The Final Four: Kaleb Canales

The Final Four: Kaleb Canales

34-year-old Kaleb Canales is currently serving as the interim head coach for the Portland Trail Blazers. Canales is the first Mexican-American coach in NBA history. As well, he is the youngest coach in the NBA.

Canales wont be known for his athletic accolades; his playing career stretched as far as Alexander High School in Laredo, TX where he graduated in 1996. He then attended Laredo Community College before going to the University of Texas at Arlington. While at UTA, Canales served as the basketball team manager for a year. Canales graduated from UTA with a degree in kinesiology before attending Virginia Commonwealth University where he earned his masters degree in sports leadership.

Canales first coaching stint occurred in 2001 at Laredo Martin High School, where he spent one season before moving to Laredo United High School. Having only spent two formal years coaching basketball, Canales made the big move up to college where he served as an assistant coach back at UTA.

With dreams of, one day, being an NBA coach, Canales began to take action in his goals. Having applied for an internship with the Miami Heat multiple times, Canales finally landed an unpaid internship with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2004. After a year of intern duties, Canales was hired on as a video coordinator where he worked until 2008. In 2008, Canales became a part-time assistant coach for the Trail Blazers, followed by a full-time promotion in 2009. In 2010, Canales served as head coach of NBA Summer League.

Canales chance at head coaching began under interesting, to say the least, circumstances, when then Blazers head coach Nate McMillan was dismissed in March of 2012. Canales was selected as interim head coach for the remainder of the 2011-12 NBA season, coaching a total of 23 games and finishing with a 8-15 record.

My career has been like that quick. Ive just tried to stay humble, work hard and enjoy the process, Canales told the Laredo Morning Times earlier this year.

Hecky Noyola, Canales best friend, also told the Times, Canales has always been the hardest working guy and he does things 100 percent and the right way.

Canales reaches the final four of candidates having the most knowledge of the operations, systematics and personnel within the organization and has a resounding amount of support from LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews and players top to bottom.

Our motto is 'If you’re open shoot it' -- A couple of three-point treats as Blazers attempt more from deep

Our motto is 'If you’re open shoot it' -- A couple of three-point treats as Blazers attempt more from deep

Throughout the start of this 2018-19 season Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts has emphasized that attempting more threes was a main focus and Saturday night against the Spurs, the Blazers were hot from deep starting with a ‘Logo Lillard’ three-pointer and ending with a CJ McCollum shake and bake three.

As a team, Portland made 15-of-32 from long distance in Saturday’s 121-108 win over the Spurs. The Blazers were shooting 50% before two garbage time three-point attempts.

In Portland’s first game of the season against the Lakers, the Blazers attempted 37 three-pointers (13-37). In this small sample size, the Blazers are attempting more long balls than last season’s 28.1 average.

Is Coach Stotts pleased with the number of attempts so far?

“I am. We’d liked to get over 30 every game if we can. I like how we’ve been getting them. Against the Lakers and tonight a lot of them are off the pass,” Stotts said.

The players know the shots must be good looks even though the volume of threes is the goal.

“I think we could probably take more, but I think that would make them a lower percentage shots than what they are. I think we’re getting good ones—coming off ball movement, but I’m fine with it. I like the way we are playing right now,” Lillard said.

The Blazers new motto seems to suggest that everyone has the green light as long as you are smart about it.

“I think our (goal for) attempts is 35 from three. Our motto is 'if you’re open shoot it'. I think so far we’ve done a good job with that,” Layman said.

Logo Lillard

Trail Blazer fans were treated to a Damain Lillard three from the bottom of the pinwheel logo just across half court to open up the game on Saturday.

There was a lot of chatter about the “Logo Lillard” three. So this question must be asked: Does Lillard feel like there is a max range where he will not attempt a three-bomb?

“I mean I probably wouldn’t just stop at half court and shoot it, but once I get past half court, especially at the end of the shot clock like it was, I’ll shoot it,” Lillard said with a grin.

“How far was that opening shot? Anybody measure that??" Stotts joked. “That was a great first play of the game,” Stotts added.


Another treat for fans and a big trending topic on social media was McCollum’s crossover move that put Spurs young point guard Bryn Forbes on skates.

