Rodney Hood steps up as Trail Blazers' Hero-For-A-Day in Charlotte

Rodney Hood steps up as Trail Blazers' Hero-For-A-Day in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE – It was Rodney’s World Sunday afternoon, and the rest of us were just orbiting.

Rodney Hood scored all of his 27 points in the second half – 21 in the fourth quarter -- and the Trail Blazers fought off the Charlotte Hornets 118-108, Portland’s fifth win on this seven-game road trip, with one more contest Tuesday night in Memphis.

Hood played nine minutes in the first half and took only one shot and missed it. But he took off in the second half, making 9 of his 13 attempts, including 3 of 6 from three-point range.

But the most impressive thing about his night is that his coach and his teammates allowed it to happen. Not every team is going to get out of a bench player’s way and allow him to go off the way Hood did. On a lot of teams, you get your time on the floor and then you go sit down, no matter how well you play.

“Coach didn’t have to call my play,” he said. “My teammates did a great job of setting me screens and getting me open. The best way to shoot your way out of a slump is just to keep shooting,.

“I just needed a couple of them to fall to get going. The biggest thing I did in the second half is not think. I was worried about learning the plays and trying to figure everything out. We just played ball.”

The Blazers have been playing Hero-For-A-Day for a while now, with different players taking a big role in various games.

“Me and Dame were talking and he was just relieved,” Hood said. “Those guys don’t have to take over the game every single time. Late in the fourth quarter they were just letting me run pick-and-roll and letting me make plays. They were telling me how much of a relief that is. I just have to stay consistent.

“Tonight it was me, tomorrow it might be Enes and the next night, maybe CJ is scoring 40 again.

“I give a lot of credit to my teammates. They were giving me the ball and telling me to keep it going and take my shots.”

Hornets Coach James Borrego talked about how much of a problem it is to defend a team when somebody comes in off the bench and runs wild on your team.

“I saw a lot of Rodney Hood,” he said. “You have to give him credit. We held McCollum to six points, Lillard to 23 and our guys battled defensively. Hood had 21 points in a quarter.

“He’s only made one three in the last five games so give him credit. He came in, made shots and hit some heaves at the end of some shot clocks.”

Lillard knows the importance of finding balance on a team.

“It’s huge,” he said of Hood’s performance. “I think you’ve got myself, CJ, Nurk – we know what our roles are. And then now you add Enes, another post presence, and then you’ve got somebody else like Rodney who is a wing scorer and a versatile defender. He can get hot the way he did tonight.

“In the past, maybe where CJ has to be in more actions even on a night when he’s not making shots, not have to be in more actions and we’re more in a scramble trying to find offense.

“Now, he’s rolling, and me and CJ are on the weak side. So it’s a little harder for teams when somebody else is rolling the way he was tonight and we’re just on the other side, setting screens.

“And we’ve got spacing now and it’s even more dangerous. In the fourth quarter, the game was tight and he carried us, big shot after big shot.

“I think mentally and physically it’s less challenging when you can turn to somebody else who is rolling like that.”

Coach Terry Stotts deserves credit, too. He’s always willing to let a bench player stay on the floor late in games if he’s playing well. He loves to ride the hot hand.

“There are going to be different guys on different nights,” Stotts said. “So it’s probably going to be the way it’s going to be. See how the game plays itself out and hopefully it will be some tough decisions to make at times, if everyone is playing well. But it’s good to have multiple options.”

And Sunday, it was Hood’s turn.

 

Trail Blazers feel like they definitely let one slip away vs. Pacers

Trail Blazers feel like they definitely let one slip away vs. Pacers

INDIANAPOLIS – It was a game that looked within reach from start to finish for the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night.

And then, with 9.1 seconds remaining on the game clock, Pacers starting center Myles Turner hit a dagger three-pointer to put Indiana up 106-100, which ended up being the final margin.

The Blazers out-shot the Pacers 46.1 percent from the field for the game to the Pacers’ 44.4 percent.

