Blazers season finally ends

Portland loses in Utah to close 2011-12 with seven straight losses
April 26, 2012

The end finally showed up for the Portland Trail Blazers.

What started as a highly-promising season that had them as one of the NBA's best teams after 10 games, ended Thursday night with a 96-94 loss at Utah in the final game of the 2011-12 season.

Guard Wesley Matthews had a chance to put the Blazers ahead at the end, but his 3-point attempt missed with 2.4 seconds left and Portland finished the season with seven straight losses and a 28-38 record.

The Blazers will miss the playoffs for the first time in four seasons.

Utah finished the season with a five-game win streak with two of the wins over Portland. The Jazz, who missed the playoffs last season, won nine of their final 13 games to finish 36-30 and in eighth place in the Western Conference. They'll play San Antonio in the first round.

Portland, which was two games behind Utah with 13 games left, lost 10 of its final 13 games and finished eight games behind the Jazz.


Brandon Roy gives us the last great Blazer moment

Mon, 04/23/2012 - 7:59pm
Derek Weber
Derek Weber's picture
Last seen: 3 years 5 weeks ago
Joined: 2010-08-19

It seems strange to be talking about Game 4 of a playoff series, but the NBA lockout has caused the 2012 regular season to bleed into what would normally be the middle of the first round of best-of-seven series. But that doesn't matter, what matters is today April 23, 2012 is the one year anniversary of the last great Trail Blazer moment and what would turn out to be the last great performance of one of Portland's all-time greats.

After a January knee surgery, Brandon Roy was regulated to minimal minutes and a bench role. The one time savior of the of Game 4 showed us what we all missed.

Thanks to Pinwheel Empire for the video.

Roy’s moment.

I listened to excerpts of Brian Wheeler's call today and couldn't help but get chills. This happens sometimes to sports fans, whether it's a timely Kirk Gibson home run or a Miracle on Ice.

After that euphoric feeling I thought, "Wait, that was only a year ago?" That seemed strange to me. Think about what has happened since then. Roy only played in two more games for the Blazers then retired after another proposed pillar of the franchise, Greg Oden, had his umpteenth knee surgery and was cut from the team to find room for trade-away castoffs. And then Nate McMillan was fired mid-season.

Not only has the team changed dramatically in one year, more upheaval is on the way.

It may be a long time before Blazer fans have something like Brandon Roy and and his fourth quarter again. Thanks Brandon.

So, just who's running the Blazers?

SPORTLAND: Monday night it was the Phoenix Suns by 18 points
April 16, 2012

With LaMarcus Aldridge out for the remainder of the season, and Raymond Felton sitting with body aches, the Portland Trail Blazers gamely challenged the Phoenix Suns Monday night on the road, but eventually lost to ensure they'll finish below .500 for the first time in five seasons.

J.J. Hickson scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds and Jamal Crawford had 22 points, five rebounds and four assists to lead Portland, which fell to 28-34 heading for its home finale Wednesday against Utah.

Portland has reached the NBA Playoffs the past three seasons and finished 41-41 in 2008, but can finish only at 32-34 if it wins its remaining four games, three of which are on the road.

The struggles the team has had this season leave plenty of questions for fans, starting with just who's going to be leading the rebuilding process that seems to have been going on since the season began with the team having an "acting" or interim general manager all season.

Monday, the Sportland crew delved into how the Blazers might go about rebuilding themselves into a playoff team and stumbled on the very first question any fan will be asking as the playoffs begin without the team: who's running the Blazers?

Who's the General Manager that's going to lead the rebuilding process? And, even, who wants to move to a team that's fired two GMs in the past three years and had an "acting" GM for an entire season?

On the side that makes the job appealing is the flexibility the team has with draft picks and ability to attract free agents because of salary cap room. And, the team has shown the ability to spend money in the past. But, is that the future?

Also, the Sportsland crew jumped into the struggles the Portland Timbers are having with holding a lead as the top team in MLS heads for Jeld-Wen Field.

Those topics and the regular topics of What We're Watching, What Plucks Your Ducks and What Makes Your Beaver Eager are all part of the show.


Playoff race is sprint for Blazers

Portland beats Warriors, needs seven more wins
April 11, 2012

Jamal Crawford tossed in a season-high 34 points to lead the Portland Trail Blazers past Golden State 118-110 Wednesday night at the Rose Garden.

Playing without All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who had an examination on his right hip done Tuesday, Crawford hit 10 of 18 field-goal attempts and all 13 of his free throws in a reserve role.

J.J. Hickson, starting in place of Aldridge, scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.

