Blazers get no respect on Christmas Day -- or any other day, it seems

Blazers get no respect on Christmas Day -- or any other day, it seems

The NBA Christmas Day schedule has been leaked and you’ve probably noticed by now that the Trail Blazers aren’t on it.

But did you notice, too, that the league included ALL of the teams on Christmas that played in last season’s conference semi-finals… except Portland? But that had to be because the league couldn't resist putting its newest anointed star, Zion Williamson, on the tube that day,

Of course, that doesn’t really matter much. Who cares? Well, I’m sure Blazer fans do.

If the Trail Blazers aren’t on the docket for a game on the league’s showcase day, the league and the networks obviously don’t value the team much, right?

But aren't you used to that by now?

Certainly, the prevailing opinion of the Trail Blazers hasn’t changed much over the years.

Under-valued. Under-appreciated.

Last season, Portland had a Christmas game vs. Utah and it was the franchise’s first on that day since 2010.

But when you think about it, preseason predictions and projections have sold the team short for many years. Last season, Las Vegas consensus was that Portland would win 41.5 games. It won 53 – in spite of a couple of late-season injuries to key players and earned the West's third seed for the second straight season. This year, the website FiveThirtyEight.com sees the Blazers with 40 wins in 2019-20 and just a 33 percent chance of making the playoffs.

Like it or not, they are perpetual underdogs.

Trail Blazers Pregame Notebook: Carmelo Anthony to start in debut

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Trail Blazers Pregame Notebook: Carmelo Anthony to start in debut

NEW ORLEANS – The national media in the Big Easy is in full force. Tuesday night in New Orleans marks Carmelo Anthony’s debut with the Trail Blazers.

Portland and New Orleans tip-off at 5:00 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Northwest.   

After reports surfaced on Twitter prior to the game, Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts confirmed that Anthony will be starting tonight. He also mentioned during his pregame media availability that he feels Melo will remain in the starting lineup for the foreseeable future. 

[RELATED]: How Carmelo will change this road trip, starting in NOLA

Even though the Blazers will be adding Melo into the mix tonight, Portland will be without Damian Lillard. The Trail Blazers All-Star point guard is dealing with back spasms.

Coach Stotts said Lillard’s back was bothering him last night in Houston.

HEAR FROM COACH STOTTS RIGHT HERE:

How Carmelo will change this road trip, starting in NOLA

How Carmelo will change this road trip, starting in NOLA

The Trail Blazers are on the ropes. Reeling from a haymaker thrown by the Houston Rockets, Portland needs to find the power to get up from the mat before the ref counts to ten.

The Blazers are just 5-9 on the season and injuries have left them thin at power forward. Enter Carmelo Anthony.

The 10-time NBA All-Star officially became a member of the Trail Blazers Tuesday morning and hopes to make his Blazers debut and return to the NBA on Tuesday against the New Orleans Pelicans. A team in desperate need of a jolt has reached out to a future Hall of Famer with nothing to lose.

Anthony hasn’t played in over a year, but he is just what the Blazers need. Since Zach Collins went down with a dislocated shoulder, the Blazers have struggled to get any real production at the four.

Mario Hezonja has had some nice moments but hasn’t really put a full game together. Anthony Tolliver has struggled to find his shot and wasn’t signed to play 20 minutes a night. While rookie Nassir Little has shown some flashes, he has also made a lot of rookie mistakes. But, the biggest thing the aforementioned players are lacking is scoring punch. It may sounds cliché, but in the current NBA, getting stops isn’t as important as making sure the other team can’t stop you. You have got to score more points to win. With Anthony, the Blazers are showing offense is the focus.

Those who are anti-Melo may argue that he only averaged 13.4 points in 10 games with the Rockets last season, far off his career average of 24.0. Well, the Hezonja-Tolliver-Little trio has combined to average just 11.2 points per season. If Anthony is the same Anthony we saw last season, it doesn’t matter. It’s still what the Blazers need. One guy to fill the production of three. That’s an upgrade.

Anthony also gives the Blazers a shooting threat on the floor with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. He’s someone they can pass the ball to and have confidence he can hit the open shot. Just by being on the floor, defenses will have to remain honest. It’s a rare skill when you don’t have to score a bucket to make the defense adjust to you. Anthony can do just that.

The biggest questions with Anthony are how does he fit in the lineup and how does it affect the rotation, particularly with Nassir Little. Little has slotted in as the starting power forward spot in recent games and has played well. Well enough, at least, to remain the starter, for now. He’s good on the glass, decent on defense, and has shown some explosion on the offensive end. He has earned a spot in Stotts’ rotation with or without Anthony.

How Anthony’s role impacts Little remains to be seen, but given how Stotts has used the rookie lately, you would have to assume those two will be 1-2 on the power forward depth chart, with Hezonja and Tolliver getting spot minutes.

All of this should culminate in Anthony sparking the Blazers. Portland has four games remaining on this road trip, with Milwaukee being the only team that has a winning record. If Anthony shows up, shows out, and fits like a glove, then this could be a stretch of games that change the season. Or, at least, a stretch of games that get the ship back on course.

