Social media shows love for the Trail Blazers as special season comes to an end

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USA Today

Social media shows love for the Trail Blazers as special season comes to an end

Before the season started few experts picked the Blazers to make the playoffs. The Blazers proved them all wrong and ended up with the third best record in the Western Conference.

Once they made the playoffs, no one gave them a chance to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder. They silenced the doubters and beat OKC in five games.

In the semifinals, no one thought they could beat the No.2 Denver Nuggets. All Portland did was take them to seven games and knock them out of the playoffs on Denver's home court.

Then, in the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 19 years, no one gave them a chance to defeat the defending champs. Well, this time they were finally right. The Blazers magical ride came to end, but oh what an incredible ride it was!

Following the final buzzer of the season, fans took to social media show their love for their favorite team. 

https://twitter.com/IanKarmel/status/1130681584615510017

 

Clyde Drexler is not okay with automatically labeling Michael Jordan or LeBron James the GOAT

Clyde Drexler is not okay with automatically labeling Michael Jordan or LeBron James the GOAT

Since the final episode of 'The Last Dance,' ESPN’s docuseries on Michael Jordan, NBA players, current and former, have shared their thoughts on who is the Greatest of All-Time.

The debate of who is better between Michael Jordan and LeBron James has some players and analysts heated.

Former Portland Trail Blazer and 10x NBA All-Star, who also battled it out numerous times against MJ, Clyde Drexler shared his opinion on the matter.

In a recent interview with SportsTalk 790’s ‘The A-Team,’ Drexler discussed The Last Dance, his overall career, the debate on who is the best NBA player of all-time and more.   

More than 20 years after Drexler and MJ last laced it up against each other, Drexler has his own opinion on the GOAT debate.

Clyde the Glide believes neither Jordan nor LeBron James should be the only two automatically pegged as the NBA's greatest player of all time.

I have a real problem with that, because out of all the guys that played the game, for you to have a conversation of these two guys as the GOAT when you've got Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, two of the greatest players to ever live - I think you start with those two. Clyde Drexler told ‘The A-Team.’

Drexler also offered up suggestions on a handful of other NBA greats.

"And then you've got guys like Dr. J [Julius Erving], Larry Bird, George Gervin, Elgin Baylor, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West. All those guys are in the conversation, and so for people to bring this up today, to me it's just unbelievable. And I love Michael and LeBron. But still, let's not take something away from those other guys who played."

Drexler played for the Trail Blazers from 1983-1995 after being selected as the No. 14 overall pick by Portland. He then went on and won a championship in 1995 with the Rockets.

He wasn’t done discussing the debate of MJ and LeBron with 'The A-Team,' in fact, he called it "blasphemy" to not include Wilt and the like.

"How are you going to say somebody is better than those guys?" Drexler said. "I just don't even get it. It's blasphemy at best. And it's always by people who have never played the game who are making these assessments because people who played the game know better. You don't put people ahead of people - nobody was better than those people."

The Trail Blazers great also mentioned that basketball is a team sport.

“This is a team game, it’s not one guy… So I hate when people act like it’s an individual competition.”

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Clyde isn’t a fan of it. 👀😳

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Listen to the full interview right here.

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Michael Jordan and Jusuf Nurkic share something unique in common

Michael Jordan and Jusuf Nurkic share something unique in common

Five-time NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway revealed a secret about Michal Jordan on the debut episode of ‘Sports Uncovered.’

“The reason why I’m smiling, I might get in trouble for this,” Hardaway said on the NBC Sports podcast. “[MJ] and Rod Higgins are really, really good friends. He came and practiced with us two or three times and we knew he was coming back then.”

Yep, the cat is out of the bag about a few secret practices.

Before Michael Jordan returned to the Bulls from his first retirement in the spring of 1995, he was a Golden State Warrior for two days.

In NBC Sports’ 'Sports Uncovered' podcast, members of the 1994-95 Golden State Warriors team detailed for the first time that Jordan dominated Dubs practices weeks before rejoining the Bulls 25 years ago.

‘Sports Uncovered’ is a six-part series that explores memorable sports events and figures in deeper and different ways through in-depth storytelling and high-profile interviews. Each NBC Sports regional network has developed and produced one episode.

Thursday’s debut podcast centers around Michael Jordan’s first NBA comeback announcement, called 'I’m Back'.

Jordan's connection to the Warriors before his return struck a chord in Portland. It is reminiscent of what the Trail Blazers are going through right now and it centers around big man Jusuf Nurkic.

Nurkic has been sidelined since March 2019 with an ankle injury and rehabbing it ever since. He was close to making his return days after the NBA shutdown. 