Thursday’s game had eight lead changes and was tied a total of eight times.

Portland even held Indiana to just 13 points in the second quarter, which the team pointed to that their defensive is heading in the right direction.

Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum, who has been doing his best to fill the void with Damian Lillard out due to a groin injury, finished with a game-high 28 points.

But, it was on the other end that he was feeling better about.  

“I thought we did a good job of communicating," McCollum said. "Making them finish around the basket, [Hassan] Whiteside protected the rim, we rotated well, we only gave up 13 points in the second quarter, so that was a really good half."

When McCollum was discussing what needs to happen in the final stretch of games in order for the Blazers to make it to the postseason, he mentioned, “play defense like we did tonight, that’ll be a good step in the right direction.”

More than anything though, there was a sense of feeling like the Blazers let this one slip away.

Veteran Trevor Ariza confirmed that feeling:  

Yep, definitely. This is one that I thought we had a good handle on. Being NBA players and them being a team that doesn’t quit either, they gave great effort at the end and they made more plays than we made to win. – Trevor Ariza said postgame

“It felt like it was a winnable game, that’s for sure." McCollum added. "We had a chance; they went on a run. Probably shouldn’t have let them get that run; but we were able to withstand it and come back. Then Turner hits a tough three down the stretch."

The Pacers started the fourth quarter on a 14-7 run. 

With Thursday's loss, the Blazers have now dropped five of their last six games to fall to 26-34 on the season as they continue to chase the Memphis Grizzlies for that eighth and final playoff spot out West.

It may feel like time is not on Portland's side right now, but to Carmelo Anthony that couldn’t be further from the truth, at least within the team. 

“Not in here, it doesn’t feel like that. Honestly, it doesn’t feel like that. If it was, I’d be the first to say that time is running out or time is not on our side, but we don’t feel like that. We don’t feel that pressure. We know it, but we don’t feel it…. We talk about winning basketball games, we talk about winning this game tonight, and winning two more games on this trip, that’s what we talk about.”

The Trail Blazers are still talking about winning, are you? 

Gary Trent Jr. spearheads 'solid' defense but Trail Blazer offense slips

Gary Trent Jr. spearheads 'solid' defense but Trail Blazer offense slips

At a time of the season when the Trail Blazers need to scrounge up every win they can find, they let one slip through their fingers Thursday night against the Indiana Pacers.

And for once, you couldn’t put the entire blame on the team’s defense.

Portland suffered through a rough third quarter, when it was outscored 37-26 and then dug a hole for itself in the fourth that was too deep to rescue with a late rally.

The Trail Blazers held the Pacers to 5-21 shooting in the second quarter and had a six-point halftime lead that climbed to nine in the third quarter.

“I thought we played a really good game,” Coach Terry Stotts said. “Defensively, for the most part, we were pretty solid. The second quarter was outstanding.”

At the heart of the team’s defense was second-year guard Gary Trent Jr., who was a disruptive force at the defensive end all night.

“I would say that Gary has shown in his game time that he has improved,” Stotts said. “He has worked really hard to get to this point.

“He’s had a very good season. It’s an accumulation of all the work he did prior to the season.”

Trent had his moments on offense, too. He hit four of his eight three-point shots and scored 20 points. He played 40 minutes without a turnover and was credited with only one steal -- although it seemed as if had several more than that.

“Gary’s been great,” CJ McCollum said. “He’s a little pit bull. He accepts the challenges of competing on both sides of the ball. He’s aggressive and he’s shooting the ball well.

“He’s showing he belongs in this league, that’s for sure. I’m happy for him.”

Trevor Ariza said, “I see him continuing to stay confident and working hard every day. He’s starting to understand defenses and how defenses play certain players. He’s taking advantage of his spots when he gets opportunities.”

The Blazers came up short at the foul line, as often happens to road teams in the NBA. Portland was 9-14 and Indiana was 18-23 -- difficult to overcome in a close game.

