NBA

Game 6 loss may have been last stand for Paul Pierce

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Game 6 loss may have been last stand for Paul Pierce

Losing a playoff series marks the end of a long season for one team. Sometimes it can mark to end of a career for the players on it.  This could be the case for 18-year NBA veteran Paul Pierce.

When ask about retirement and what his future holds, Pierce, noticeably emotional, said it would be something he really thinks about this offseason

“Each and every year for the last couple years, I’ve thought long and hard about walking away from the game." Said Pierce. "The process is even going to continue this summer as I think long and hard, as I step closer to getting older in age, seeing how my body feels, talk to my family. Don’t want to make an emotional decision right now.”

Pierce entered the league in 1998 as the 10th overall pick of the Boston Celtics.  After spending the first 15-years of his career in Boston, “The Truth” was shipped to Brooklyn before the 2013 season. He spent one season with the Nets, then spent the next season in Washington, before eventually signing a 3-year, $10.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Clippers in July of 2015.

With two years remaining on the contract it might not make financial sense to walk away. However, Pierce has seen a steady downward trend in his production over the past four season; father time may be catching up to him.

This past season with the Clippers, Pierce had the worst statistical output of his storied career. He averaged just 6.1 ppg, 1.0 apg, 2.7 rpg, 18.1 minutes, and started just 38 games; All career lows. In fact, it was the first time in his career Pierce didn’t average double-digits scoring. With those numbers, it may be time for Pierce to hang them up. But 18-years in the league is hard to walk away from.

“You just never know…Right now it’s 50/50. We’ll see how I feel when I wake up. If I feel like getting ready for next season. If I don’t feel that feel, if that fire’s not there, then it’s going to be tough.”

Haberstroh still optimistic on Blazers despite rough patch

Haberstroh still optimistic on Blazers despite rough patch

The Portland Trail Blazers red hot start to the season has finally simmered down. 

Portland lost 104-100 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday night, extending its losing streak to three-straight games. 

The Blazers now sit at 12-8 on the year, but despite the team's lackluster performance as of late, NBC Sports NFL Insider Tom Haberstroh says there's still a lot of upside to this Portland team.

Watch the video above to get Haberstroh's take on whether the Blazers are still legit contenders in the West.

Breaking down Portland's most common play set

Breaking down Portland's most common play set

We've gone over a lot of components of Terry Stotts’ offense so far this season, everything from flare screens to Horns. Now I think it’s time we talk about a set that makes up a large part of the Portland Trail Blazers’ half-court offense, and it the most common play series you see every night.

You probably heard of this set before and it's simply called Thumb. 

Thumb is a set the Blazers typically run out of Horns and it looks like sort of a whirling, circling thing that’s far less confusing than it appears. Here are its actions in order:

• One wing to come up and across the top of the formation at the same time the other wing starts to slowly leak to the baseline going the other direction.

• The far post sets a flare screen for the high wing to corner. At the same time the baseline wing is getting a screen on the other side of the floor in the mid-post so he can try to pop up to the arc and work himself free.

• It's at this point where variations of thumb sets will call for different executions. At its simplest, a pass will be made by the point guard to one of the two wings coming off of their respective screens to get some kind of scoring opportunity. 

Watch the full video above to get the chalkboard diagram and in-game video breakdown of Portland’s basic Thumb set.

Damian Lillard hopes to play vs. Lakers as Blazers begin 6-game trip

Damian Lillard hopes to play vs. Lakers as Blazers begin 6-game trip

The Portland Trail Blazers didn’t have an official practice on Monday, but Damian Lillard still spent about four hours at the practice facility getting treatment on his injured right knee.

After an awkward fall early in the win over the Boston Celtics on Sunday, Lillard had a long day of rehabilitation, trying to get his right knee healthy enough to allow him to play Wednesday when the Blazers start a six-game trip at the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Still a little sore but I expected it,” Lillard said on Tuesday before the Blazers left town for the first stop on a two-week trip. “I got up yesterday and I was a little bit nervous. It was real sore. But I got a little workout in and I felt good moving around.”

