Hassan Whiteside’s enthusiasm to be in Portland cannot be contained… “We got shooters! Let’s go!”

Hassan Whiteside’s enthusiasm to be in Portland cannot be contained… “We got shooters! Let’s go!”

The Woj bombs JUST. KEEP. COMING.

Reported this morning by Adrian Wojnarowski, the Portland Trail Blazers have traded Meyers Leonard and Maurice Harkless to the Miami Heat in exchange for big man Hassan Whiteside. 

After hearing about this trade, Whiteside jumped on his personal Instagram account and expressed his excitement and enthusiasm about his new team, and he just happened to be in his car…

“We got shooters! We got shooters! Let’s go!”

Yes, Portland indeed has shooters! Let’s start with Damian Lillard, who just signed a 4-year supermax contract to remain in Portland. Lillard averaged 25.8 points per game with a 44.4% field goal percentage and 91.2% at the free throw line. Let’s also not forget his RANGE, the Dame Range, from the outer limits, from 35+ feet, from Mt. Hood. If you’re lucky enough to slow him down, then you have to deal with CJ “Cross You Up” McCollum, who shoots 37.5% from beyond the arc.

Compliment those two with Rodney Hood, who signed a 2-yr deal with Portland during this free agency period, Jake Layman who the Blazers just made a qualifying offer for making him a restricted free agent, and young guns Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr. Not to mention big man Zach Collins who has the three ball in his pocket as well. 

[READ: More on the Whiteside trade from our Trail Blazers reporter Jamie Hudson]

Whiteside was selected in the second round (No. 33 overall) by the Sacramento Kings in the 2010 NBA Draft. The 7’0”, 265-pound center will be a nice addition to fill a needed hole until Jusuf Nurkic returns from injury. He averaged 13.4 points and 11.3 rebounds per game in 72 games appeared. 

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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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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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.

Shorthanded Trail Blazers find their playoff hopes precariously balanced

Shorthanded Trail Blazers find their playoff hopes precariously balanced

The beers and sodas balancing on Katy Stevens’ tray rocked back and forth, feigning for a moment that they might stay upright before toppling onto the court.

 

Stevens, a longtime server at the Moda Center, had nearly avoided trouble when referee Mitchell Ervin stepped toward her as she served drinks to courtside fans during the second quarter of Friday’s game. But the second step backward from Ervin ended in a mess as he bumped into the massive tray of drinks Stevens was holding and the beverages came crashing down.

 

The Trail Blazers playoffs hopes are stuck in a similar precarious balancing act, and Friday’s loss to the New Orleans Pelicans pushed them closer towards a familiar calamitous ending. 

 

Playing in their first game without Damian Lillard, who is likely to miss at least a couple more nights as he recovers from a strained groin, the Blazers trailed the New Orleans Pelicans from the opening tip. They fell behind by as many as 22 points, alternating between giving up buckets inside to rookie phenom Zion Williamson or allowing his Pelicans teammates to cash in on open shots on the perimeter.

 

“Our defense still needs to get better,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said, understating his team’s most glaringly obvious shortcoming.


Portland has the worst defense in the Western Conference, and any hopes of a playoff berth starts with a stronger defensive effort. The Blazers are good enough to score on most nights, but simply haven’t shown an ability to stop teams with any consitency. 

 

Some of the excuses are obvious. Lillard on Friday joined the ranks of Blazers not in uniform, donning a sport coat on the bench next to Zach Collins, Mario Hezonja, Jusuf Nurkic and Rodney Hood on the Blazer well-dressed but unavailable squad.

 

However, with 25 games left in the season, the excuses matter less than the results. The Blazers fancied themselves a title contender in the preseason six months ago. They have recalibrated that to playoff hopeful as they enter the stretch run of the season. But surrendering 128 points and allowing a team to shoot 54 percent from the floor in your own building is not part of any postseason formula.

 

“I don’t know, it’s not just one thing,” Blazers center Hassan Whiteside said when asked about the team’s defense. “I think it’s a team effort. It’s not just one specific thing that I could just tell you that would make us a better defensive team.”

 

The Blazers are short on answers. They’re short on healthy bodies. And they’re short on games left on schedule. The loss to New Orleans dropped the Blazers into a tie with the San Antonio Spurs for ninth place in the West, still three games behind eighth place Memphis for the final playoff spot. The Pelicans are lurking just a half game back in 11th.

 

The Blazers’ playoff hopes are hanging in the balance. There’s still time for them to steady the rocking, find their footing and avoid a spill. But more missteps and it all comes crashing down in a hurry, and they’ll be left with an offseason to try to sop up the mess.

