Everything you need to know from pregame as Trail Blazers prep for New Orleans Pelicans

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Everything you need to know from pregame as Trail Blazers prep for New Orleans Pelicans

Tonight marks the third and final meeting between the Trail Blazers and Pelicans this season.

Portland will be playing in the second game of this current three-game trip that wraps up on Saturday at San Antonio. The Blazers are coming off a 125-104 victory over the LA Clippers on Tuesday.

Since the All-Star break, and not trading Anthony Davis, New Orleans has gone 4-7.

Before tonight’s game both Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts and Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry addressed the media to give injury updates and more. 

Pelicans Injury Update:  New Orleans initially listed Trevon Bluiett (right thumb), Jrue Holiday (lower abdominal) and E'Twaun Moore (left quad) as out for Friday's game. This afternoon New Orleans added Anthony Davis (rest) to the list as out.

Coach Gentry said an update on Holiday and Moore “will be made at the start of next week.” As for Davis, the Pelicans decided he would not play in the Portland game, but will play in the Phoenix game tomorrow.

Gentry also handed out his keys to beating the Trail Blazers:

“I think for us, we’ve got to do a good job on their guards, you know, they’re the thing that make the team go. Their big guys are playing really well. [Jusuf] Nurkic has really had a great year. So, they’re a big team, but I think it comes down to being able to control the guards, [Damian ] Lillard and CJ [McCollum,” Gentry said.

Hear from coach Gentry right here:

Blazers Injury Update: Rodney Hood (right hip) is available, Seth Curry (upper respiratory) is probable and Maurice Harkless (left knee) is out tonight.

Portland is taking precaution with Harkless since the Blazers are getting set to play in a back-to-back.

There are has been a lot of drama surrounding the Pelicans after Davis was vocal about wanting out of New Orleans. With the tough situation, Coach Stotts gave credit to Coach Gentry for keeping his team competitive.

“Alvin’s done a real good job of keeping his team motivated,” Stotts said.

Hear from coach Stotts right here:

Good dude CJ McCollum awards local family with Trail Blazers tickets, amazing night

Good dude CJ McCollum awards local family with Trail Blazers tickets, amazing night

The love Rip City has for the Trail Blazers is real. 

When a player comes to Portland, Blazers fans become invested. Players become part of the family. Whether it be one year or for what looks to be a player’s full career. Rip City takes special interest in all aspects of the players’ life. 

Prior to Tuesday’s game vs. the Knicks, CJ McCollum took a special interest in Rip City’s interests.

CJ got HUNDREDS of responses. 

But, if you’re a CJ McCollum fan, there was really only one right answer to his question. There’s a number of loves in CJ’s life: His fiancé, drinking Pinot and listening to J. Cole. 

A Trail Blazers fan who knows all of those things? Ashlee Yuille. 

Originally from Flint, Michigan, Yuille lives in SE Portland and has been in the area for 20 years. A social worker at the Portland VA Hospital emergency room, Yuille follows the Blazers pretty closely and even listens to CJ McCollum’s “Pull Up Podcast.” Yuille wasn’t just angling for tickets. She shares in CJ’s appreciation for J. Cole's music. Her favorite song of his is “Love Yourz.”

CJ responded to her tweet, and later that evening Yuille, who was sporting a CJ McCollum jersey, and her 13-year-old son, Colton, were off to the game. The 7th grade Colton likes Jusuf Nurkic, and while the Bosnian Beast wasn’t able to suit up tonight, they still had a ton of fun watching the Blazers blow out the Knicks. 

“Really, just being there was so amazing and we were so excited to see Melo for the first time!” Yuille told NBC Sports Northwest via direct message. 

This isn't the first time CJ has performed this generous act. CJ granted a Blazers fan's wish to take his son to a game for his birthday in November. 

This is yet another example of how the love between Rip City and the Trail Blazers remains genuine and real. 

Dame says, no matter what, this season will not splinter his team

Dame says, no matter what, this season will not splinter his team

The Trail Blazers left no doubt Tuesday night that no matter how bad things were going for them, they weren’t going as poorly as the New York Knicks.

The now 10-15 Blazers outscored the Knicks by at least eight points in each of the first three quarters and led by as many as 32 points while routing 4-20 New York, sending the reeling Knicks to their 10th straight defeat.

Obviously, Portland has not reached its pre-season expectations – injuries have taken care of that – but Damian Lillard says there is no worry about this team splintering or losing its way this season.

“Not us,” he said emphatically. “Because I think that starts at the top. We don’t have a coaching staff that wavers, where they come in here like, ‘We got to stop doing this!’ They are never negative. Some people have a hard time when you’ve struggling or losing and coming in the next day and still having the same positive attitude, while still addressing what the issues are. And our coaching staff, they do a great job of that.

Myself and CJ, we’ve always had that mentality of, ‘It’s not going well, but we’re going to figure it out.’ So, it’s not only no panic, when we see that from our coaching staff and our teammates see it from us, there is a level of confidence that you have throughout a group, when everybody can look to each other know and say 'He still believes, he’s still positive.'

“You keep that energy as a group. Whereas, ‘It’s going bad, but let’s keep going.’ If we finish the season bad, we’re going to have a whole season where we say, we fought through it. We always have our minds in the right place and we’re going to keep fighting through it.”

The Blazer coaching staff showed that it’s willing to tinker with things a bit, showing a 2-3 zone, a three-guard lineup and the team’s only two true bigs – Skal Labissiere and Hassan Whiteside – playing at the same time.

