NBA

Blazers clinch playoff berth

Blazers clinch playoff berth

The Blazers clinched a playoff berth on Sunday night, and they didn’t even have to lift a finger.

Portland needed to beat the Grizzlies, or have a loss by either the Nuggets or the Timberwolves to clinch a spot. They got the help the needed when Minnesota was blown out by the Utah Jazz, 121-97.

There is still plenty of work for the Blazers despite the good news. Portland sits just 2.5 games ahead of the fourth seed San Antonio Spurs, and just four games ahead of seventh seed Minnesota.

With the playoffs locked in, all that is left for Portland to do is lock down home court advantage. The Blazers have five games left on the schedule after tonight: A four game road trip that sees them take on Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Denver before wrapping up the season at home on April 11 against the Utah Jazz. 

 

Blazers move one-step closer to clinching a playoff birth

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USA Today

Blazers move one-step closer to clinching a playoff birth

The Blazers moved one-step closer to the playoffs on Friday, beating the Los Angeles Clippers, 105-96. The game started about a slow as possible, with both teams missing their first six shots before settling in. Portland had the 26-23 lead after the first quarter, but then flipped the switch in a big way in the second.

The Blazers set sights on doing damage to the rim. Dunk after dunk went down with authority, and the lead quickly ballooned to a point the Clippers just couldn’t come back. Portland put on a show and in the end they cruised to victory.

However, the win may have come at a price. Ed Davis rolled his ankle in the third quarter and did not return to the game. X-rays were negative, and coach Stotts said Davis was getting an MRI postgame. Davis’ status for Sunday’s game against Memphis is unknown. 

With or without Davis, the Blazers will be looking forward to Sunday’s matchup. They not only get a chance to avenge the tough loss the Grizzlies handed them in Memphis on Wednesday, but a victory will clinch the playoffs.

No time like overtime to grab a victory over the Hornets

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USA Today

No time like overtime to grab a victory over the Hornets

The Blazers almost let one slip away on their home floor, but did just enough in the end to pick up the 109-103 victory over the Hornets. The Blazers led my as many as 17pts, but the turnover bug came back and bit them in the fourth quarter allowing Charlotte to get back in the game. The Blazers came up short of a game winning bucket with just over a second remaining in the regulation, giving the Hornets one last. However, on the final possession Jusuf Nurkic came up with the game saving block and sent the game to overtime. It was there that the Blazers put things away and grabbed the win.

Final Score: 109 – 103

 

Trail Blazers trade Vonleh to Bulls for the rights to Milovan Rakovic

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USA Today

Trail Blazers trade Vonleh to Bulls for the rights to Milovan Rakovic

PORTLAND, Ore. (February 8, 2018)The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired the NBA rights to center Milovan Rakovic from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Noah Vonleh and cash considerations, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

Rakovic, 32, was selected with the 60th overall pick in the second round of the 2007 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks. A native of Serbia, he currently plays for Neuchatel in Switzerland.

Vonleh, 22, averaged 3.9 points (45.7% FG, 27.8% 3-PT, 68.8% FT), 4.6 rebounds, 0.4 assists and 15.8 minutes in 185 games (109 starts) over three seasons with the Trail Blazers.

“We’d like to thank Noah for his contributions to the team both on and off the court and wish him all the best for the future,” said Olshey.

Blazers run out of gas in the Motor City

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USA Today

Blazers run out of gas in the Motor City

It was another tough night on the road for the Trail Blazers, as they fell to the Detroit Pistons on Monday, 111-91. Is was the second night of a back-to-back for the Blazers, and it looked like fatigue caught up to them. For the Blazers, they head back home limping after going 0-3 on this road trip. For the Pistons, they have now won four in a row and are undefeated since acquiring Blake Griffin from the Clippers.

