Damian Lillard represents well in All-Star Game

Damian Lillard represents well in All-Star Game

Damian Lillard got some early run in the 2018 All-Star game, logging nine minutes of playing time for Team Steph in the first half where he put up seven points, grabbed two boards and dished out an assists. Lillard's lone made three pointer in the first half was a deep one from the logo.

In the second half, Lillard turned it up another notch including two more three pointers and a nice fadaway jumper. Lillard was taken out of the game with about six minutes to go and finished with 21 points on 9 of 14 shooting with three rebounds and two assists. His 20 minutes of playing time was a solid contribution and when he exited the game, his 21 points was tied for the game high with LeBron James. Team LeBron made a big come back late in the fourth quarter (when teams actually started playing defense)  and ended up with the 148-145 win. 

For a complete recap on Damian's All-Star journey, be sure to check out The Bridge (live 6pm) and Trail Blazers Outsiders (live 7pm) on Monday night!

 

#AskLillard: Damian Lillard takes over Trail Blazers Twitter

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#AskLillard: Damian Lillard takes over Trail Blazers Twitter

You know what time it is...

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard took over the team’s official Twitter account Friday to answer questions from Rip City. Lillard spills everything from his favorite moments of All-Star Weekend to his thoughts on Seattle getting an NBA team to revive the I-5 rivalry. 

Here’s a wrap-up of a few of your questions for Logo Lillard:

On how it feels to be a superstar in a small market:

On which seed was the goal at the beginning of the season:

On what he thinks about a Seattle-Portland rivalry:

On who his favorite athlete was growing up: 

On who he thinks is going to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft: 

On how he'd feel if the NBA move to a best 16-team playoff:

What he’d be doing if he wasn’t playing basketball:

On his favorite part of All-Star Weekend:

To take a look at the full Q&A, head on over to the Trail Blazers Twitter account to see all his answers. 

Scoop Journal: Enes Kanter's enthusiasm is contagious

Scoop Journal: Enes Kanter's enthusiasm is contagious

Welcome to The Scoop Journal, where every week I empty my notebook of wide ranging Trail Blazer thoughts, observations, and randomness. I hope you enjoy this light-hearted weekly blog...

February 22, 2019

Dear Scoop Journal,

It’s the start of the longest trip of the season and as I jot down my random Portland Trail Blazers notes and thoughts on the train ride from NYC to Philly, I think this journal entry should be a time to reflect on life on the road and this trip so far.

*It’s been fun to see the Trail Blazers players and coaching staff all rejuvenated and feeling good after the All-Star break. With a win over the Nets to start of this seven-game road trip, the tone of the trip has been set.  

*Bringing the energy – that’s what Enes Kanter is doing on and off the court. FOR REAL… I'm pretty sure his excitement and enthusiasm to be a Trail Blazer has been infectious in the locker room. Kanter didn’t stop smiling throughout his entire postgame interview in Brooklyn. He had New York/Brooklyn media along with the Portland media grinning and laughing too. That was a postgame interview that will go down in the record books.

*Blazers head coach Terry Stotts even joked with Kanter that he doesn’t need to learn the plays if he can go and get 18 points and not know a single play.  

*Being in Brooklyn and seeing familiar faces was awesome. As a reporter, it's nice to see former players and have them ask about how things are going back in Rip City. It’s even more fun to see coaches and players reunite:

*After the Blazers beat the Nets, Shabazz Napier walked back to the Trail Blazers locker room to say goodbye to Damian Lillard before Dame left town. Bazz and Dame’s relationship reminds me a lot of Lillard and Tim Frazier’s friendship. They’re definitely lifelong friends.

*FOOD NOTE: I have had Shake Shack twice and I’ve been on this trip so far for three days. YOLO, I guess.  

That was a quick train ride… Now that I made it to Philadelphia, I gotta go find me a Philly Cheesesteak.

