The cloud that hangs over Damian Lillard's incredible scoring performances

The cloud that hangs over Damian Lillard's incredible scoring performances

Damian Lillard has been scoring at a masterful clip over the past month. 

He didn't necessarily come out hot in 2020, scoring just 11 points in a losing effort to the New York Knicks, but since then, he's averaging 33 points in the month of January.

On Monday, Lillard scored a career-high 61 points and broke his own franchise record and career-high with 11 three pointers made.

To follow-up that performance, the Trail Blazers franchise player, who is expected to be named an All-Star for the fifth time, dropped 47 points, eclipsing the century mark, becoming the first-ever to score more than 100 points in Trail Blazers history.

To add to his unbelievable run, he joined elite company in doing so...

Lillard's run has truly been impressive.

But, there's one thing that mars such a feat... the Blazers record during that process. 

Lillard has averaged 44 points per game in his past four performances, and the Blazers have lost three of them. 

Portland lost to the Dallas Mavericks 133-125 Thursday night to fall to 19-27 on the season. This is the second time this season the Trail Blazers have been eight games below .500. 

The Blazers are ranked 26th in defensive rating this season. They have the worst assist ratio in the league. 

Of course, more goes into it than that, but what's going on now is a far cry from where the team was at a year ago.

Lillard's performances come on the heels of the Trail Blazers losing yet another player to injury. Shooting guard CJ McCollum went down on January 17th vs. the Mavericks in Dallas, so Lillard has stepped up and poured in the points. 

Portland's only win since McCollum went down came in overtime where Lillard had to set career-highs and franchise records. 

The Trail Blazers are depleted. They've played injured. They've played sick to the point where Gary Trent, Jr. had to get IV treatment for flu-like symptoms. They played even more short-handed after taking two players (Bazemore and Tolliver) out of the equation because of Portland's trade with Sacramento. 

Lillard shouldered the load and he delivered. But, he seems to be growing more and more frustrated, which has boiled over into technical fouls and referee criticism. 

But, perhaps, Lillard is projecting about a much larger issue. A team with the second-highest payroll that went to the Western Conference Finals is now in serious danger of not being able to crawl out of this hole. 

"[Dame] didn't sign up to be on a team like this," Yahoo! Sports Senior NBA Insider Chris Haynes told NBC Sports National NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh in a podcast interview. 

Wednesday marked a possible turning point for the Trail Blazers on the injury front. Jusuf Nurkic, who has been rehabbing his ankle since last March, participated in a full contact practice. Zach Collins, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, was engaged in individual workouts. So was CJ McCollum, who sprained his ankle last week. 

Hopefully, the reinforcements will arrive and the Trail Blazers can turn this season around.

Damian Lillard can't keep doing this all on his own!    

Zach Collins gets approval from NBA to continue rehab at practice facility

Zach Collins gets approval from NBA to continue rehab at practice facility

Current Trail Blazers and even former Trail Blazers are rocking Portland Gear these days.

Sunday afternoon, Trail Blazers big man Zach Collins joined the owner of Portland Gear Marcus Harvey on their live Instagram feed.

Mustache and all.

Yep, Collins is now rocking facial hair... Well, some facial hair. 

So, of course, the live video started off with a lot of mustache talk.

“I don’t want to hear it. If you hate it, I don’t want to hear it,” Collins joked.

“This is all I got. This is all I have to work with… It’s really bad, but it’s the most I’ve ever had,” Collins said with a smile.

Later in the 45-minute conversation, Harvey and Collins got back to talking about the mustache.

“I don’t think I’m built for facial hair,” Collins joked.

“I don’t know if you can have good facial hair with a baby face."

That'll probably  be determined by the end of the NBA hiatus if Collins is still growing out his beard.  

As for his rehab, Collins mentioned that the NBA got approval to allow him as well as Jusuf Nurkic and Rodney Hood to be able to go to the team’s practice facility for rehab only.

Collins, Nurk, and Hoodie are allowed to go in the weight room for rehab.

