Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers lose McCollum to ankle sprain, lose to Mavs

Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers lose McCollum to ankle sprain, lose to Mavs

DALLAS – It looked as though the Trail Blazers had some carryover from Wednesday’s win over the Houston Rockets, as

Portland jumped out to a 12-2 lead over the Dallas Mavericks Friday.

Dallas started the game 0-for-5.  

It wasn’t until four minutes into the game that the Mavs hit their first field goal when Luka Doncic drained a 27-foot three-pointer.

Despite Portland losing its starting shooting guard to an ankle injury early in the second quarter, the Blazers were down single digits heading into the final period.

It came down to the wire, but with timely stops and big-time threes, the Mavs were able to hold off the Blazers.

FINAL BOX SCORE: MAVERICKS 120, TRAIL BLAZERS 112 

Here are three quick takeaways from Friday’s loss

1. McCollum leaves game with ankle sprain

Portland was forced to call a timeout at the 7:53 mark of the second quarter following CJ McCollum's hard take to the basket.

McCollum appeared to step on Mavericks' power forward Max Kleber’s right foot during his attempted lay-in at the 8:04 mark of the quarter.

 

Shortly after McCollum went back to the locker room with the team’s trainers, Blazers PR announced he would not return to the game due to a left ankle sprain. McCollum played just 12 minutes.  

Blazers backup guard Gary Trent Jr. also left the game early in the fourth quarter. The reason was not immediately known.

2.  Lillard plays through it

Damian Lillard was listed as questionable before the game tipped off with an upper respiratory infection.

But, it was hard to tell Lillard was dealing with the cold that has been going around the Blazers locker room.

The Trail Blazers All-Star point guard notched 11 points in the first 12 minutes of action. Lillard had it going from deep and down low. Heading into the fourth quarter, Lillard was 12-for-19 from the field with 32 points.   

3.  Doncic being Doncic

Just as Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said during his pregame interview, everything for the Mavs goes through Luka Doncic. The second-year player had his way from downtown against the Blazers.

Doncic started the game, attacking the rim, which then almost always resulted in him finding a teammate open under the hoop. He was on fire from deep too. He hit his first four three-point attempts and went 8-of-12 for the game.

Dallas fans on the concourse were proudly chanting “All-Star Luka” during halftime when Doncic had already recorded 23 points and five assists.

With Kristaps Porzingis (right knee soreness) and Ryan Broekhoff (left fibula fracture) both out against the Blazers, it was Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr. who picked up the slack on offense.

Up Next: Portland will play in its second leg of this current back-to-back when the Blazers visit Oklahoma City on Saturday. The Blazers and Thunder tip-off at 6:00p.m. PT.

Check back throughout tonight and tomorrow for more articles and videos from the players!

Social media reacts (again) to Nurkic’s first game vs. Denver

Social media reacts (again) to Nurkic’s first game vs. Denver

Watching the March 28th, 2017 matchup between the Trail Blazers and the Denver Nuggets in Friday night’s classic game, fans were so happy to be watching Blazers games again.

The Trail Blazers (35-38) entered the game tied with the Nuggets (35-38) for the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoffs race.

But, besides the importance of the game with the playoff hunt, it was Jusuf Nurkic’s first game in a Trail Blazers uniform against his former team.

It was on Feb. 12 when the Trail Blazers acquired Nurkic and the rights to Memphis’ 2017 first round pick from Denver in exchange for Mason Plumlee, along with a 2018 second round pick, and cash considerations.

Nurk fever had already started in Rip City before this game, but it was in full effect as he cruised to a career-high 33 points to go along with 15 rebounds, two blocks, and one steal.

Let the Nurk Fever tweets commence!

Also, how much did re-watching this game give you flashbacks of the strong connection between Damian Lillard and Nurk?

Their pick and roll action is a thing of beauty and it got people talking on Twitter.

The Blazers beat the Nuggets 122-113 in the fourth and final regular season matchup between the two. Portland took the season series 3-1. 

Another trending topic from fans of today -- was the hard screens set by the Bosnian Beast and the Hammer, Meyers Leonard.

In the win, CJ McCollum finished with 39 points and five rebounds.


And we can't forget Nurk telling his former team to, "I wish those guys a happy summer."

 

Carmelo Anthony credits LeBron James for saving his life

Carmelo Anthony credits LeBron James for saving his life

Here is a fun fact: Did you know that LeBron James once saved Carmelo Anthony from being swept out to sea?

He did. 

Don't believe us, then just take it from the man he saved. 

