Nassir Little looking to earn respect before Blazers training camp starts

Nassir Little looking to earn respect before Blazers training camp starts

With just over two weeks until the Portland Trial Blazers preseason slate tips off, the question remains -- what will Portland’s rotation look like this season?

If you include two-way player, Jaylen Hoard, the Blazers have added seven new additions to the squad.

What about Blazers rookie Nassir Little? Could we see him get some run?

Over the last two weeks with the players returning to Portland to get acquainted with each other before training camp gets underway, Little has been focusing on what his teammates think about him before the season gets started.

“To earn their respect on the court as a rookie has been big for me. I’m excited to keep going with that,” Little said at his first official meet and greet over the weekend.

[RELATED]: Introducing Nassir Little: Make your own legacy

At just 19 years old, Little recognizes that he has a lot to learn from the guys who have been around the organization the longest, especially Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. He also has been fighting the shell shock of it all.   

“It’s been good,” Little said. “For me, walking in and seeing Dame in the building, and then CJ, and then Pau Gasol, just guys I watched growing up it’s been surreal.”

Gasol’s rookie season with the Memphis Grizzlies was in 1998.

Little was born in 2000.

Think about that for a second…

[RELATED]: The Bridge Podcast with Nassir Little

Even though Little has yet to play his first real minutes in a Trail Blazers uniform, advice has been in pouring in from Trail Blazers veterans.

“It all starts over,” was one piece of advice given to Little.

“All the stuff in the past is in the past, but now I have another chance to earn my [reputation] and try to contribute early on, on a good team,” Little added.

[RELATED]: Blazer pick Nassir Little thinks he can "shock a lot of people in the NBA"

As the Trail Blazers embark on their 50th Anniversary season, Little acknowledged this is a great season to start his career in Rip City.   

“I came in at the right time,” Little said. “A lot of people are excited. Looking forward to making a lot of noise this year.”

Yes, a lot of people in Portland are excited about this season and celebrating the past 50 years. Imagine the excitement when Little starts making a lot of noise.

With Hood's season done, Blazers 'don’t have a choice but to move forward'

With Hood's season done, Blazers 'don’t have a choice but to move forward'

The bad news hung heavy in the Trail Blazers locker room on Friday night.

Rodney Hood was gone by the team the doors opened to the media but the reality of the injury lingered with an undeniable weight on his teammates still processing the loss.

Hood’s season ended when he sustained a torn left Achilles tendon during the first quarter of the loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. The post game locker room carried a matter of fact devastation as the rest of the Blazers grappled with that injury and what it means for both Hood the person and Hood the starting small forward.

Neither Terry Stotts nor Hood’s teammates had answers for the questions they knew were coming. How can this team replace Hood and what comes next for a roster now without two opening night starters?

But there was an inevitability in the answers because the unavoidable truth is that the Blazers play Sunday night as the unrelenting NBA season will barrels forward regardless of whose available to play.

“I mean we have to,” Carmelo Anthon said when asked how the Blazers get past Hood’s injury.  “We don’t have a choice but to move forward. I think these are times that troops got to rally now. Everybody’s gotta come together. Everybody’s gotta rely on one another. I mean it’s going to be hard to replace that -- what he was able to bring to this team and what he was able to do. But it’s going to take multiple people to try to contribute to what we’re trying to do.”

The Blazers already had to navigate these waters once this season, when Zach Collins tore the labrum in his left shoulder, an injury that will likely keep him out until mid-March. Collins’ injury led to signing Anthony, and the team may very well turn to an off the street free agent to replace some of Hood's production. But that wasn’t on any of the Blazers minds Friday evening.

“I don’t know. That’s a question that’s above my pay grade,” CJ McCollum said. “I get paid to play. I’m just going to continue to play and see what happens.”

The Blazers options are relatively simple Kent Bazemore will likely start while Nassir Little and Anfernee Simons will see an uptick in minutes. Mario Hezonja should get another shot in the rotation and Anthony Tolliver could see a reintroduction to regular playing time as well. Even if those choices are clear, they are all a downgrade from Hood, who was putting up career best numbers to start the season, shooting 51 percent from the field and 49 percent from three.