And making just 9 of 30 from three-point range isn’t going to be good enough to win most games.

Pin this one on the offense.

This fan's reaction to Carmelo Anthony signing his jersey is priceless

This fan's reaction to Carmelo Anthony signing his jersey is priceless

Things are not going so great for the Portland Trail Blazers. 

They've lost 7 of their past 10 games, are without Damian Lillard, Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins and Rodney Hood because of injury. 

The Trail Blazers fell to the Pacers Thursday night in Indianapolis 106-100 after a late surge came up short. 

In the contest, Carmelo Anthony finished the night with 12 points and 7 rebounds in the loss. 

And despite the defeat, it hasn't soured the future Hall of Famer to the reason why they all play: The fans.

As Pacers fans celebrated and the Blazers walked out of the arena bowl with their heads down, several Trail Blazers fans surrounded the tunnel closest to their locker room. 

And then, Carmelo stopped... 

This fan was in COMPLETE DISBELIEF and his reaction has social media buzzing:

Anthony joined the Trail Blazers in November with the Trail Blazers hopes to make a deep run into the playoffs very much alive. While those aspirations haven't revealed itself, the veteran power forward hasn't lost his belief in the team.  

I believe. I try not to hope. I try to keep hope out of it, but my expectation is the same as when you asked me the first day that I got here -- one day at a time, take it from there, and I still believe that. We know who we are; we know what type of group we are… I know for a fact that the guys that are in this locker room know who we are, know what we want to be, know what we want to do, know what we want to accomplish. 

The Trail Blazers will take on the Hawks Saturday in Atlanta.

Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers comeback falls short vs. Indiana

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Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers comeback falls short vs. Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS -- Thursday marked the first of the next three on the road for the Trail Blazers as Portland looked to hand the Indiana Pacers just their 11th home loss of the season.  

With Damian Lillard missing his fourth straight game due to a strained right groin, CJ McCollum worked to get Hassan Whiteside involved in the offense from the jump. Whiteside started the game leaving his shots just short as he went 0-for-3 from the field, but just like the rest of the Blazers, Whiteside got it going after a slow start.

The Pacers held a 30-24 lead after the first quarter.

But, the Trail Blazers found their stroke in the second quarter. After outscoring Indiana, 25-13 in the second, the Blazers looked like they were on their way to taking the season series against he Pacers.

Indiana wasn’t going to roll over though. 

The Pacers went on a 7-0 run in the final 90 seconds of the third quarter and carried that momentum into the final period. Despite McCollum and Carmelo Anthony's scoring punch in the fourth quarter, mixed with Gary Trent, Jr.'s defense, Pacers center Myles Turner hit the dagger three-pointer with just under 10 seconds left in the game. 

FINAL BOX SCORE: Pacers 106, TRAIL BLAZERS 100

Here are three quick takeaways from Thursday’s loss:

1.  McCollum’s extended minutes catching up to him?

CJ McCollum started off the game shooting 2-for-9 with a majority of his misses clanking off the front iron. In the first quarter it looked as if the extra minutes and load that McCollum has been carrying without Lillard may have caught up with him.  Yet it only looked that way in the first quarter. McCollum then caught fire in the second quarter. He hit from three, showed off his step-back and floater, while still keeping his teammates involved.  

2. Battles in the paint

Before Domantas Sabonis found himself in foul trouble, he looked like he was on his way to dominating down low. He showed off his versatility going up and under on Hassan Whiteside early on; however, after just nine minutes on the court, the Pacers big man picked up his third foul when he was called for a charge on Caleb Swanigan at the 10:36 mark of the second quarter.

That changed the game with the Blazers taking advantage of the Pacers not having their All-Star big in the game for the remainder of the second quarter. Sabonis also played it safe on the defensive end in the third, which seemed to lead to easier dunks and lay-ins for Portland.  
3.  Pacers bring the scoring in second half

Similarly to the last month’s game between these two back in Portland, the Pacers exploded on the offensive end in the second half. Coming out of the break, Indiana went on a 17-11 run. The Pacers' ball movement was on full display in the second half. Often times it was Sabonis who was taking and making the open shots. 