“We can’t play basketball or anything, just be in the weight room,” Collins said.

It was back on Mar. 19, that the NBA shut down all team training facilities to combat COVID-19.

Video games, movies, home workouts -- those are the main staples in Collins' quarantined life at the moment.

The Trail Blazers big man is still hopeful that the 2019-20 season will restart.

I definitely don’t think they’ll cancel the whole season. -- Trail Blazers big man Zach Collins

“For sure,” Collins thinks he will be a back if the NBA resumes this summer. “I’m like 95 percent done with my rehab now, that’s what the trainers are telling me.”

April 5th will be the fifth-month mark since Big Z underwent successful surgery to repair his left labrum.

At 22 years old, the Gonzaga alum is happy that he had shoulder surgery after going back-and-forth on the decision.

“I think long-term it was the right thing just because like I would’ve had to deal with it the rest of the year if I was out for a few weeks…  If I come back and hurt it again and then do the surgery, now the rehab is going into the summer. It’s bad timing either way.”

Now with the NBA hiatus, having the surgery soon after suffering the injury, the Blazers will get a healthy Collins back if the season starts up again this summer.

Plus, this we know: It’s good timing right now to try and grow that facial hair, Zach! 

Social Media Reaction to Brandon Roy's 4Q comeback: So much excitement and sadness

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USA Today Images

Social Media Reaction to Brandon Roy's 4Q comeback: So much excitement and sadness

Rewatching the first three quarters of the April 23, 2011 Trail Blazers and Mavericks first round Game 4 made fans appreciate Portland's fourth quarter comeback even more.

The Blazers shot 28 percent from the floor through two and a half quarters.

In the third quarter alone, Portland went 3-of-18 from the field. 

So, instead of focusing on the game early on, Rip City Faithful was concentrating on the players that they love and miss.

In the first three games of the series, Dallas had outscored Portland by an average of, 94-89.
Those were some close games.

But then, the Blazers comeback happened in Game 4 after Portland was down by as many 23…

Or we should say, Brandon Roy HAPPENED!

 

The Trail Blazers outscored the Mavs, 35-15 in the final period and Roy finished with 24 points off the bench. LaMarcus Aldridge added 18. 

Roy’s 18-point-fourth-quarter performance will never be forgotten in Rip City. 

Hassan Whiteside imitating the 'lag' while playing NBA 2K on bad Wi-Fi is amazing

Hassan Whiteside imitating the 'lag' while playing NBA 2K on bad Wi-Fi is amazing

Since the start of the 2019-20 Trail Blazers season, Portland’s starting center Hassan Whiteside has been making us all laugh.

Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Anfernee Simons have all mentioned that Whiteside is one of the funniest dudes on the team.

During the NBA’s hiatus, he is continuing to keep Rip City entertained.

In his latest Instagram post, Whiteside makes fun of the lag on NBA 2k video games when playing the game with a bad Internet connection.  

Here is what it’s like playing NBA 2k “on that hotel Wi-Fi,” according to Whiteside:  

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That LAG spike🥴😂 #nba2k

A post shared by Hassan Whiteside (@hassanwhiteside) on

That is pretty hilarious and pretty spot on.

Sometimes I wonder how he comes up with this stuff!  

Here are just a few other Hassan Whiteside social media posts that can put a smile on your face during this time of quarantine:

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Mood

A post shared by Hassan Whiteside (@hassanwhiteside) on

View this post on Instagram

Stay Bundled

A post shared by Hassan Whiteside (@hassanwhiteside) on

Keep them coming, Hassan! 

Damian Lillard isn't afraid of Russell Westbrook

Damian Lillard isn't afraid of Russell Westbrook

The date was April 23rd, 2019. 

On that night, Damian Lillard dropped a 50 piece on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs. 

The game is best known for what happened at the final buzzer. That is when Lillard launched what is now known as the "Bad Shot."

Lillard rose up from the Moda Center logo, launched a shot over the outstretched arm of Paul George, and sent OKC home. 