Rip City Rewind: Everything you might have missed from the Blazers win over the Nets

Rip City Rewind: Everything you might have missed from the Blazers win over the Nets

Following All-Star Break, the Portland Trail Blazers took the road for the first game of a seven game road trip. Their first stop was in Brooklyn on Thursday night against some familiar faces.

Former Trail Blazers Ed Davis, Shabazz Napier and Allen Crabbe, who all now play for the Nets, put up a fight against Portland, but the trio couldn’t stop their former team and Portland’s new center tandem.

The Blazers dominated the Nets 113-99 in front of a sellout crowd at Barclays Center.

Here’s a look at everything you might have missed.

On a night where the three-ball wasn’t falling, the Blazers bigs caught fire.

Jusuf Nurkic went 10-of-15 from the field and grabbed 12 rebounds on Thursday night, while Kanter, who made his debut in a Blazers uniform, knocked down eight of his nine shorts, scoring 18 points in just 19 minutes. He also added nine rebounds for Portland.

Dwight Jaynes noted Portland going old-school on Brooklyn with its centers: 'Nurk and The Turk' haul Trail Blazers to an old-school win

Allen Crabbe finished with the most minutes of the former Trail Blazers trio. He came off the bench for 17 points on 7-13 shooting, while Davis added 15 points and 10 rebounds and Napier added seven points and 10 assists.=

Jamie Hudson caught up with them after the game to see how they’ve been adjusting to life in Brooklyn and what they thought of the new-look Blazers: Best of Quotes: Former Trail Blazers Ed Davis and Allen Crabbe talk after loss in Brooklyn

Jamie also shared her initial thoughts following the Blazers win: Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers win over the Nets

'Nurk and The Turk' haul Trail Blazers to an old-school win

'Nurk and The Turk' haul Trail Blazers to an old-school win

The Trail Blazers went old school Thursday night in Brooklyn against the Nets.

Portland went inside to its centers. Over and over and over.

And over again.

Remember when having a low-post center who could score was a big deal? Well, the Trail Blazers turned back the clock Thursday night.

Two Blazer centers combined for 45 points and 21 rebounds as Jusuf Nurkic made 10 of his 15 shots and grabbed 12 rebounds and Enes Kanter, born in Turkey and making his Portland debut, hit eight of his nine shots, scored 18 points and hauled in nine rebounds in just a little under 20 minutes.

The Blazers finished with 66 points in the paint.

“He basically played the way we expected him to play,” Portland Coach Terry Stotts said of Kanter. “I don’t know if you could have asked for a better first game from him.”

In a league dominated by three-point shooting, playing a power game with a big center is a real throwback. But high-percentage shots still have extreme value, particularly late in close games and when the shooters can also make free throws if fouled …

And, of course, on nights when the three-ball isn’t falling – like Thursday night for Portland.

“They are going to change the dynamic for a lot of teams in how they guard us,” CJ McCollum said. “They will be able to get a lot of attention, draw fouls and get us in the bonus a little bit earlier and present some different challenges for a lot of teams.”

The Trail Blazers made just 7 of 32 heaves from distance, with Damian Lillard and McCollum combining to hit only 3 of 15.

But Nurk and The Turk mopped up the mess, collecting a total of eight offensive rebounds.

“Obviously, our two big guys really dominated inside,” Stotts said. “They were a big part of our offense.

“We’ve been good, offensively, all season. And I think now we’re improved. Nurk has always been good on the pick-and-roll and Enes is good on the block.”

“Defensively, it’s going to be a challenge.”

Portland is stockpiling centers. Zach Collins and Meyers Leonard – who have each had good moments this season – did not get into the game and newcomer Skal Labissiere is plopped down at the end of the bench, where he is expected to stay with the four others ahead of him.

“He was tremendous,” Nurkic said of Kanter. ”If he can continue to play that way, it will be huge.”

McCollum said of Kanter: “He’s a monster, man. I’ve seen his work ethic the last few summers, living in New York and living in the same building.”

Kanter, who had been with the tanking Knicks prior to making his escape, was excited.

