Trail Blazers drop Game 1 to Warriors, 'We did this to ourselves'

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Trail Blazers drop Game 1 to Warriors, 'We did this to ourselves'

OAKLAND -- Was it Game 1 jitters or did fatigue play a role in the Portland Trail Blazers’ 22-point loss Tuesday evening at Oracle Arena?

After battling the Denver Nuggets and coming away with a Game 7 victory on Sunday, the Blazers flew directly to Oakland to prepare for the Warriors. They looked gassed and for good reason.

“Having played a tough emotional game two nights ago, that could play into it but I don’t think anybody will use that as an excuse,” coach Terry Stotts said following the 116-94 loss.

The postseason has been an emotional rollercoaster for the Trail Blazers. Dramatic come from behind victories, buzzer beater shots and an extremely emotional finally on the road in Denver looked like it took its toll.

“I mean, obviously it’s a difficult physically, you know, and a little bit emotional just because you’re excited about being in the Western Conference Finals,” Lillard told a packed media room following the loss. “You win seven games, got one on the road and you’re excited about that and you have to come straight here right from Denver and start prep and get ready for the best team in the league right now.”

With hardly any recovery time and not even a day to gameplan, Portland looked disorganized and sluggish at times.

They’re starting backcourt shot a combined 11-for-31 from the floor. Their bigs didn’t even show on high screens while Steph Curry and Klay Thompson launch without challenge.

“Yeah, that was very poor execution, you know, defensively on our part,” Lillard added. “Just having our bigs back that far; understanding the team we are playing against, they are not going to shoot mid-range jumpers and try to attack the rim.”

Coming off a series against a Nuggets team that runs their entire offense through center Nikola Jokic takes a completely different strategy than defending two of the greatest perimeter shooters to ever play the game. With a month to prepare, Portland would still be in trouble.

“You can prepare, in terms of going over certain things and tendencies they like to do, but a lot of it is just basketball,” C.J. McCollum said. “They make good basketball plays. Moving without the ball, their role players are constantly setting screens, their bigs are constantly looking and guys that can’t shoot, don’t shoot. That’s why they are so successful.”

Golden State has raised the Championship banner two straight years and three of the last four. Not only are they extremely talented, they have a massive advantage in experience that will be difficult for any team to overcome.

Portland hasn’t been in this situation before and it showed in game one. They shot just 36.1 percent from the floor. They turned the ball over 21 times. They allowed the Warriors to shoot 50 percent from the field and 51.5 percent from long range. You can’t beat the champs with these types of stats.

With just a day of recovery and still no trip home, the Blazers have to find a way to mentally and physically overcome some tremendous obstacles if they hope to make a series out of this.

“We did this to ourselves,” McCollum added. “We went to a seven game series and that’s what happens. You got to travel, your back is against the wall a little bit and they were able to take care of business in six games, so they were able to get a little bit more rest. No excuses, we got to be ready to play on Thursday.”

As the old adage goes, a playoff series never truly begins until the road team wins a game. With just a day to make adjustments and recover, Portland is in a tough spot. The Trail Blazers might need a huge boost from their home crowd over the weekend if they hope to avoid a quick out.


Get to know your newest Trail Blazer, seven-year veteran Kent Bazemore

Get to know your newest Trail Blazer, seven-year veteran Kent Bazemore

The Portland Trail Blazers and Atlanta Hawks are swapping veteran wings Evan Turner and Kent Bazemore.

Turner had just finished his third season with Portland and is entering the last year of his four-year, $70 million deal.

Bazemore, a 6'5" guard, is set to make $19.3 million. This deal is essentially a swap of high-expiring contracts. Turner is set to make $18.6 million next season.

With this move, Portland adds more shooting depth on the perimeter especially with Al-Farouq Aminu and Rodney Hood hitting free agency. Bazemore has averaged at least 11 points in each of his last four years with the Hawks.

The 29-year-old should fit in nicely with Blazers head coach Terry Stotts’ system, while Portland will certainly benefit from adding another three-point shooter. Over his seven-year NBA career, Bazemore averages 41.9% shooting from the field and 35.2% from deep.

Last season with Atlanta, Bazemore averaged career highs in all three major categories with 11.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

He will also be a valuable two-way player. At Old Dominion, Bazemore earned First-team All-CAA in 2012 and was a 2X Defensive Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012. He also earned CAA All-Defensive Team three different times from 2010-12.

Bazemore went undrafted in 2012, but joined the Oklahoma City Thunder to play for OKC in the Orlando Summer League tournament. He then played for the Golden State Warriors in the Las Vegas Summer League. After his summer stint in Vegas, he signed with Golden State.

Bazemore has spent time with the Warriors, Lakers, and most recently with the Hawks from 2014-2019.

Check out the video above for more highlights from Bazemore's time in the NBA.

Terry Stotts: Kent Bazemore "will be an excellent addition to our roster"

Terry Stotts: Kent Bazemore "will be an excellent addition to our roster"

Portland Trail Blazer Coach Terry Stotts’ reaction to Monday’s trade of Evan Turner to Atlanta for Kent Bazemore:

“We are going to miss Evan and all that he brought to our team, both on and off the court. He was a high-quality person and player who positively impacted our team in many ways.

