Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 2

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 2

OAKLAND – Entering Thursday’s Game 2, the Trail Blazers had talked about how they were going to make defensive changes and they also knew they had to knock down open shots.

On Thursday they did just that.

The Trail Blazers cleaned up the mistakes they had made in Game 1 and came out aggressive on the defensive end to make the Warriors more uncomfortable while not getting as many uncontested shots.

In the first half, the Blazers took control of the game, taking a 15-point lead into halftime. Yet, as everyone around the NBA knows the Warriors can score in bunches and quickly. Golden State started the second quarter on a 14-6 run to make it a game again. 

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts went deep into his bench and it worked out in the final quarter, just not enough. It came down to the wire, but the Warriors held onto beat the Blazers, 114-111.  

The series now shifts to Portland.

Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers told NBC Sports Bay Area that Kevin Durant (right calf) will not travel with the team to Portland for Games 3 and 4. Durant was re-evaluated on Tuesday night prior to Game 2. He suffered the calf strain in Game 5 of the Warriors and Rockets series.

Final Box Score: Warriors 114, Trail Blazers 111

Here are some quick thoughts from the Blazers Game 2 loss:

1. Blazers change up defensive pick and roll coverage

There were question marks heading into Game 2 regarding what the Blazers were thinking letting their bigs drop back so much and leave Stephen Curry so wide open on the pick and roll. Portland made adjustments in Game 2. The bigs were higher up on the screens not giving so much space and the Blazers were switching off ball screens more often than not. Plus, Portland’s defensive rotation was much quicker on Thursday night.

Portland was playing more aggressive on both ends and the scoreboard reflected it.

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts also put Rodney Hood on either Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson for a majority of the game to put more length on Golden State’s guards.

2. Portland role players step up

Just like in the First Round series against the Thunder, when Damian Lillard drove to the hoop and got caught in traffic, he would kick it out to a wide open Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless. And like in that First Round series, Aminu and Harkless hit from outside. The three-point shooting by the Blazers was far better than what they had done just two days prior. Portland set a playoff franchise record with 11 three-pointers in a half.

It says a lot that the Blazers held a 15-point halftime lead after Lillard scored just 10 points in the first half. The Trail Blazers All-Star point guard really didn’t getting going offensively until late in the second quarter.

Seth Curry was also a key piece off the bench for Portland on both ends of the court. When he was on the floor the Blazers were a plus-13.

Enough said.

3. Warriors tighten up in fourth quarter

The game was all tied up at 89 apiece heading into the final period. Coach Stotts went with a rotation change and played Meyers Leonard in the fourth. Leonard and Lillard had a good two-man game going in the final 12 minutes. Golden State also missed lay-ups and open shots. With Portland starting the quarter outscoring the Warriors 13-5, Golden State and Porltand was trading baskets until the end. 

It was almost like the Warriors didn’t know what to do when Leonard was knocking down threes and Seth Curry kept coming up with clutch steals, however, in the end Golden State came up with timely stops and buckets. 

NEXT UP: The Trail Blazers and Warriors will tip-off Game 3 on Saturday night at 6:00pm. You can catch the game on NBC Sports Northwest. Our pregame coverage starts at 5:30pm.

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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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USA Today Images

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. 

Damian Lillard shares favorite songs, previews new music coming soon on mixtape

Damian Lillard shares favorite songs, previews new music coming soon on mixtape

The anticipation is growing as Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard a.k.a. Dame D.O.L.L.A. has been teasing some new music. 

The wait is almost over.

Dame D.O.L.L.A and Shaquille O'Neal have already finished collaborating on a song that will be featured on Lillard’s upcoming mixtape.  

“I’ve got some new music. I’m gonna put out a mixtape soon. I got some guys featured on it,” Lillard said during a videoconference Tuesday. “I actually did a song with Shaq… To finish it… I’m setting up my studio equipment in my house. Once I do that, I’ll finish recording it and send everything back for the engineer to mix it and do everything that he need to do and I’m put it out. So, it should be coming soon because I’ve got a lot of stuff recorded and everything else that I’m going to put together is already written."

It was just about seven months ago when Lillard and Shaq found themselves in one of the best rap battles of all-time... in sports.

So how did the Shaq song come about?

Well, apparently Lillard knew he wanted to collaborate with Shaq for a while now.

Which, Lillard laughed about saying, “obviously during training camp me and Shaq had a little back-and-forth. And even before that we were supposed to do a song together, but it just kind of was stalling and before you know it, we were sending dis-records back-and-forth at each other.”

“It was like, well, now we are shooting at each other so we can’t do it right now,” Lillard joked. “But, it was never personal or there was never no real beef. So, eventually it was like we was on the phone and I was like- ‘let’s do a song or whatever.’ And he sent it to me. I sent it to him, he sent it back to me the next day, that was that. It’s easy.”

Earlier this week, the Trail Blazers point guard went live on his Instagram feed to share some of his favorite songs as well as songs from his mixtape. .

Lillard has been much more active on social media during the NBA hiatus. He feels that as people are going through uncertain times amid COVID-19, he wants to be there for others.

“I’m just trying to connect with people,” Lillard said. “I think with all of us being forced to quarantine… Just trying to be a part of that unity and togetherness that’s necessary right now because this is one of those times where we are all experiencing this same thing.”

Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum deliver encouraging words to Class of 2020

Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum deliver encouraging words to Class of 2020

Anyone who has walked across the stage and received their diploma or degree while their family sat in the audience grinning ear-to-ear, knows what a special moment graduation can be. 

But due to the coronavirus situation, many schools have postponed, canceled or given their students a belated chance to celebrate their spring graduations. 

Portland Trail Blazers guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum want the Class of 2020 to stay encouraged despite this year's graduation looking very different.

In a video released by their former teammate, Memphis Grizzlies forward Anthony Tolliver, the dynamic duo sent well-wishes to impending graduates.  

“I just wanted to say congratulations on everything you guys and girls have accomplished,” McCollum said. “Stay encouraged, obviously control what you can control and use this time to reconnect, spend time with family, friends and loved ones.”

“Continue to aspire to be better and grow,” Lillard said. “I just want to encourage you guys and send some love your way.” 

Along with Lillard and McCollum, NBA TV and TNT broadcaster Kristen Ledlow, Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes, Brooklyn Nets guard Garrett Temple and rapper Dee-1 sent positive messages to the Class of 2020. 

Both Lillard and McCollum recently announced they would be giving back to those impacted by the coronavirus. Lillard donated $100,000 to the Trail Blazers COVID-19 relief fund while McCollum donated $170,000 to the Portland, Oregon and Canton, Ohio communities.