NBA

Mark your calendars: The BIG3 is coming to Portland

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usati

Mark your calendars: The BIG3 is coming to Portland

Basketball fans in the Northwest will be treated to quite the experience this summer thanks to Ice Cube and the BIG3.

The league announced its season-four schedule Wednesday and it's highlighted with an August 22nd stop in Rip City. 

This marks the first time in the league's history that they will be playing in Portland and just the second time they have made a stop in the Northwest. The previous occurrence was in 2017 in Seattle.

However, this will be no ordinary stop for the BIG3 - Moda Center will play host to the league playoffs!

The BIG3 will play its entire playoff bracket in Portland before moving to Detroit the following weekend to play the BIG3 Championship Game. 

Former Trail Blazers star Clyde Drexler, now the commissioner of the BIG3, is looking forward to the league returning to the Northwest and debuting in the city he once called home:

We're so excited to bring the BIG3 back to the Pacific Northwest with the best professional FIREBALL3 players in the world! With all of our star players, co-founders with an amazing knack for entertainment, and Hall of Fame coaches, you’ll be greatly impressed with not only the quality of play and intensity, but just how much fun our festivals are! The BIG3 is a sports lovers delight and a fan favorite!

Drexler isn't the only former Blazers star excited about the return to Portland. Former No.1 overall pick Greg Oden is also looking forward to being back inside Moda Center.

In fact, the BIG3 has a lot of connections to the Northwest: 

- Former Trail Blazers center and No.1 overall in the 2007 NBA Draft, Greg Oden plays for the Aliens

- Former SuperSonics and Oregon State star Gary Payton coaches the 3 Headed Monsters

- Current Trail Blazers assistant Jannero Pargo plays for the Triplets

- Former Trail Blazers forward Qyntel Woods, the 21st overall pick int he 2002 NBA Draft, plays for the Trilogy 

- Former Seattle SuperSonics forward Rashard Lewis plays for the 3 Headed Monsters

- Former Washington Huskies point guard and Seattle native Nate Robinson plays for Tri-City

- Seattle native Jason Terry plays for the Trilogy 

Tickets for the event have yet to go on sale, but they're sure to sell out fast when they do!

It's about time the WNBA thinks about returning to Portland

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USATI

It's about time the WNBA thinks about returning to Portland

In 1996, the basketball world was changed with the founding of the Women's National Basketball Association. 

The league started with just eight teams before expanding in 1998, 1999, and again in the year 2000.

The expansion in 2000 consisted of four new teams, one of which was the Portland Fire. 

Portland went just 10-22 in its inaugural season, but things were looking up. 

The Fire used the No.4 pick in the 2001 WNBA Draft to select Wade Trophy winner Jackie Stiles. 

Stiles had the city abuzz and would go on to win WNBA Rookie of Year. 

However, the sun was starting to set on the franchise before it ever had a chance to rise. 

At the end of the 2002 season, the league restructured, and with it the Portland Fire ceased operations.

It's been 18 years since the league left Portland, and in that time the WNBA has added just two teams: The Chicago Sky and Atlanta Dream.

Maybe it's finally time to add more... or at least bring an old one back.

For the last few years, Oregon has been the epicenter of women's basketball, with both Oregon and Oregon State being among the best college programs in the country.  

Civil Wars aren't just about bragging rights anymore. They are monster showdowns between two Top-25 programs with national implications on the line. 

Fans have come in by the thousands to supports the women on the court.

In 2018-19, both Oregon State and Oregon were in the Top-20 in terms of average attendance. 

The Beavers averaged 5,438, while the Ducks averaged 7,148. 

Comparatively, in 2019 the WNBA averaged 6,535 per game, with nearly half the league averaging less than what Oregon State averaged. 

The point is, women's basketball is thriving in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, just four teams in the WNBA averaged more than 7,000 fans per game, with one of those teams being the Seattle Storm (7,562). 

If you want another point of reference for how well female sports can do in this city, look no further than the Portland Thorns of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL).

