Aldridge, but is mostly waiting to be developed or recogonized for their consistency such as Nicolas Batum. Only Aldridge has as many as six years of experience in the league among the current roster.

Portland's has - plenty of potential - had to be a key in Stotts wanting to move to the Rose City, something that plenty of other possible coaches apparently weren't hyped about, even without the stress of needing to win right away. Stotts can grow with the team, as Portland's fans learn to love the roster of young guns.

So, it's "Rise With Us!" again. From the coach to rookies to international standouts.



Stotts steps in as Blazers coach

The Dallas assistant coach brings head coaching experience to Portland
Aug. 7, 2012

The Portland Trail Blazers hired Terry Stotts as head coach on Tuesday, filling the NBA's last coaching vacancy.

The 54-year-old Stotts had a 115-168 record as coach of the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks before spending the past four seasons as an assistant with the Dallas Mavericks. He inherits a team that fell drastically short of expectations last season and heads into the new campaign with a roster that includes forwards LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, and a lot of question marks.

"Terry is one of the elite offensive minds in the NBA, has extensive experience with multiple organizations and was instrumental in the Dallas Mavericks winning the 2011 NBA championship," general manager Neil Olshey said. "He understands the vision for the future of the franchise, appreciates the process involved and will create an environment on the court that will produce championship habits."

Stotts replaces Kaleb Canales, who went 8-15 in an interim role after Nate McMillan was fired.

Stotts and Canales emerged as the finalists for the permanent job, and the men reportedly interviewed with owner Paul Allen over the weekend at the London Olympics. Canales has been in the Trail Blazers organization since 2005. It is unclear if he will remain with the club.

"I'm very pleased to be part of a great franchise in a beautiful city with a such a proud history," Stotts said in a news release. "I look forward to working hard with Neil and our players toward the ultimate goal of bringing another championship to Portland."

Before becoming a head coach, Stotts was an assistant under George Karl for six years in Seattle and four with Milwaukee.

Blazers move slowly toward future

With a coach still uncertain, Portland announces its 2012-13 schedule
Aug. 6, 2012

It won't be long after the London Summer Olympic Games end that the NBA season will come back into view for pro basketball fans across the nation.

In Portland, the NBA season might seem months away as the team has yet to name its head coach or find a team president.

Those issues aside, the Blazers announced their 2012-13 schedule last week, with the season beginning on Halloween at home against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Portland's season includes a seven-game road trip in late December and early January, followed by a six-game homestand.

The Blazers are scheduled to play eight times on ESPN and TNT with seven of the eight at the Rose Garden.



Blazers roster 2012-13

Portland features plenty of players with low numbers

0      Damian Lillard        PG    6-3    195    Weber State University     R

1      Jared Jeffries          F     6-11    240    Indiana                          10

2      Wesley Matthews    G      6-5    220    Marquette                       3

3      Aleksander Pavlovic F      6-7    235    Montenegro                    7

4      Nolan Smith           PG    6-2     185    Duke                              1

5      Will Barton             SG    6-6     174    Memphis                        R

8      Luke Babbitt           SF    6-7     215    Nevada                          2

9      Elliot Williams         SG    6-4    175     Memphis                        2

11    Meyers Leonard       C      7-1    250     Illinois                           R

12    LaMarcus Aldridge  PF    6-11   240      Texas                             6

18    Victor Claver          SF     6-9    224      Spain                            R

19   Joel Freeland          F      6-10  225       England                         R

21    J.J. Hickson            PF    6-9     242     North Carolina State        3

24    Ronnie Price          PG     6-2    190      Utah Valley State             7

83    Craig Smith            F      6-7    265      Boston College                6

88    Nicolas Batum        F      6-8    200      France                            4




Terry Stotts


What about Terry?

Former Blazer Terry Porter would be a good choice for coach
May 21, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning,

Remember Terry Porter?

One of the all-time greatest players in the history of the Portland Trail Blazers?

Porter once coached in the NBA, but his name has seldom been brought up as a possible coach of the Blazers, a team without a coach.

What about Terry as coach of the Blazers?

Porter has been a reporter for the Blazers, an assistant with numerous teams and a head coach in both Milwaukee and Phoenix. Currently, he's an assistant in Minnesota under coach Rick Adelman, who was his coach in Portland.

Portland's management could do a heckuva lot worse that hire Porter as head coach.

He's got a significant background in Portland as a player, experience as a head coach in the league and people love him here.

In chasing Steve Kerr to be general manager, the Blazers have established that they'd do whatever it takes to get their man as GM. What about Terry Porter as coach? He expressed interest publicly in the job last year, although only if the team came after him.

The Blazers could do a heckuva lot worse than chase after Porter as head coach, but that's kind of what they've been doing lately - a heckuva lot worse.


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