“The last time I got a win, I think it was two months,” he said. “First, it was amazing, man. I didn’t know any sets. We just went over them yesterday and it was like smoke coming out of my ears. I didn’t know any of them.

“But when you play with guys like Dame and CJ, they make the game so easy for themselves and for everybody else around them. That’s what made it so special.

“Winning is fun again. I hope it keeps getting better and better.”

Best of Quotes: Former Trail Blazers Ed Davis and Allen Crabbe talk after loss in Brooklyn

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Best of Quotes: Former Trail Blazers Ed Davis and Allen Crabbe talk after loss in Brooklyn

The start of the Trail Blazers road trip in Brooklyn brought some familiar faces to the court. Former Trail Blazers Ed Davis, Allen Crabbe and Shabazz Napier all now play for the Nets. 

Crabbe logged the most minutes of the trio, who all came off the bench. AC finished with 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting to go along with his four rebounds. Davis racked up a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds while Napier added seven points and ten assists. 

It was quite the night for the trio despite the loss to Portland. Here is what the former Trail Blazers had to say after the game...

Top quotes of the night from Ed Davis:

On what he sees different in playing against former teammate Jake Layman:

“Nothing – he’s just getting the opportunity. Everyone over there knows he can play. He’s an aggressive scorer, so for him it’s the opportunity to get more consistent minutes.”

On moving forward this season with an emphasis on rebounding:

“It’s huge. You know, they definitely killed us on the boards tonight. (Enes) Kanter and (Rodney) Hood and the rest of the guys. To win games you definitely need to get stops and get defensive rebounds. Those are key points.”

Davis finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds against the Blazers on Thursday night.

Top quotes of the night from Allen Crabbe:

On where the Blazers hurt the Nets most tonight:

“Offensive rebounds. They got a lot of second chance points, they got a lot of offensive rebounds. It's hard to beat a team when you give up that many offensive rebounds and they get that many looks, second chances aside, you've got to them credit. They outworked us tonight."

On if it feels like he’s hot right now from three:

“I’m just playing basketball confident. Teammates find me within the flow of the offense and like I said, when I went out before I got injured, I felt like I was finding my rhythm, and I told myself to just come back with the same mindset – just stay aggressive out there and good things will happen.”

Crabbe has played just in just 32 games all season after missing nearly two months with the knee injury. In his last 10 games he is averaging 15 points.

Jusuf Nurkic leads strong 1-2 punch in win over Nets

Jusuf Nurkic leads strong 1-2 punch in win over Nets

BROOKLYN – One thing is for sure… The Portland Trail Blazers are loaded with offensive weapons.

And, CJ McCollum said it best after the Blazers 113-99 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night:

“It’s a good problem to have.”

Unlike what fans have become accustom to for the past few seasons with Damian Lillard and McCollum leading the offensive charge, on Thursday night, it was all about Jusuf Nurkic and newly acquired backup Enes Kanter.

Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts knows it’s a luxury to have two big men who can finish around the rim.

“We’re going to spread the wealth, I guess,” Stotts said in regards to the Blazers’ rotations and who is going to get minutes. “We’ve been good offensively most of the season. I think we’re probably improved now with Enes Kanter... So offense is going to be fine. We’ll find ways to score.”

Nurkic finished with 27 points in the win, which ties a season-high, to along with his 12 rebounds after shooting an efficient 10-of-15 from the floor.

The Bosnian Beast bodied up the young Jarret Allen in Thursday night’s win as Nurkic notched his 27th double-double of the season.

Nurkic had it going early when the rest of the Blazers seemed to be shaking off that post All-Star break rust.

At the break, he was the only Trail Blazer in double figures with 10 points.

“Nurk was great. He changed the game, made them have to really double team down in the paint, he attracted a lot of attention, finished strong, was efficient, he helped us a lot,” McCollum said.

But when Nurkic got into foul trouble in the second half that meant more minutes for the newest Trail Blazer.