Saturday is a day off for the Blazers, a chance to step away from the weight of Friday’s bad news. The final 59 games are looming on the other side, starting Sunday at the Moda Center where the Blazers will face Oklahoma City without Rodney Hood in the lineup.

There weren’t many answers in the immediate aftermath of Hood’s injury, but those questions the Blazers weren’t ready or able to address will demand attention when the team returns to the arena after a 36 hour hiatus. 

“Just gotta keep going forward," Terry Stotts said. "I mean we’ve got a season to play, as disappointing as it is to lose players to injuries, we have a team and we gotta just keep competing and playing. I mean you don’t have any other choice, you have disappointment for that player, that’s why I don’t think anyone is in there feeling sorry for us and the team, I think everyone’s feeling sorry for Rodney or Zach or (Jusuf Nurkic) or whatever it is. You feel for that player, but as a team we have a job to do, and we gotta go out and compete and try to win games.”

Instant Analysis: Everything you may have missed from the Blazers loss to the Lakers

Instant Analysis: Everything you may have missed from the Blazers loss to the Lakers

It was a tough night for the Trail Blazers with LeBron James and the Lakers in town, and it had nothing to do with the result of the game.

Midway through the first quarter the Blazers lost starting small forward Rodney Hood. 

Hood went up for a rebound, but when he landed he fell to the floor clutching his left leg. He left the game and would no return.

The Blazers would later announce he had torn his Achilles and would miss the remainder of the season. 

With the next man up mentality, Kent Bazemore answered the call to fill Hoods minutes. But the blow of losing Hood was too much to overcome. 

The Blazers could not stop the Lakers. Anthony Davis and LeBron James combined for 70 points, and the Blazers had no choice but to head to the locker room wondering where they go from here. 

Final score in this one: Lakers 139 - Blazers 113.

QUOTABLES: 

LeBron James on facing Carmelo Anthony:

It’s always special, it’s always special to be the floor with a friend of mine. We have so much history, we have been playing against each other since 2001. It all started in Colorado Springs at the Jr. Olympics and we’ve been competing for a long time, being on the same team at the Olympics and he’s my brother. It’s always great to be able to compete and to be on the same floor period, no matter if it’s on team USA when we were teammates or competing.

Damian Lillard on Rodney Hood's injury:

It’s tough, man. You hate to see injuries in the league period, but you hate to see one of your teammates go down to an injury like that, especially a starter and somebody that’s really a good person, having a great season, fitting in really well with our team and a big part of what we do. You feel for him personally more than anything. Just sad to see that happen to him.

Coach Stotts on dealing with tough injuries:

Just gotta keep going forward. I mean we’ve got a season to play, as disappointing as it is to lose players to injuries, we have a team and we gotta just keep competing and playing. I mean you don’t have any other choice, you have disappointment for that player, that’s why I don’t think anyone is in there feeling sorry for us and the team, I think everyone’s feeling sorry for Rodney (Hood) or Zach (Collins) or Nurk (Jusuf Nurkic) or whatever it is, you feel for that player. But as a team we have a job to do, and we gotta go out and compete and try to win games.

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LATEST NEWS AND ANALYSIS

Instant Analysis: Blazers lose Hood to injury, Stotts to a double-tech, & the game to Lakers 

Terry Stotts ejected for first time in 880 games and 'it was very necessary'

The emotions after losing Rodney Hood to a torn Achilles: "There’s no words that can help" 

Blazers tempers reach boiling point: "Can we get the same calls?!" 

Blazers lose Rodney Hood: "It's heartbreaking" 

LeBron, Melo show mutual admiration: "That's my brother"

TALKIN' BLAZERS PODCAST

The emotions after losing Rodney Hood to a torn Achilles: "There’s no words that can help"

The emotions after losing Rodney Hood to a torn Achilles: "There’s no words that can help"

It seemed like Déjà vu:  The Trail Blazers met their injured teammate in the locker room to offer him a hug, their thoughts and prayers, and to offer support to their comrade.

First, it was Jusuf Nurkic. Then, Zach Collins.

