The Morning After: Everything you missed from the Trail Blazers loss to the Raptors

The Morning After: Everything you missed from the Trail Blazers loss to the Raptors

The Trail Blazers rough start to the season hit another bump in the road when they welcomed the defending champion Toronto Raptors to town.

Things looked promising early, with the Blazers jumping out to the early double-digit lead. The starting lineup looked rejuvenated and the Moda Center crowd was electric, all thanks to Nassir Little. The promising rookie got his first career start and did not disappoint. His chase-down block in the first half looked to be a game-changer, but in the end, the Raptors were too much.

With both teams tied at 94 early in the fourth quarter, Toronto went on a 14-0 run that the Blazers never rebounded from.

Portland drops one to the Raptors, 114-106, and falls to 4-8 on the season

QUOTABLES:

Kent Bazemore on team’s struggles:

We just need to continue to play hard until we figure it out. As long as we keep providing the effort, things will turn… this is a winning team, and will be there when the time is right.

Rodney Hood on how it felt to get back on the court:

I’m pretty sore right now, but I felt good once I got going up and down a couple times throughout the game. It’s feeling better.

Coach Stotts on the first start for rookie Nassir Little:

I thought he had a really good game, I thought he held his own with (Pascal) Siakam defensively, brought a lot of energy, and played hard. So I was very pleased with the way he played.

BEST OF SOCIAL:

LATEST NEWS AND ANALYSIS:

Instant Analysis: Raptors come on strong late to beat Blazers at home 

Highlights: Little with the start, plus Hood returns!

Social Media Reacts to Nassir Little’s first career start 

The return of Rodney Hood: His fresh legs were welcomed by all 

Raptors take Damian Lillard away and what was left couldn't win the game

 

Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts gets ejected

Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts gets ejected

It has been a heated night between fans, between players, and between Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts and the officials.

Coach Stotts was seen chirping at the referees and giving several looks of disgust through the first three quarters of the Trail Blazers-Lakers game on Friday night.

After a personal foul was called on Kent Bazemore when Bazemore went up to contest Anthony Davis’ lay-in with 1:05 remaining in the third quarter that was the final straw.

Stotts was hit with two technical fouls and was ejected from the game. This is the first time in his Trail Blazers coaching career that he has been tossed from a game.

His frustration had been brewing all night. His emotions finally got the best of him. 

It is the first time in 880 games Stotts has been ejected. 

Trail Blazers Associate Head Coach Nate Tibbetts will now take over the head coaching position for the rest of the game.

Fans and NBA players send their love to Rodney Hood.

Fans and NBA players send their love to Rodney Hood.

The Blazers and NBA fans were dealt a tough blow on Friday when Rodney Hood went down with a leg injury against the Lakers. Hood went up for a rebound, came down awkward, and fell to the floor holding his left leg. He was helped off the court by team trainers and did not return. Blazers fans prepared for the worst but hoped for the best. Unfortunately, the news they got a few minutes later was the worst news possible. Rodney Hood - Torn Achilles. Out for the season. As soon as the news broke players around the NBA tweeted their support to their brother. 

https://twitter.com/JordanClarksons

NBA players weren't the only ones taking to social media. Plenty of fans reacted to the news as well, sending Hood their love:

UPDATE: Rodney Hood has a torn left Achilles tendon

UPDATE: Rodney Hood has a torn left Achilles tendon

What was feared has become a reality.

The Trail Blazers announced starting small forward Rodney Hood suffered a torn left Achilles tendon during Friday night's game vs. the LA Lakers.

The injury came at the 3:27 mark of the first quarter when Hood grabbed a defensive rebound. Hood planted his left foot and immediately fell to the floor. It was a non-contact injury.

Trainers rushed to Hood where he was surrounded by his teammates. He had to be helped off the floor by the team trainers.

The 27-year-old was holding his left lower leg while he was on the floor in serious pain.

Hood said after the win over Sacramento on Wednesday that his left Achilles was bothering him during the game and that he wasn’t sure if he would be able to play vs. the Lakers. Hood was subbed out in the fourth quarter because his left Achilles soreness.

We'll have more from players and coaches after the game.

Blazers Pregame Notebook: Which end of the floor are the Lakers more of a problem?

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USA Today Images

Blazers Pregame Notebook: Which end of the floor are the Lakers more of a problem?

You can catch all the action between the Trail Blazers and Lakers at 7:30p.m. tonight on NBC Sports Northwest and on the 'My Teams' App.

Before tonight’s contest, Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts met with the media to give his expectations vs. the Lakers, his thoughts on Carmelo Anthony signing his fully guaranteed contract, and more.

