After trade with Kings: Will Blazers have enough players required to suit up vs. Thunder?

After trade with Kings: Will Blazers have enough players required to suit up vs. Thunder?

OKLAHOMA CITY – Just before 1:00pm CT, the Portland Trail Blazers announced their injury report, which included the status of CJ McCollum, who is out dealing with his left ankle sprain.

But, the injury report did not include Gary Trent Jr., even though the back-up shooting guard left Friday night’s game in Dallas in the final period due to an illness. He even received an IV after the game.

It seemed crazy to think that someone that ill could turn 180 degrees and be feeling so much better that he'd able to suit up and play the following day in Oklahoma City.

But, then the reports of a trade involving the Trail Blazers surfaced just before 4:00pm CT.

And then, it made so much more sense why Trent Jr. was not listed on the injury report.

The Blazers are reportedly trading Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver and two second-round picks to the Sacramento Kings for Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel and Caleb Swanigan, leaving Portland with just eight players who are still with the team and "healthy" enough to suit up.

Since the trade hasn’t even been made official yet and the players will still have to pass physicals, the newest Trail Blazers will most likely not be with the team until the Blazers get back to Portland, Sunday at the earliest.

Eight players suiting up is the league minimum.

And that's where the Blazers are at, exactly. 

The eight players currently available on the Blazers active roster who are on this trip:

  • Damian Lillard
  • Carmelo Anthony
  • Hassan Whiteside
  • Anfernee Simons
  • Nassir Little
  • Gary Trent Jr.
  • Mario Hezonja  
  • Jaylen Hoard (two-way player who is currently with the team)

The Trail Blazers have not called up their second two-way player Moses Brown, who is still with the Texas Legends.

Portland has already been short-handed this season, but Saturday night in OKC will be the absolute minimum.  

Wouldn't it be crazy if they were forced to put Jusuf Nurkic in uniform? It almost certainly won't happen. But, that's where things are at. 

 

Blazers needed every bit of Vintage Carmelo Anthony

Blazers needed every bit of Vintage Carmelo Anthony

A jab here, a jab there.

And no, we aren’t talking about punches.

This season, the younger Trail Blazers have gotten a few old man cracks aimed at Carmelo Anthony.

It’s all love, though.

Bring on the jokes because Melo was laughing all the way to a season-high Sunday night.

The Trail Blazers clawed their way back after being down by as many as 10 points in the third quarter to snag a 107-104 victory over the Detroit Pistons Sunday.

Melo’s offensive production along with CJ McCollum’s takeover performance, sprinkled in with timely stops in the fourth quarter all added up to Portland snapping a three-game losing streak.

Anthony finished with 32 points in Sunday’s win, eclipsing his previous season high he set back on Jan. 7 at Toronto with 28 points. 

[RELATED]: Carmelo Anthony turns back the clock against Detroit, does something he hasn't done in three years

And boy was Melo right -- the Blazers required all 32 of those points to get the win.

I’ll tell you, we needed every bit of that. Every single point, we needed that tonight. Those guys just wasn’t trying to go away. After we got out in the first quarter, we kind of let our foot off the gas and those guys got confidence. They gained some momentum, they stuck with it to the end of the game. – Trail Blazers veteran Carmelo Anthony on scoring 30 plus for the first time in nearly three years. -- Carmelo Anthony

With Damian Lillard out for the second straight game with a right groin strain, both Melo and McCollum have stepped up in a big way.

“We have to,” Anthony said. “We don’t have a choice, right? We’ve got to go out there and do what we’ve got to do to help this team win, at least put ourselves in position to try to win a basketball game. At the end of the day, it’s going to come down to us two putting that pressure on us and saying this is what we’ve got to do. It’s the last quarter of the season. We’re in a dog fight trying to get that spot.”

That dog fight has included Gary Trent, Jr. stepping up in a big way on the defensive end. Trent, who was inserted into the starting lineup with Lillard out, admitted he got to see the Melo he grew up admiring.

