lillard portland trail blazers

Road swing ends with Blazers' win

Portland beats Detroit 124-101 to sweep four-game road trip
Staff Report

Damian Lillard had 33 points and 10 assists and CJ McCollum added 24 points to lead the Portland Trail Blazers past the Detroit Pistons 124-101 on Wednesday, completing a sweep of a four-game road trip.

Carmelo Anthony and Robert Covington each scored 16 and Norman Powell added 14 as Portland improved to 29-18 overall and 15-9 on the road.

“It is always tough to win games on the road in this league, and that’s especially true in these circumstances,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “We had a 3-0 trip earlier in this season, and we thought these were four winnable games.

“But this was the last game of a road trip against a team with a poor record, so we could have overlooked it. That didn’t happen.”

The Blazers remained tied with Denver for fifth place in the Western Conference, just a half-game behind the Los Angeles Lakers.

Portland plays host to the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday and Oklahoma City on Saturday.

Jerami Grant scored 30 points for Detroit, which lost for the fifth time in six games. Mason Plumlee added 18 points, but Detroit’s other three starters — Saddiq Bey, Josh Jackson and Saben Lee — combined for two points on 1-for-17 shooting.

Grant had 17 first-half points to help Detroit to a 52-51 lead, but Lillard’s 3-pointer on Portland’s first possession of the second half started a 17-2 run. The Trail Blazers hit their first five 3-point attempts of the quarter and Lillard finished with 16 points in the period as Portland took an 87-79 lead.

“Teams always have a lot of energy at the start of games, but that doesn’t always translate to the second half,” Lillard said. “Right now, stepping it up in the third quarter of games is our specialty and we have to keep doing that.”

The Pistons cut the gap to six early in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t put together a sustained run.

Portland shot 59.5% from the floor in the second half, including 9-19 on 3-pointers, and hit 20 of 21 free-throw attempts.

Damian draws the winning points again

Lillard hits three free throws with one second left in 125-122 win
Staff Report

Damian Lillard missed the decisive shot again Thursday night in Miami, but ... he got fouled in the process and made the free throws in a 125-122 win.

So, Damian did it again, just not the ESPN-highlight way.

Lillard made three free throws with one second remaining for the final margin, and the Trail Blazers survived a wild ending to beat the short-handed Miami Heat 125-122 on Thursday night.

Lillard made a pair of free throws with one second left in a 125-124 win over New Orleans, March 16.

Lillard scored 22 points to go along with CJ McCollum’s return to form with 35 points in the win on the road.

Lillard was fouled by Miami’s Trevor Ariza on a 3-point attempt, which the Heat argued to no avail. He coolly sank all three foul shots, and the Blazers snapped a two-game slide.

“Sometimes I might have it going, but he’s the closer,” McCollum said of Lillard.

Miami didn’t have a time-out remaining to advance the ball and couldn’t get a desperation attempt to tie the game off before time expired.

McCollum had 21 of his game-high 35 points in the first quarter for Portland, which got 22 points from Lillard, 20 points from Carmelo Anthony and 18 points to go along with 16 rebounds from Enes Kanter.

Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro each had 29 points for Miami, which dropped its fifth straight and fell to 22-23. Kendrick Nunn scored 22 for the Heat.

Portland stayed in sixth place in the Western Conference, but is tied with Denver for fifth at 26-28 overall. That’s only 1.5 games behind the struggling Los Angeles Lakers heading into a game at Orlando Friday night.

A combination of trades, illness, injury and virus-related issues left the Heat with nine players for the game.

Victor Oladipo and Nemanja Bjelica have yet to join the club after being acquired earlier Thursday in moves that sent Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley to Houston, plus Chris Silva and Moe Harkless to Sacramento. The other Heat absences: Jimmy Butler was sick, Goran Dragic has a back issue and Udonis Haslem and KZ Okpala remain in the league’s health and safety protocols.

Portland took a 100-99 lead with 7:57 left on a 3-pointer by Anthony. To that point, neither team had been up by more than eight all night.

Miami then went on an 11-0 run to take a 110-100 lead, with Gabe Vincent, Andre Iguodala and Herro all making 3-pointers on consecutive possessions and Herro adding a pair of free throws to cap the spurt.

Portland answered with an 11-0 run of its own, taking the lead back on a layup by Lillard with 3:48 left.

Back and forth they went the rest of the way, with some team either taking the lead or pulling into a tie eight times in the final 1:44. Lillard got the call from referee Brian Forte at the end, and Portland got the win.