 

CJ McCollum worried about stops, not buckets

CJ McCollum worried about stops, not buckets

It was a vision of what could have been: A glaring sight during Friday’s home contest against the New Orleans Pelicans.  

Smack dab in the middle of Portland’s bench sat Zach Collins, Mario Hezonja, Jusuf Nurkic, and Damian Lillard – all in suits, not suited up. 

Just out of view, sat Rodney Hood, who was watching from the second row of the bench wearing a boot on his left foot. 

Thinking about what this season could’ve been with a healthy Nurkic, Collins and Hood is something many have thought about over the past few weeks, but now, adding Lillard to the injured list, and his status is still relatively unknown, the Blazers looked to CJ McCollum Friday night. 

McCollum had no problem taking over the starting point guard duties. He can get his teammates involved when asked to do so, and he has every bit of confidence in running the team. 

It was just that the Pelicans were knocking down threes from all over the perimeter and in transition. 

New Orleans defeated Portland 128-115, but that wasn’t without a fight from McCollum and the Blazers.  

Stepping into his new role for the foreseeable future, McCollum was particularly active in finding the open man, especially early on. He had seven assists in the first quarter.

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts was pleased with how the 28-year-old shooting guard managed the game. 

“I thought CJ had a very good game. In the offense he picked his moments to try and score, obviously double-digit assists, I thought he played the game the way it’s supposed to be played,” Coach Stotts said postgame. 

With confidence in his voice, McCollum echoed a similar message in the locker room, but he would like to take better care of the ball from here on out. 

McCollum led all scores with 27 points on 10-of-22 shooting, to go along with tying his career high in assists with 10. 

Portland as a team shot 45.7 percent for the game. 

That’s not the problem and McCollum knows it. 

“I did a decent job. I had like five turnovers –too many turnovers, but outside of that, I thought offensively wasn’t the problem. Defensively was the bigger problem. We figure out ways to score, we always have, we’ve just got to tighten up at the other end.”

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 

New Orleans shot an efficient 53.6 percent from the field, including an impressive 52.9 percent from behind the arc

With Lillard expecting to miss three to five games with a right groin strain, it’s not just putting a strain on McCollum, even though his teammates are recognizing that it is McCollum who will have to overcome the most.

As the season has progressed, so has Lillard and Hassan Whiteside’s pick and roll action. 

McCollum had a good connection with the Blazers starting center early on Friday night, but those two will need to continue to develop a good two-man game with Lillard out. 

Whiteside finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds, good for his 42nd double-double of the season. 

The Blazers 7-footer mentioned after the loss that a lot of the play calling now falls on McCollum, even though coach Stotts said pregame that he would help in facilitating some of the plays more with Lillard out. 

“I know it’s going to be tougher for everybody,” Whiteside said when talking about not having Lillard for the next handful of games. “It’s going to be tougher for me, it’s going to be tougher for CJ because we’ve been playing a lot through [Lillard] and he makes a lot of decisions out there, but like I said, we’ve got to come out here and keep competing. We’ve got the first one under our belt, let’s move on to Detroit and get a win there. That’s a must win.”

Keep competing along with running opponents off the three-point line and getting back in transition to limit easy fast break buckets -- those are just a few of the Blazers’ action items while their five-time All-Star is sidelined. 

And with that, the 19-39 Detroit Pistons might be just what the doctor ordered for Portland. 

New Orleans outside shooting upstages Zion as Blazers fall at home

New Orleans outside shooting upstages Zion as Blazers fall at home

A whole lot of people came to see rookie sensation Zion Williamson Friday night in Moda Center as his New Orleans Pelicans hit town to meet the Trail Blazers.

Williamson gave them a 25-point show, hitting 10 of his 17 shots on the way to 25 points. It wasn’t spectacular, though, as he claimed only four rebounds, hit just half of his 10 free throws and finished with a zero in his plus-minus column, while his team posted a 128-115 win over the Trail Blazers.

The more spectacular show was the New Orleans outside shooting. The Pels were 18-34 from three-point range and every time Portland mounted any sort of rally, somebody stepped up to knock down a three to kill the momentum.

“That’s always tough,” Carmelo Anthony said. “You play a whole possession of defense and they get an offensive rebound or a kick out for a three. We make a run and they silence that with a three. Those are always momentum killers, right there.”

The starting New Orleans guards, Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball, were a combined 7-11 from three-point range, Brandon Ingram was 3-4 and Josh Hart 3-3. The Trail Blazers never led in the game and were tied just once.