Asked when the last time he was on a team that played a 2-3 zone, Kent Bazemore shook his head and fought for a memory he couldn’t find.

“Um, I can’t really remember. It’s definitely a different wrinkle, especially if you throw it at them right out of a timeout,” said Bazemore, who started at small forward. “You have smart enough players on the floor, it’s actually very effective.

“You’ve got to give us credit tonight, though. We came out… Dame was super-special tonight and had the game we kind of needed from him. We’re still building. Confidence is starting to grow.”

Whiteside had another night of stuffing the stat sheet, getting 17 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots in 25:38. Lillard was sensational from the floor, hitting 9 of 15 overall and 8-12 from three -- and he didn't play in the fourth quarter. Portland hit 17 of 41 threes while the Knicks managed just 7-38.

Next up, Thursday night on the road, is Denver.

Listen to this week’s Talkin’ Blazers podcast here:

Fans went wild for Chris. You don't often see someone win big on those timeout games, and it's exciting anytime it happens. 

Congratulations, Chris!!!

Pregame Notebook: Trail Blazers expect new energy from Knicks

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Pregame Notebook: Trail Blazers expect new energy from Knicks

The Trail Blazers are set to wrap-up their four-game homestand tonight.

Before the Blazers and Knicks tip-off at 7:00p.m. on NBC Sports Northwest and on the 'My Teams' App, Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts gave his thoughts on tonight’s matchup.

Coach Stotts thinks the Knicks will be playing with a sense of urgency and newfound energy playing for their new interim head coach Mike Miller.

They’ve had a couple of days in between games. They’ll be some new things implemented. After watching their Indiana game they had some new things in as well. So, it kind of puts a premium on knowing their personnel, their tendencies, what they like to do. The one thing a coaching change usually does is it brings a bump in energy. They’ve lost nine in a row so I expect them to play with a lot of urgency.  ---Terry Stotts pregame

Coach Stotts also mentioned that Pau Gasol is still in Spain rehabbing at the moment, but he should be back in Portland late next week and then they will figure out when Gasol will join the coaching staff.

HEAR FROM COACH STOTTS HERE:

Trail Blazers players, coaches visit local hospitals, cuteness ensues

Trail Blazers players, coaches visit local hospitals, cuteness ensues

It’s time to spread some holiday cheer.

On Monday, a day before taking on the New York Knicks at the Moda Center, the Portland Trail Blazers visited Shriners Hospital and Doernbecher Children's Hospital. The team signed autographs and spent time with kids giving them memories they’ll treasure forever.

Here’s a thread of all the most precious moments.

CJ McCollum loved the video of Mario Hezonja and Anthony Tolliver as much as the rest of us.

The Trail Blazers' season continues Tuesday night against the New York Knicks at 7:00pm in the Moda Center. The game will be available live on NBC Sports Northwest.

Portland Trail Blazers ‘expected’ to pursue Thunder F Danilo Gallinari

Portland Trail Blazers ‘expected’ to pursue Thunder F Danilo Gallinari

According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, the Portland Trail Blazers are “expected” to pursue Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari.

The Blazers may look to upgrade their wing rotation, especially following the season-ending injury to starting small forward Rodney Hood, who tore his achilles on December 6th against the Los Angeles Lakers. 

Gallinari has averaged 18.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game this season for the Oklahoma City Thunder. As a member of the Clippers last season, he averaged 19.8 points per game and even got some All-NBA and All-Star consideration around the league. He was traded to the Thunder in the blockbuster Paul George trade this offseason. 

On December 15, all players signed this off-season will be eligible to be traded. The Blazers will most likely use the expiring salary of either Hassan Whiteside ($27.1 million) or Kent Bazemore ($19.3 million) to match Gallinari’s $22.6 million expiring salary. 

[RELATED: Kevin Love 'prefers' Portland Trail Blazers as his trade destination]

Kevin Love ‘prefers’ Portland Trail Blazers as his trade destination

Kevin Love ‘prefers’ Portland Trail Blazers as his trade destination

The rumors of Kevin Love coming home to Portland surfaced once again on Tuesday morning.

According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, former All-Star and Lake Oswego native Kevin Love would prefer to be traded to the Portland Trail Blazers

Earlier this week, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers have reportedly been more open to trading All-Star Kevin Love after a 5-18 start to the season. He’s in the first season of his four-year, $120 million extension he signed following the 2018 season. He currently averages 15.6 points and 10.6 rebounds a game for the Cavs. 

The Blazers have the salary space to make a trade work with the expiring contracts of Hassan Whiteside ($27.1 million) and Kent Bazemore ($19.3 million) and the Cavaliers should desire cap relief from Love’s monstrous deal while they rebuild. 

Portland needs relief at the forward and center positions after injuries to Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, and Rodney Hood. Kevin Love would be able to play both power forward and center, while spacing the floor to give Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum more room to operate. 

Kevin O’Connor thinks that Love would fit great in Portland.

“Nurkic will return this season, and Love would be a terrific frontcourt partner because of his perimeter shooting and playmaking ability. Portland could then play big upfront, which would be valuable in a series against a team with a bigger frontcourt, like the Lakers. Or, it could go with Love at center, which could be useful against the Rockets, who often size down with P.J. Tucker at center."

Would you want to see Kevin Love sporting a red and white pinwheel on his chest, Rip City?