Blazers take one on the chin

Dallas responds to Friday loss with 132-92 blowout of Portland
Staff Report

PORTLAND - Luka Doncic scored 37 points in three quarters, leading the Dallas Mavericks to a 132-92 rout of the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night at the Rose Garden, avenging a loss on the same court two nights earlier.

Doncic made his first eight 3-point shots and finished with 8-for-9 shooting from long distance. Overall, he shot 13 of 19 from the field and added seven rebounds and four assists.

Josh Richardson scored 21 points, DorianFinney-Smith added 13 and Kristaps Porzingis 12 for the Mavericks.

“We shifted our concentration onto our defensive game plan, our offensive gameplay and unconditionally helping each other out there and turning the attention away from the officials,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “This is part of the growth process for a young team. Some things that this team simply has to go through. This was a source of growth tonight and we just want to keep working to improve every single day. “

Damian Lillard led Portland with 19 points, and Gary Trent Jr. added 16. CJ McCollum finished with 13.

Lillard, McCollum and Carmelo Anthony did not make a 3-point shot in the game.

“Anytime me, CJ (McCollum) and (Carmelo Anthony) go 0 for 16 from 3, we’re not going to have much of a chance,” Lillard said.

Dallas’ Boban Marjanovic, who sat our Friday’s game, took advantage of his opportunity to make an impact.

After Portland had a 13-5 advantage on the offensive glass on Friday, Marjanovic’s presence helped tipped the scales in favor of the Mavericks in just five minutes of action. Marjanovic finished with two points and two rebounds but helped prevent Portland center Enes Kanter from dominating the boards. Dallas outrebounded the Blazers 52-33 overall.

The Mavericks made 19 3-pointers. Portland was unable to keep pace as the Trail Blzers shot 20 percent from the 3-point arc and made only nine shots from long distance.

A Doncic 3-pointer gave the Mavericks a 76-54 lead, forcing a Blazers timeout with 8:47 left in the third quarter. Dallas started the third quarter on a 19-0 run. A three-point play by McCollum stopped Portland’s third quarter drought, which lasted 5:37.

“I don’t know how I characterize that,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “It was not our night in the 3rd quarter. 19-0 speaks for itself.”

The Mavericks led 103-69 at the end of the third quarter. The Blazers took Lillard out of the game after the third quarter.


Dame keeps the pressure on with 36 point outburst

Blazers beat New Orleans for second time in three days
Staff Report

Damian Lillard showed off his MVP form again Thursday night by scoring 36 points and leading the Portland Trail Blazers past New Orleans, 101-93.

Lillard, who scored 50 on Tuesday as the team rallied from 17 points down in the final six minutes to win by one, hit 12 of 22 shots from the field and grabbed six rebounds. 

Portland got 16 points and 13 rebounds from Enes Kanter and 11 points from C.J. McCollum in his second start since returning from two months off for an injury. Carmelo Anthony added 15 points off the bench as the Blazers improved to 24-16 overall and tied with Denver for fifth place in the Western Conference.

The Blazers have won six of their last eight games heading into a key match-up at Dallas (21-18) tonight. The Mavericks are in eighth place in the West, 2.5 games behind Portland and just a game ahead of Golden State.



Lillard, Blazers on fire; GS next

WEDNESDAY 4CAST: NBA, Pac-12 men, Hawks Reunion, Timbers/Thorns
Staff report

Another 30+ performance by Damian Lillard, and fabulous team defense carried the Portland Trail Blazers to their eighth-straight win Tuesday night, 111-87, over the New York Knicks at the Moda Center.

Lillard went off for 37 points, a night after scoring 39 in a comeback win over the Lakers, and had Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek talking about post-season honors.

"The guy is playing fantastic," Hornacek told reporters. "He might be one of those guys you've got to start talking about that MVP too with the way he's playing."

Lillard is averaging a career-best 26.8 points per game this season.

"I said after I won Rookie of the Year, I said I think I can be MVP in this league," Lillard said. "Being in the discussion, it's an honor to be mentioned, but I don't look at that and think `Oh they mentioned me in the MVP discussion.' I feel that's the level of player I can be."

Portland improved to 39-26 with a home game against Golden State on tap for Friday.


Oregon and Oregon State get into action in the Pac-12 men's basketball tournament in Las Vegas today with game in the evening.

Oregon State, the 10th seed, plays seventh seed Washington at 6 p.m., while Oregon, the sixth seed, plays 11th seeded Washington State at 8:30 p.m. Both games are available on the Pac-12 Network.