As the Blazers look to hand the Lakers just their second road loss of the season, Coach Stotts discussed how tonight’s game is a good test for his team right now, but doesn’t ultimately mean it will show where the Blazers stack up in the West at this point of the season.

When you’re playing one of the best if not the best team in the league, I guess it’s a measuring stick, but I think we already know they’re pretty good. We’ve been playing better… I don’t know about measuring stick. It’ll be a good test. – Blazers head coach Terry Stotts pregame

As for the announcement that the Blazers guaranteed Melo’s contract for the rest of this season, Stotts said, “that doesn’t change anything.” But added, “I think it sent a good message to him, and the team, and the rest of the league that he’s here to stay.”

To warp-up Friday’s pregame interview, our Dwight Jaynes asked Coach Stotts the millionaire dollar question: Is it the Lakers offense or defense that is more of an issue when facing them.

Stotts had to think about that one, starting off by saying, “that’s a good question.”

Stotts went back and forth at which end of the court is more of a problem, but ultimately, Stotts said, “I don’t know if I can answer the question to be honest.”

HEAR FROM COACH STOTTS HERE:

LAKERS INJURY REPORT:

Kyle Kuzma (left ankle; mild sprain) and Anthony Davis (right shoulder; soreness) are probable vs. Blazers.

BLAZERS INJURY REPORT:

Gary Trent Jr. (right hamstring strain) is questionable.

How will Carmelo Anthony sticking with Blazers impact the team when everyone is healthy?

How will Carmelo Anthony sticking with Blazers impact the team when everyone is healthy?

This week, the Trail Blazers made up their mind and fully guaranteed Carmelo Anthony's contract for the remainder of the season.

Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey told NBCSNW's Diwght Jaynes signing Melo for the rest of the season was “a no brainer.”

Between Melo’s production on the court and his presence in the locker room, amending the contract in advance of the Jan. 7th guarantee date was a no-brainer. This is the kind of gesture we want players to become accustomed to when they buy into and contribute to our culture.  -- Neil Olshey

Knowing Melo isn’t going anywhere also means Melo isn’t going to be forced out of the starting lineup once the Trail Blazers get Zach Collins back.

Starting was a prerequiste to Melo joining the Blazers in the first place.

Collins isn’t expected to be re-evaluated until March after he underwent successful surgery to repair his left labrum last month. 

The 7-footer said on Wednesday of this week that he “is progressing” and he’s happy to not have to wear his sling anymore.

Even though Collins played in just three games this season for the Blazers where he started at power forward, he made his bread and butter as a consistent, go-to, energy off the bench type of player.

People remember Collins was a one-and-done player at Gonzaga. But, some don’t remember he came off the bench for Mark Few.

Sure, Collins would like to be inserted back into the starting lineup when he’s healthy enough, but not only because of Melo will Collins be coming off the bench, but it’s smart to do so, too.

If and when Collins comes back this season, he is going to undoubtedly be working through a minutes restriction to work himself back in.

Plus, looking at this season the Blazers’ bench could use a spark and yes, Collins is known for his defensive prowess, but this is a kid who can stretch the floor and bring some much needed scoring when called upon. And that's what Portland’s second unit could use this season.

A lot of the talk around Rip City has been -- just make it to March when Collins and Jusuf Nurkic are back on the court.

Here’s the thing: There’s no guarantee Collins or Nurkic will be back on the court in March. Things are point that way. The only guarantee right now is Melo will remain in Portland. 

Could Nate Tibbetts be considered for Knicks head coaching vacancy?

Could Nate Tibbetts be considered for Knicks head coaching vacancy?

The New York Knicks fired David Fizdale Friday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. 

The Knicks also cut bait with assistant Keith Smart, per Woj. 

This news isn’t shocking. Fizdale's job security came into doubt when Knicks team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry held an impromptu press conference after a blowout loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers back on Nov. 10. In that presser, they said they believed in Fizdale and his coaching staff, but that they needed to see improvement after a 2-8 start.

With the Knicks now sitting at 4-18, they pulled the plug on Fizdale.

The Knicks are one of the worst teams in the NBA, going 17-65 last season. Quick math: Fizdale went 21-83.  

The Knicks are currently last in the Eastern Conference Standings, and have the second-worst winning percentage in the NBA.

For NBA head coaches, it always seems like you’re on the hot seat. 

Nearly half of the current NBA coaches have been with their team for less than two seasons. 