Lillard sat out all of practice on Tuesday, but went through a workout and shooting routine afterwards. When the media was let into practice, he was wearing a compression sleeve on his right knee while going through a three-point shooting session with Wade Baldwin and Evan Turner.

Despite the crashing to the court in the opening minutes of the first quarter on Sunday, Lillard stayed in the game and played 35 minutes. He had a pronounced limp as he left the locker room following the game against the Celtics, but didn’t appear hobbled on Tuesday in the limited portion of his workout that he completed in front of the media.

The Blazers will have a shootaround Wednesday morning and Lillard, who is officially listed on the injury report as probable, plans to go through his full warm up routine on Wednesday evening before making a final decision on his availability to play against the Lakers.

He sounded hopeful that he’d be ready to go for Portland’s third meeting with the Lakers this season.

“I feel good,” he said. “We’ll see how I feel before the game and go from there.”
 

ROAD READY

The Blazers are off to their best start in four seasons heading into a six-game, 11-day trip. After facing the Lakers on Wednesday, the Blazers play at Minnesota, Washington, New York, Milwaukee and Golden State.

It’s the second longest trip of the year for the Blazers, and after a six-game homestand should provide a valuable early season measuring stick. Only three of the six teams are above .500 entering Tuesday, but nearly two weeks on the road is a test regardless of the level of competition.

The Blazers are leaving town playing their best basketball and will get to show if their game travels across three time zones and six cities.

“I like the way we’re playing,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “I think we have a good rhythm at both ends of the court. We’re locked in defensively to game plans and tendencies and what we want to get done there. Offensively, it’s been different people at different times. I think what I’ve said is I like the way we’re playing as a team. The second unit has kind of built an identity. Dame and CJ have had good games. Nurk’s had a game. Chief made big shots. I think we’re getting a lot contributions at the offensive end.”

Damian Lillard: Injury Update

Damian Lillard: Injury Update

Damian Lillard survived a scary fall on Sunday night, as the Portland Trail Blazers All-Star awkwardly fell to the ground while grabbing a rebound during the first half of the Blazers 100-96 win over the Celtics. 

Following a tweak of the knee, Lillard did not practice on Tuesday, ahead of Portland's third-meeting of the season with the Los Angeles Lakers. The star guard told Blazers reporter Mike Richman that he spent four hours rehabbing Sunday's injury, and hopes to play Wednesday vs. the Lakers. 

Lillard popped up immediately following the incident during the first quarter on Sunday, but he was later seen limping as he exited the Moda Center that evening. 

Despite playing only 35 minutes vs. the Celtics, Lillard logged his first double-double of the season, finishing with 19 point and 12 assists, while adding five rebounds.

The Blazers begin their six-game road trip in Los Angeles on Wednesday. 

Rip City Rewind: Everything you might have missed from the Blazers win over the Celtics

Rip City Rewind: Everything you might have missed from the Blazers win over the Celtics

The Portland Trail Blazers avoided a second-half comeback from the Celtics on Sunday night, besting Boston 100-94 and improving to 10-3 on the season. 

Here’s a look at what you might have missed from the Blazers 100-94 victory over the Celtics.

It was Al Farouq-Aminu who came in clutch for the Blazers, hitting a late three-pointer to seal the deal over the Celtics. Dwight Jaynes noted Farouq’s big-time shots in the victory: Trust among teammates: Aminu (wait, who?) drains late threes to sink Celtics

In the first quarter Sunday night, Damian Lillard tweaked his knee after falling to the ground while grabbing a rebound. The Moda Center gasped as the star guard took a hard fall. Jamie Hudson followed up on Lillard’s condition after the win: Awkward landing leaves Lillard limping out of Moda

Portland is now riding its longest winning streak of the young season, concluding the six-game homestead with a 5-1 record. Jamie Hudson recapped Portland’s four-straight victories: Riding the Wave: Will contagious momentum help the streaking Trail Blazers on the road?