“I’ve seen that a lot from him, but when it happens in a game it just makes it so much more hyped up. It’s fun for the bench to see that,” Layman said.

Blazers big man Zach Collins was literally sitting on the ground for several seconds after the McCollum move. 

“He dropped him, I had to do something, He’s so shifty… He knows how to finish well and also his balance when he’s going full speed and able to step back or crossover and still get up the jump shot... it’s crazy. I hate guarding him. I’m glad he’s on my team,” Collins said.

Here’s the kicker though, McCollum had a lot of fun with the crossover, but he did not think it was one of his bests.

“I was kind of sizing him up figuring out what I wanted to do and I have a couple of setup moves and I kind of rocked and I dropped it through my legs and I wasn’t  even gonna shoot it, but then he kind of sat down and got into a stance, so I was like I’m might as well raise up one time,” McCollum said with a big smile.  “It wasn’t even one of my better crossovers, honestly, he just kind of reacted, McCollum added.

The love from the bench did not go unnoticed from McCollum.

“Zach was like laying down. He’s funny, man. I appreciate that bench support,” McCollum said.

“When the move happened, the defender stumbled kind of slowly and so we all kind of immediately got out of our seats and I got into a stance, into almost like a defensive stance just waiting to see if the ball went through and when the ball went through we all just kind of lost it,” Stauskas said.

Anytime the Blazers bench loses it, it’s a win for social media. Anytime Lillard and McCollum combine for 7-of-13 from three, you can probably chalk it up with a win for Portland. 

Dame and CJ playing together: "It'll help make us both more efficient"

Dame and CJ playing together: "It'll help make us both more efficient"

Coach Terry Stotts said during training camp he was going to take a good look at Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum on the court at the same time this year much more often than in the past few seasons.

So far, so good.

Saturday night in Moda Center, Lillard and McCollum each made 9 of their 15 shots from the field. Together, they were 7-13 from three-point range on a night when Portland scored 121 points on 84 attempts from the field to defeat the San Antonio Spurs.

Lillard also had nine assists and no turnovers and both players spent just 30:16 on the court.

“Based off the preseason and so far this season, all of our minutes have matched up,” said Lillard, who was formally presented his 2017-18 first-team all-NBA award prior to the game. “We did that the whole preseason and so far the first two games, just being out there together – even in practice we’ve been on the same teams a lot more than we have in the past.

“I think it’ll help make us both more efficient.

“The game comes easier when I can go off the ball, then I’m on the ball and it’s just like random. So I mean, it’s helpful.”

Not only do the team’s two star guards play well off each other, they also make it tough on the opposition, which often might have one starting guard capable of defending a point guard, but not two.

“When we’re both on the court, there’s problems (for the defense),” McCollum said. “A lot of problems.

“If we’re taking advantage of spacing and opportunities to attack, if we’re being efficient in how we’re playing, we’ll be a very successful team.”

McCollum likely created a few seconds for the Spurs’ Bryn Forbes on the highlight shows this week. Forbes was attempting to defend McCollum on the right wing, when the Blazer guard put him on skates with not even his A-1 crossover. It drew a terrific reaction from the Blazer bench players, who had the play right in their laps.

“I appreciate the support from the bench,” he said. “It wasn't even my best crossover, but when you have shot credibility and drive credibility, it can create that. I wasn’t even going to shoot it, but then I saw him sit down…”

Led by the guards, Portland shot 53.6 percent from the field and 46.9 from three against the Spurs and held San Antonio to 42 percent from three with its second straight win to open the season.

The Spurs, by the way, have not won a road game since Feb. 25 of last season, when they beat LeBron James and his Cavaliers at Cleveland.

Which is more embarrassing for them, I’m sure, than being crossed over by McCollum.

Punches thrown in fight between Lakers and Rockets


Punches thrown in fight between Lakers and Rockets

Punches, shoves, ejections and plenty more as the Los Angeles Lakers home opener against the Rockets has turned ugly...

Multiple reports are out that the NBA's Kiki VanDeWeghe was at Staples for the game and that suspensions could be handed out as early as Sunday. 

What If? The nightmare that almost turned into a dream

What If? The nightmare that almost turned into a dream

Oregon dropped the ball against Washington State, figuratively and literally.