It’s like vintage Melo tonight. Man, you know, I have flashbacks. I grew up watching him. I love all his moves. I got to see a lot tonight. Big up to Melo. -- Trail Blazers shooting guard Gary Trent Jr. said postgame

“It’s crazy. I play with him on video games,” Trent added. “I watch all his games, all his highlights, his playoff battles with Kobe Bryant in ’09. I watch all of his stuff. It’s crazy. It’s surreal to come into practice every day and watch him, watch how he works, his approach to the game, he’s a true professional.”

Melo’s response of Trent Jr. playing him in NBA 2K:

“I’ve heard it before, but they won’t come to me and say it… It puts things in perspective. It puts a lot of things in perspective to know back then where I was at in my journey to see those guys finding my journey… It comes back full circle. [For Trent Jr.] to make that statement, it makes me proud.”   

Hearing that a second-year player plays him in NBA 2k, might make some people think Anthony would feel old with such a comment.

But, that’s not the case.

Melo was not only proud of that comment from Trent Jr., he was extremely proud of the way the Blazers came together to get the win Sunday night.

Now, who wants to bet Trent, Jr. went home Sunday night and started playing 2K?   

Can a team's bench be outscored by 60 points and still win? Blazers did

Can a team's bench be outscored by 60 points and still win? Blazers did

Injuries have been the story for the entire season as far as the Trail Blazers are concerned. And it’s gotten to the point now -- with Damian Lillard sidelined with a groin injury -- that Coach Terry Stotts can’t go to his bench without causing some serious damage.

The Trail Blazers jumped to a 19-point lead just eight minutes into Sunday night’s game with the lowly Detroit Pistons but then Stotts went to his bench.

The lead was still 16 after the first quarter, but with four reserves on the floor at the same time in the second period, bad things began to happen for Portland.

Detroit rattled off 18 of the first 21 points in the quarter and the game was tied and a dogfight the rest of the way.

It took some major heroics -- and major minutes -- from CJ McCollum, Carmelo Anthony and Hassan Whiteside to pull the Trail Blazers out of a 10-point, second-half deficit and into a 107-104 win.

Granted, Detroit got terrific play from its reserves, but the facts were the facts when this one ended:

The Pistons’ bench outscored the Portland bench 70-10.

That was 70-10!

To make up for that, McCollum needed to get 41 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds while playing 43:15. Anthony scored 32 in 37:21. Whiteside totaled 16 points, had 17 rebounds and four blocked shots in 38:26.

McCollum played the entire second half and Whiteside played most of it. And throughout the second half, Stotts kept two starters on the floor at all times, rather than just one, as he did in the first half.

“CJ played the whole second half,” Stotts said. “I don’t like doing that -- it was just one of those games where it was vital he stayed in the game. I don’t plan on doing that. Obviously, the rotation changed the second half.”

Does he plan to make a practice of that?

“Well, if I play them the whole second half I can do that.”

To win against the better teams, he may have to do that.

It was a crazy game in another way, too.

Throughout the first three quarters, Detroit was parading to the foul line and Portland just wasn’t getting there.

After three quarters, the Pistons were 19-20 from the line while the Blazers were a puny 5-9. But it was if somebody flipped a switch and either Portland suddenly started playing much better defense than Detroit or the referees just noticed the imbalance and decided to do something about it.

In the fourth quarter, Portland was 7-10 from the line -- more attempts than the entire game to that point. Meanwhile, the Pistons were 0-0. That’s right, they didn’t get a foul shot in the fourth quarter.

Such things help.

And right now, the Trail Blazers need all the help they can get.

Instant Analysis: CJ McCollum's near triple-double helps lifts Blazers past Pistons

Instant Analysis: CJ McCollum's near triple-double helps lifts Blazers past Pistons

The Trail Blazers game Sunday night honored the 2000s as part of their Decade Nights to celebrate their 50 years as franchise. 

During the first quarter, the Blazers honored Damon Stoudamire, Travis Outlaw, and former TV play-by-play announcer Mike Barrett.

Portland put on a show in the first quarter in front of the 2000s legends.

The Blazers went on a 24-2 run midway through the first quarter, and jumped out to a 40-24 lead after the first 12 minutes.

But, the Blazers lead didn’t last long.