The result was the Thunder hitting the reset button in the offseason. 

They traded Paul George to the LA Clippers, and the face of the franchise Russell Westbrook was sent to Houston.

A year later, OKC fans are still salty. 

"PAT BEV TRICK YALL MAN," if that is his real name, is definitely a Westbrook Stan.

What gives it away? Maybe it's the @TripleRussell0 handle, or the Westbrook avatar, or maybe it's the Westbrook banner. We can't quite put our finger on it. 

Regardless, Rip City saw the tweet and was more than a little perplexed. 

After dispatching the Thunder, Portland went on to play in its first Western Conference Finals in nearly 20 years. 

It seems like wanting no part of Westbrook worked out pretty well for Lillard.

Damian Lillard shares heartfelt message to Dame Jr. on his 2nd birthday

Damian Lillard shares heartfelt message to Dame Jr. on his 2nd birthday

On this day in Trail Blazers history... we welcomed a new addition to Rip City!

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Dame Jr. 🙏🏽

A post shared by Damian Lillard (@damianlillard) on

Damian Lillard and now fiancée Kay’La Hanson greeted Damian, Jr. to the world and since then, he's melted our hearts. 

On this day in Trail Blazers history... we welcomed a new addition to Rip City!

View this post on Instagram

Dame Jr. 🙏🏽

A post shared by Damian Lillard (@damianlillard) on

Damian Lillard and now fiancée Kay’La Hanson greeted Damian, Jr. to the world and since then, he's melted our hearts. 

The two have a very sweet connection. 

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No bond like the father and son !

A post shared by Damian Lillard (@damianlillard) on

And Dame doesn't seem to mind that his son always steals the spotlight!

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#somethingnewchallenge😂😂😂😂

A post shared by Damian Lillard (@damianlillard) on

And on this day, Dame Jr.'s day of birth, Damian Lillard, Sr. shared a series of photos of his son. 

Happy birthday, Dame Jr.!!!

 

How to Watch: Brandon Roy's 4th quarter comeback vs. the Mavericks

How to Watch: Brandon Roy's 4th quarter comeback vs. the Mavericks

Are you ready for another special moment in Trail Blazers history?  

Let’s go back to April 23rd, 2011 at the Rose Garden…. You know it as the magical Game 4 performance from Brandon Roy.

Roy scored Portland’s final eight points to cap off a huge fourth-quarter rally, as the Trail Blazers erased a 23-point deficit to defeat the Dallas Mavericks, 84-82.

In that classic Western Conference quarterfinal game, Roy scored 24 points off the on 9-of-13 shooting.

The Blazers entered the fourth quarter down 67-49.

And now you can relive the Roy go-ahead bank shot in the Blazers comeback victory on NBC Sports Northwest.

Dallas would eventually go on and beat the Blazers in six gams, and then win the whole thing, being crowned the 2011 NBA Champions after defeating the Miami Heat 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals. Dirk Nowitzki was named NBA Finals MVP.

But, in Game 4 of the Blazers and Mavs first round series the real MVP was B-Roy.

And honestly, this game always gets Rip City pumped not just for the playoffs, but anytime. 

Starters for 2011 NBA Playoffs Game 4:

DALLAS

DeShawn Stevenson

Shawn Marion

Dirk Nowitzki

Tyson Chandler

Jason Kidd

PORTLAND

Wesley Matthews

Andre Miller

LaMarcus Aldridge

Gerald Wallace

Marcus Camby

HOW TO WATCH Blazers vs. Mavs

WHEN: Sunday, March 29th at 4:30pm

Channel: NBC Sports Northwest, Channel 737 (Portland), 617 (Seattle)

CHANNEL FINDER

Stream the game here. 

NBC Sports Northwest is airing 12 Trail Blazers Classic Games over the next few weeks.

The full schedule can be found here.

The core value Carmelo Anthony emphasizes in parenting

The core value Carmelo Anthony emphasizes in parenting

Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony isn't the young rookie sensation that competed with LeBron James for Rookie of the Year anymore.