The longest tenured coaches in the league are as follows: 

  1. Gregg Popovich, Spurs: December 1996
  2. Erik Spoelstra, Heat: April 2008
  3. Rick Carlisle, Mavericks: May 2008
  4. Terry Stotts, Trail Blazers: August 2012

Since Stotts took over the head coaching duties in Portland, five Knicks head coaches have come and gone in a full-time or interim capacity. The next Knicks coach will be the 6th.

The usual suspects have shown up as the next head coach: 

Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, Tom Thibodeau, Jason Kidd…

But perhaps another person who could and should be considered: Trail Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts.

Tibbetts, who was promoted to associate head coach during the offseason after David Vanterpool departed for Minnesota for the same role, has garnered attention for other head coaching vacancies. In 2016 and in 2019, Tibbetts reportedly interviewed for the head coaching vacancy in Memphis. He reportedly interviewed for the Atlanta Hawks opening in 2018. He was also considered for the Cleveland Cavaliers job. 

Could the Knicks be calling?

"He's earned a shot [at a head coaching job]," said ProBasketballTalk's Kurt Helin.

Looking back to when the Trail Blazers spoiled LeBron James' Lakers debut

Looking back to when the Trail Blazers spoiled LeBron James' Lakers debut

The NBA world had their eyes on Portland as the Trail Blazers played host to LeBron James in his debut with the Lakers. 

James signed a four-year, $153 million deal with the Lakers as a free agent in the offseason. The Trail Blazers were riding a 15-game win streak over the Lakers and held a 17-game home opener win streak, as well. 

There was a lot at stake in this game. 

It was LeBron vs. Dame, Dame vs. LeBron, LeBron vs. Nik Stauskas?

After a pair of thunderous dunks to open the game between Lillard and James, it was one of the Trail Blazers new additions that stole the show. 

Nik Stauskas, who probably wasn’t even on the Lakers scouting report, torched LA for 16 points in the first half, 24 in the game. 

Damian Lillard added 28 points while LeBron recorded a double-double 26 points, 12 rebounds. 

The Trail Blazers went on to win 53 games and advanced to the Western Conference Finals. The Lakers missed the playoffs. It was the first time LeBron missed the playoffs since the 2004-05 NBA season.

NBCSNW featured this game in their Blazerlist series, showcasing the greatest games of the season. See all the action in the video above.

The Blazers and Lakers look to put on a show

The Blazers and Lakers look to put on a show

The Portland Trail Blazers will square off for the first time since Anthony Davis joined the Los Angeles Lakers.

Friday night's game will have a playoff-type atmosphere as the Lakers come into Portland as a 4.5 point FAVORITE over the home team. The over/under is 224, which, based on past games, is poised to surpass that mark. 

In recent memory, we've seen buzzer beaters from Damian Lillard and Maurice Harkless, blow for blow monster dunks from Dame and LeBron and tons and tons of offense!

Los Angeles is one of the hottest teams in the NBA. Can the Blazers cool them down?

Tune in to NBCSNW tonight, tip-off is at 7:30pm.

Neil Olshey: Amending Melo's contract early was a 'no brainer'

Neil Olshey: Amending Melo's contract early was a 'no brainer'

A full month early, the Trail Blazers stepped up Thursday and guaranteed Carmelo Anthony’s contract for the rest of this season. Under the terms of the deal he had signed with Portland, the team had until Jan. 7 to make that decision.

But making the call early was the right move. Melo has been all the Trail Blazers could have asked for – and more.

“Between Melo’s production on the court and his presence in the locker room, amending the contract in advance of the Jan. 7th guarantee date was a no-brainer,” said Neil Olshey, the team’s president of basketball operations. “This is the kind of gesture we want players to become accustomed to when they buy into and contribute to our culture.”

In eight games for Portland, he has averaged 16.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting 44.8 percent from the field and 38.7 percent from three-point range.

In his last five, though, it’s been even better than that as he’s become more acclimated to his new teammates and their system.

In that span, Anthony has shot .514 overall from the field and .467 from three-point range. And he’s scored at a 19.2 points-per-game rate with an average 11.4 plus-minus. He’s also shot .938 from the foul line and grabbed 6.8 rebounds per contest.

Guaranteeing the contract early shows good faith in his continued solid play and takes pressure off both sides. And, as Olshey pointed out, it continues Portland's commitment to making this known as a player-friendly franchise.

It also takes away any doubt about the team’s makeup and commitment to the rest of the season.

There is some chance that power forward Zach Collins could return to action prior to the end of the season from his shoulder surgery but keeping Anthony also takes away any pressure to rush Collins back. In fact, if Collins does return, it would now be more possible to ease him back on a minutes restriction while he plays off the bench behind Anthony.

It has been reported that Anthony's contract is for the veteran’s minimum of $2.16 million.