Portland Trail Blazers

Loss at Denver keeps Blazers sliding

Portland falls to sixth place in the West after 111-106 loss
Staff Report

Denver center Nikola Jokic went off for 41 points and Portland lost for the third time in four nighrts, 111-106 Tuesday night in Denver.

Portland got 25 points and 13 assists from Damian Lillard and 24 points from Carmelo Anthony off the bench, but Jokic couldn't be stopped and the Nuggets were pressured into only one turnover throughout the night. Jamal Murray added 24 points for Denver.

The Blazers were within 93-92 with five minutes left, but Denver went on a 10-2 run and improved to 17-14 overall, just a game behind the Blazers in the conference standings. They finished with seven fewer field-goal attempts and the Nuggets made 17 of 18 free throws, which was eight more attempts than the Blazers had - they made all of them.

Portland, which had a six-game win streak snapped Saturday, dropped to sixth place in the West at 18-13 overall, which is 2.5 games ahead of ninth-place Dallas. The Mavericks beat Boston 110-107 on a 3-pointer by Luka Doncic with 0.01 seconds left Tuesday night to improve to 15-15. 

The Blaers play at the Los Angeles Lakers, who are currently in third place in the West, Friday night, then finish the first half of the regular season next week with three home games in four nights: Charlotte (14-16), Golden State (17-15) and Sacramento (12-19).

Dallas heads to the All-Star Break with a three-game road trip at Philadelphia, Boston and Orlando and at home against Oklahoma City.



Blazers flop at Phoenix

Portland stumbles in third quarter at Phoenix for second straight loss
Staff Report

The Portland Trail Blazers went cold in the third quarter as part of a 132-120 loss at Phoenix, the team's second straight defeat

Phoenix outscored the Blazers 37-17 in the third, and took a two-game lead over the Blazers in the race for fourth place in the Western Conference.

Portland still sits in fifth place, but is just a half-game ahead of San Antonio.

The Blazers play tonight at Denver, which is in seventh place, two games back.

Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 24 points, and seven assists. Gary Trent, Jr. had 11 points, but no other Portland starter finished in double figures. 

Enes Kanter had six points and 15 rebounds. Nassir Little had 18 points off the bench.

Devin Booker had 34 points and Chris Paul had nine assists to lead Phoenix.

Portland, 18-12, had a six-game win streak snapped Satuday night, but is still 3.5 games ahead of ninth-place Dallas and Memphis with five games remaining in the first half of the regular season.



Blazers falter as playoffs loom

Washington takes a 118-111 win and Portland falls to fifth
Staff Report

Russell Westbrook had 27 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds, and the Washington Wizards snapped Portland’s six-game win streak with a 118-111 victory over Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers on Saturday night at the Moda Center.

Bradley Beal scored 37 points, helping Washington to its fourth straight win. Rui Hachimura added 17 points, and reserve Robin Lopez had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Lillard had 35 points and 12 assists, but he was 10 for 30 from the field. Enes Kanter had 19 points and 13 rebounds for Portland, and Robert Covington finished with 11 points and 11 boards.

“We were on a winning streak too but they were feeling confident,” Kanter said. “They beat three good teams before us and they were playing confident, making shots. We cannot let our offense affect our defense.”

The win moved the Wizards within 2.5 games of a playoff spot with two weeks of the season left.

Lillard was held in check in the first half, going 2 for 13 from the field. But he scored 23 points in the third quarter on 7-for-8 shooting. He was hit in the neck by an elbow from Washington’s Raul Neto, but he remained in the game after he was examined by the Blazers training staff.

Lillard’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the just in front of the mid-court logo lifted Portland to a 92-89 lead heading into the fourth.

The Trail Blazers had a 96-93 lead with 8:39 left when the Wizards grabbed control with a 10-2 spurt. Lopez sparked the run with a layup, Davis Bertans hit a key 3 and Hachimura finished the decisive stretch with a foul shot, making it 103-98 with 5:40 to go.

Bertans made another big 3 with 2:18 left, lifting Washington to a 110-101 lead.

Portland plays Monday at Phoenix, which moved to fourth in the West, one game ahead of the Blazers, with a win over Memphis Saturday.

The Blazers are one game ahead of sixth-place San Antonio, and two ahead of Denver, where the team plays Tuesday.


Blazers getting plenty of rest for next season

Portland's playoff run gives it momentum in the off-season
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

Whenever the 2020-21 NBA season begins, the Portland Trail Blazers will likely have a key national commentator on their side - Charles Barkley.

Barkley famously predicted the Blazers, then likely the hottest team in the league heading into the playoffs, would sweep the league's top team, the Los Angeles Lakers, in their first-round match-up if they won the first game of the best-of-seven series, which they did.

The Lakers, however, spoiled that prediction by winning the next four games, thus ending the Blazers' season.