With Melo, fans should expect to go 3-1 and return home next week with a chance to return to .500 on the season. Who do they play when they get back to Moda? The Oklahoma City Thunder – the last team Anthony played a full season for.

This has the potential to be the start of a storybook, and Melo has a chance to be the story’s hero.

Blazers unveil new city edition uniforms

Blazers unveil new city edition uniforms

Get your fire emojis ready! On Tuesday morning, the Blazers unveiled their new city edition uniforms. A blast from the past collides with accents of the present to create the perfect new Trail Blazers look. 

According to the Trail Blazers, "Portland's newest uniform combines the team's first two uniforms (70-71 through 74-75) along with some modern design accents and vintage coloring."

The uniform features Rip City across the chest and a classic black and red piping through the uniform. The red is lighter than the modern red, while the white is a slight off-white to help create that vintage look. 

Fans on social media loved the new combo:

[VIEW THE ENTIRE PHOTO GALLERY HERE]

Damian Lillard has back spasms: Isn't it time to consider load management?

Damian Lillard has back spasms: Isn't it time to consider load management?

If ever it was no surprise that somebody was going to have to sit out a game because of back spasms, it’s tonight with Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers.

The man has been carrying this team on his back all season, leading the league in minutes – and those were some pretty stressful, high-usuage-rate minutes, at that. No wonder Damian Lillard has back spasms.

You don’t believe in load management? Well, you probably don’t believe in flu shots, either, right?

It’s the same thing. You don’t have the flu when you get that shot -- you get the shot to keep you from having the flu. Same with load management. You are healthy enough to play in a game, but rather than stress your body another night, you rest. You rest to prevent injuries – which is easier than trying to treat the injury once you get it. And you stave off fatigue that comes from piling game on top of game.

The Trail Blazers are in the midst of a six-game road trip that offers too much travel, too many games and are tonight playing the second of back-to-back games. Lillard should probably sit this game out even if his back wasn’t hurting.

More and more, people are coming to realize that the density of the schedule combined with a lack of sleep that occurs because of the crazy cross-time-zone travel leads to fatigue. And fatigue leads to injuries.

The Trail Blazers, for whatever reasons, have refused to rest healthy players over the years. Part of this, I’m sure, is because the players themselves wish to play. And the team wants to win every possible game in order to make the playoffs. But that shouldn’t matter. The team needs to step up and protect players from themselves. Particularly a player such as Lillard, who knows how important he is to his squad.

Will resting players cause losses? Yes, of course. Not all the time, but sometimes. But would you rather lose a player for three months because of a severe injury, or just lose a game or two here or there?

And when I think back about the troubles this team has had keeping franchise players healthy, I believe more than ever that load management could have been an answer.

Bill Walton, Sam Bowie, Greg Oden, Brandon Roy – would any of them have lasted a little longer with a lighter load? Maybe sitting out a game here and there or playing with a limit on minutes? I think that’s possible.

Obviously, there is no way to prove any of those players – or Lillard – would have profited from load management, but I’d certainly favor giving it a try.

And at some point, the league is going to have to explore shortening the schedule. This is too much and players are paying a price for it.

Damian Lillard OUT vs Pelicans

Damian Lillard OUT vs Pelicans

The Blazers had an unlikely name pop up on today's injury report: Damian Lillard.

Per Trail Blazers PR, Damian Lillard is dealing with back spasms and is out for tonight's matchup against the Pelicans. 

Lillard played 35 minutes in last night's loss to the Rockets, scoring just 13 points. For the season Lillard is averaging 28.6 points, 7.1 assists, and 4.,9 rebounds -  all career highs. 

With Lillard out, the Blazers will likely lean on second-year guard Anfernee Simons to shoulder the load at point guard. Simons has been a key bench contributor this season, averaging 11.3 points and 1.3 assists per game. 

Tonight's game also marks the potential debut of newly signed forward Carmelo Anthony. Without Lillard on the court, this could be a perfect opportunity for Anthony to debut in a big way. The Blazers will certainly need his scoring touch. 

The Blazers tipoff against the Pelicans at 5:00pm on NBC Sports Northwest and the NBC Sports My Teams App.

Carmelo Anthony will wear #00... he explains why

Carmelo Anthony will wear #00... he explains why

After days of reporting, after players and coaches directly and indirectly talking about him, after he posted a video on Youtube about his decision, after joining the team in New Orleans Monday night, the Trail Blazers officially, officially, officially announced Carmelo Anthony to the roster Tuesday morning ahead of their game vs. the New Orleans Pelicans. 

The release stated Anthony would wear jersey #00. The #00 was last worn by Enes Kanter last season.

Anthony sported the #15 through his college days at Syracuse and in his early years with the Denver Nuggets. He was forced to switch numbers once he joined the Knicks because the number 15 was retired by the Knicks in honor of Earl Monroe and Dick McGuire. Melo chose to wear the #7 in New York, which he continued to wear with the Rockets and Thunder. 