Friday night, with the Los Angeles Lakers in town, the Blazers lost their starting small forward Rodney Hood to a season-ending Achilles injury

“I’m very sad,” Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said following the Blazers 136-113 loss to the Lakers. “Very disappointed for Rodney, he was having a good year for us. I hate for anybody to have an injury like that, that takes them out for the season. I feel for him.” 

Hood suffered what was initially called a lower leg injury with 3:27 in the first quarter. By halftime, the Trail Blazers announced Hood had suffered a torn left Achilles tendon, confirmed by an MRI. 

Hood said after the Blazers win over the Kings 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. The 27-year-old was even subbed out in the fourth quarter because of left Achilles soreness.

Friday night, Coach Stotts said Hood cleared all of the team's protocols before the game and there was never a question that Hood wouldn’t play against the Lakers.

As one would expect, the Trail Blazers locker room was somber. They stood at their lockers trying to put into words how difficult it was to watch Hood, one of their brothers, go down the way he did with a non-contact injury.

“It’s tough, man,” Damian Lillard said postgame. “You hate to see injuries in the league period, but you hate to see one of your teammates go down to an injury like that, especially a starter and somebody that’s really a good person, having a great season, fitting in really well with our team and a big part of what we do. You feel for him personally more than anything. Just sad to see that happen to him.”

Hood was averaging 11.5 points on an efficient 50.9 percent shooting from the floor, while shooting 49.3 percent from three this season.

The Trail Blazers team captain is giving Hood space before he talks with him.

“So many emotions come with that and a lot going on in his head, I didn’t want to press him about it. I’m sure we’ll talk. I just told him to keep his head up. I saw where his spirits were – he had a smile on his face even though I know he probably hurting on the inside. I’m sure we’ll talk,” Lillard said.

The Trail Blazers and Lakers were exchanging baskets before Hood headed back to the locker room.

Before losing Hood, Portland already had a difficult task facing the 20-3 Lakers.

Skal Labissiere, who had to leave the game briefly in the first quarter to have four stitches, put in his upper lip, discussed how big of void it was losing Hood.

“Obviously he’s a big part of our team, we felt that when he went down. We hope and wish that he has a really good recovery,” Labissiere said.

For us it’s about the next man up. It’s been like that since the end of last year when [Jusuf] Nurkic went down and even into this season, so we just have to keep staying together. We’ve encountered a lot of adversity already this season and we just have to keep pushing. We have no other choice and perseverance I think is a big word for us… We have a great group of guys. Guys that work hard and we understand the situation, and we’re just going to have to keep having to preserve. -- Skal Labissiere 

Hood held the second-best three-point shooting percentage in the league earlier this season. He exuded confidence and became a go-to guy for the Trail Blazers.

Both CJ McCollum and Carmelo Anthony reflected on Hood’s season so far this year.

“It’s heartbreaking, McCollum said. "I know how hard he worked, the type of season he was having, what he means to our team, you never want to see anything like that… I saw him briefly. I mean, what do you say? I just gave him a hug… There’s no words that can help in that situation."

What he was able to bring to this team early on in the season, how he was playing, playing at a all-time high level, having a career start to the season, and just the snap of a finger his season is gone right now. -- Carmelo Anthony postgame  

Injuries like a torn Achilles always put the game of basketball in perspective.

And that’s what Melo was feeling:

“You forget all about the actual game. You realize how wins and losses really doesn’t mean anything at this particular moment. It puts a lot of things in perspective to lose a guy like that.”

Hood was not in the locker room when the media was allowed in, but right next to Hood’s locker stood young Anfernee Simons. He was one of the first players to talk about losing his teammate.

“You just don’t know what to think… We’re just going to be supporting him and praying for him. We’re going to be there for him every step of the way for his recovery,” Simons said.

Simons also mentioned that he was able to have a brief conversation with his teammate after the game:

“I just told him God always has a plan and just keep the faith, and I’m praying for him.”

As Hood and the Blazers look to keep the faith, they will continue to preserve, and lean on each other.

The first chance the Blazers will have to come together as a team will be Sunday when the Oklahoma City Thunder come to town. 

Terry Stotts ejected for first time in 880 games and 'it was very necessary'

Terry Stotts ejected for first time in 880 games and 'it was very necessary'

The Los Angeles Lakers Friday night showed everything you need to have to be a championship team.