In 2019 the NWSL averaged 7,337 per match, a number that was inflated because the Thorns averaged an amazing 20,099 per match. That is almost as much as the No. 2, 3, and 4 teams combined. 

The league as a whole brought 792,409 fans through the gates in 2019, 241,181 coming through the gates of Providence Park.  

This brings us back to the WNBA. 

On Wednesday night, NBC Sports Northwest aired a Trail Blazers Classic Game from the 2000 playoffs. During the broadcast there also happened to be an old ad for the inaugural season of the Portland Fire.

Fans were dealt a dose of nostalgia, and with the above tweet seemed to love the idea of the Fire coming back. 

A return of the Fire wouldn't just be a chance to see the WNBA game, it would be a chance to continue watching, in person, the players from Oregon that fans have grown to love.

Just imagine players like Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu and Satou Sabally, or Oregon State's Mikayla Pivec and Destiny Slocum coming to play at Moda Center. 

Better yet, imagine what it would be like to see any of those players playing for Portland's WNBA team?

Expansion may not be in the WNBA's future, but if the league ever does decide to add teams, Portland should be on the shortlist. 

The year 2020 is a drastically different time in sports and a much different time for the now well-established WNBA.

If the WNBA were to come back to Portland there is little doubt it could succeed. 

The Fire may have folded 18 years ago, but the love for them has not been extinguished.

 

 

Chicago Bulls Zach LaVine commits 12,500 meals to Seattle food bank

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Chicago Bulls Zach LaVine commits 12,500 meals to Seattle food bank

NBA players and owners all over the country have been doing their part with generous donations and other acts of kindness to not only help the sports world during this difficult time, but to also help the world work together to slow down the spread of COVID 19.

Chicago Bulls guard and Washington state native Zach LaVine is working to make a difference in the Northwest.
LaVine announced on Twitter that he is committing 12,500 meals to those impacted by COVID-19 pandemic in the Seattle area through Feeding America.

LaVine was born in Renton, Washington and has always talked fondly of his days attending Bothell High School in Bothell, Washington.

As a senior at Bothell HS, he averaged 28.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. He was named the 2013 Associated Press Washington state player of the year and Washington Mr. Basketball.

With Seattle and the surrounding area being one of the biggest parts of the county affected by COVID-19, LaVine stated that partnering with Feeding America is just the start of how he plans to help is hometown through the coronavirus crisis.

In King County, which includes the Seattle–Tacoma–Bellevue metropolitan areas, the Department of Health total was 74 deaths from 934 COVID-19 cases in recent reports.

There have been at least 1,793 confirmed coronavirus cases with at least 94 deaths in Washington statewide, according to the latest Department of Health numbers released Friday.

Kevin Love urges NBA players to pay it forward

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Kevin Love urges NBA players to pay it forward

Kevin Love believes it’s time for NBA players to step up. 

In wake of the coronavirus outbreak, which led to the suspension of the NBA season, the Cleveland Cavaliers forward pledged to donate $100,000 through the Kevin Love Fund to support workers of Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in downtown Cleveland. Love said he was concerned about the anxiety everyone is feeling and offered to help with the “sudden life shift” Cavs employees might be facing. 

On the “Today Show” Wednesday morning, Love shared why it was so important to get involved and why he thinks it’s essential for other players in the league to join him. 

"You have people living paycheck to paycheck, so I felt this is really the time, especially for us NBA players to walk the walk and be more than just athletes," Love said. "We see people in the community, we see people working in our arena at least 41 nights a year, us playing home games. So, it was just a way for me to try and help navigate this stressful and incredibly anxiety-ridden time.

"To just pay it forward and really help them. It’s been tough, just trying to normalize the conversation around what is going on. People are feeling a certain way about it, so I think it’s more of a time for us to step up and be leaders, to be community leaders and do what is right for the people that are having a very stressful and tough time.”