“It’s not a break for other teams. You come out with Nurk,who is huge, banging guys down low, getting the ball in the paint and then when Nurk’s out of the game you come in with Enes and he’s the same. He’s strong, he’s banging, he’s making those guys work… They’ve got their work cut out for them in the paint,” Lillard said.

Nurkic feels the Blazers offense could see a bit of a change for this second half of the season.

“I feel like with Enes we’re gonna play a little bit more in the post,” Nurkic added.

Kanter logged 20 minutes in his debut for the Trail Blazers. He made his first seven shots and ended the game with 18 points after going 8-of-9 from the floor. Kanter also had nine rebounds with four of those coming on the offensive end.

“I didn’t expect [Kanter] to just be that comfortable… But he played in exactly the way I knew he was capable of – on the offensive glass, scoring on the block. I think that type of game from him, I think that’s something that we can really use,” Lillard said.

Both Nurkic and Kanter realize that with their size there is a big possibility they will create mismatches.

“Somebody is gonna need to guard two big fellas out there,” Nurkic said with a smile.

“Jusuf is one of the biggest men in the league. He kind of plays like I do – physical game, rebounding, post-ups and face-up shots. I think we just want to get better from now,” Kanter said.

Lillard also mentioned how having Nurkic and Kanter both being so effective down low could open up more driving lanes for he and McCollum.

While McCollum pointed out that the Blazers could now be heading to the free throw line a little bit more because of Nurkic and Kanter’s play.

“They’re gonna change the dynamic for a lot of teams and how they guard us. Obviously they’re able to draw fouls, draw a lot of attention, get us in the bonus a little bit earlier and present some different challenges for a lot of teams,” McCollum said.

Nurkic and the rest of the Blazers will look to now take advantage of the Philadelphia 76ers who will be playing without Joel Embiid when the Blazers visit Philly on Saturday.

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers win over the Nets

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Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers win over the Nets

BROOKLYN -- It was a game that was going to set the tone for the Portland Trail Blazers seven-game road trip, according to Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum and after shaking off the rust; Portland was able to take advantage of the young Nets team.

Both Jusuf Nurkic and Enes Kanter powered their way past Brooklyn to help the Blazers get a win to start the trip.

Final Box Score: Trail Blazers 113, Nets 99

Here are some quick thoughts from the Blazers win over the Nets:

 

1. Kanter imposing his will

Enes Kanter checked in as a Trail Blazer for the first time at the 3:14 mark of the first quarter. He quickly showed Blazers fans what he will bring to this team on the offensive end as Kanter muscled his way past Ed Davis for two back-to-back lay-ins.

The last two days, Kanter has preached that he will bring the energy and against the Nets he showed that energy on both ends. This is a game that Kanter matched up well again with a small frontcourt.

In his first stint as a Trail Blazer, Kanter went 3-for-3 with six points and four rebounds in nine minutes of work.  He made his first seven shots of the game.

2. Going up against Blazers East

Some of Rip City’s fan favorites are now with the Nets and you could tell the former players wanted to take it at their old team.
Midway through the 1st quarter all three former Trail Blazer players were on the court – Allen Crabbe, Shabazz Napier, and Ed Davis.

Shabazz and Davis showed their strong connection early with back-to-back successful pick and roll action. That was the first sign of the element of wanting to play well against your former team. Crabbe was also going hard at CJ McCollum one-on-one early.

Blazers fans should know—Nets fans seem to love/enjoy what all three former Blazers bring to their Nets team.

The second quarter Napier showed off some “Shabazzle Dazzle” with a between the legs pass to Crabbe who calmly knocked down the long three-pointer and the crowd went nuts. Which by the way, I felt like I was at a college game with section 114 chanting and standing for most of the game. It really was like having a student section going crazy for their team.  

Napier had a career-high in assists of a half with eight assists.

 

3. Strong third quarter despite foul trouble

It wasn’t until the second half started the Blazers looked like they were finding their groove on offense. Portland outscored Brooklyn 34-22 in the quarter and that was despite both CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic picking up four fouls each by the eight-minute mark of the third.