Also, Oregon sophomore Payton Pritchard was named to the all-conference second team, and freshman Kenny Wooten was named all-conference first team for defense.


Portland's Ty Kolle scored with just over three minutes left to lift the Winterhawks to a 4-3 win at Prince George, B.C., Tuesday night. The Hawks play at Everett, Wash., tonight, then return for home games Saturday and Sunday.

The Hawks added Marty Standish for the reunion of the 1998 Memorial Cup champions Saturday. The will honor the '98 squad with a Hall of Fame induction for four of the key members: Marian Hossa, Andrew Ference, Brendan Morrow and Todd Robinson, who plan to attend.


The Portland Timbers continue the early part of their season in New York Saturday, with three more road games before their home opener, April 14, at Providence Park.

The Portland Thorns open their sixth season in the National Women's Soccer League March 15 in North Carolina, and begin play at home April 15.






Toronto finally finishes in PDX

The Raptors score a 110-103 win, their first in Portland since 2006
Feb. 4, 2016 / Associated Press

PORTLAND - Kyle Lowry credited backcourt teammate DeMar DeRozan for Toronto’s latest win.

Lowry had 30 points, DeRozan added 29 and the Toronto Raptors snapped Portland’s five-game winning streak with a 110-103 victory over the Trail Blazers on Thursday night.

“DeMar was aggressive and stayed aggressive throughout the game,” Lowry said. “His aggressiveness really helped set the tempo and set the standard for us throughout the game.

Damian Lillard had 27 points and 11 assists, while CJ McCollum added 21 points for Portland in the matchup between two of the league’s dynamic backcourts.

The Raptors, who have lost only one of their last 14 games, led by as many as 16 points in the first half. But the Blazers chipped away in the third quarter and came within 85-81 on Meyers Leonard’s jumper in the fourth. Lowry answered with a 3-pointer and Portland couldn’t get closer.

Toronto extended its lead to 94-81 on Lowry’s 3 with 6:52 left in the game. The Raptors made 12 of 19 3-point attempts in the game, with Lowry scoring seven of them to match his career high.

Lillard hit a jumper and Allen Crabbe made a pair free throws to pull Portland within 106-101 with 55.3 seconds left, but McCollum missed a 12-foot jumper and Toronto hit free throws to end the threat.

“We understood it was going to be a challenge tonight,” DeRozan said. “They’ve got a great backcourt that plays extremely hard and it’s a team that’s fighting for something so we had to meet the challenge tonight.”

After a loss at home to the Denver Nuggets on Monday that snapped their franchise-best 11-game winning streak, the Raptors rebounded with a 104-97 victory over the Suns.

The Raptors’ game against the Blazers was the first of a six-game road trip.

Portland was without starting forward Noah Vonleh, who injured his left ankle in the Blazers’ 107-95 victory over Milwaukee. Maurice Harkless, who had played a combined seven minutes in the last five games, was the surprising starter in Vonleh’s place.

Going into the game, Lillard and McCollum were averaging a combined 44.9 points per game, ranked third in the league, but DeRozan and Lowry were close behind and averaging 44.

Before the game, Blazers coach Terry Stotts joked about the matchup: “Let’s play two-on-two.” Raptors coach Dwane Casey, who used to work with Stotts on Rick Carlisle’s Mavericks staff, replied: “I’ll go with that.”

A fast-break dunk by DeRozan put the Raptors up 18-10 in the first quarter, and he would lead all scorers with 12 points in the period.

Boosted by eight 3-pointers, Toronto led by as many as 16 points in the first half. But a late 8-0 run pulled the Blazers within 53-47 and the Raptors led 50-51 at the half.

McCollum’s 3-pointer closed Portland within 73-69, but Lowry answered with his own and Toronto was able to keep the Blazers for gaining ground.

“They play well together,” Lillard said. “You can see it, you can hear it in how they communicate with each other. They’re a group, they’re a unit.”

Leonard was charged with a flagrant foul on Bismack Biyombo after a review late in the game.

Blazers move into playoff spot

Portland beats Minnesota again to advance ahead of Utah in the West
Jan. 31, 2016 / Associated Press

PORTLAND - Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers are enjoying the comforts of home.

Lillard and CJ McCollum scored 21 points apiece, and the Trail Blazers handed the Minnesota Timberwolves their 11th straight road loss with a 96-93 victory Sunday night.

Portland extended its winning streak to four and improved to 3-0 against the Timberwolves this season.

With the win the Blazers also moved into eighth place in the Western Conference.