There was some intrigue as to whether Anthony would try and wear #7 with the Blazers, which hasn't been sported since Brandon Roy last wore it in 2011. 

Tuesday's release cleared that up. 

Anthony took to Instagram to explain the reasoning behind the jersey selection. 


One should be concentrating on clues that the universe is dropping for them to take up a quick reaction.
Divine power is seeking my undivided attention.
I had to achieve the tranquility of spiritual maturity through the guidance of the Universe.
I WILL ALWAYS BE 7️⃣
#007
#GRA7EFUL
#STAYME7O

Melo cites the ∞ symbol as the reasoning behind the decision, a symbol that is "without end," and "can never be given an exact value."

These all sound well and good as reasons, but one has to wonder how much internal influence there was behind his decision when Melo is hashtagging words (#007 #GRA7EFUL #STAYME7O) with his old number in it. 

Carmelo Anthony with team in NOLA, plan is to play him against Pelicans

Carmelo Anthony with team in NOLA, plan is to play him against Pelicans

The Carmelo Anthony experience in Portland is finally here. It was reported last week that the Trail Blazers had agreed to a deal with Anthony, and on Tuesday the team made it official.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Anthony’s deal is a one-year, non-guaranteed, and worth $2.15 million. The deal becomes fully guaranteed if he remains with the team beyond January 7th. 

Anthony, a 10-time NBA All-Star, met the Trail Blazers in New Orleans prior to their game against the Pelicans. Portland has four games remaining on its current six-game road trip, and Anthony can help right away.

On Tuesday, Coach Stotts joined Rip City Mornings with Dan and Nigel to discuss his newest addition.

Stotts said that the team has a meeting at noon and that the plan is to get Anthony on the court against the Pelicans.

Stotts didn’t indicate whether or not Anthony would start, but he did talk about what Anthony brings to the Blazers:

I think everybody’s pretty optimistic. The guy is one of the best scorers in the history of the league. He’s a matchup problem. There will be an adjustment period going forward integrating with our team, but guys don’t forget how to shoot and he still creates problems for the defense.

You can hear Coach Stotts’ interview with Dan and Nigel in the video above.

 

It's official: Trail Blazers sign Carmelo Anthony

It's official: Trail Blazers sign Carmelo Anthony

News broke on Thursday evening that the Trail Blazers were planning to sign Carmel Anthony to a one-year non-guaranteed deal. 

The team has been hurting at the power forward spot, a position Melo can play naturally. With a sub-par start to the season and injuries across the frontcourt, the timing was right. 

The Trail Blazers released the following as part of a statement announcing the deal:

PORTLAND, Ore. (November 19, 2019) – The Portland Trail Blazers have signed veteran forward Carmelo Anthony, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

“Carmelo is an established star in this league that will provide a respected presence in our locker room and a skill set at a position of need on the floor,” said Olshey

Anthony, 35, holds career NBA averages of 24.0 points (44.9% FG, 34.7% 3-PT, 81.1% FT), 6.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.02 steals in 1,064 games (1,056 starts) over 16 seasons with Denver, New York, Oklahoma City and Houston.

A 10-time NBA All-Star, Anthony (6-8, 240), has been named to an All-NBA team six times and was the 2012-13 NBA scoring champion. As a member of the USA Basketball Men’s National Team, Anthony has won three Olympic gold medals (2008, 2012, 2016) and one bronze medal (2004). Originally selected by the Denver Nuggets with the third overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft, Anthony attended Syracuse where he won the 2003 NCAA Championship as a freshman.

Among all-time NBA leaders, Anthony ranks 19th in points (25,551), 21st in field goals (9,137) and 41st in three-pointers (1,362). He is one of 11 players in NBA history with at least 25,000 points, 6,900 rebounds and 3,100 assists.

He will wear No. 00 for the Trail Blazers.

How to watch, stream Trail Blazers at Pelicans tonight at 5:00pm

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How to watch, stream Trail Blazers at Pelicans tonight at 5:00pm

NEW ORLEANS – In their second leg of a back-to-back, the Portland Trail Blazers (4-9) visit the New Orleans Pelicans (4-9) on Tuesday night.

Portland will be looking to bounce back after Monday night’s 132-108 loss to the Rockets.

For the Blazers, they know that anything can still happen this season and there’s still plenty of basketball to be played.

You can watch the Blazers-Pelicans game 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:

2:30pm Blazers Game Day with Chad Doing

4:00pm Blazers Warm-Up

4:30pm Trail Blazers Pregame Show

5:00pm Trail Blazers vs. Pelicans

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

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

Quotable

“It’s a long season. A lot can happen and you’ve got to move onto the next one. In some ways you’ve got to have a short memory. Winning two nights ago in San Antonio was a big win for us and we knew this would be a tough one coming in, but the thing is, you never know when you’re gonna get on a roll, and all it takes is one or two games to get on that roll.” -- Blazers head coach Terry Stotts after Monday’s loss