So, what do Jordan and Nurkic have in common? 

The Warriors. 

"Michael was a Warrior for 48 hours,” NBA forward and Jordan’s good friend Rod Higgins said. "MJ really wanted to play against Hardaway and [Latrell] Sprewell, because Sprewell was ‘the new it’, so to speak, in terms of the two-guard.”

Nurkic was a member of Warriors for an afternoon. Albeit, the Santa Cruz Warriors, but in a Warriors jersey, nonetheless. 

 

[RELATED: Trail Blazers fans not happy seeing Jusuf Nurkic in a Santa Cruz Warriors practice jersey]

With the Trail Blazers being so injury-depleted in early March, there aren’t enough healthy bodies for a full scrimmage.

And a full scrimmage is what Nurkic needed as the final step in rehabbing his left leg.

Thus, the Trail Blazers turned to Golden State’s G-League team, the Santa Cruz Warriors for assistance since the Blazers do not have their own G-League team.

Mar. 11, Nurk flew down to Santa Cruz with Trail Blazers assistant coach Jannero Pargo.

“I’m going to go to the G-League practice on the 11th. That’s my last stop before I [play] finally here,” Nurk said after practicing in Portland two days prior.

The evening following Nurk’s practice with the G-League squad, the NBA was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mar. 15 against the Houston Rockets was scheduled to be his targeted return game, which would’ve been 10 days short of the one-year mark when Nurkic went down. It was on Mar. 25, 2019 when he suffered compound fractures to his left tibia and fibula late in the game against the Brooklyn Nets.

When Nurkic tweeted out a picture of him wearing blue and yellow in a Santa Cruz Warriors practice jersey, Rip City was not having it.

So really, it’s probably best that Chicago Bulls fans never found out until today that MJ was practicing with the Warriors. It was hard enough seeing him in a Wizards jersey, wasn't it?

Sports Uncovered, the newest podcast from NBC Sports, will shine a fresh light on the most unforgettable moments in sports. Listen to the full episode of “I’m Back,” which reveals never-before-heard stories about the two-word fax from Michael Jordan that changed the course of NBA history.

Subscribe to Sports Uncovered for free wherever you listen to podcasts. 

Memories from one of the best Trail Blazers games EVER-- airing TONIGHT

Memories from one of the best Trail Blazers games EVER-- airing TONIGHT

I would rank it as one of the greatest Trail Blazer games in history. It wasn’t a playoff game or even a late-season contest with a lot of meaning, but Portland’s 130-124 triple-overtime win over the Sonics at Seattle on Dec. 1, 1990, featured all sorts of twists and turns.

And the Blazers seemed defeated countless times en route to a 14-point comeback that sent the game into overtime.

But this was a Trail Blazer team that would make a trip to the NBA Finals that season and with this win upped its record to 13-1.

It wasn’t easy and the game serves as a classic example of the kinds of things that happened before replay could be used to determine issues with the game clock.

Terry Porter, who led Portland with 38 points, made a three-point basket at the end of the first overtime to tie the game and it was an incredible effort. He was double-teamed and was stripped of the ball on the way up for the shot. He recovered in the air and somehow managed to get off the shot that tied the game.

But replays -- which could not be used by officials at the time -- showed his shot was after the horn. Too bad, Sonics.

Porter was also a central figure in getting the game into the third overtime. His team trailed by four points with seven seconds to go, when rookie Gary Payton fouled Danny Ainge -- an unnecessary foul that came from being overly aggressive.

“That mistake by Payton was a rookie mistake,‘’ Ainge said. ``Those things happen to a rookie. I think he’s going to be a great player - he just made a rookie mistake.‘’

Ainge made the free throws, then a bad inbounds pass by Xavier McDaniel set up Porter for the game-tying layup.

McDaniel led the Sonics with 41 points.

Trust me, this game is a must-watch.

And you can see it tonight on NBC Sports Northwest.

HOW TO WATCH: Trail Blazer vs. Sonics from Dec. 1, 1990

WHEN: Thursday, May 28 at 6:30pm 

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

CHANNEL FINDER

Stream the game here.  

Or stream the game on your phone with the 'MyTeams' App -- available in the App Store for iPhones and on Google play. 

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Damian Lillard's character was challenged-- that was a big mistake

Damian Lillard's character was challenged-- that was a big mistake

Damian Lillard made headlines this week when he told Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports that he’d sit out when the NBA resumes play if the Trail Blazers didn’t have a path to the playoffs and a shot at the championship. 