At home, Lillard says the team is able to more closely examine the scouting report. At home, Lillard is on his own time, playing by his own rules. It means something to him to be able to sleep in his own bed.

“Coming in we knew we had some winnable games and it was just a matter of us taking care of business,” Lillard said. “Over the last couple of games, we’ve defended better, we’ve shared the ball better and we’ve played more complete games, so that’s led us to being able to win four in a row.”

Each of the last four games, the Blazers have won by five points or less. This was Portland’s first win by three points or fewer this season.

Portland hasn’t always been able to come through in crunch time and pull out wins. The Trail Blazers’ first four losses came by a margin of six points or fewer.

“When you’re at home, you’ve got to protect your home court,” McCollum said. “When you have a lead -- 10 points, five points, whatever it may be, down the stretch of a game, you’ve got to run clock, take advantage of the defense if they’re trapping and just try to get a good shot while using the clock every possession.”

Karl-Anthony Towns, a strong contender for Rookie of the Year, was the first player on the court in double figures and finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Timberwolves. It was his 25th double-double, the most of any rookie this season.

Still, Towns is not satisfied.

“It’s nice to lead the league in double-doubles for rookies, but I’d rather lead with wins,” he said. “I’m not too happy about that. I’m just playing the game and trying to do everything I can to help my team win.”

Ricky Rubio hit a 3-pointer to close the gap to 92-90 with 13.1 seconds left. McCollum answered with free throws for the Blazers, and Minnesota couldn’t catch up.

Gerald Henderson made a 3 for Portland with 9:26 remaining to snap a tie. Towns answered with one of his own to even the score at 72.

Henderson wasn’t done. He hit an uncontested jumper to give Portland a lead it did not relinquish. A 3-pointer from Al-Farouq Aminu and a dunk by Meyers Leonard helped the Blazers build a 12-point cushion, their largest of the night.

Another dunk by Leonard that put Portland up 81-74 with 6:12 to go highlighted his 13-point performance.

Minnesota’s six unanswered points to begin the second half cut the Trail Blazers’ lead to three. Gorgui Dieng’s eight third-quarter points helped Minnesota claw its way to a two-point lead heading into the fourth.

As the first half was winding down, the teams traded points. Leonard’s 3 helped the Blazers go into halftime leading 48-39.

Minnesota entered ranked last in 3-point attempts this season and No. 29 in 3-point percentage at 32.4 percent. The Timberwolves went 0 for 5 on 3s in the first half.

Portland shot 22.2 percent from beyond the arc overall (6 for 27).

“We’re showing signs of growth,” Lillard said.

Leonard led the Trail Blazers’ reserves in scoring and is averaging 10.6 points per game over his last nine. “I think he held his own defensively,” Stotts said. “I’ve said this a few times: He may or may not score, but his presence on the court offensively opens things up for (Lillard) and CJ and other guys.”

Portland plays host the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.

Hawks handle Blazers range

Portland slumps from 3-point territory, drops home-stretch opener
Jan. 20, 2016

PORTLAND - The Atlanta Hawks had one main goal Wednesday night: keep Portland from making 3-pointers.

The defensive strategy worked, and the Hawks opened a four-game road trip with a 104-98 victory over the Trail Blazers at the Moda Center.

Paul Millsap and Kent Bazemore each had 23 points for Atlanta, which has won three straight overall and four straight against the Blazers. Millsap added nine rebounds.

Portland went 9 for 31 from beyond the arc. The Blazers shot 39.9 percent from long range over its previous six games, averaging 13.2 made 3s.

“Defensive focus tonight was to make sure we forced them off the 3-point line,” said Al Horford, who finished with 16 points. “We did that throughout the game. They had a lot of drives to the basket and that’s what we wanted to do.”

CJ McCollum had 28 points for Portland, which trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half but came all the way back to grab an 84-79 lead after Meyers Leonard’s 3-pointer with 8:10 left.

Kyle Korver wrestled back the lead for the Hawks with his first 3-pointer of the game, before Millsap’s 3 and Horford’s jumper stretched Atlanta’s lead to 98-92 with 1:53 left. Portland couldn’t catch up.

“We got a couple stops, and I think we hit some 3s,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “At the end of the day, both teams can be very effective from the 3-point line. We wanted to take away their 3s.”

Damian Lillard had 18 points for the Blazers in the opener of an eight-game homestand.

“We wanted to start it off with a win tonight,” Lillard said. “It would have been a good win for us but we didn’t put enough of a complete game together.”