Up Next: Portland continues its three-game road trip with the next stop in Atlanta Saturday night. The Blazers and Hawks tip-off at 4:30p.m. PT on NBC Sports Northwest.

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

Meyers Leonard is a tremendous human being and here's proof

Meyers Leonard is a tremendous human being and here's proof

There are a few things Isaac Doing loves in life: Ford pick-up trucks and former Trail Blazers big man Meyers Leonard are among them. 

Isaac Doing is a junior at Columbia River High School high school. He lettered in cross country this past fall. 

Isaac also has autism and recently had brain surgery to remove scar tissue and drain a cyst that was putting pressure on the left side of his brain and causing seizures. 

Today is Isaac's 17th birthday. Coincidentally, he shares a birthday with his favorite player. Today is also Meyers Leonard's 28th birthday!

If Isaac's last name sounds familiar, he is the son of Rip City Radio 620 host Chad Doing, who has not always been the biggest fan of the former Blazers big man. 

Chad and Meyers recently got into a back and forth on Twitter after Doing questioned the reasoning behind tribute videos focused on Meyers Leonard's return to Portland. 

The Rip City Drive host has referred to Meyers as a "bum" and "garbage" on air in the past. He hasn't held back. 

Meyers, who had been quiet throughout the years, finally responded. 

That brings us to today, February 27th, Isaac and Meyers' birthday. 

Despite the back and forth and any hard feelings, the unthinkable happened. 

Meyers Leonard found out it was Isaac's birthday and sent him a birthday message! 


Isaac, what’s going on, buddy. It’s Meyers, here. First of all, I heard some pretty cool news today. Not only is it my birthday, but it’s your 17th birthday. So, I wanted to tell you happy birthday from me personally. Also, I just wanted to say thank you for being a fan of mine. It truly means the world to me. And lastly, I know that you had surgery recently, and those times aren’t always easy, but I want to tell you to stay strong and keep believing in yourself, keep being a good person and keep working hard. See you later, buddy. Have a great night!

Leonard told NBCSNW he has one more thing up his sleeve for Isaac and it will be coming in the mail soon!

Social media is absolutely floored by this gesture, too!

Meyers, you are a tremendous human being. Happy birthday!

Trail Blazers Pregame Notebook: CJ McCollum taking on leadership role

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Trail Blazers Pregame Notebook: CJ McCollum taking on leadership role

INDIANAPOLIS – The Trail Blazers are without Damian Lillard for the fourth straight game as Portland faces the Indiana Pacers on the road.

Before Portland and Indiana tip-off at 5:00p.m. PT tonight on NBC Sports Northwest and on the 'MyTeams' App, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts addressed the media.

With Lillard sidelined with a groin injury, the Blazers have relied heavily on CJ McCollum and Carmelo Anthony.

Stotts discussed what he has liked most about how McCollum has embraced the starting point guard role.  

“He’s doing more than just scoring. He’s involving his teammates; he’s running the offense, just taking a little bit more of leadership role. It’s all the thing you’d expect from a great player,” Coach Stotts said.

HEAR FROM COACH STOTTS HERE:

 

BLAZERS INJURY REPORT: 

Damian Lillard (right groin strain), Rodney Hood (left ruptured Achilles tendon), Zach Collins (left shoulder dislocation), and Jusuf Nurkic (left leg fracture) are out for Thursday’s game vs. Indiana.

PACERS INJURY REPORT:

Victor Oladipo (sore lower back) is available; Jeremy Lamb (left knee ACL tear) and Naz Mitrou-Long (Two-way) are out.

STANDOUT GAME NOTES:

-- Thursday's meeting will round out the two-game series between the Trail Blazers and Pacers during the 2019-20 season. Portland leads

the season series, 1-0.

