Instant Analysis: Heat prove to be too much against extremely shorthanded Trail Blazers

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Instant Analysis: Heat prove to be too much against extremely shorthanded Trail Blazers

Sunday, the Trail Blazers were even more short handed than expected when they visited the Miami Heat.

CJ McCollum was sidelined with an upper respiratory infection. The Trail Blazers starting shooting guard has been dealing with the illness over the last few days, but after taking medication he has not improved. Gary Trent Jr. got the starting nod for the second time this season.

For the Heat, Miami was without Jimmy Butler who has been dealing with lower back soreness.

From the tip-off, it was evident the Blazers did not have enough manpower to defeat a Heat team that was 16-1 at home entering Sunday’s game.

Portland trailed by as many as 19 points in the first half.  

Despite the Blazers going on a 16-2 run and cutting the lead to 10 midway through the third quarter, after playing with more energy and shooting better, the Heat were able to answer and cruise to a victory.

FINAL BOX SCORE: HEAT 122, TRAIL BLAZEZRS 111 

Here are three quick takeaways from Sunday’s loss:

1.  Rough shooting night for Portland early on

The Heat were red hot and rolling all night.

It was the opposite type of night for the Blazers in the first half.

Portland shot 35.7 percent from the field for the first half and hit just three of their 14 three-point attempts, whereas Miami shot 60.5 percent as a team and made 9-of-20 from deep through the first two quarters.

Being down 31-19 at the end of the first quarter made it difficult for the Blazers to mount a comeback.

However, Anfernee Simons, who got the start at shooting guard to begin the second half, was a bright spot for the Blazers. Simons was the beneficiary of a handful of backdoor cuts and passes from Damian Lillard. Simons had 12 points after three quarters.  

No surprise, but it should be noted that the Blazers missed McCollum’s nearly 23 points per game, his play-making ability, and his leadership in the starting lineup.

Damian Lillard did everything he could to provide a scoring punch. He finished with 34 points on 11-of-22 shooting.  

2.  Heat show off depth

Miami put on a show offensively. Heat rookie shooting guard Kendrick Nunn had 10 points in the first quarter. Miami picked apart the Blazers defense with their two-man game as the Heat had a lot of success with their pick and roll.

It was a sharing is caring kind of night for Miami. In the first 24 minutes of action, the Heat had 19 assists to the Blazers’ seven.

The Heat’s second unit outscored the Blazers’ bench 26-6 in the first half led by Goran Dragic’s 14 points; and that was with Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra playing an eight-man rotation. Dragic scored a season-high 26 points four minutes into the final period.

Dragic came up with big shot after big shot whenever the Blazers would make any sort of run.  

3.  Whiteside’s return

In his first return to Miami since being traded last summer, Hassan Whiteside put the emotions aside, and went to work down low early on. Whiteside dealt with the boo birds all night long.   

Despite the Blazers dealing with a big deficit for a majority of the game, Whiteside was still able to have a positive impact on both ends of the court.  The 7-footer finished the game with 21 points and 18 rebounds.

Up Next: The Trail Blazers continue their five-game road trip with game No. 4 of the trip in Toronto Tuesday night. The Blazers and Raptors will tip-off at 4:00pm PT 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!

Report: NBA preparing scenarios to cancel the 2019-20 season

Report: NBA preparing scenarios to cancel the 2019-20 season

The NBA has been working diligently on various scenarios on how they will proceed with the league now being suspended for over three weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, the NBA has been looking to China and how they are handling the progress of resuming play with the Chinese Basketball Association.

Some things that have happened this week have turned it south about what could happen. A big factor was what happened in China where they halted the return of their league and one of the big reasons is because they really believe that they just tested the players temperatures all the time that it would work and the Chinese are finding that asymptomatic carriers are causing maybe a second wave in that country and they have just slammed the breaks on sports. The talks between the players union and the league this week -- I have talked to both sides of this issue --  and it is clear that the NBA is angling to set up a deal that enables them to shut the season down. – ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said during Friday’s SportsCenter  

Of course, a lot can change over the next several weeks and months as Windhorst also pointed out the NBA is not ready to make any decision on the 2019-20 season, but are trying to prepare for all of the what-ifs.

It was back on Mar. 18 when NBA commissioner Adam Silver laid out three scenarios in which the NBA returns:

“I’d say I’m looking at three different things here,” Silver told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols.

“One is -- Of course, when can we restart and operate as we’ve known -- 19,000 fans in buildings, that’s one set of criteria.

Then option two is – Should we consider starting without fans and what would that mean? Because presumably if you had a group of players and staff around them and you could test them and you could follow some protocol, doctors, health officials may say it’s safe to play…
And then, the third option that we are looking at now, and I would say all suggestions are welcome, is that… Are there conditions in which a group of players could compete and maybe it’s for a giant fundraiser or just for the good of the people?” 