He's developed as a player and perhaps more importantly, as a parent. 

As a parent, one is able to make decisions on what is important in life, a chance to learn from mistakes and an opportunity to see someone blossom.

In a recent Instagram Live with best friend Dwyane Wade, Anthony detailed what's the most crucial core value to instill in your offspring.

Respect. Respect. I don't care who you are. I don't care what you do. If you don't have no respect then nobody is going to respect you. And that's like one of the things that we preach in this household. You gotta respect people. You gotta show people that you're respectful. You gotta have manners. You gotta treat the janitor like you treat the CEO of the company... That's real. 

Carmelo and his wife La La Anthony are raising Kiyan Carmelo Anthony, age 12, who recently learned the deceptiveness of NBA highlights too with his pops. 

You can watch Wade and Anthony talk about respect in the embedded video above. 

Payton Pritchard would be a great fit with the Portland Trail Blazers

Payton Pritchard would be a great fit with the Portland Trail Blazers

Payton Pritchard, the kid from West Linn, has a habit of winning. 

Early on in his youth basketball days, four state championship at West Linn High School in Portland, Oregon, the winningest player at the University of Oregon… Pritchard knows and love the game of basketball through and through.

The Pac-12 Player of the Year, first consensus All-American in 80 years at Oregon, Lute Olson Award winner is now turning his focus to the NBA, with the NCAA season cut short. 

The Oregon men’s basketball star joins the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with NBA champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

As a Portland native, Pritchard grew up a Portland Trail Blazers fan. 

But the player he truly aspired to be was Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade.

I always rooted for the Blazers but my team was actually the Miami Heat with D-Wade. I was always a D-Wade fan from the beginning even when like Shaw and all them were there, before LeBron came. — Payton Pritchard

Despite Pritchard’s love for Wade and the Heat, Frye explains that Pritchard could be a good fit for a number of NBA teams right now:

I could name three teams off the top of my head I think you'd be good at. I think you'd be great here in Portland. Right? Backup point guard. I think you would be really good in Phoenix. Obviously, depending on what happens in Miami, those kind of places. Like, Miami would be number 3. And then, depending on what happens in Dallas, I think Dallas would be great. -- Channing Frye

I would love to play for any of those four teams. — Payton Pritchard.

Frye goes on to say it’s all about “culture and stability.”

The Portland Trail Blazers currently hold the No. 14 and No. 44 pick in the upcoming 2020 NBA Draft. Pritchard is listed as a late second-round pick.

You can listen to the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with Pritchard below:

Carmelo Anthony explains the most beautiful thing and most dangerous thing in the NBA

Carmelo Anthony explains the most beautiful thing and most dangerous thing in the NBA

In a recent Instagram Live with best friend and NBA Legend Dwyane Wade, Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony broke down what he thought was "the most beautiful thing and most dangerous thing" in the NBA.

Highlights.

It all started when Melo was watching old replayed games with his son who recognized some of the NBA players.

He like 'Oh Dad is that so and so? I seen that hightlight.' And yeah you saw the highlight, Now you get to see the game, now you get to see what happened in the highlight. - Melo

However, with added context, the plays were not as impressive to the young viewer.

He was like 'Yo... Now that highlight don't even mean much to me no more....Because I'm actually seeing the lead up to the actual highlight.' - Melo

Melo was glad to see that his son understood that highlights can be deceiving because they're clips stripped away from context. Wade added that when his NBA teams went through film sessions, "every player looked like an All-Star" and each team looked like the 1996 Bulls. That's what highlights do.

Highlights are the most beautiful thing and most dangerous thing at the end of the day. - Melo

Then, Carmelo brought up that specifically AAU mixtapes can be misleading and that he'd rather just watch the game.

But that doesn't mean all highlights are bad. They can quite entertaining.

I support all the highlights because that's where we at and people love highlights. Like everybody loves highlights. We love highlights. We love to watch our own highlights. 

You can watch the exchange in the video embedded above.