damian lillard

Blazers gain some momentum

A 121-105 win over Phoenix leads right to key Memphis contest
Staff Report

The NBA playoffs might not be so far off after all for the Portland Trail Blazers.

After a 121-105 win over Phoenix at the Moda Center Tuesday night, the team moved up a full game in its race to catch Memphis for the eighth playoff spot with the Grizzlies losing at home to Orlando Tuesday.

The win/loss moved Portland to within 3.5 games of Memphis, and the Grizzlies will be in town Thursday. A win would pull te Blazers to within 2.5 games with 15 games left in the regular season. And the Blazers will still have three home games in a row following Thursday's game.

Damial Lillard led the Blazers with 25 points, and C.J. McCollum and Trevor Ariza added 22 points each as the team snapped a two-game losing streak.

The win avenged a 127-117 loss in Phoenix Friday night in which 6-foot-10 forward Aaron Baynes hit a Suns team record nine three-point shots. Baynes made just one of seven three-pointers Tuesday and finished with seven points and two rebounds. Devin Booker led the Suns with 29 points.

Portland improved to 29-37 with its third win in its last five games.

Phoenix dropped to 26-39.

 

 

Lillard dazzles on somber night for basketball

Portland beat the Lakers 127-119 in first post-Kobe game
Associated Press

It was a game that had to be played, and the Portland Trail Blazers came out on top.

In their first game since the death of legend Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers honored one of the franchises' most revered players led by an address to the crowd by Lebron James. 

Once the contest began, James and teammate Anthony Davis combined for 59 points, but Portland's Damian Lillard nearly matched that himself.

Lillard hit seven three-point shots and went off for 48 points, just missing his second career triple-double with 10 assists and nine rebounds. He notched his first triple-double earlier in the week.

Portland got an amazing performance from center Hasan Whiteside, who hit 13 of 14 field-goal attempts on the way to 30 points. He also grabbed 12 rebounds. C.J. McCollum added 19 points for Portland.

The Blazers overcame a 61-40 deficit in rebounds by creating a 17-5 edge in turnovers. The Lakers also missed 10 free throws.

In 40 minutes, Lillard hit 17 of 30 shots and had just one turnover. McCollum made 8 of 22 shots and did not have a turnover.

Portland, which improved to 22-27 and moved to with two games of Memphis, which lost to New Orleans Friday, in the race for the No. 8 playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Blazers return to action Saturday with a home game against Utah (32-16).

 

 

Oregon women duel with UCLA

4CAST: Ducks, Timbers, Damian, High School Hoops
Staff report

The Oregon Ducks will look to hold onto their spot atop the Pacific 12 Conference and move up in the national rankings tonight when they play host to the UCLA Bruins at Matthew Knight Arena.

Oregon enters ranked No. 9, while UCLA is No. 7 for the time, having lost to Oregon State Friday night.

ESPNU will be on hand to televise the game.

One key note in the game is Oregon's Ruthie Hebard, who has made her last 30 field-goal attempts to set an all-time NCAA record.

The Ducks are

2. PORTLAND TIMBERS KEEP PRESEASON MOVING FORWARD

The Timbers dropped a 2-1 decision to FC Dallas Saturday, but kept its drive to the regular season on track by playing many of its predicted starters for most of the game. Forward Fanendo Adi and midfielder Diego Valeri were among the group that played 80 or more minutes.

Newcomer Samuel Armenteros, who joined the club last week, scored for Portland. Former Timbers forward Maximiliano Urruti scored both goals for Dallas.

Portland plays the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday. The regular season begins March 3 in Los Angeles.

3. DAMIAN LILLARD ALL-STAR

Damian Lillard, representing the Portland Trail Blazers for the third time at the All-Star Game, scored a team-high 21 points in 21 minutes, but Team Steph lost 148-145 to Team LeBron at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Liillard made 9 of 14 shots from the field and grabbed three rebounds. All five of his misses were from beyond the three-point line.

Portland (32-26) returns to action with a game Friday at Utah (30-28), and Saturday at Phoenix (18-41). The Blazers are currently tied with Denver for the sixth spot in the Western Conference, just a half-game behind No. 5 Oklahoma City, and one game ahead of the No. 9 Los Angeles Clippers.

4. PLAYOFFS BEGIN FOR 3A, 2A, 1A BASKETBALL

The smaller schools across the state begin their playoffs Wedensday when the Class 1A boys and girls play the first of two rounds of games 16 teams playing elimination games. The eight winners of Wednesday's games will be paired with a league champion for the eight-team tournament play-in round Saturday with seeding among the 16 teams taking place at that time.

The Class 3A and 2A teams have a one-game play-in round Saturday having reached the end of their regular season this past weekend.

At CLASS 3A, De La Salle North Catholic of Portland is seeded No. 1 in the boys bracket, while Salem Academy is seeded No. 1 in the girls bracket.

AT CLASS 2A, Western Mennonite is seeded No. 1 in the boys bracket with Kennedy seeded No. 1 among the girls.

 

 

 

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).

 

Where's Damian's big mouth?

Thu, 01/25/2018 - 10:46am
Cliff Pfenning
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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."