Another issue for the NBA will be looking ahead to the 2020-21 season and not letting this hiatus drastically affect next year.

CJ McCollum an advocate of health over pay amid threat of cuts

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USATI

CJ McCollum an advocate of health over pay amid threat of cuts

NBA players could be taking a hit in the pocketbook as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the NBA has proposed that players take a 50 percent pay reduction beginning with their next paycheck. However, the National Basketball Players Association has countered with a proposal of 25%, starting in mid-May.

On the Hoop, Adjacent Podcast with David Aldridge and Curt Gowdy, Trail Blazers star CJ McCollum was asked about the prospect of losing money. 

McCollum knows it's a possibility, but is more concerned with making sure people are safe during these trying times. 

Everything is on the table, you have to figure out a solution to a problem we've never had before. Financially, obviously, there are implications to not playing basketball. Not playing basketball for the rest of the year means we lose 23.5% of games played regular season and a complete playoff run. Not to mention the issues we've had with a certain owner and China... This is a year where Adam (Silver) has been put to the test and Adam has responded admirably. He's done a tremendous job of being in front of, essentially, everything. This is the point where we have to discuss, bunker down, and come to an agreement on a solution going forward. A lot of money is at stake. A lot of people's lives are at stake right now. I think it's more important that we worry about health as opposed to basketball. I think going forward that should be the approach. Health over everything. Figuring out how to keep the most amount of people safe going forward and then we can figure out the logistics of what everything else looks like later. - CJ McCollum

You can listen to the entire podcast HERE.

At this time the league and it's players would still prefer to restart the season at some point, but the reality is setting in that it just may not be feasible. 

Jamal Crawford would love a LaMarcus Aldridge, Trail Blazers reunion

Jamal Crawford would love a LaMarcus Aldridge, Trail Blazers reunion

Jamal Crawford has had a long, lucrative career in the NBA. 

The Seattle native made his debut in 2000, and has played for eight different teams in his 19-year career. 

One of those eight teams was the Portland Trail Blazers. 

On Friday, his former Blazers teammate LaMarcus Aldridge tweeted out a Flashback Friday photo of the two. 

Crawford saw the tweet and responded as any good teammate would.

But that's not what got the attention of Rip City. What got the fan's attention was Crawford's response to Pinwheel Empire. 

Pinwheel Empire said something a lot of Blazers fans have thought for a while, that it "would be awesome to see both of you back in Portland."

Crawford's response, "I would love that."

The reunion is easier said than done, but is still not all that far-fetched. 

Aldridge currently plays for the San Antonio Spurs, but has been open about wanting to potentially return to Portland. 

While Crawford currently sits on the free-agent market, having not played since the end of 2019. 

Crawford may be 40 years old, but he still has plenty left in the tank. 

The last time he stepped on the court, the Phoenix Suns' final game of the season last year, he dropped 51 points on the Mavericks. Just one point shy of tying his career-high. 

Crawford still has elite handles and is a walking bucket. It's surprising he hasn't landed on a roster this season.

Perhaps he makes his return in the 2020-2021 season.

If he does, we know of at least one place he'd like to do it. 

 

Payton Pritchard doesn't win Naismith Trophy, but he's still worth celebrating

Payton Pritchard doesn't win Naismith Trophy, but he's still worth celebrating

Just two weeks ago, Payton Pritchard became the first Citizen Naismith Trophy finalist in Oregon men's basketball history. 

It's an achievement the kid out of West Linn should be extremely proud of. While he didn't take home the Naismith Men's National Player of the Year honors on Friday, there's a lot for Pritchard to celebrate. 

Pritchard has carved his name in Oregon history. Just this season, he joined Gary Payton (Oregon State, 1989-90), Damon Stoudamire (Arizona, 1994-95) and Jason Terry (Arizona, 1998-99) as the only players in conference history to lead the league in both scoring and assists.

He capped off his career at Oregon as the school record holder in assists (659), wins (105), games played (144), and games started (140). 

Pritchard re-wrote Pac-12 record books, too. He became the only player in conference history to record 1,900 career points, 600 career assists and 500 career rebounds. 

As 2020 Pac-12 Player of the Year, Pritchard was one of just three players nationally to average at least 20 points per game along with four rebounds and five assists.The Oregon guard was named the Ducks’ first consensus first-team All-American in 80 years after leading his team to an outright Pac-12 regular-season title, the Ducks' third in five years.

Pritchard has also inspired thousands of kids to put in work no matter what their circumstances are. His "Payton Pritchard challenge," took off on social media, prompting thousands to attempt the challenge themselves. 


Pritchard didn't take home the Naismith trophy, and that's OK, he still has an opportunity to add the esteemed Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award to his collection. He is also one of five finalists for the prestigious nod, which will be announced next Tuesday. 