The Lake Oswego Lakers alum also sent this message to NBA Twitter on Tuesday evening, asking fans to practice empathy and compassion in a time where times are hard. Love said while it is importance for people to socially distance themselves, that doesn’t mean socially isolate. 

“Nothing unites us like the same enemy,” Love said in the video. “It’s very powerful what we are able to do.”

Other NBA owners and players have since publicly vowed to help compensate their communities in some way, including Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons and Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans. Hopefully more NBA players will follow Love’s lead. 

Kevin Love donates $100,000 to support Cavs employees amid NBA suspension

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@kevinlove

Kevin Love donates $100,000 to support Cavs employees amid NBA suspension

While NBA players around the league have been hit hard by the league’s unprecedented decision to postpone the 2020 season, it’s not the players Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love is most concerned about.

There’s a number of behind-the-scenes workers, including ushers and concessions employees, that help contribute to the NBA experience, and they will undeniably be hit the hardest by the league’s postponement.

To help ease the financial burden for Cavaliers arena and support staff, Love has pledged to donate $100,000 through the Kevin Love fund to support this employees.

View this post on Instagram

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. And the fear and anxiety resulting from the recent outbreak of COVID-19 can be extremely overwhelming. Through the game of basketball, we've been able to address major issues and stand together as a progressive league that cares about the players, the fans, and the communities where we work. I'm concerned about the level of anxiety that everyone is feeling and that is why I'm committing $100,000 through the @KevinLoveFund in support of the @Cavs arena and support staff that had a sudden life shift due to the suspension of the NBA season. I hope that during this time of crisis, others will join me in supporting our communities. Pandemics are not just a medical phenomenon. They affect individuals and society on so many levels, with stigma and xenophobia being just two aspects of the impact of a pandemic outbreak. It's important to know that those with a mental illness may be vulnerable to the effects of widespread panic and threat. Be kind to one another. Be understanding of their fears, regardless if you don't feel the same. Be safe and make informed decisions during this time. And I encourage everyone to take care of themselves and to reach out to others in need -- whether that means supporting your local charities that are canceling events, or checking in on your colleagues and family.

A post shared by Kevin Love (@kevinlove) on

“I’m concerned about the level of anxiety that everyone is feeling and that is why I'm committing $100,000 through the @KevinLoveFund in support of the @Cavs arena and support staff that had a sudden life shift due to the suspension of the NBA season,” Love said in a post on Instagram. “I hope that during this time of crisis, others will join me in supporting our communities.

Love, who played high school basketball for the Lake Oswego Lakers, noted the coronavirus pandemic is more than a phenomenon, but something that affects individuals on a number of levels.

“It's important to know that those with a mental illness may be vulnerable to the effects of widespread panic and threat. Be kind to one another. Be understanding of their fears, regardless if you don't feel the same. Be safe and make informed decisions during this time. And I encourage everyone to take care of themselves and to reach out to others in need -- whether that means supporting your local charities that are canceling events, or checking in on your colleagues and family.”

Like Love, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has also said the team will take care of its hourly employees at American Airlines Center.

“There’s going to be hourly employees that aren’t working,” Cuban said on ESPN’s Get Up Thursday morning. “And so, we talked again this morning with our folks at the AAC and getting the numbers. For the next four Mavs games we have a program where—the next four would-have-been Mavs games—we’ll pay our employees, our hourly employees, as if they worked.”

The NBA has suspended game play until further notice, following All-Star Rudy Gobert’s coronavirus diagnosis. NBA owners are encouraging commissioner Adam Silver to reevaluate the league’s suspension of play in 30 days, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported.

Adidas closes North American headquarters amid COVID-19 pandemic

Adidas closes North American headquarters amid COVID-19 pandemic

A day after the NBA suspended its season and on the same day MLS and college tournaments announced the same, Adidas announced the closure of their North American offices.