The triple-double watch for Damian Lillard started midway through the third as well. With just minutes left in the 3rd period, Lillard had 10poimts, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.

It was one of those off nights for Lillard, but he found different ways to help his team secure a victory.

The Nets made a run at the Blazers to make it a one-point game 7:25 mark in the final quarter after DeMarre Carroll knocked down a jumper, but Portland was able to take care of business down the stretch.

And, this ended up not being the triple-double game for Lillard, but we all know he always wants the win more than the triple-double feat.

NEXT UP: Portland continues its seven-game trip with a stop in Philadelphia for the second game of the road slate. Tip-off between the Blazers and 76ers is set for 10:00am PT with pregame coverage beginning at 9:00am on NBC Sports Northwest.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your Blazers and stream the games easily on your device.

Everything you need to know from pregame as the Trail Blazers prep for Brooklyn Nets

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Everything you need to know from pregame as the Trail Blazers prep for Brooklyn Nets

BROOKLYN -- The Trail Blazers tip-off the second half of the 2018-19 NBA season with a brutal stretch in their schedule as Portland embarks on a seven-game, East Coast road trip starting with this matchup against the Brooklyn Nets.

Before tonight’s game tips off, the Trail Blazers players and coaching staff embraced and said their hellos to former teammates Ed Davis and Shabazz Napier while both teams were warming up.

Before the game Davis talked about what it was like getting to catch up with his former teammates, “I was there for three years. I developed a lot of lifelong relationships. It’s good to see old faces.”

Davis also had a message for Trail Blazers fans:

 

“We’ll be back in [Portland] at the end of next month. It’ll be good to be back. I appreciate all the support,” Davis said.

 

During his pregame media availability Blazers head coach Terry Stotts had plenty to say about what it was like to coach ‘Phys Ed’:

“He’s a pros, pro. He plays hard, he practices everyday, he’s a good teammate. He had good conversations with the players whether it was about basketball or about life. I think his teammates appreciated his willingness to do the dirty work and because of that he had the respect of his teammates and his coaches. I can’t say enough good things about Ed," Stotts said.

Hear more from Coach Stotts here:

 

 

I'm Not Crying, You're Crying: Meyers Leonard makes dreams come true

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I'm Not Crying, You're Crying: Meyers Leonard makes dreams come true

Meyers Leonard hasn’t had an easy life.

At only six years old, Leonard lost his father in a devastating bicycle accident and his mother’s debilitating back injury left the family with a home in foreclosure, little to no furniture and limited running water and electricity.

Leonard knows what it’s like to struggle, and now that he’s in a position to help those less fortunate, the Portland Trail Blazers center is giving back in a big way.

Each year, Blazer's Edge, the Trail Blazers SB Nation site, hosts a special night in March where they collect donations to send underprivileged fans to an NBA game.

This year, a request from a 5th grade teacher made an impression on Blazer's Edge editor Dave Deckard, who became worried they wouldn’t have enough tickets donated to fulfill the requests.

He penned a story “The Trail Blazers Request that Broke My Heart,” detailing the 5th grade teacher’s request to send her class to the game, in particular three students who share a passion for basketball.

Here’s an excerpt from the letter:

“Basketball turned them from three lonely, isolated boys at the beginning of the year to their own little team. I can only imagine how my class, but especially those three would feel if I got to tell them they could see the Blazers play for real. I think on that day they’d walk away from school with their heads up. If it’s possible my dream is to get a picture of those three boys sitting together at a real game. It’s something I’d treasure for a lifetime.”

The letter apparently struck a chord with Leonard as well, who took to Twitter to share he and his wife Elle would help make the request a reality.

Following Leonard’s pledge, fans praised the Blazers big for supporting the students.

While these acts of kindness typically go unnoticed, Leonard definitely deserves some credit for the selfless gesture.

Giving kids the opportunity to go to an NBA game might be trivial for some, but you never know the impact it could have on those sitting in the audience.

In a post shared on Twitter Thursday, Blazer's Edge announced they had surpassed their goal of 2,000 donated tickets.