Social Media Reacts: Rip City reminisces about Trail Blazers 1991-92 squad

Social Media Reacts: Rip City reminisces about Trail Blazers 1991-92 squad

Happy Throwback Thursday, Rip City!

The Trail Blazers' 115-104 overtime victory over the Chicago Bulls in Game 2 of the 1992 NBA Finals had the city of Portland on edge back in the summer of ’92, and now in the spring of 2020.

In the classic re-air of Game 2, fans of today were reminiscing about how air horns were allowed in Chicago Stadium back then. 

But hey, time can change everything. Who would thought in 1992 that a Sonics fan could turn out to be a big Trail Blazers fan nearly 20 years later?  

Now we know it could happen. 

The Blazers and Bulls series had it all with the battle of legends Michael Jordan and Clyde Drexler.

Portland’s road to the 1992 NBA Finals:

First Round

Defeated L.A. Lakers, 3-1

West Semifinals

Defeated Phoenix, 4-1

West Finals

Defeated Utah, 4-2 

The current era of basketball peeps showed some love for the ’92 Blazers getting out and running.

The fastbreak was a thing of beauty!   

It was an ugly third quarter for Portland, though.  

Chicago went on a 13-0 run to end the third as the Bulls took a 77-70 lead. The Blazers shot 7-for-20 in the third.

But, things got worse before they got better for Portland.

Drexler picked up his fourth foul at the 8:12 mark in the third quarter, but Drexler stayed in the game.  The Blazers superstar fouled out with 4:36 remaining on the clock with Portland down eight.

When Drexler fouled out people shared their emotions on Twitter of what it was like watching the game live and seeing Drexler taken out of the game.  

It seemed unlikely the Blazers could win in Chicago in Game 2 considering Game 1’s loss was pretty demoralizing and then it became even more improbable after Drexler fouled out. It seemed the game would be over.

Yet, we all know, the Blazers role players stepped up.

Danny Ainge, Kevin Duckworth, and Jerome Kersey were determined to claw back and that they did.   

This classic game had Drexler and Terry Porter combining for 50, while Ainge went off for 17 points on an efficient 7-of-10 shooting off the bench.

Fans all over twitter gave props to Portland’s role players:

The Blazers outscored the Bulls, 28-10 in the last ten minutes of the game and into overtime -- all without Drexler.

Ainge had nine points in OT and proved once again how much of a competitor he was on the floor.

That was a fun Throwback Thursday, for sure!  

How the series turned out:

Game 1:

CHICAGO 122, Portland 89

Game 2:

Portland 115, CHICAGO 115 (OT)

Game 3:

Chicago 94, PORTLAND 84

Game 4:

PORTLAND 93, Chicago 88

Game 5:

Chicago 119, PORTLAND 106

Game 6:

CHICAGO 97, Portland 93

Jimmy Butler has $140,000 worth of his favorite wine stored up while social distancing

Jimmy Butler has $140,000 worth of his favorite wine stored up while social distancing

Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum has dropped his knowledge of his favorite Pinot Noir wines over the years, saying many times that living in Oregon we are lucky to have such great wines.  

Now we are about to get more wine recommendations and learn more about fine wines with the show ‘What’s In Your Glass’ hosted by Camelo Anthony. ‘What’s In Your Glass’ is a weekly live stream between Melo, a special guest, and wine lovers all over the world streaming on Melo’s Instagram Live and then later posted to his youtube page.

This week, Miami Heat guard Jimmy Butler joined the Trail Blazers veteran to talk wine and hoops.

Butler’s go-to wine on any given night is Sassicaia, which is red blends from Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy.

“I’ve got more Sassicaia 2010 than I have of any other type of wine in my collection and I’m not over exaggerating when I say, I probably have anywhere between 500 and 600 bottles of just Sassicaia 2010,” Butler said.

A bottle of Sassicaia 2010 is the first wine that Butler drank once he turned 21 years old. He added that he knows he is biased because that was the first bottle of wine he was introduced to.

“I was introduced to one of the best wines in the world and I can’t turn back from that,” Butler said with a smile.

Butler’s wine of choice is even more special to him because he had Sassicaia 2010 with Mark Wahlberg in Chicago back in 2013. 

“It’s like, damn, I got to have wine with Mark Wahlberg… It’s his fault that I’m into this,” Butler joked.

The Miami Heat guard also went to visit the Sassicaia winery two summers ago where he learned all about how it’s made and he says he has been reading up on his favorite wine.

Butler poked fun at Melo though, saying if he was going out with him to dinner, he would have to go with Château Pétrus wine because Melo is “boujee.”

Butler’s Sassicaia 2010 runs for around $230 on most wine websites, while Château Pétrus can go anywhere from nearly $4,000 to over $8,000.