If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team. But I'm not going to be participating. I'm telling you that right now. And you can put that [expletive] in there.

Since Lillard’s comments, NBA players and pundits have weighed in on Lillard’s comments and for the latter, has inspired some really bad hot takes. 

On Wednesday, Dan Orlovsky, a former quarterback and analyst on ESPN’s ‘Get Up’ went in on Lillard for those comments.

How can you sit there and go, ‘Nope, I’m not going to play, but understand that there’s people out there that don’t have that choice. They have to go to work. They have to go earn their money. I struggle with sitting here and going ‘you don’t come off, in some way, a spoiled and entitled brat by saying I’m not going to play.

After Orlovsky's comments were surfaced by NBCSNW, Lillard took to Twitter to respond:

Anyone who knows Damian Lillard knows he's the opposite of what Orlovsky is being accused of. He's a fixture in his community in both Portland and his hometown of Oakland. 

And people came to Dame's defense:

Since taking the heat, Orlovsky has walked back his original comments and since apologized:

Orlovsky poked the bear and it wasn't wise. Lillard's comments about sitting out were not riddling in entitlement. They were calculated. Damian Lillard isn't spoiled, he's giving. What he was doing was sending a message: I want to play for the fans. Give me a chance to do that. 

The hot take machine can backfire and Orlovsky learned the hard way. 

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Dan Orlovsky cares more about exhibition games than Damian Lillard and here's why

Dan Orlovsky cares more about exhibition games than Damian Lillard and here's why

I don’t know Dan Orlovsky and I can’t even remember watching him play football. I do think when I see him on TV he appears to be a nice fellow.

I feel as if I know Damian Lillard a little bit. I’ve been around him a lot and I feel as if I know what kind of person he is. And understand this, I don’t make it a practice to get involved in other people's little Twitter spats.

But in this case, I feel an obligation to speak up on behalf of Lillard -- not because he needs my backing or support, but because it’s just the right thing to do.

He’s neither a brat nor entitled. He’s actually -- from what I’ve seen -- generous, kind, humble and reserved. I have never seen him be what anyone would call a “brat.” And he’s anything but entitled. The guy is one of the hardest-working players in basketball. He’s given more to the game than he’s taken.

[RELATED: Damian Lillard called 'spoiled and entitled brat' for saying he'd sit out]

I believe there is something of a misunderstanding about what Lillard has said about his playing status when the NBA gets back to finally staging games.

Lillard made it clear that if his team is playing meaningless games -- with no shot at making the playoffs -- he will be with his team, but not play in the games.

Understand a couple of things here.

First, I believe Lillard’s remarks were calculated, given they were made in a period of time when the league is attempting to figure out what to do with the teams like Portland that feel they should have a shot at making the playoff field.

[RELATED: Damian Lillard accused of elitism for comments-- here's why they're wrong]

Lillard was doing what he felt was necessary to influence that decision. People want to see him play and he was putting pressure on the league to accommodate his team in some sort of playoff or play-in scenario.

I think that’s smart and I think the league heard his message loud and clear.

And if you think he’s the only standout player who won’t play if there’s nothing to play for, you’re wrong. Talk is, many players will sit out if there is no chance of a playoff berth. These would end up being meaningless exhibition games. Not even as valuable as preseason games.

Those guys don’t play exhibition games, for the most part. They shouldn’t. Too much risk for no reward.

But I wouldn’t expect Orlovsky to understand that. My goodness, that’s just about the only time he got to play!

This man went three full NFL seasons without throwing a pass. In seven seasons in the league, he started only 12 games and won just two of them.

I would guess exhibition games were very important to Dan Orlovsky.

Damian Lillard accused of elitism for comments-- here's why they're wrong

Damian Lillard accused of elitism for comments-- here's why they're wrong

Damian Lillard is being criticized in the media for the comments he made earlier in the week about not wanting to come back and play ‘meaningless’ games should the Trail Blazers not have a path to the playoffs when NBA play resumes. 

But, it seems like they’re missing the point. Allow me to explain. 

On Wednesday, ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky called Damian Lillard a ‘spoiled and entitled brat’ for saying he wouldn’t participate. 

FS1's Skip Bayless of  ‘Undisputed’ had a similar take: 

“Damian Lillard suddenly speaks out as if he’s Michael Jordan, or Kobe Bryant or LeBron James— like he’s a superstar. I keep asking myself, when did Dame D.O.L.L.A. become THAT guy to be able to speak out the way he speaks out? What have you done? Show me the credentials whereby you can say ‘I’m above that. That’s beneath me.’ If Damian Lillard came out and said ‘I don’t want to get sick,’ you got me. But, that’s not what he’s talking about. What he’s talking about is ’It’s beneath me. You can’t make me go there and play basketball for nothing.’ It’s not for nothing. You earn a real sweet check. That’s just wrong. You can’t say that publicly. It’s time to do your part and don’t try to knock down the process and pull everybody back down into your ego-maniacal view of ‘I’m Dame D.O.L.L.A.’”