The Pistons started the second quarter on a 16-3 run with Portland’s second unit on the floor and more specifically with CJ McCollum on the bench. McCollum was in takeover mode early as Damian Lillard sat out his second game with a right groin strain.

In the final minute of the third, McCollum scored seven straight points to pull the Blazers within five.

And the Blazers went on a tear to close out the game, outscoring the Pistons 16-4 in the final 5:39.

FINAL BOX SCORE: TRAIL BLAZERS 107, PISTONS 104

Here are three quick takeaways from Sunday’s win:

1. McCollum on a mission

CJ McCollum notched 15 points, five assists, and four rebounds in the 1st quarter.

Portland struggled to score without McCollum or Carmelo Anthony on the floor.  McCollum took it upon himself to fill the scoring void with no Lillard, but he also made sure to get his teammates involved just like he did against the Pelicans Friday night. McCollum dished out 10 assists by the fourth quarter, which tied a career-high. He ended the night with a career-high 12 assists  and 41 points. CJ finished just one rebound shy of a triple-double. 

2. The difference at the free throw line

Detroit was on the attack and it paid off. The Pistons had 11 more made free throws than the Blazers in the first half. Detroit’s free throws helped keep them in the game. The free throw discrepancy continued in the second half. At the end of the third quarter, the Pistons were 19-of-20 from the charity stripe, but did not attempt one in the final quarter. The Trail Blazers attempted 10 free throws in the final quarter, connecting on 12 of 19 in the game.  

3. Bench gives Pistons a boost

Christian Wood, who averages just over 11 points per game, had 16 points heading into the final period, while Brandon Knight added 15 points off the bench. Detroit had three bench players score in double figures through three quarters to the Blazers total of eight-bench-points.   

Up Next: The Trail Blazers host the Boston Celtics Tuesday night when they wrap-up their three-game homestand. Portland and Boston will tip-off at 7:00pm on NBC Sports Northwest and the MyTeams App.

Be sure to check back throughout the night and tomorrow morning for analysis, articles, and videos from the players!

CJ McCollum notches career-high in assists vs. Pistons

CJ McCollum notches career-high in assists vs. Pistons

Dish them out, CJ McCollum!

The shooting guard recorded his 12th assist on the night in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Pistons, a new career-high. 

McCollum had notched 10 assists four times previously in his career, including last game vs. the Pelicans.

McCollum was in takeover mode all night as Damian Lillard sat out for his second straight game with a right groin strain. 

The Trail Blazers shooting guard found Carmelo Anthony on the wing for McCollum's 12th assist on the night as Portland went up 105-101 with 21.3 seconds remaining.

With McCollum’s 41 points and 12 assists he reached a double-double for the second straight game, which was the first time in his career that he had back-to-back double-doubles. This was his eighth double-double of his career. He was one rebound shy of a triple-double. 

McCollum not only put up career assist numbers against the Pistons, he also willed the Blazers to a 107-104 victory.

Carmelo Anthony turns back the clock against Detroit, does something he hasn't done in three years

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USATI

Carmelo Anthony turns back the clock against Detroit, does something he hasn't done in three years

The Blazers welcomed the Pistons to town on Sunday in a game that turned back the clock and celebrated the 2000s era of Blazers basketball. 

From the old school graphics on TV, to the retro music, to Damon Stoudamire and Travis Outlaw being in the building, it felt like the new millennium had started all over again.

Trail Blazers power forward Carmelo Anthony, well, he decided to take it all literally and turn back the clock, as well. 

Anthony looked like the 2003 Denver Nuggets version of Melo, going to his bag of tricks and torching the Pistons.

He ended the night with 32 points, and it had to feel special. 

Why?

Because it was the first time since he was a member of the New York Knicks that Anthony scored 30+ points.

Nearly three years ago to the day-- February 25th, 2017, to be exact-- Anthony dropped 37 points on the 76ers.

Asked about it after the game, Anthony kept it simple -  "I'll take it," he said with a grin. 

Not only did Anthony drop a 30-piece, but he was incredibly efficient in doing so.

He finished the game 11-16 from the field, including 5-9 from deep. In the first quarter alone he was a perfect 5-5 for 12 points. 

When you're hot, you're hot.

The ball was going in. It's simple. The ball goes in, it makes things easy.