Anthony was on Instagram Live with Dwyane Wade on Friday and the two were talking about a time they were all out on the water, presumably doing some scuba diving when the current started to pull Anthony away. 

Anthony came up from below the water only to notice that the current was taking him away from the boat. 

A panicked Anthony thought the end was near. 

That's when King James jumped into action.

"The current is taking me in the middle of the ocean, opposite of the boat," said Anthony. "I look up at the boat and Bron jumps off the boat like he was MacGyver... He jumped off the boat into the water. He was bringing me back with one arm. He's swimming with one arm and he's carrying me with the other arm." 

Yo, Bron, I appreciate that. You saved my life that day. Them little flippers wasn’t working for me. - Carmelo Anthony on LeBron James

Mr. James, Rip City sends you its gratitude. 

Meyers Leonard and his wife Elle gave out their phone numbers

Meyers Leonard and his wife Elle gave out their phone numbers

It's been just over two weeks since the NBA announced the suspension of its season to combat the spread of COVID-19. 

Since the beginning of the hiatus, NBA players have occupied their time by making Tik Tok's, streaming themselves playing video games on Twitch and performed Q&A's on Twitter. 

Humans are social beings, so while everyone practices social distancing, the desire for contact with the outside world, to communicate with others becomes paramount. 

Now, former Trail Blazers big man Meyers Leonard and his wife have taken it one step further: They're giving out their phone numbers and asking you to text them!

View this post on Instagram

309-328-3605 ... text me.

A post shared by Elle Leonard (@elleleonard) on

“You heard it here first,” Meyers said in a video released on his wife Elle’s instagram page. “We’re both legitimately giving out our phone numbers.”

Sitting side by side, Meyers gave his pitch on why you should text him.

“If you’re looking to have a better tan like me — text me, not her.”

“Text me, because Elle is by far better,” Elle chimed in. “She provides puns and GIFs— all around just better.”

It’s not 100% clear why they’ve decided to take this measure. Maybe they’re just bored?

Meyers’ pitch continued: “Ladies and gentleman, if you’re looking for the greatest content, text me.” 

So, if you've ever wanted a chance to be on texting terms with an NBA player, now's your chance! 

‘Jusuf Nurkic kicked our ass’— Memories from his revenge game vs. Nuggets

‘Jusuf Nurkic kicked our ass’— Memories from his revenge game vs. Nuggets

Friday night’s (6 o’clock, NBC Sports Northwest) Trail Blazer classic will undoubtedly be a feel-good game for fans of the team.

Not because it was a close game, a big upset or a game in which one player scored an extraordinary number of points. It was just a game in late March that gave Portland a one-game lead for the No. 8 playoff spot.

But it was obviously not just any other regular-season game.

The significance of the contest was that it was Jusuf Nurkic’s revenge night -- his first game against Denver after the Nuggets traded him to Portland,

And what a game he had.

In fact, Nugget Coach Mike Malone summed it up best afterwards when he said simply, “Jusuf Nurkic kicked our ass. He was very physical.”

Nurkic was sensational against his former team, which had benched him in favor of Nikola Jokic. Amid standing ovations from the Moda Center faithful, the fired-up Nurkic hit 12 of his 15 shots from the floor, seven of his nine free throws, scored 33 points, hauled in 16 rebounds (five of them on offense), had two assists and two blocked shots.

Mason Plumlee, who went to the Nuggets in the trade, went scoreless in the game and Jokic managed 17 points.

CJ McCollum, who has traditionally been a problem for the Nuggets to defend, came up big in this game, scoring 39 points on just 24 shots in 40 minutes. 

Coach Terry Stotts allowed Nurkic a curtain call with 19 seconds to go in what turned out to be a nine-point Portland win, removing him from the floor and allowing the crowd to favor him with one final deafening standing ovation.

Nurkic had found a home and this was the official signing of the deed.

HOW TO WATCH Blazers vs. Nuggets

WHEN: Friday, March 27th at 6pm

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.

Damian Lillard reminisces on golden moments, relationships with Trail Blazer teammates 

Damian Lillard reminisces on golden moments, relationships with Trail Blazer teammates 

Damian Lillard has us feeling some type of way.

While the NBA remains suspended due to COVID-19, the Trail Blazers guard has been dishing out some throwbacks with a few of Portland’s favorite players over the years. 

Many former and current players are all there, including Earl Watson, Will Barton, Nicolas Batum, Mo Williams, Allen Crabbe, Wesley Matthews, Meyers Leonard, Thomas Robinson, Victor Claver, Dorell Wright, Robin Lopez and Joel Freeland.