“If Lillard came out and said ‘I don’t want to expose myself or potentially bringing this to my family,’ that’s a different conversation. But, all he’s saying is ‘I don’t want to play because I don’t have a chance to win a championship.’”

Bayless’ co-host Shannon Sharpe piled on, as well.

“Just because you’re a big player in the league and have a platform, that doesn’t mean you should stand up and voice everything.” 

“Some things you just keep to yourself. To say that I’m not going to come out and play in meaningless games. You played 66 meaningful games that you turned into meaningless games by the way your team played. There are no meaningless games. You don’t know how many more of them you’ve got. Treasure every last one of them, Dame.”

What these critics fail to understand is the inferred understanding that players don’t want to expose themselves to the outside world in fear that they’d catch the COVID-19 virus and potentially spread it to their family and close friends. That should be implied, yet these pundits are holding that against Lillard. OF COURSE that’s a concern and should be automatically considered into his thought process. 

Sharpe’s intimation that the Blazers turned 66 meaningful games into meaningless ones is flat out misguided. With season-ending injuries to Rodney Hood (Achilles), Zach Collins (Shoulder) and the long recovery process of Nurkic (Ankle), the Trail Blazers were forced to play short-handed and without consistency to their starting lineup. 

Sharpe also fails to see the bigger picture when telling Lillard to treasure every last game. What if Lillard played with no shot at making the playoffs and suffered a horrific injury? The team’s franchise player, who is set to make $31.6M next season, would be be sidelined for an extended period of time. Lillard is looking more long-term. If the Blazers were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention and this were a normal regular season, chances are people would be just fine with Lillard, who will soon be making supermax money, sitting out a few games that literally mean nothing. It’d likely be questioned if he didn’t sit out. 

Next time a person calls Lillard selfish and a spoiled brat they should look in the mirror. 

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Here’s why Damian Lillard believes LeBron James is NBA MVP over Giannis Antetokounmpo

Here’s why Damian Lillard believes LeBron James is NBA MVP over Giannis Antetokounmpo

Before the NBA suspended operations in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, a heated MVP race between LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo was taking form. 

Reigning MVP Antetokounmpo was averaging career highs in points (29.6) and rebounds (13.7) per game while leading the Bucks to the best record in the league at 53-12. Meanwhile, James and the Los Angeles Lakers sat atop the juggernaut Western Conference at 49-14 and had already clinched the teams’ first playoff berth in seven years.

But there can only be one rightful Most Valuable Player, and Damian Lillard believes LeBron is the most deserving. 

"This season I think it's LeBron," Lillard told ESPN’s Jalen and Jacoby show. "They're the No. 1 team in the west, they've been consistent all year long, and for him to be at the age he's at with the amount of miles that he has on his body, how often he's talked about the pressure that they've put on him in every little thing that he does.

"At the level he's performing at, in my opinion, I think he's the MVP."

There are a couple major takeaways here. First, Lillard believes age plays a factor in James’ MVP candidacy. But it’s worth noting that what LeBron, 35, has done is incredible for a player of any age group.

If his current stat line holds when play resumes, James will become just the second player in NBA history to average at least 25 points, 10 assists and five rebounds per game while averaging less than 35 minutes per game.

As Lillard also points out, James was leading the league in assists with 10.6 per game prior to the hiatus. He also played in 60 of the Lakers 63 games, while Giannis played in 57 of his team’s 65 games. 

If LeBron James were to hoist the prestigious Maurice Podoloff Trophy for the fifth time of his career, he would tie Michael Jordan and be just one MVP award away from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who has six. 

The numbers are scary close between the two NBA All-Star captains, so it will certainly be interesting to see how things transpire once the 2019-20 season resumes play.

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

How to watch: Trail Blazers vs. Seattle SuperSonics 1990 triple overtime thriller

How to watch: Trail Blazers vs. Seattle SuperSonics 1990 triple overtime thriller

Let’s talk about one of the best rivalries in the NBA (fine, we might be a little bit biased about that) as we take a trip down memory lane.

It was another great battle of the I-5 Rivalry:

December 1st, 1990, the Trail Blazers erased a 14-point deficit in the 4th quarter to defeat the Seattle Supersonics. But, here’s the thing… It took triple overtime!