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.

 

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.

 

Nurkic continues to lift Blazers

Portland's new center shows off again in overtime win
Associated Press

PORTLAND — Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts called it "Nurkic Fever" before the game, and the love for Jusuf Nurkic had only grown by the end of the night.

The 7-foot center had a career-high 28 points and 20 rebounds, and Portland beat the Philadelphia 76ers 114-108 in overtime on Thursday.

Nurkic, who was acquired last month in a trade with Denver, also had eight assists and six blocks in Portland's season-high fourth straight win.

The "Bosnian Beast" has quickly become a fan favorite for the Trail Blazers, and Stotts was asked before the game if he was surprised. "It's easy to do," the coach said. "Nurkic fever? Why not?"

On the court afterward, Nurkic smiled when he was told about the coach's comments. The crowd roared.

"I love being here," he said. "I appreciate what the city is doing for me. I just want to give them back something."

Damian Lillard added 24 points for Portland, but did not make a 3-pointer, snapping a streak of 42 games with at least one 3.

Philadelphia rookie Dario Saric had a season-best 28 points, while Robert Covington scored 24 in the 76ers' sixth loss in seven games.

Covington's layup at the buzzer in regulation tied at 97. Nurkic's tip-in gave the Blazers a 102-99 lead, but Covington made a 3-pointer to tie it again at 102.

Lillard's free throws gave Portland a 106-104 lead with under two minutes left in the extra period. His layup extended the lead to four.

Allen Crabbe's floater with 20.9 seconds left helped seal the victory for the Blazers.

"That's as dominant a performance as we have played against this year from an interior player," 76ers coach Brett Brown said about Nurkic. "Twenty rebounds and 28 points. That's a dominant effort."

Nurkic has been a spark for Portland, one of a number of teams jockeying for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. It began the day in ninth in the standings, just below the Denver Nuggets.


Blazers own Houston

Portland destroys the Rockets on the road, 96-79
Feb. 6, 2016 / Associated Press

HOUSTON - The Portland Trail Blazers were determined that this trip to Houston would end much better than their last visit here when they were stung by a tough overtime loss to the Rockets.

That was clear from the beginning of this one. Damian Lillard had 21 points and 10 assists and the Trail Blazers built a big lead early and rolled to an easy 96-79 win over the Rockets on Saturday.

In their last game here they led by 15 in the fourth quarter before Houston rallied to force overtime and got a 108-103 win on the day coach Kevin McHale was fired in November.

“We talked about it for a little while after and we was sick about that one,” Lillard said. “We talked about it. Especially coming into tonight, we said to remember what happened last time.”

On Saturday, the Trail Blazers were up by 19 at halftime and scored the first six points of the third quarter to make it 61-36 with about 10 minutes left in the quarter.

James Harden made four quick points after that before the Trail Blazers used a 13-2 run -- with 3s from Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Al-Farouq Aminu -- to push the lead to 74-42.

The Rockets scored the last 11 points of the quarter, with the first nine from Harden, to cut the lead to 74-53 entering the fourth. But Portland opened the fourth with an 8-2 spurt.

“That was a really good win,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “Defensively we were solid all (game). For the most part we took away and they didn’t get 3s or transition.”

Harden led the Rockets with 33 points.

“We’re just a slow step on everything,” Harden said. “When you get a slow step, you give guys confidence early on in the game. They kind of rode that wave out and were making shots.”

The Trail Blazers had six players with 10 or more points. McCollum and Gerald Henderson had 16, Maurice Harkless had 14, Aminu had 11 and Mason Plumlee had 10.

The Rockets made a bit of a game out of it when they scored 11 straight points to get within 89-78 with about 3 minutes left. But Portland used a 5-1 spurt after that to fend off the late charge.

Houston entered the game shooting 35.5 percent from 3-point range but made just 7 of 36 for a season-low 19.4 percent. But it wasn’t just the Rockets’ long-range shooting that was terrible on Saturday -- they shot just 32.5 percent overall, which is also a season-low. They were also outrebounded 54-43.

“It’s disappointing the way we came out and played this game,” Houston coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “As important as this game was it’s disappointing to say the least.”

The Trail Blazers led by six at the end of the first quarter and opened the second quarter with a 13-2 run to extend the lead to 42-25.

The Rockets got within 44-30 after an alley-oop dunk by Dwight Howard with about 7 minutes left in the second quarter. But Houston couldn’t do anything on offense after that, making just one field goal the rest of the first half to trail 55-36 at halftime.

Houston made four free throws in that span but missed 11 shots and had five turnovers.

Blazers bid Kobe adieu

Portland routes Lakers in Bryant's final game in the Rose City
Jan. 23, 2016 / Associated Press

PORTLAND - While Damian Lillard was the star of Portland’s victory over the Lakers, it was Kobe Bryant’s night.

Lillard had 36 points, including five 3-pointers, and the Trail Blazers beat Los Angeles 121-103 on Saturday night for Bryant’s last game in Portland.

“Growing up, I was a Warriors fan but when the playoffs came I was a Lakers fan because we never made the playoffs. I was on Kobe’s back, like, `Let’s go Kobe, let’s go Shaq.” Lillard said. “Now to play against him, and to know him, it’s been a pleasure.”