Now I’m no wine expert, but man, I’d be totally fine with tasting that Château Pétrus.  

Check out the full show of ‘What’s In Your Glass’ with Melo and Buttler right here:

How Kelly AuCoin of Billions fame became a die-hard Trail Blazers fan

How Kelly AuCoin of Billions fame became a die-hard Trail Blazers fan

The NBA is not short on celebrity fans. Kevin Hart, Jack Nicholson, Drake, Spike Lee, and many others can often be seen in the front row at a basketball game. 

Every team has that one big-time celebrity fan, and for the Blazers that fan is Kelly AuCoin. 

AuCoin, an Oregon native, has been a Blazers fan for as long as he can remember. 

AuCoin joined host Justin Myers on The Bridge Podcast this week to tell the story of how he became a fan.

It was right away, man. I remember watching a game... the Blazers were just wreaking havoc and there was this huge guy in the middle who was just dominating, throwing people out of the way. I said to my dad, "God, he's amazing." He was like, "yeah, that's literally the only good game he has ever played," and that was LaRue Martin... those were my guys! - Kelly AuCoin

A few years later, a then 10-year AuCoin saw his beloved Trail Blazers win the NBA championship. 

Now a famous cast member of the HBO series "Billions," AuCoin still wears his Blazers colors proudly though he may not make it to as many games as he would like. 

AuCoin lives in Brooklyn, New York, so getting to Moda Center is a bit of a challenge. However, when his Blazers are in town to take on the Brooklyn Nets, you are guaranteed to see AuCoin and his Blazers gear courtside. 

You can listen to the full Bridge Podcast here:


 

Memories from the Trail Blazers OT win vs. Bulls in 1992 NBA Finals

Memories from the Trail Blazers OT win vs. Bulls in 1992 NBA Finals

The Trail Blazers had already been buried under those six straight three-point field goals by Michael Jordan in Game 1 of the 1992 NBA Finals and when they fell behind the Chicago Bulls 90-82 in Game 2, it appeared the series would be heading back to Portland with the Trail Blazers in an 0-2 hole.

Clyde Drexler, who was leading the Blazers with 26 points, had just fouled out with 4:36 left in the fourth quarter and it looked bleak against the defending champs.

But, even without Drexler, Portland still had a backcourt that could have been solid starters for a whole lot of other teams in the NBA.

So Terry Porter and Danny Ainge took over and the end result was a 115-104 win over Chicago that left Bulls fans eerily silent as they filed out of Chicago Stadium. And that serves as Thursday night’s (7:30) Trail Blazer classic game on NBC Sports Northwest.

And if you never had a chance to watch Porter and Ainge in their prime, this is a must-see game. They took the game over down the stretch.

Portland went on an immediate 13-5 run after Drexler fouled out, with Porter scoring seven of those points. The Blazers tied the game at 95. Jordan hit a jumper to give Chicago the lead but Kevin Duckworth replied with a clutch shot with 13.2 seconds to go to tie it again. Then Jordan missed an 18-footer that would have won it for the Bulls.

That set the stage for Ainge to take over in the overtime. He tied John Havlicek’s record of nine points in a Finals overtime as Portland won the extra period 18-7.

Porter hit a big three in overtime -- his team’s first of the game after 11 misses -- that vaulted his team into an insurmountable lead with a little more than a minute left.

When Carmelo Anthony was awakened to Kobe Bryant's Mamba Mentality

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When Carmelo Anthony was awakened to Kobe Bryant's Mamba Mentality

No player in the NBA has incarnated the idea of working harder than everyone else more than NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

The Los Angeles Lakers superstar was famous for his elite work ethic and whispers of workouts early in the morning would travel around the league.

On an Instagram Live on Dwyane Wade's account, the Miami Heat superstar and Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony reminisced on playing in the Summer Olympic Games with Kobe Bryant and witnessing his work ethic first hand. 

We heard stories about [Kobe]. We heard that he got up and we worked out at two in the morning or he did this or that. We didn't believe him until the Olympics and I started seeing this dude doing work... - Wade

Carmelo also had mad respect for the mamba mentality at work. 

He was just different, man. That mentality was totally different... like for us to have a chance to go to the Olympics with him and be there with him, and just like build something different . We will always cherish that. We will always carry on his legacy. - Melo

Earlier in the live, Dywane Wade mentioned that Kobe barely rolled with anyone, and Melo finished up the clip segment referring to that answer. 

He didn't mess with a lot of people at all... That just was his nature. Everything was always a competition and it wasn't disrespect. Well, sometimes it wasn't a competition he just had in his mind set out goals and wasn't nothing or nobody gonna come in between him reaching that goal. - Melo

Kobe Bryant may tragically no longer be with us, but his legacy and his mamba mentality will be carried on forever, including in the current by Melo himself.