Portland, though, did reach the playoffs, and got more than three weeks of rest from when the deciding fifth game ended to when the NBA Finals will end.

The start of the 2020-21 season looms in either November or December, and Portland has a roster that appears capable of finishing in a variety of spots within the Western Conference, although topping the Lakers might be a stretch. The Blazers do, though, have one of the best players in the league - Damian Lillard - and that makes them a dangerous opponent for any team. The series with the Lakers showed off what the team needs to be dangerous for a series, not just a game.

As long as they have Lillard, though, they'll be attractive to television viewers and commenators, Barkley included.


Nurkic returning in time for ... next season prep

Blazers just about out of playoff hunt for 2020
Staff Report

If there were a time for the Portland Trail Blazers to get hot during the 2019-20 NBA season, this would be just about the perfect time. 

Not only do the Blazers have their top two scorers in Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum on the court, but Carmelo Anthony has shown off his consistency and Hassan Whiteside is regularly a stud in the middle. So, what does the team need to get going? Jusef Nurkic - yes.

Nurkic has been recovering from surgery for nearly a year, but is expected to return this week, with the team 4.5 games from a playoff spot. At 28-37, they're nine games under .500 with just 17 games left in the season. As Memphis is 32-32 in eighth place in the Western Conference, it's likely the Blazers will need to finish at .500 to tie or edge the Grizzlies for that spot, needing to pass both New Orleans and Sacramento to achieve that. 

That's a 13-4 finish to accomplish that feat - reach .500. 

But, that would be the way to head into the playoffs - on fire. And, Memphis is a testament to that being possible as it won 11 consecutive games at one point this season to move into the eighth spot.

And the next five games are at home, beginning with Phoenix Tuesday. Thursday, the Blazers match-up with Memphis, the easiest way to make up ground on the Grizz.



March 10 vs. Phoenix, 26-38

March 12 vs. Memphis, 32-32

March 15 vs. Houston, 39-24

March 17 vs. Minnesota, 19-44

March 19 vs. Dallas, 39-26




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).



Blazers look to next streak

After Houston loss, Portland has more key games ahead
Staff report

The win streak is over, but it certainly put the Portland Trail Blazers on the map of teams to watch for as possible title contenders.

Next up is Boston.

James Harden scored 42 points, including a pair of 3s down the stretch, and the Houston Rockets snapped the Blazers’ 13-game winning streak with a 115-111 victory on Tuesday night before a rowdy crowd at the Moda Center.

“They’re the No. 1 team in the league for a reason,” Portland’s Damian Lillard said afterward. “We’ve just got to make a few more plays and make a few more shots if we want to beat a team like that.”

Portland’s winning streak was tied for the second-longest in franchise history. The team also won 13 consecutive games in 2007.

Al-Farouq Aminu had 22 points, including six 3-pointers, for Portland. The Blazers had also won nine straight at the Moda Center before the loss.

Jusef Nurkic had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Lillard added 20 for the Blazers. But, Lillard’s backcourt mate C.J. McCollum had just six points on 4-of-15 shooting, and combined with Lillard to miss all 12 of their 3-point shots combined - easily their worst performance of the season.

And, yet, Portland lost by just four to drop to 44-27 overall.

Chris Paul added 22 points for the Rockets, who have won six straight and 23 of their last 24 and have the best record in the NBA at 57-17.

Boston is second in the Eastern Conference at 48-23, 4.5 games behind Toronto, which is 53-19.


Blazers begin stretch run

4CAST: NBA, NCAA Tourney, Winterhawks, MLS/NWSL
Staff report

The Portland Trail Blazers start the first of four consecutive games against teams at the top of the the Western Conference and Eastern Conference with the Houston Rockets tonight.

Houston leads the Western Conference and will take on the Blazers at the Moda Center at 7:30 p.m., a game set to be televised by TNT.

Portland, with a 13-game winning streak through Monday, then gets Boston - the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 team - on Friday.

They head to Oklahoma City Sunday and play at New Orleans next Monday.

With the win streak the Blazers vaulted into third place in the Western Conference and first place in the Northwest Division. The conference strength is significant this season as all eight playoff teams are at least nine games above .500. The Blazers have just 12 games to go in the regular season.

Oklahoma City is 43-29 and just two games behind Portland in the race for the division title, while New Orleans is 40-30 and tied for fifth place in the West with Utah. The Pelicans may be a first-round playoff opponent for Portland.


Central Michigan, and 11th seed in the NCAA Women's Tournament 11th, scored a huge upset of Ohio State Monday, and will get the University of Oregon in the Sweet 16 Saturday in Spokane, Wash. Oregon is 32-4 on the year, while Central Michigan is 30-4.

Oregon State, meanwhile, gets second-ranked Baylor on Friday. The game is set for Lexington, Ky., Friday. Baylor is 33-1, while OSU is 25-7 following its upset of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., on Sunday.