Here’s the company’s statement:

The safety and health of our people always comes first. We can confirm that two adidas employees in Portland have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19). As a precautionary measure, those adidas employees are at home in self-quarantine. We are also notifying employees who may have been in contact. In light of this information, we’ve made the decision to implement our work from home policy immediately and temporarily close the Portland Village and Montgomery Park office locations through Friday, March 13, while we do an enhanced cleaning of both facilities and the fitness center. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will keep our employees updated on further developments.

Approximately 2,000 people work at the North Greeley location in North Portland.

On Wednesday, Oregon governor Kate Brown announced the cancellation of gatherings larger than 250 people amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To date, 133,000 people have been diagnosed and nearly 5,000 have died worldwide due to the pandemic. There are currently 21 known coronavirus cases in Oregon. 

 

Terrence Ross scores 35 points... and nothing else

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IMAGN

Terrence Ross scores 35 points... and nothing else

Terrence Ross did one thing Wednesday night... score. 

A graduate of Jefferson High School, the Portland, OR native, who plays in a reserve role off the bench for the Orlando Magic was HOT.

The veteran guard went 8-10 from three-point range. 

In all, Ross scored 35 points... he registered no other stats.  

That's right. No assists, no rebounds, no blocks. Nothing. 

It was a season-high for Ross, but it was a losing effort for the Magic, who dropped their third straight game. 

Despite the loss, an impressive stat line.  

 

NBA needs to find a more realistic approach to banned substances, marijuana

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NBA needs to find a more realistic approach to banned substances, marijuana

There’s an in-depth story today by NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh and Monte Poole about the use of marijuana by NBA players and I assume, that with recreational use of weed legal in Oregon, there will be a lot of people interested in giving it a read.

I’m sure that one of the big headlines to come out of the story will be the assertion that “50-85 percent” of the players in the league are using -- either recreationally or medicinally -- some form of the drug.

I would have no idea if that is true or not, but I would guess it to be more toward the low side of that estimate. My personal experience with people passionate about something -- from heroin, to Diet Coke, to weed, to soccer,  to cocaine, to baseball, to country music -- is that they will tell you that everybody is doing it. That they are but a small part of a bigger movement.

It’s just kind of how we are.

But, whatever. I’ve never been too concerned with what people do in their personal time to make themselves feel better, or happier or healthier. I mean, I watch pro wrestling to relax. Do your thing.

But I have criticized NBA players -- Trail Blazers, in fact -- for using drugs that have gotten them suspended by the league or their team. You take the big check to perform and that means you have to abide by the workplace rules. If you do not, your team and its fans pay the price for your selfishness by not having you available to play during a suspension.

In the NBA, use of marijuana is prohibited. Do I think that’s outdated? Yes, especially in states where use is legal.

And I would back anybody trying to get those NBA rules changed or softened. People seem to find pain relief in some forms of marijuana and I would support allowing its use.

It seems to me that in today’s world, NBA regulation of prescription drugs, opiates and the like, is much more important.

And really, my guess -- and it’s just a guess -- is that the NBA has already relaxed its stance on weed. You just don’t see or hear about players running afoul of drug tests for anything but PEDs these days.

The league is either ignoring positive marijuana tests, using outmoded forms of testing that are easily defeated or just not testing for it -- particularly if “50-85 percent” of the league’s players are using.

Somebody would get caught once in a while, right?

I would urge the NBA to get on board with major-league baseball and find a more realistic approach to banned substances. The league that fancies itself as a leader in social issues is way behind.

Rising Stars Reunion: Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke reppin' Team World with plenty of dunks

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Rising Stars Reunion: Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke reppin' Team World with plenty of dunks

That was fun!

The 2020 NBA Rising Stars Game is now in the books. 

There were plenty of high-flying slam dunks, while Team USA put on quite the offensive clinic in the second half against Team World.

For two of the World players it was a fun night to be back on the same team.

Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke were reunited Friday night with Hachimura representing Japan and Clarke representing Canada. 

But let’s be honest, the duo was really reppin’ the Zags.

Hachimura started out the game with a bang. He had three dunks within the first two and a half minutes.