No. 25 Washington State claimed its fourth straight win over Oregon in a wild environment before 33,152 fans in Martin Stadium. The 34-20 loss makes the No. 12 Ducks 5-2 overall and 2-2 in conference play, taking their Pac-12 North title dreams out of their control.

"It was a tale of two halves,” said Oregon coach Mario Cristobal. “We certainly played a different brand of football in the second half, but it wasn’t enough."

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert almost willed the Ducks to an epic comeback victory. Nonetheless, the Ducks’ halftime adjustments fell short of the win and left plenty of puzzling questions. 

  • What if Dillon Mitchell hadn’t dropped Herbert’s Hail Mary in the end zone to end the first half?
  • What if Oregon’s offense didn’t have to settle for two field goals?
  • What if WSU wide receiver Travell Harris didn’t come down with a 50-50 ball against Oregon freshman safety Jevon Holland?
  • What if the Ducks had more than 39 total yards in the first half?
  • What if the Ducks didn’t get themselves in a 27-point deficit at half time?

The supposed questions could go on, but in reality, a cringe-worthy nightmare first half ultimately doomed the Ducks; The Cougars dominated basically every statistical category, held UO scoreless and racked up 295 total offensive yards, 231 yards through the air. It started bad from Oregon's first drive, with two bad snaps and two false starts. 

Perhaps the most concerning stat? Oregon’s one yard of total offense through the first 27 minutes of the game.

Oregon could have folded the cards but Herbert led the charge to an almost-dream comeback in the second half.

To start the third quarter the Ducks drove 75-yards in seven plays, capped with an eight-yard touchdown run by Herbert. The drive started a big momentum swing in the Ducks’ favor.

Oregon’s defense forced two punts and came down with an interception while its offense scored 20 unanswered points making it a one-possession game.

Herbert got the Ducks into a rhythm and completed 21 passes in the second half after only four completions in the first half. He spread the ball out to eight receivers for 270 passing yards and one touchdown. Dillon Mitchell’s seven catches for 47 yards and CJ Verdell’s 55 yards on 12 rushing attempts led the Ducks offensively.

While there is something to be said about Herbert’s ability to lead UO from dead to alive, the quarterback says he doesn’t believe in moral victories.

“It's tough,” said Herbert. “Any time you play like that in the first half, you're not going to win many ballgames.”

Herbert's streak of 22 straight games with a touchdown pass is now the longest in the nation. Also, Herbert has thrown 205 consecutive passes without an interception in Pac-12 road games.

Oregon outgained Washington State in the second half, 292 to 92, but the Cougars scored a victory-sealing touchdown with 3:40 to go.

On defense, Deommodoire Lenoir gave the Ducks life with two interceptions. While Kaulana Apelu and Troy Dye led the Ducks in tackles with 14 and 12, respectfully. Cougar quarterback Garner Minshew finished 39-of-51 for 323 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.

Ultimately the Ducks showed up an hour late to play. Next, Oregon faces Arizona (3-4, 2-2 Pac-12) on the road at 7:30 pm on Saturday, Oct. 27.

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from Blazers win over the Spurs

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from Blazers win over the Spurs

The Portland Trail Blazers improved to-2-0 with a big 121-108 victory over the San Antonio Spurs. Damian Lillard was on fire, scoring 29 points, while his backcourt partner CJ McCollum scored 24. 

Here are some quick thoughts from our reporters on the scene...

Final Box Score: Blazers 121 - Spurs 108 

Dwight Jaynes: Lillard and McCollum are back to normal after both going 9-of-15 from the floor.

Jamie Hudson: The Trail Blazers shot much better from three in this second game of the season going 15-of-32 vs. the Spurs after going 13-of-37 in the home opener. The Blazers bench came up with a big contribution offensively again with 41 points.

Mike Richman: Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum were brilliant, and the Blazers bench looked like a legit strength for the second straight game.

***Be sure to check back here throughout tonight for locker room videos with Coach Stotts and the players, plus locker room reports from Jamie Hudson and Dwight Jaynes***

NEXT UP: The Blazers end a three-game homestand when they host the Washington Wizards on Monday, Oct. 22. Tip-off is set for 7PM

With LA out of the way for now, Spurs next up for Blazers presenting an entirely different challenge...