But the photos with LaMarcus Aldridge photos hit particularly close to home. 

The relationship between Dame and the now San Antonio Spurs big man will always have a special place in our heart. 

In a recent interview, Lillard told Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles on Knuckleheads that he believes if Aldridge would have stayed in Portland, they could have won a championship together. 

“If me and him would have stayed teammates, and I could get to the level that I am now, we could have for sure got one,” Lillard said. “And then maybe we don’t lose Batum, lose Wes and we got CJ [McCollum], Will Barton, Allen Crabbe. We had the team to do it, we just needed to stay together. And in San Antonio, he’s been to the Western Conference finals and I’ve been to the Western Conference Finals, but we both came up short.”

We’ll never know what would have happened if Aldridge stayed, but we’re thankful Lillard’s Instagram is a treasure trove of amazing throwback photos we can always look back on during these unprecedented times. 

How to Watch: Jusuf Nurkic's first game vs. Denver Nuggets

How to Watch: Jusuf Nurkic's first game vs. Denver Nuggets

This instant classic will tug at your heart strings when thinking about the year-long rehab process that Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic has endured.

Let’s go back to March 28th, 2017, the first time would square off against his former team, the Denver Nuggets as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers. Denver had traded Nurkic to Portland just over a month earlier, and with it, Nurk Fever was born in Rip City.
Anybody playing against their former team always wants to show everyone that they are doing great and are in a better situation.

And boy, did Nurk do just that.
The Bosnian Beast and Nikola Jokic battles were fun to watch. As Nurkic took it right at the Joker, he made a statement by finishing with a career night of 33 points.
As for Mason Plumlee, the player he was traded for, the former Blazers center had zero points and one rebound.

Nurkic's performance earned him the postgame interview with Trail Blazers sideline report Brooke Olzendam.

Just like on the court, Nurk didn’t hold back.

"I wish those guys a happy summer," he told Olzendam.

And that’s when Rip City fell in love with Nurkic all over again.

Starters for Mar. 28, 2017 Game:

DENVER

Jameer Nelson

Gary Harris

Nikola Jokic

Wilson Chandler

Danilo Gallinari

PORTLAND

Damian Lillard

CJ McCollum

Noah Vonleh

Maurice Harkless

Jusuf Nurkic

HOW TO WATCH Blazers vs. Nuggets

WHEN: Friday, March 27th at 6pm

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

CHANNEL FINDER

Instagram Live: During tonight’s game, Jusuf Nurkic and Trail Blazers television analyst Lamar Hurd will be going live on the Blazers Instagram account.

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.

Amid NBA hiatus, TV freelance workers thankful for Trail Blazers support

usatsi_8493184.jpg
USA Today Images

Amid NBA hiatus, TV freelance workers thankful for Trail Blazers support

The Portland Trail Blazers announced last week a plan in which they will financially support Moda Center’s game night employees.

The team announced:

“To assist game night employees impacted by the NBA’s postponement, Jody Allen and the Portland Trail Blazers are committing more than $1.4 million towards COVID-19 relief effort. This includes paying part-time Rose Quarter employees for nine postponed Trail Blazers games.”

There were some freelance workers who are a big party of broadcasting the Trail Blazers games on television and radio that were concerned about what was going to happen during these trying times.

Being a contracted worker can be uneasy at times, especially now. 

But, the Trail Blazers are not just paying the hourly employees at the Rose Quarter who Trail Blazers fans get to often interact with, but the Blazers are also going to be paying the behind the scenes people as well.

The freelancers.

If an hourly employee or contracted employee was scheduled to work any of the home or road games, they will be getting their regular paycheck from the Blazers.

Longtime Trail Blazers baseline camera operator and freelancer John Curry showed his appreciate via Twitter, writing, “Trail Blazers stepped up big time! Received email this weekend stating Blazers were going to pay me for the final 16 games of the season that were cancelled.”

As part of the traveling television production crew, John Lukrofka is one of the five members. He posted a video to his Twitter thanking everyone at the Trail Blazers for their generosity. 

“I wanted to take a sec to thank the Portland Trail Blazers organization, owner Jody Allen, President Chris McGowan, the whole Blazers brass and my bosses. They’re compensating us for games missed. They’re going to pay us for the rest of the season. I can’t put into words what that means,” Lukrofka said. 

Now the question is will other organization follow in the Trail Blazers footsteps? 

LeBron James wants a play-in tournament for final NBA Playoff berths

LeBron James wants a play-in tournament for final NBA Playoff berths

If the NBA jumps right into the postseason when it returns from suspension, then the Portland Trail Blazers will likely be on the outside looking in.