CJ McCollum added 28 points for the Blazers, who led by as many as 27 points in the first half on the way to their eighth straight victory over the Lakers.

D’Angelo Russell came off the bench with 21 points for the Lakers, who dropped their sixth straight game. But all eyes were on Bryant, a Portland nemesis dating back to the 2000 Western Conference finals, who finished with 10 points.

It was the second of a back-to-back for the Lakers, who fell 108-95 to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night. The game was played on the 10th anniversary of Bryant’s 81-point game against Toronto, which remains the second-highest scoring game in NBA history.

Because of the back-to-back, there was speculation that Bryant would not even play against the Blazers, but he started. It was Bryant’s 62nd career game against Portland.

Bryan finishes 6-26 in Portland, his worst record in any city. But while the Blazers have pestered him during regular season games, most fans remember the 2000 conference finals. Portland was up by 15 points in the fourth quarter of Game 7, but the Lakers -- led by Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal -- came back to win.

Still, there is grudging respect for Bryant, evident in the mixture of cheers and boos when Bryant was announced in pregame introductions, and an occasional “Kobe! Kobe!” chant broke out among the fans.

“There were too many Lakers’ supporters for my taste, but I’m glad they showed Kobe some appreciation,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said, adding with a grin, “maybe a little too much.”

Bryant called the night “a blast.”

“I have so many great memories here. Most of the time I ended up on the losing side of things during the regular season,” he said. “The fans, the playoff battles ... great memories. I just tried to take it all in tonight.”

Bryant said Portland, Sacramento and San Antonio were among his favorite places to play.

Portland pushed its lead to 35-20 in the first half, with Lillard and McCollum combining for 24 points. Gerald Henderson’s 15-foot jumper pushed the lead to 43-24.

The Lakers closed the gap to 53-46 after Lou William’s jumper and free throw. Williams hit a 3-pointer that got the Lakers within 59-52 at the end of the half, but McCollum answered with his own 3 and the Blazers led 62-52 at the break.

Portland extended the lead to 101-76, going on an 18-4 run to close out the fourth quarter. The Lakers closed within 103-88 after Russell’s 3-pointer and free throw and fans chanted “We want Kobe,” but Bryant was already done for the night.

A fan behind the Lakers’ bench held a sign that read “Thank You Kobe.” Bryant embraced both Lillard and McCollum after the game and left the court to a loud ovation.

It was the sixth time Lillard had 30 or more points against the Lakers.

Blazers shoot past Thunder

Lillard, McCollum lead 3-point barrage in comeback victory
Jan. 10, 2016 / Associated Press

PORTLAND - After hitting his third consecutive 3-pointer, Damian Lillard flapped his arms above his head and motioned to the crowd while screaming, “Come on, man! Let’s go!”

“I got some good looks at the rim and let them fly,” Lillard said.

The star guard scored 31 points, including five 3-pointers in the last 3:07, and the Portland Trail Blazers rallied to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 115-110 on Sunday night.

Portland coach Terry Stotts said calling Lillard’s performance “big” would be an understatement.

“You don’t see that very often,” Stotts said.

C.J. McCollum added 22 points for Portland, which hit a season-high 19 3-pointers to snap a three-game losing streak. Lillard finished with eight 3s, which matched his career high.

Thunder guard Russell Westbrook nearly had his fourth triple-double of the season but fell short with 25 points, 15 assists and nine rebounds. Last season, Westbrook led the NBA with 11 triple-doubles.

Kevin Durant had 28 points for Oklahoma City and has scored 20 or more in 23 consecutive games.

With 3:19 remaining, Andre Roberson hit a buzzer-beating 3 to put Oklahoma City up 103-95. That started a 3-point shootout. Lillard hit three straight 3s, and Allen Crabbe drained another to cut the Thunder’s lead to 108-107 with two minutes left.

Lillard wasn’t done. He hit two more 3s to give Portland a three-point lead, and an offensive foul on Oklahoma City with a minute left brought fans to their feet. But it was Mason Plumlee’s block for the Blazers with 30.9 seconds left, Lillard said, that made all the difference.

“Changed the game completely,” Lillard said. “That was the game-winner right there.”

Lillard finished with 17 points in the final quarter. Durant went scoreless in the fourth.

“They played well in the fourth, and we didn’t,” Durant said. “All those made shots kind of broke our backs.”

The loss ended a four-game road win streak for the Thunder.

The Blazers and Thunder kept it close in a sloppy first quarter. Steven Adams slammed a one-handed dunk for Oklahoma City, and Maurice Harkless answered with a 3.

Portland led 52-46 at halftime. Westbrook had just two points heading into the break.

Lillard’s eight points in two minutes allowed the Blazers to open their lead to 65-55 in the third quarter. Quick points from the Thunder, including a 3-pointer and a free throw by Adams and a running jumper from Durant, trimmed Portland’s lead to two.

The Thunder rallied to take the lead, but McCollum’s 3 at the buzzer to end the third brought the Blazers to 85-80.

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