It was obvious that Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic enjoyed playing with the Gonzaga duo. Doncic found both Hachimura and Clarke down low on multiple occasions. 

Rui had plenty of fans in attendance as he made history. The cheers were heard throughout the broadcast whenever he made a big play at the United Center in Chicago.

It was the first time in All-Star history that a Japanese player played in the Rising Star Game.

And, he didn’t disappoint.

Hachimura finished the game with 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and four assists.

Luckily for Hachimura, he was healthy enough to play.

After missing 23 games with a groin injury this season, Hachimura returned to action with the Washington Wizards last week.

The rookie forward started out averaging 13.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game during his first 25 NBA games.

Hachimura was held out for the second half of December and all of January with the injury.

But now that he’s back, he hasn’t skipped a beat.

In the five games since returning, Hachimura has averaged 13.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 51.9% from the field and 42.9% on 3-pointers.

As for the Memphis Grizzlies big man, Clarke has been a big key off the bench for the young Memphis squad.

Clarke was getting out and running in the Rising Stars Game and he was getting rewarded on the break. His teammates were finding him and he made sure to throw down plenty of his own jams. 

He also had this nice putback dunk:

 

Clarke was the second leading scorer for Team World with 22 points. He also pulled down eight rebounds and dished out two assists.

This season, Clarke is averaging 12.3 points and 5.7 rebounds on a Memphis team that sits in the eighth spot out west with a 28-26 record.

And boy has Clarke been efficient. He is shooting 62.3 percent from the field.

His impressive FG percentage doesn’t phase Gonzaga fans. Clarke shot a whopping 68.7 percent. 

The final two minutes of the Rising Stars Game turned into a dunk competition and Clarke was a big participant.

He made one of his two attempts.

Everyone in attendance at the United Center was looking for Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson to throw it down. And even though he didn’t make any of his three attempts in that last minute, he still put on a show as expected.

Even though Team World lost to Team USA, 151-131, there's no doubt that Hachimura and Clarke enjoyed starting on the same team together once again. 

Trail Blazers Pregame Notebook: Simons will play against the Pelicans

Trail Blazers Pregame Notebook: Simons will play against the Pelicans

Before the Trail Blazers and Pelicans tip-off at 5:00p.m. tonight on NBC Sports Northwest and on the 'MyTeams' App, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts gave us an injury update on Anfernee Simon  (concussion).

“He is available and will play,” Coach Stotts said.

Simons suffered a concussion early in the team's loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday and missed the teams win over the Miami Heat on Sunday. 

The Blazers need him, as the injuries have started to pile up. 

The Blazers were already without Jusuf Nurkic (broken leg), Rodney Hood (torn Achilles), and Zach Collins (dislocated shoulder), but now sprained ankles have Nassir Little and Mario Hezonja on the sideline. 

In need of reinforcements, the Blazers recalled Jaylen Hoard and Moses Brown from the G-League's Texas Legends on Tuesday. 

With new additions come new challenges. 

"The toughest part is from an offensive standpoint," said Stotts. "They're running different plays and doing different things with their G-League team. Coming back... just remembering what to do on the offensive end, that's probably the biggest challenge for them."

Hopefully, they remember it all pretty quickly, cause the Blazers are low on bodies and could need them tonight. 

HEAR FROM COACH STOTTS HERE:

BLAZERS INJURY REPORT:

Portland G Anfernee Simons (concussion) is available; F Mario Hezonja (left ankle sprain), F Nassir Little (left ankle sprain), F Rodney Hood (left ruptured Achilles tendon), F Zach Collins (left shoulder dislocation), and C Jusuf Nurkic (left leg fracture) are out for tonight’s game at New Orleans. (edited) 

PELICANS INJURY REPORT:

Zion Williamson (left ankle sprain) is probable; Brandon Ingram (right ankle sprain) is questionable; Darius Miller (right Achilles surgery), Kenrich Williams (right lower back soreness), Zylan Cheatham (Two-way) and Josh Gray (Two-way) are out.