With LA out of the way for now, Spurs next up for Blazers presenting an entirely different challenge...

TUALATIN --  There was a lot of attention surrounding the Trail Blazers’ home opener Thursday night, You know ... the Lakers, LeBron, winning streaks, national television, etc.

But Saturday night’s game in Moda Center against the San Antonio Spurs shapes up to be a much more challenging evening for the home team.

San Antonio’s new-look Spurs visit Portland with the last vestiges of their “Big Three” absent and a new all-star in the fold.

The 1-0 Spurs come in off a 112-108 home win over the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night in their first game since 2001 without either Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, two-thirds of the Big Three that brought multiple championships (along with retired Tim Duncan) to the franchise. The Spurs, of course, were also without Kawhi Leonard, traded last summer to Toronto for DeMar DeRozan,

But the Spurs are still the Spurs – a team not to be taken lightly, especially with the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge and DeRozan carrying a heavy load.

“It’s still San Antonio basketball,” said Portland’s CJ McCollum after practice Friday. “They have implemented DeMar seamlessly. It’s typical Spurs basketball. It will be a good game.”

But certainly a different game than the opener, which featured the run-and-gun attack of the Lakers.

“The exact opposite,” said Damian Lillard. “The Spurs execute well in halfcourt, have good ball movement, screen well and they are well coached, so it’s going to be a completely different game.”

Coach Terry Stotts agreed.

“It will be a different-paced game,” he said. “We’re going to try to push it a little but I don’t know if San Antonio will run with us.”

There isn’t a lot to go on yet with the Spurs after just one game. And the developing dynamic between Aldridge and DeRozan will be something to watch.

''He's a great passer,'' Aldridge said of DeRozan. ''He's always looking and probing and I'm too open. I have to get used to being ready and just taking my time. When I figure it out (and) I get my rhythm back, it's going to be way easier out there to score having him.''

Aldridge had 19 rebounds but needed 23 shots to score his 21 points. DeRozan scored 28, including a field goal and two free throws late to seal the game.

''Hey, I've been doing it for some years now,'' the 29-year-old DeRozan said about the late heroics. ''I just feel out the game, always try to be aggressive and at the end moments, I always want to be there. I'm not afraid to make mistakes, but with that I'm not afraid to try to go out there and win the game.''

And that will be part of the challenge Saturday night in Moda in the season’s second game.


NBC Sports Northwest


Welcome to The Scoop Journal, where every week I empty my notebook of wide ranging Trail Blazer thoughts, observations, and randomness. I hope you enjoy this light-hearted weekly blog...

October 19th, 2018

Dear Scoop Journal,

THERE WAS A GAME THAT MATTERED!! Now it’s time to dump all my news and notes of the week in my journal….

*Rip City rallied together to honor the late Paul Allen.

*Thursday night’s home opener vs. the Lakers was CRAZY! It felt like a playoff game. The atmosphere was awesome and I got to see first hand what the LA and national media circus is like that follows LeBron James around—It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

*Nik Stauskas is the new fan-favorite after one game. Seriously, the Moda Center crowd was cheering as loud as I’ve heard from them this season when Nik either entered the game or headed to the bench after he scored 13 straight points in the first half. Also, is Sauce Castillo the best nickname ever? Yeah! Nik wins for best nickname. 

*It’s going to take a lot of time for LeBron to figure out his team. He had six of the team's 15 turnovers. Ouch. 

*There’s something special about Blazer fans chanting “MVP” when Damian Lillard is at the free throw line AND playing against King James.

*At the end of Blazers practice on Friday it was fun to watch a mini 3-on-3 tournament between Anfernee Simons, Caleb Swanigan, Gary Trent Jr., Meyers Leonard, Wade Baldwin and former Blazer Steve Blake. Biggie was the loudest player out there. You knew when someone was about to set a pick.

*WE RECORDED THE LATEST SCOOP PODCAST!! It was great chatting with Meyers Leonard about how he met his wife and how she turned him down THREE TIMES!!! Plus, we talked about haters on social media. I'm looking forward to that podcast dropping soon.