-- The Trail Blazers are 10-1 in their last 11 games against the Pacers, and are currently on a five game win-streak, having swept Indiana each of the past two seasons.

-- LAST MEETING: Portland took down Indiana at Moda Center on Jan. 26, 139-129. Damian Lillard led Portland with 50 points.

-- CJ McCollum scored 28 points (11-21 FG, 6-9 3-PT) and handed out five assists in Portland's Jan. 26 win over Indiana. McCollum has scored in double-figures in eight of his nine career games against Indiana, with the exception coming during his rookie season (2013-14) when he scored nine points in 12 minutes.

-- Hassan Whiteside had 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting (3-5 FT), to go with 14 rebounds and six blocks on Jan. 26. Whiteside has recorded a double-double in each of his last five games against the Pacers, totaling exactly 79 points and 79 rebounds over that five-game span.

-- Domantas Sabonis recorded his second career triple-double in his last game against Portland, finishing with 27 points (11-17 FG, 5-6 FT), 14 rebounds, a career-high 11 assists. 

How to watch, stream Trail Blazers at Pacers tonight at 5:00pm

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How to watch, stream Trail Blazers at Pacers tonight at 5:00pm

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Trail Blazers (26-33) hit the road for a three-game trip, tipping off game one against the Indiana Pacers (34-24) Thursday night.

Damian Lillard is listed as out for Thursday’s game. This will be his fourth straight contest he has missed due to a groin strain. Lillard is expected to miss 'a couple more games' as the All-Star point guard did not travel with the team Wednesday. 

As for the Pacers, Victor Oladipo (sore lower back) is listed as questionable and Jeremy Lamb (left knee ACL tear) is out against the Blazers.

You can catch Portland and Indiana in action on NBC Sports Northwest, the Official Network of the Portland Trail Blazers and you can stream the game on our website or by downloading the MyTeams app!

And, have you heard about Blazers Pass?

You can get 15 live Trail Blazers games, pre and postgame shows, and on-demand full-game replays with Blazers Pass! (Only available to fans located in Blazers Territory, pursuant to NBA rules and agreements. No TV provider required. Subscription Period: November 4, 2019 - April 16, 2020. Subscription auto-renews prior to start of next season.)

Don't miss any of the coverage of tonight's game:

2:30pm Blazers Game Day with Chad Doing

4:00pm Blazers Warm-Up

4:30pm Trail Blazers Pregame Show

5:00pm Trail Blazers vs. Pacers

After the game catch Blazers Outsiders with hosts Joe Simons and Dan Marang!

Plus, we will full coverage of the game from Dwight JaynesJamie Hudson and our digital team. Follow us on social throughout the night for the latest updates. 

Quotable

“They made the open ones, they made the contested ones, they made a lot of them tonight. They are a good team. We have to be better than we played tonight against teams like the Celtics to win. I think that was the difference. They played better than us. They’re a deep team. They made shots, they got stops. They ran on our turnovers and they played like a playoff team.” -- CJ McCollum said following Tuesday’s loss to the Celtics  

Trail Blazers facing reality on upcoming three-game road trip

Trail Blazers facing reality on upcoming three-game road trip

The Portland Trail Blazers have 23 games remaining on their regular-season slate.

Twenty-three games to try and move up and seize the eighth and final playoff spot out West. Entering Wednesday’s games, the Trail Blazers currently sit in the ninth spot in the Western Conference standings, 3.5 games back of the Memphis Grizzlies.

And, it's now confirmed that the Blazers will have at least a couple more games without their All-Star Damian Lillard.

Lillard did not travel with the team Wednesday morning as the Blazers set out on their current three-game road trip.  

Following the All-Star break, Lillard was asked how many games he expected to miss as he continued to rehab a right groin strain. "If I had to guess I would say at least 3-4 games. Maybe five games," Lillard said. 