Atlanta opened a 33-20 lead on Mike Scott’s jumper in the second quarter, but Portland pulled within one at 43-42 after Lillard’s long jumper. Atlanta had a 48-43 lead at the break.

The Hawks increased their advantage to 66-56 midway through the third, but the Blazers kept hanging around, closing to 74-72 on McCollum’s 19-foot jumper.

Lillard hit a 3-pointer and a free throw to tie it at 79 with 9:42 to go. He followed with a running layup that gave Portland its first lead since the first quarter.

“When our defense is where it needs to be on any given night, we will be tough to beat. Our offense gets a lot of the glory but it was our defense that kept us in the game,” Bazemore said.

With a young squad, Portland was looking at the process more than the result.

“I thought we had a good effort. It seemed like we were fighting from behind most of the way but we kept at it,” coach Terry Stotts said.


Hawks: With the win, Budenholzer tied Bob Weiss for eighth on Hawks’ career wins list with 124.

Trail Blazers: McCollum has now scored 20 or more points in 20 games this season. ... The Blazers played the music video for Lillard’s newly released song “Bigger Than Us.”


The Trail Blazers unveiled Oregon’s new Trail Blazers license plate, which will be available to drivers this spring. Proceeds from the $40 surcharge for the plates will be distributed to youth-oriented nonprofits across Oregon. Gov. Kate Brown was on hand for the unveiling.

Blazers ready for home cooking

Portland returns from road trip with playoff spot in sight
Jan. 19, 2016

A season-high performance from long range helped the Portland Trail Blazers bounce Monday back from a discouraging loss and refocus on reaching the playoffs for the third straight season.

The starting backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum helped the Blazers roar back from an embarrassing 25-point loss to Philadelphia for a 108-98 win at Washington on Monday in which they shot a season-best 54.8 percent from long range.

Lillard and McCollum, who both sat out the 76ers game with slight injuries, combined for 41 points and went 8 of 16 on 3s as the Blazers won for the fourth time in five games.

“Winning three (in a row) and then getting beat by a (76ers) team that only had four wins - the ability to come back and lock in and not dwell on what had happened is big for us,” said Meyers Leonard, who scored 18 points.

Next up for the Blazers (19-25), the Southeast Division-leading Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night at the Moda Center.

Hawks can create some breathing room atop the Southeast Division with their closest pursuer banged-up and trudging through an exhausting stretch.

The Hawks, however, need to carry the balance they’ve shown in their last few home games out on the road beginning with Wednesday night’s opener of a four-game trip against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Atlanta (25-17) has been jockeying with Miami for the division lead and carries a slim advantage into this matchup with Portland (19-25). The Heat, already saddled with key injuries, are amid a vicious slate in which only two of 16 games come at home.

One of those contests is Jan. 31 against the Hawks, who don’t have it much easier until then with five of their next six away from home.

They’ve lost four of six outside Atlanta to fall to 10-10 on the road, but a pair of home victories this week showed signs of them regaining the balance they used during last season’s 60-win campaign.

After shooting a combined 40.3 percent, including 16 of 55 from 3-point range, in road losses to Charlotte and Milwaukee last week, Atlanta shot the ball well and used its deep rotation in home wins over Brooklyn and Orlando.

The Hawks hit 55.7 percent despite missing 21 of 29 from long range in a 114-86 rout of the Nets on Saturday before having one of their most effective nights from deep with a 9-for-19 effort in Monday’s 98-81 victory over the Magic.

The reserves were key in both wins, providing 53 points, 24 rebounds and 18 assists against Brooklyn, and 47 points, 17 rebounds and 19 assists versus Orlando.

“Our bench has been doing great,” starting forward Paul Millsap said. “When they get in the game, they push the tempo, they get after it on defense, and when you have the whole team contributing, the whole team out there fighting hard, it makes us a tough team.”

The constant stream of fresh legs wreaked havoc on the perimeter, forcing the Nets and Magic to miss 30 of 42 long-range attempts -- a welcome sight for a Hawks team that ranked seventh in the NBA last season with a 34.1 defensive 3-point percentage.

“Their defensive energy is fueling everything else, so hopefully we can continue to get the starters to feed off that, too,” coach Mike Budenholzer said of his reserves. “It’s been good to see that for a few games in a row.”

The perimeter focus needs to remain against the Trail Blazers, who rank third in the league with an average of 10.3 3-pointers and fifth with 28.4 attempts per game. The outside defense was clicking in the first meeting against Portland, which missed 19 of 24 from beyond the arc in a 106-97 loss at Atlanta on Dec. 21.

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