- Carmelo Anthony

While Anthony was being humble about his vintage performance, social media was showing nothing but love.

Anthony will have another crack at it Tuesday night when the Trail Blazers welcome the Boston Celtics to town.

Mike Barrett returns to Trail Blazers television broadcast as part of 2000s Decade Night

Mike Barrett returns to Trail Blazers television broadcast as part of 2000s Decade Night

Sunday night is a celebration of the 2000s for the Portland Trail Blazers. Former players Damon Stoudamire and Travis Outlaw will be honored tonight during the Blazers and Pistons game.  

Throughout the ‘Decade Nights’ at Moda Center many former players have made their return to Portland and have been honored at center court.

The 2000s Decade Night also featured a beloved broadcaster.

Barrett, along with former Blazers point guard Damon Stoudamire and forward Travis Outlaw, were introduced during a timeout in the first quarter. 

The television play-by-play man for the Portland Trail Blazers from 2003-2016, Mike Barrett, made his return to Moda Center and to the television broadcast.

 

"It’s been great," Barrett told NBCSNW of his return. "I think we take for granted in this business sometimes the connectivity and the emotion and the relationship you have with fans. To hear those stories — and then everybody wants to tell you about their favorite call, their favorite game, their favorite team. That part’s been really neat. I probably underestimated how cool that would be."

In 1999, the Oregon State Grad was hired by the Portland Trail Blazers as radio studio host and editor of the Blazers' official magazine, Rip City Magazine.

In 2000, he went to work as a radio and television play-by-play announcer for the WNBA's Portland Fire and then was named the play-by-play announcer for the Trail Blazers for the 2003–04 season.

[RELATED]: Mike Barrett opens up about being let go by the Trail Blazers

Barrett is now the Managing Director of the Portland Diamond Project.

Barrett spoke with Brooke Olzendam during the first quarter about his return and his memories of the 2000s. 

You can watch the full interview in the video above. 

Welcome back, MB!

 

Trail Blazers Pregame Notebook: Mario Hezonja will test out ankle vs. Pistons

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USA Today Images

Trail Blazers Pregame Notebook: Mario Hezonja will test out ankle vs. Pistons

It’s 2000s night at Moda Center.

Get ready to reminisce as the Trail Blazers host the Detroit Pistons.

Before the Blazers and Pistons tip-off at 7:00p.m. tonight on NBC Sports Northwest and on the 'MyTeams' App, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts discussed tonight’s matchup, saying Detroit is a 'good drive and kick out' team.  

Stotts emphasized that his team’s individual defense is going to need to be better tonight in comparison to Friday night’s game against New Orleans. Stotts also said Mario Hezonja (left ankle sprain) will play tonight and test out his ankle.

As the Trail Blazers celebrate the 2000s, they will welcome back Damon Stoudamire, Travis Outlaw, and former Blazers TV Play-by-Play Announcer Mike Barrett to the Moda Center court.   

HEAR FROM COACH STOTTS HERE:

 

BLAZERS INJURY REPORT:

Damian Lillard (right groin strain), Rodney Hood (left ruptured Achilles tendon), Zach Collins (left shoulder dislocation), and Jusuf Nurkic (left leg fracture) are out for Sunday's game vs. Detroit.

PISTONS INJURY REPORT:

Blake Griffin (left knee surgery), Luke Kennard (bilateral patella tendinitis), Louis King (Two-way), Jordan Bone (Two-way) and Khyri Thomas (G League) are out.

STANDOUT GAME NOTES:

-- Sunday's meeting will be the first of two games between the Trail Blazers and Pistons during the 2019-20 season.

-- LAST SEASON: Portland and Detroit split the season series, 1-1 during the 2018-19 season.

-- Portland and Detroit are both top-10 3-PT shooting teams this season, with Portland in sixth at 37.0%, and Detroit right behind in eighth at 36.8% • The Trail Blazers and Pistons have split the last 14 meetings, 7-7, dating back to the 2012-13 season.

-- CJ McCollum missed both games against the Pistons last season. He holds career averages of 19.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists in seven games (six starts) against Detroit.