Portland won despite allowing the Warriors to shoot 52 percent from the field and had out 27 assists. The Blazers outscored the Warriors 24-87 at the free-throw line.

Portland, 28-31, plays host to Dallas Friday. The Mavericks, who Portland beat in Dallas last week, are one of three teams tied for sixth in the West at 32-26. For Portland to reach the playoffs, it would need to win its remaining seven games to finish 35-31, while at least one of three teams tied for sixth: Dallas, Denver and Houston, slumps significantly.

Blazers begin last gasp with loss to Rockets

Portland nearly eliminated from playoff race, 94-89, at Rose Garden
April 9, 2012

Whatever dreams the Portland Trail Blazers and their hardcore fans had of the team miraculously playing into the NBA Playoffs for the fourth-straight year were effectively dashed by the Houston Rockets Monday night at the Rose Garden.

Sparked by 22 points and seven assists from Goran Dragic, the Rockets beat the Blazers, 94-89, in the start of a three-game homestand for Portland.

With the loss, the Blazers fell to 27-31, and 4.5 games behind Denver and Dallas in the race for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. With eight games remaining, eight straight wins would give the Blazers hope, but they would not only have to catch Denver or Dallas, but leapfrog Phoenix and Utah, which are also chasing the Nuggets and Mas.

Houston improved to 32-25 and stayed one game ahead of Denver and Dallas in the race for sixth place in the West.

LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers with 20 points and six rebounds and Jamal Crawford, who missed his first seven shots, had 18 points. J.J. Hickson came off the bench for 12 points and 10 rebounds, but Portland's reserves were outscored 37-24.

Portland plays host to Golden State Wednesday and Dallas on Friday.


Blazers get back to .500 under Canales

Aldridge leads 99-93 win over New Orleans in Garden
March 29, 2012

The season's playoff hopes continue to hang by a thread with every win for the Portland Trail Blazers in the hyper-competitive Western Conference, which showed itself again Thursday night.

Behind a 25-point, 12-rebound outing by All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, the Blazers beat New Orleans 99-93, which improved the team to 4-4 under interim coach Kaleb Canales and kept it just three games from seventh place with 15 games remaining in the regular season.

Wesley Matthews had 18 points and Luke Babbitt, getting more playing time since coach Nate McMillan was dismissed two weeks ago, had a career-high 16 points as Portland improved to 24-27 overall.

Portland outscored the Hornets 9-3 in the final 90 seconds.

The Blazers play at the Los Angeles Cllippers, 29-21, Friday night.




Thunder keeps up bad weather in Garden

Portland's rally falls short in 109-95 loss to Oklahoma City
March 27, 2012

Oklahoma City rolled through Portland again in an NBA game Tuesday night, although not with the controversy as last time.

The Thunder got 32 points and 8 assists from Russell Westbrook and powered through the Blazers 109-95 at the Rose Garden.

Portland got an impressive 21 points from newly-acquired J.J. Hickson and 20 points from LaMarcus Aldridge, but lost to the Thunder for the third time in their four-game season series.

The Blazers, the NBA ruled, actually should have won the last game between the teams - Feb., 6 when a last-second shot block was ruled goaltending then reversed the next day, after the call had allowed OKC to tie the game and then win in overtime.

Since then, the Blazers have altered much of their line-up and fired coach Nate McMillan, while the Thunder continue to lead the Western Conference.

Oklahoma City, which plays at the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, built an 18-point lead at halftime, which the Blazers cut to five before the Thunder rolled to another smooth win.

Portland trailed 65-47 at the half, but rallied to within 77-72 in the third quarter.

The Thunder, 38-12 overall, outshot the Blazers, 23-27, from the field in percentage points - 57-43.

Portland plays host to New Orleans Thursday.


Gritty Blazers narrowly miss upset in Los Angeles

Aldridge goes for 29 in 103-96 loss to the Lakers
March 23, 2012

With the public expecting regular blowouts, the Portland Trail Blazers continued to show the side of their game that's been lost the past two months, even though they didn't win Friday night.

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 29 points and grabbed nine rebounds and the Blazers' bench outscored the Lakers 34-14 during a 103-96 loss at the Staples Center.

Portland trailed just 87-86 with 5:00 left before the Lakers went on a 9-3 run to create a scoring cushion.

J.J. Hickson, acquired this week, scored 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and had a pair of assists off the bench.

Ramon Sessions, recently acquired by the Lakers, went for 20 points and 11 rebounds in a starting role. Andrew Bynum led the Lakers with 28 points, while Pau Gasol helped the team to a 53-29 rebounding edge with 16.

The Blazers, 22-26, begin a three-game homestand Sunday at 6 p.m. against Golden State.


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.


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.


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