And while the Pelicans were firing away at a 52.9 percent pace from the outside, Portland just couldn’t keep up, hitting 10 of 27 -- meaning the Blazers were beaten by 24 points from the three-point line.

The Trail Blazers didn’t defend well enough to win and it would be difficult to blame their offense for this loss.

The Pels got pretty much what they wanted, when they wanted it. The game was as close as it was only because New Orleans managed to make just 20 of its 33 free throws.

It was Portland’s first full game after Damian Lillard’s groin injury and the Trail Blazers were very short-handed even before that happened. But with Lillard out, nothing is going to come easy.

“I know it’s going to be tougher for everybody,” said Hassan Whiteside, who had 19 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks for the Trail Blazers. “It’s going to be tougher for me, tougher for CJ -- because we’ve been playing a lot through (Lillard). And he makes a lot of decisions out there,

“But like I said, we’ve got to come out here and keep competing. We’ve got the first one under our belt, let’s move on to Detroit (Sunday night in Moda) and get a win. That’s a must-win.”

At this point, you could call all of them must-wins.

There are only 25 games left in the season and nobody knows how many of those will be played without Lillard. Portland still trails Memphis by four games in the loss column for the final playoff spot and must hold off the Pelicans and San Antonio Spurs in their rearview mirror.

It’s not going to be easy.

Instant Analysis: Short-handed Blazers can't slow down Zion, Pelicans

Instant Analysis: Short-handed Blazers can't slow down Zion, Pelicans

With no Damian Lillard (groin strain) Friday night, Gary Trent Jr. got the starting nod as CJ McCollum shifted to point guard with Portland hosting the New Orleans Pelicans.  

And the Pelicans were red hot against the Blazers both inside and out.

New Orleans started the game hitting 12 of its first 16 shot attempts (5-of-6 from three).

Behind Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram’s 10 points each, the Pelicans scored 40 first quarter points.

New Orleans didn’t cool down until early in the third quarter. Portland cut the lead to seven midway through the third after the Pelicans had led by as many as 19 points.

Just when it looked like the Blazers could be within striking distance, the Pelicans went on a 12-0 run to close the third quarter. The Pelicans took that momentum into the final period to run away with the win. 

FINAL BOX SCORE: PELICANS 128, TRAIL BLAZERS 115

Here are three quick takeaways from Friday’s loss:

1. McCollum steps into new role

Following Thursday’s practice, CJ McCollum discussed how he would have to get his teammates involved and be able to manage the game with Lillard sidelined. McCollum was very active in finding his open teammate Friday night. He had seven assists in the first quarter. He also had as many points in the first 12 minutes. McCollum and the rest of the Blazer wings made a conscience effort to get the ball down low to Carmelo Anthony. Melo took advantage of smaller defenders, bodying them up on the block. He found success down low and at the free throw line.  

2. Pelicans don’t cash in on free throws

After not blowing the whistle that much to start the game, the Blazers started racking up fouls midway through the first quarter. By halftime, Portland had committed 18 personal fouls. Yet, the Pelicans weren’t able to convert from the free throw line. Their 10-point lead at the break could’ve been much larger.

New Orleans went 16-of-28 from the charity stripe in the first half.  Zion Williamson had 19 points at the half, but he went just 5-of-10 from the line.

3. Portland struggled to get stops

The Trail Blazers were able to put up plenty of points on the board. It was on the other end of the ball where the Blazers struggled.

When Portland would make a run, the Pelicans would knock down a corner three or rack up second chance points, or find a way to get a timely bucket.

Up Next: The Trail Blazers continue their three-game homestand Sunday night when Portland hosts the Detroit Pistons. The Blazers and Pistons will tip-off at 6:00pm 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!

Carmelo Anthony welcomes Zion Williamson to the NBA with mean jab step

Carmelo Anthony welcomes Zion Williamson to the NBA with mean jab step

It was a match-up everyone was anticipating all night: Carmelo Anthony vs. Zion Williamson. 

The veteran vs. the rookie, the Hall of Famer vs. the young buck, the Pelican vs. the Blazer. 

Friday night was filled with high-flying dunks, punctuated by this one from New Orleans' rookie. 

But, Carmelo's move on Williamson was NASTY!

The move had the internet buzzing!

The Pelicans are on their way to beating the Trail Blazers at the Moda Center, but Carmelo will have this one on Zion. 

Maybe, one day, we'll see Zion hit a future rookie star with this move.