With LeBron James and Anthony Davis they have two superstars, Hall of Fame-caliber players who are tough at both ends of the floor. They’ve surrounded those players with shooters and veterans who know how to play.

Almost as important as that, they’ve got an experienced coaching staff that appears to have its team buying into defense and moving the ball. Frank Vogel and his assistants are doing an outstanding job with this team that has won 20 of its first 23 games.

And in the Lakers’ 136-113 win over the Trail Blazers in Moda Center, the Lakers got all the help they needed from a very weak officiating crew -- John Goble, Tre Maddox and Leon Wood -- that had Terry Stotts going apoplectic and his players so frustrated they didn’t know what to do.

Stotts was ejected by Tre Maddox with a little more than a minute left in the third quarter after a foul call on Kent Bazemore, who had flown past Anthony Davis without touching him. This after Skal Labissiere was in the locker room getting four stitches in his lip from an elbow by Kyle Kuzma that was not called a foul.

My only question about Stotts getting run was, “What took you so long?”

It had been a poorly officiated game all night and it was the very first time Stotts, in his 880th game as an NBA head coach, has been booted from a game.

“It was very necessary,” Damian Lillard said, then said again. “It was very necessary.”

Bazemore said, “I had four fouls. I didn’t touch him. I was just trying to get out of the way.”

Bazemore got in James’ face and exchanged some words with him a couple of times, but wouldn’t share the content.  “I didn’t get here by backing down from anyone," he said. "That’s not who I am. I’m a fiery player. Very passionate. This is what I like to show.”

It was a contentious game that left Portland players feeling they didn’t get a fair shake. CJ McCollum reacted with dismay when he thought he was fouled in the third quarter. And he got a technical foul for it.

“I was clearly fouled,” McCollum said. “He hit me in the head. They didn’t call it. So I let him know that he missed the call. He didn’t appreciate it.

“They were very inconsistent all night.”

He was asked about Stotts’ getting ejected.

“Tells you the kind of night it was -- he doesn’t freak out for no reason,” McCollum said. “He just doesn’t do that. Kent runs by a guy and doesn’t touch him. Wouldn’t you be mad?”

Is it difficult to play a team with big-name players who seem to get calls?

“That’s what it looked like tonight,” he said. “It is what it is. It’s not even about the calls they get. It’s, can we get the same calls?”

The Lakers didn’t need any help. They buried Portland early with dunks off lobs and then put the hammer down with their three-point shooting, hitting 17 of 36 from long range.

Lillard had 29 for Portland, which now has the problem of replacing starting small forward Rodney Hood, who suffered a torn left Achilles tendon.

 

Instant Analysis: Blazers lose Hood to injury, Stotts to a double-tech, & the game to Lakers

Instant Analysis: Blazers lose Hood to injury, Stotts to a double-tech, & the game to Lakers

Friday night, the Blazers lost their starting small forward Rodney Hood to a season-ending injury.

Before Hood’s injury late in the first quarter, the Blazers and Lakers were exchanging buckets. 

While the Blazers made in-game adjustments without Hood, the Lakers started to run away with the game. LA’s biggest lead on the night was 21.

The Blazers starters continued to battle in the final period even after their head coach got ejected. 

FINAL BOX SCORE: LAKERS 136, TRAIL BLAZERS 113

Here are three quick takeaways from Friday’s loss:

1.  Hood leaves game early

Blazers starting small forward Rodney Hood left Friday night's game with torn left Achilles tendon.

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. At the end of the first half, the Blazers announced that an MRI confirmed Hood had suffered a torn left Achilles tendon.

Kent Bazemore assumed the starting three spot for the night.  

2.  So many Laker dunks

Los Angeles showed off its size and length early and often against the Blazers. It was pick your poison under the basket on Friday night. LeBron James, JaVale McGee, Anthony Davis – all three Laker bigs were involved in a dunk-fest in the first quarter. Los Angeles took advantage of a smaller Blazers lineup, especially once Hood left the game.  

3.  Coach Stotts gets tossed

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 game.

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.

Up Next: The Trail Blazers host the Oklahoma City Thunder. The game will tip-off on Sunday 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!

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.