-- Trevor Ariza averaged 16.0 points (50.0% FG, 45.8% 3-PT, 87.5% FT), 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists against Detroit last season with both Phoenix and Washington, including two games of 20-plus points. Ariza has scored in double figures in five of his last eight games against the Pistons.

-- Hassan Whiteside averaged 11.3 points (57.1% FG, 18.2% FT), 12.0 rebounds and 2.00 blocks in three games against Detroit with Miami last season. He has recorded a double-double in each of his last two outings against the Pistons

-- Derrick Rose averaged 17.5 points (42.1% FG, 75.0% FT), 5.0 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 1.50 steals in two games against the Trail Blazers with the Timberwolves last season. Rose has reached double-figures in scoring in 11 of his 12 career games against Portland.

How to watch, stream Trail Blazers vs. Pistons tonight at 6:00pm

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USA Today Images

How to watch, stream Trail Blazers vs. Pistons tonight at 6:00pm

The Portland Trail Blazers (25-32) are looking to get back on the winning track when they host the Detroit Pistons (19-39) Sunday.

Portland is coming off a 128-115 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night. Friday marked Damian Lillard’s first missed game with a right groin strain.

The Blazers have listed Lillard (right groin strain), Mario Hezonja (left ankle sprain), Rodney Hood (left ruptured Achilles tendon), Zach Collins (left shoulder dislocation), and Jusuf Nurkic (left leg fracture) as out for Sunday's game vs. Detroit.

While, the Pistons will be without Blake Griffin (left knee surgery) and Luke Kennard (bilateral patella tendinitis).

You can catch the Blazers and Pistons in action on NBC Sports Northwest, the Official Network of the Portland Trail Blazers and you can stream the game on our website or by downloading the MyTeams app!

And, have you heard about Blazers Pass?

You can get 15 live Trail Blazers games, pre and postgame shows, and on-demand full-game replays with Blazers Pass! (Only available to fans located in Blazers Territory, pursuant to NBA rules and agreements. No TV provider required. Subscription Period: November 4, 2019 - April 16, 2020. Subscription auto-renews prior to start of next season.)

Don't miss any of the coverage of tonight's game:

3:30pm Blazers Game Day with Chad Doing

5:00pm Blazers Warm-Up

5:30pm Trail Blazers Pregame Show

6:00pm Trail Blazers vs. Pistons

After the game catch Blazers Outsiders with hosts Joe Simons and Dan Marang!

Plus, for full coverage of the game follow Dwight JaynesJamie Hudson and our digital team. Follow us on social throughout the night for the latest updates. 

Quotable:

I think we competed, but I think just some lapses defensively. We fouled a lot in the first half. I think they shot like 28, 29 free throws in the first half which is too many easy points, so we’ve got to tighten that up but overall, I thought we competed. Just didn’t play well enough defensively to win. -- Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum after Friday’s loss to New Orleans 

Jusuf Nurkic teases potential return on Twitter in gold H&P team award

Jusuf Nurkic teases potential return on Twitter in gold H&P team award

We are all eagerly waiting to see The Bosnian Beast Jusuf Nurkic back on the court in uniform.

Nurkic suffered a season-ending left ankle injury last season, which required surgery and has been rehabbing since. 

Last month, Nurkic returned to full-contact practice, but suffered a mild right calf strain. He has been held out of practice since then, but Nurkic continues to inch closer to his return.  

When will that time be? That is the question, we hope, will be answered soon.

On Saturday, Nurk gave us a little tease:

The Blazers Health and Performance staff hands out an “H&P award” to the player who excels most in the training room, and Nurkic earned the honor — that large gold necklace.

The two people who are tagged in the video are Ben Kenyon and Todd Forcier, both sports performance specialists with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Not only is Nurk sporting that huge gold medallion around his neck, but the video looks frozen or rather "loading."

Could that mean his return is near?

Hopefully.

The Trail Blazers (25-32) currently stand in ninth in the Western Conference and 3.5 games out of that eight seed. Up next, the Blazers host the Detroit Pistons (19-39) on Sunday, Feb. 23, at 6 p.m. (PT). Converage starts at 4 p.m. (PT) on NBC Sports Northwest.