The Trail Blazers point guard has already missed three games with the injury. There’s still a chance Lillard could meet the team at a later date on the trip.

But, as Blazers head coach Terry Stotts discussed following Tuesday’s loss to the Celtics, the team’s medical staff must clear Lillard first and foremost. 

“It’s usually a mutual decision,” Stotts said of Lillard and the medical staff. “We have to clear him medically, and this is not just Damian, it’s any player. He has to be cleared medically and then the player has to feel if he’s up to play or not. That’s not specific to Damian, that’s just the right thing to do. Ultimately, the player knows whether he feels 100% and if he’s ready to go.”

Portland has been relying heavily on CJ McCollum and Carmelo Anthony with Lillard sidelined. The two veterans have mentioned that they have to step up, but they also realize the number one priority is for Lillard to only come back when he is completely healthy.

“It’s an adjustment. It’s an adjustment for everybody, starting with the guys on the bench, as a team, and as a whole, you lose a component like that to injury, but… Dame's got to get healthy, that’s the most important part -- is for him to be healthy,” Melo said.

With Lillard sidelined, the Blazers have gone 1-2. It’s been apparent that Portland has missed the two-man game between Lillard and Hassan Whiteside. 

Late in Tuesday’s game vs. Boston, McCollum and Whiteside showed that they too could have a pretty solid connection. Whiteside finished with 18 points and 19 rebounds in the losing effort.

But the big fella understands that they have to continue to come together with their team captain out.  

“There’s nothing we can do about injuries. Injuries pretty much have been haunting us all season,” Whiteside said.

Now as the Blazers embark on their current three-game trip starting off with Thursday’s contest in Indiana, followed by Saturday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, before wrapping up the trip in Orlando Monday, it’s all about the playoff push.

It’s about catching Memphis, while still dealing with so many injuries.

It’s our reality so we’ve got to figure it out -- how to get as many wins as possible starting in Indiana and progressing forward. I don’t know how many –we’ve got 20 games left, 21 games left? 23 – so we’ve got to win the majority of them to give ourselves a chance to make the playoffs. – Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum said following Tuesday's game

The reality a month ago was Lillard went off for 50 points against Indiana with the Blazers beating the Pacers 139-129 at home.

Melo’s mentality heading into the road trip is all about how the trip starts off against the Pacers. 

“To win in Indiana. For me, that’s the only thing that we should be thinking about. Because the first game on the road trip is always the one that if we have a chance to get, we want to go in there and get it. I’m sure they’ll be thinking about them coming in here losing to us on our home court and they want to get that win back.”

While, Whiteside put it simply:

“We just gotta get some wins on the road. Let’s get a couple of wins on the road, and pretty much that’s all there is to say.”

That’s the truth. There really isn’t much more to say or do, the short-handed Blazers just need to go out and win on the road. 

Indiana Pacers honor Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts

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Indiana Pacers honor Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts

Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts is celebrating his induction into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame a month early.

Stotts and the Trail Blazers arrived in Indiana on Wednesday for Portland’s first game of a three-game road trip beginning with the Indiana Pacers.

Upon their arrival, the Pacers had a screen setup with a throwback photo of Stotts and the words "Congrats Terry Stotts," to honor the Trail Blazers coach who will be inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame next month.

Such a nice gesture, Pacers. 

Several members of the Trail Blazers can be seen in the room chanting the words “Terry! Terry! Terry!”

Stotts played his final two seasons of high school basketball at Bloomington North High School in Bloomington, Indiana, before four years at the University of Oklahoma.

He was an All-Star and All-State selection at Bloomington North in 1976. He averaged 24.4 points and 13.6 and led the Cougars to their first regional championship in school history.

Forty-four years after Stotts had his first taste of Indiana high school basketball, the Trail Blazers coach will be inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. He is expected to be honored on March 25.

The Trail Blazers will take on the Pacers on Thursday night at 5:00 p.m. on NBC Sports Northwest.