When the season got suspended following Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert testing positive for COVID-19, the Blazers were 3.5 games out of the eighth seed and final playoff berth in the Western Conference occupied by the Memphis Grizzlies.

However, if Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James gets his way, then maybe the Blazers' season isn't over.

In a recent appearance on the Road Trippin' Podcast with Allie Clifton, Talkin' Blazers host Channing Frye, and Richard Jefferson, LeBron talked about how he does not want to go straight into the postseason when the league returns.

One thing you can't just do is go straight to the playoffs, because it discredits the 60-plus games that guys had fighting for that position. - LeBron James

When discussing how to determine the final playoff berths, LeBron broke down the eighth seed in the West, and his eventual first-round opponent.

You got Portland. You got Memphis...New Orleans and Sacramento tinkering around there...so if there's five or ten games left...why not those guys battle it out? Make them play each other all five games? 

After Clifton asked if a three-game play-in series would work, the crew came together with a plan that Memphis and Sacramento have a three-game series along with Portland and New Orleans. Then, the winners play in another series to determine who plays the Lakers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

LeBron later said that Portland would be a tough team to play in the first round. 

Channing Frye had brought up the idea of a play-in tournament earlier this year on Talkin' Blazers about a play-in tournament for the eighth seed. 

Because we're in unprecedented territory, the NBA has an opportunity to say 'Hey, let's try an in-game tournament,' right? We have five teams that are within four games of each other that want to make one spot... So we make a little tournament and we see how that goes...if it does work then you implement it in for next year...

If the Road Trippin' crew gets their way, then maybe the Blazers can play their way into the postseason and prove the King correct. 

LeBron James thinks the Portland Trail Blazers would be a tough 8th seed to beat

LeBron James thinks the Portland Trail Blazers would be a tough 8th seed to beat

When the NBA suspended its season due to COVID-19, the Portland Trail Blazers (29-37) were 3.5 games out of the eighth and final playoff position in the Western Conference.

It's unclear if they will be given the chance to earn a playoff berth with the suspension of the season, but if they can, watch out! 

Not a believer? 

Then, allow Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James whose Lakers have the Western Conference's best record and top overall seed.

In an appearance on the Road Trippin' Podcast with Allie Clifton, Talkin' Blazers host Channing Frye, and Richard Jefferson, LeBron talked about how the Trail Blazers could be a dangerous team to face in the postseason.

You got a Dame Lillard who can go for 50, a CJ McCollum that can score 40, a Carmelo Anthony that if he gets hot, which we know in the postseason could go for 35/40 as well... When you have that type of experience with Portland, they can make things happen. - LeBron James

The Blazers have proven this statement correct when they defeated the Lakers 127-119 in Staples Center in the Lakers' first game since the passing of Kobe Bryant. Lillard scored 48 points in the victory and the team didn't even have Carmelo Anthony who didn't make the trip for personal reasons. 

Lillard has averaged 28.9 points per game (5th in the NBA) and 7.8 assists per game  (6th in the NBA) this season. CJ McCollum has added 22.5 points per game (17th in the NBA) and Carmelo Anthony averages 15.9 points per game (69th in the NBA). 

The respect given to Portland by LeBron aligns with what NBC Sports Northwest Portland Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes heard in February that the Lakers "don't want any part of Portland in the postseason" due to the size of Portland and the stellar play of Lillard.

Also, when the season returns the Blazers will be receiving additional reinforcements that can help them match up with Los Angeles. Center Jusuf Nurkic was scheduled to return, after nearly a season on the sidelines, to the Blazers at home on March 15th against Houston, but the NBA's suspension delayed his return.

Additionally, forward Zach Collins, who dislocated his shoulder in the fifth game of the 2019-2020 season said recently on Instagram "I’ll be ready when the NBA is ready to come back". He was originally scheduled to be re-evaluated in early March. 

LeBron also added that he wouldn't want to jump straight into the postseason when the NBA returns and would rather see a play-in tournament for the final playoff seed in the West between Memphis, Portland, New Orleans, and Sacramento.

Channing Frye had brought up the idea earlier on Talkin' Blazers about a play-in tournament for the eighth seed. 

Because we're in unprecedented territory, the NBA has an opportunity to say 'Hey, let's try an in-game tournament,' right? We have five teams that are within four games of each other that want to make one spot... So we make a little tournament and we see how that goes...if it does work then you implement it in for next year...

If the Road Trippin' crew gets their way then maybe the Blazers can play their way into the postseason and prove the King correct. 

You can watch the full podcast here.