Outsiders Chris, Danny, and Shain reacted as the Celtics nearly came back in the second half: OUTSIDERS PODCAST: Blazers survive Celtics comeback

Our Blazers reporters Dwight Jaynes, Jamie Hudson, and Mike Richman shared some quick thoughts from the scene immediately after the game: Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Blazers win over the Celtics

Gary Trent scores first bucket of his career

Gary Trent scores first bucket of his career

November 4th, 2018 is a date that Trail Blazers rookie Gary Trent Jr. will never forget. It was on this date that the 37th pick of the 2018 NBA Draft scored the first bucket of his NBA career. Trent has seen little playing time this year, as the Blazers continue to develop him and get him ready for the NBA, but an injury to Maurice Harkless allowed Trent to be promoted to the active roster. 

Not only was it the first bucket of his career, it was also the first regular season game action Trent had ever seen. For his career he has played in one game, playing seven minutes and scoring two points. These points were just the first of what Blazers fans hope will be many points to follow. The future is very bright for this Blazers rookie. 

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

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USA TODAY

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

The Blazers got a little revenge against the team that eliminated them from the playoffs last season. Anthony Davis didn't play for the Pelicans, and the Blazers to advantage winning the game xxx-xxx. 

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

Final Box Score: Blazers 132 - Pelicans 119

Dwight Jaynes, Trail Blazers' Insider: Even without Davis, the Pels were tough to handle. Turner's all-around work off the bench was big and 
Nurkic got it going in the second half.

 

Jamie Hudson, Trail Blazers' Reporter: The three ball was working well vs. the Pelicans tonight, with the Blazers going 18-35 from three. This new NBA style of so much scoring is definitely fun for the crowd. For goodness sake, the Blazers had 70 at half!

 

Mike Richman, Trail Blazers' Reporter:   Who needs defense when you hit 17(+) three-pointers?

***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 welcome back LeBron James and the Lakers on Saturday, November 3rd.  Tip-off is set for 7:00pm with coverage beginning at 6:00pm on NBC Sports Northwest.

Pregame Notebook: Blazers-Pelicans square off for first time since playoffs

Pregame Notebook: Blazers-Pelicans square off for first time since playoffs

The Trail Blazers play host to the New Orleans Pelicans at Moda Center Thursday night. 

Maurice Harkless (left knee) is OUT. So is Elfrid Payton (right ankle) for the Pelicans. Anthony Davis (right elbow) is a game-time decision.

“The way we lost in the playoffs... Having to live with the throughout the summer and this being relatively early in the season, I’m sure that’s on everyone’s mind,” Terry Stotts said pregame on facing the Pelicans for the first time since their first round exit.

Here's what Terry Stotts and Aflin Gentry had to say.

Tip is at 7:30pm on TNT.

Rip City Rewind: Everything you might have missed from last night’s loss to the Wizards

Rip City Rewind: Everything you might have missed from last night’s loss to the Wizards

The Portland Trail Blazers were handed their first loss of the season last night, falling in overtime 125-124 to the Washington Wizards. 

In case you missed it, here’s everything you might have missed from the Blazers third game of the season: 

Dwight Jaynes noted Jusuf Nurkic’s stand out performance on a night where the Blazers struggled from three-point range. The power forward was the Blazers only magic wand against the Wizards, dropping 22 points on 9-16 shooting and adding 18 rebounds.

Jamie Hudson gained insight into why the Blazers don’t always have to rely on their backcourt in big moments: Does it have to be ride and die with Lillard and McCollum?

Our Trail Blazers Outsiders brought you a fan’s perspective into the team’s first L of the season: Outsiders Podacast: A tough loss, but a lot to be hopeful for. They also broke down the ghoulish Halloween costumes the Blazers brought to the Moda Center last night: Boo! Trail Blazers arrive in their Halloween best

Dwight Jaynes, Jamie Hudson, and Mike Richman shared their initial thoughts after the loss: Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from Blazers loss to Wizards 

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