The Pac-12 got two more teams into the Sweet 16 Monday - UCLA and Stanford, and has four teams in the Sweet 16.


The 72-game regular season came to a close with a 5-4 loss to Spokane Sunday for the Portland Winterhawks, but the season begins anew Saturday. Portland, which finished the regular season at 44-22-1-5 for 94 points, plays the Chiefs in a seven-game series with the first two games in Portland Saturday and Sunday.


The Portland Thorns and Portland Timbers return to the pitch Saturday with league matches. The Thorns, who drew with Houston 0-0 Saturday at Merlo Field, open NWSL play at North Carolina Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Portland won its second NWSL title last season.

The Timbers, 0-2 in MLS action, play at Houston Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Portland has scored just once in its two games, and is looking for its first win under new coah Giovanni Savarese.


In Pac-12 softball, Sixth-ranked Oregon is 25-5 heading for a weekend off before a three-game series with rival Oregon State March 29-31 in Corvallis.

Oregon State recovered from a 12-0 loss Saturday to beat Cal 8-3 Sunday and earn a 2-1 series win in Corvallis. Oregon State is 19-10 heading into a three-game series at UCLA Friday.

In Pac-12 baseball, top-ranked Oregon State is 18-1 on the year, matching the 1951, 1962, 2013 and 2017 teams for the best record through 19 games. OSU has won 13 consecutive Pac-12 games dating back to the 2016 season. The Beavers start a three-game series with Washington on Friday.
In other Pac-12 action, Oregon starts a three-game series with Cal starting Friday. Oregon is 8-2 at home this season.


Stotts Coach of Year material?

Blazers coach has award rating on the line this week
Staff report

Has Terry Stotts elevated the Portland Trail Blazers enough to be voted Coach of the Year in 2018? Well, maybe, especially if the Blazers can do something like sweep the next four games and head to the NBA Playoffs on a huge roll.

That's a key part of this week's Sportsland, Oregon podcast featuring Cliff Pfenning and Derek Weber.

The Blazers plays host to Houston - the Western Conference leader - Tuesday, then Boston - the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 team - on Friday. They head to Oklahoma City Sunday and play at New Orleans next Monday.

With the win streak the Blazers vaulted into third place in the Western Conference and first place in the Northwest Division. The conference strength is significant this season as all eight playoff teams are at least nine games above .500. The Blazers have just 12 games to go in the regular season.

Oklahoma City is 43-29 and just two games behind Portland in the race for the division title, while New Orleans is 40-30 and tied for fifth place in the West with Utah. The Pelicans may be a first-round playoff opponent for Portland.

Also, the podcast focuses on the NCAA Tournament, NFL free agency, Timbers and Thorns, Tiger Woods and the start of the 2018 International Roofball Federation schedule.




Ducks, Beavers await tournament pairings

4CAST: NCAA women, Oregon men, Blazers, Thorns
Staff report

The Oregon and Oregon State women's basketball programs will get their official NCAA Tournament placements tonight, giving their fans and end to more than a week of waiting.

The Ducks won the Pac-12 Tournament title last weekend for the first time, a day after Oregon State's regular season ended. The Ducks are likely to receive their highest tournament seed in the program's history.

Oregon, 30-4, enters the tournament ranked No. 6 nationally, and with a nine-game win streak. The Ducks were a 10 seed last year, but played into the Elite Eight before losing to Connecticut 90-52.

Oregon State, 23-7, is ranked 13th. The Beavers were a No. 2 seed last year, but got knocked out by Florida State in the Sweet 16.

The women's tournament begins on Thursday.


The Oregon men's basketball team missed out on the NCAA Tournament - Arizona, UCLA and Arizona State received spots - but did get into the NIT and will play host to Rider on Tuesday night at Matthew Knight Arena.

Oregon reached the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals and is 22-11 overall. Rider, 22-9, won the regular-season title in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title, but missed out on the automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament by not winning the MAAC tournament. It's the first-ever meeting between the schools. Rider is located in Lawrenceville, N.J.


Portland, in third place in the Western Conference, will put its nine-game win streak up against Miami, the No. 7 team from the Eastern Conference.

The Blazers are 40-26 and two games ahead of fourth-place New Orleans, Minnesota and Oklahoma City.

Miami is 36-31 and has a two-game win streak.


The Portland Thorns lost their first of three preseason games Sunday, 1-0, to the Chicago Red Stars at Merlo Field. The team plays again Wednesday and Saturday Merlo Field in preparation for the start of the season, March 24. Wednesday's game is against the U.S. National Under-23 squad.


The Portland Winterhawks rebounded from Saturday's loss with a 2-0 victory over Everett at the Moda Center, and have three games remaining in the regular season. The Hawks play again Friday against Seattle at the Moda Center.



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