Final Score in Detroit: Piston 111 – Blazers 91

Horford serves Blazers heartbreak at the buzzer

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USA Today

Horford serves Blazers heartbreak at the buzzer

Heartbreak in Boston as the Blazers fall to the Celtics, 97-96. The Blazers lad by as many as 16 points, but the wheels fell off in the second half. The shorthanded Celtics (playing without Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart, and Marcus Morris) finally got the offense rolling and slowly chipped away. Boston tied the game with 3:34 remaining, 85-85, and seized all the momentum. Portland came back to take a one point lead with seven seconds remaining, but Al Horford landed the knockout punch when he hit a 16-foot jumper to give the Celtics the lead as time expired.

The Blazers fall to 0-2 on this road trip, and head to Detroit Monday to take on the Pistons. 

Final Score:  Celtics 97 – Blazers 96

All good things, including win streaks, must come to an end

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USA Today

All good things, including win streaks, must come to an end

Unfortunately for the Blazers, this game was nearly over before it started.  The Raptors came out on fire in the first quarter and never looked back. At the end of the first quarter Toronto held a 37-18 lead, and the Blazers never got much closer than that. However, there were a few highlights courtesy of Damian Lillard. The Blazers guard scored the 10,000th point of his career and passed Jim Paxson for sixth all-time on the Blazers’ career scoring list, but it wasn’t enough for the win.

Final Score: Raptors 130 – Blazers 105

Terry Stotts named NBA Western Conference Coach of the Month

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USA Today

Terry Stotts named NBA Western Conference Coach of the Month

PORTLAND, Ore. (February 1, 2018)Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts has been named NBA Western Conference Coach of the Month for January, the league announced today.

Currently in his sixth season at the helm, Stotts led Portland to an 11-5 record in January and an undefeated month at the Moda Center. Winners of four straight and eight straight at home, the Trail Blazers (29-22) are a season-high seven games above .500 and have moved up to sixth in the Western Conference.

Stotts has won the award five times, the most by a Trail Blazers head coach.

On Jan. 26 at Dallas, Stotts became one of four head coaches in Trail Blazers history to win 250 games and one of five head coaches in the NBA to win 250-plus games with their current team.

Among Western Conference teams in January, Portland ranked first in three-point field goal percentage (40.8%), first in free throw percentage (81.2%), third in rebounding (44.8 rpg), third in field goal percentage (48.0%), fourth in winning percentage (.688), fourth in scoring (112.1 ppg) and fifth in turnovers (13.3). The Trail Blazers have scored 100-plus points in 16 consecutive games, a season high.

Stotts previously won the award in November 2013, December 2014, February 2016 and March 2017, joining Rick Adelman (3), Nate McMillan (3), Mike Dunleavy (2), Jack Ramsay and Mike Schuler as Trail Blazers head coaches who have taken home the honor.

Miami’s Erik Spoelstra was named the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month.

It wasn't pretty, but it was a win in LA

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USA Today

It wasn't pretty, but it was a win in LA

Sometimes it looked easy. At other times it looked hard. The Blazers got the victory in Los Angeles, but it wasn't without its share of nail biting. Portland led by as many as 22-points in the third quarter, and held a 19-point lead heading to the fourth, but it all unraveled from there. The Clippers started to mount a comeback, and with 2:34 left to the play the Clipper cut the lead to just six. However, Portland would end up getting a key putback from Nurkic, and a huge dunk from Aminu to finally close to the door on the Clippers comeback.

Final Score: Blazers 104 - Clippers 96

 

What's hotter than the Sun(s)? The Blazers offense, that's what

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What's hotter than the Sun(s)? The Blazers offense, that's what

The Blazers offense was on fire Tuesday night en route to a 118-111 victory over the visiting Phoenix Suns. The Blazers came out of the gate with perhaps the best stretch of offense we have seen all season. Portland hit its first 8 shots, and 11 of its first 15. No one could miss, and by halftime it looked like a blowout was in the works. The third quarter was much of the same, as the Blazers extended the lead to as many at 25 points, but then it go interesting. Devin Booker caught fire in the fourth, scoring 21 of his 43 points, and cut the once giant Blazers lead to single digits. But the Blazers offense answered when it mattered most, and although they left it open for a second, they slammed the door shut when they needed to. 

Final Score: Blazers 118 - Suns 111

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