Terry Porter led the Blazers with 38 points. Jerome Kersey added 24 points and 10 rebounds.

The Blazers came away with the road win despite Sonics six-year wing player Xavier McDaniel having a career night. The X-man tied a career-high in points that night with 41. (He also had 41 points against New York on Jan. 20, 1988).

McDaniel made a career-high 18 field goals in that Dec. 1st game against Portland as well. During the 1990-91 season, he averaged 17.0 points for Seattle after averaging more than 20 points per game the previous five seasons.

The Blazers-Sonics rivalry was in full swing in the 1990-91 season. The triple overtime thriller would ultimately become a precursor for a competitive playoffs series between the two later in the year.

Relive the 1990 contest tonight at 6:30pm on NBCSNW.

Starters for Trail Blazers vs. SuperSonics overtime thriller:

SEATTLE

Xavier McDaniel

Gary Payton

Sedale Threatt

Michael Cage

Derrick McKey

PORTLAND

Jerome Kersey

Clyde Drexler

Terry Porter

Buck Williams

Kevin Duckworth

HOW TO WATCH: Trail Blazer vs. Sonics from Dec. 1, 1990

WHEN: Thursday, May 28 at 6:30pm 

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

CHANNEL FINDER

Stream the game here.  

Or stream the game on your phone with the 'MyTeams' App -- available in the App Store for iPhones and on Google play. 

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Damian Lillard called 'spoiled and entitled brat' for saying he'd sit out

Damian Lillard called 'spoiled and entitled brat' for saying he'd sit out

Damian Lillard made headlines this week when he told Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports that he’d sit out when the NBA resumes play if the Trail Blazers didn’t have a path to the playoffs and a shot at the championship. 

If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team. But I'm not going to be participating. I'm telling you that right now. And you can put that [expletive] in there.

The NBA is currently exploring scenarios in which play would resume in Orlando, Florida at Disney World, but the details of how many games and who will be playing them still remains to be seen. 

Since Lillard’s comments, NBA players and pundits have weighed in on Lillard’s comments and for the latter, has inspired some really bad hot takes. 

On Wednesday, Dan Orlovsky, a former quarterback and analyst on ESPN’s ‘Get Up’ went in on Lillard for those comments. Brace yourselves…  

“If what we’ve experienced over the past three months has taught us anything, there is no such thing as meaningless anymore,” Orlovsky said. “We can’t take things for granted anymore. And there’s a different between have to and get to. And Damian Lillard would have the opportunity to get to play basketball again. Because there’s people out there who have to go do things— frontline workers and nurses and doctors. They have to go to work and they have to work more hours and pay less because of what we’re dealing with. Damian Lillard would have the opportunity to get to play basketball and I would hope and challenge him in his mindset that the last few months has changed that and that he’d take that opportunity to go and perform— to go and compete and get the opportunity to play basketball again. Some people don’t have a choice anymore. They have to go do things. It is not an option.”

[RELATED: Damian Lillard accused of elitism for comments-- here's why they're wrong]

But wait, there’s more. 

Orlovsky continues:

How can you sit there and go, ‘Nope, I’m not going to play, but understand that there’s people out there that don’t have that choice. They have to go to work. They have to go earn their money. I struggle with sitting here and going ‘you don’t come off, in some way, a spoiled and entitled brat by saying I’m not going to play.

There’s a lot to unpack here, aside from the absolute absurdity of the comment. 

First and foremost, there’s a difference between what a frontline worker does and what an NBA basketball player does, as spelled out by Orlovsky’s colleague Domonique Foxworth.

“I think it’s kind of an absurd analogy,” Foxworth said. “The people that have to do it is because we have to eat. No one has to play basketball. We don’t have to watch basketball. It’s terrible that some people have no choice in this matter, but that doesn’t mean Damian Lillard has to play basketball.”

Exactly. And who are you calling a spoiled brat, anyways? To call someone a spoiled and entitled brat for not wanting to play meaningless games when there doesn’t have to be any basketball right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic is a spoiled and entitled brat thing to say. Isn’t it? 

Plus, if the Blazers were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention and this were the regular season, chances are people would be just fine with the team’s franchise player who will be making supermax money sitting out a few games that literally mean nothing. It’d likely be questioned if he didn’t sit out. 

It’s not spoiled, it’s not entitled— it’s a calculated business decision. 

Think before you speak next time. You wouldn’t want someone to think you were spoiled and entitled. 

---

UPDATE: Since the creation of this article, Damian Lillard has responded to Orlovsky: 

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.