“Kent will add athleticism, scoring, shooting, and defense to our team. He will be an excellent addition to our roster and I’m excited for what he can bring to our team.”

Blazers get better long-distance shooting in Kent Bazemore trade

Blazers get better long-distance shooting in Kent Bazemore trade

Evan Turner is out and Kent Bazemore is in for the Trail Blazers, bringing an improvement in three-point shooting – a need for the team.

Portland acquired Bazemore from the Atlanta Hawks Monday in a straight one-for-one deal for Turner, a trade of two players with a year left on their contracts. Bazemore exercised his player option on his deal last week, a contract that reportedly will pay him $19,269,662. Turner’s final season with Portland would have paid him a reported $18,606,557.

“Kent’s skillset and ability to make an impact at both ends of the floor will be an excellent addition to our team and bolsters our perimeter prior to the start of free agency,” said Neil Olshey, Portland’s president of basketball operations.

Bazemore, who turns 30 on July 1, has played both small forward and off-guard, much like Turner, who will turn 31 in late October. Bazemore is known as a solid defender who has had two seasons in the top 20 in steal percentage. He is a career .352 shooter from three-point range while Turner sits at .296 for his career. Last season Bazemore shot 32 percent from three while Turner made 21.2 percent of his shots from distance.

Last season Turner averaged 6.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game and had back-to-back triple-doubles during the season. Bazemore averaged 11.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Bazemore played 24.5 minutes per game while Turner averaged 22 minutes.

Turner was a very popular player among his teammates and was solid at the foul line and defensively in late-game situations. He was also often the playmaker for the team's second unit.

Bazemore has shot 39.9 percent on corner threes for his career, 30 points higher than Portland free agent forward Al-Farouq Aminu has shot in his career from the same distance. Turner has shot .343 from the corner on threes.



Social media reacts to Evan Turner trade news

USA Today Images

Social media reacts to Evan Turner trade news

Evan Turner’s time in Portland has come to an end.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the 30-year-old forward-guard has been traded to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Kent Bazemore.

Following news of the trade, here’s a look at how fans, media and even Turner himself reacted on social media. 

View this post on Instagram

“And when I’m gone they gone remember me. Not for how I hoop but for my energy..” Pdx, it’s been real. I enjoyed the journey, team accomplishments, and vibe of the PNW To my teammates: we did a lot of great things together. We overcame a lot because we were a true team and we persevered together. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your journey. The sky is the limit Blazers organization: Thank you for allowing me to come to work in a positive environment! I was able to make a lot of bonds beyond basketball with the coaching staff and all the people behind the scenes. First class place that will only keep reaping the benefits of good karma. Last but not least, THANKS FOR THE CHEESE 🤑 #namingmydogneil

A post shared by evan turner (@evanturner) on

Report: Evan Turner traded to Atlanta

Report: Evan Turner traded to Atlanta

According to a report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Portland Trail Blazers have agreed to send Evan Turner to the Atlanta Hawks for Kent Bazemore. 

Turner had just finished his third season with the Blazers and is entering the last year of a four-year, $70 million deal. 

Turner had one of the worst season's of his career last year, averaging just 6.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3,9 assist per game. In exchange, the Blazers are getting Bazemore, a 6'5" guard that averaged 11.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game for the Hawks. 

This deal is essentially a swap of bad, expiring contracts. Turner is set to make $18.6 million next season, while Bazemore is set to make $19.3 million.

Stayed tuned to NBC Sports Northwest for all the latest updates. 

Nassir Little goes from supportive family to supportive brotherhood with Trail Blazers

Nassir Little goes from supportive family to supportive brotherhood with Trail Blazers

TUALATIN – When the Portland Trail Blazers held their introductory news conference for their sole draftee Nassir Little on Monday morning, Blazers general manager greeted the media alongside two special guests.

“Just want to welcome first, Nassir’s mom, April and his sister, Kamaria," Olshey said. "We were lucky enough to have them join us."

With his family in attendance, the North Carolina forward fielded questions from the local media.

“It’s extremely exciting,” Little said. “Just for me, just foremost, being in the NBA itself, and then for me looking at the roster, I think I have a real opportunity to come in right away and I’d be able to contribute and make another playoff run.”

There’s no doubt Little can make an impact as a rookie. "Ball handling" tops his list of areas to work on as he begins his NBA career.

The last few days for Little and his family has been a whirlwind.
“This is the point when you’re filled with hope," Little said. "You’re just so ready to, you know, play that first game, just kind of get situated here. You’re excited to be in a new city. So, it’s just been exciting. I’m just trying to embrace it."

As for Little’s first impressions of Portland, he said with a smile, “the people are really nice out here. Everybody’s like, ‘welcome to Portland, welcome to Portland!’ I’m from Florida and people are nice there, but it’s not like this.”

Both of Little’s parents have military backgrounds; yet Little was quick squash the generalization and assumptions about growing up with military parents.

“It’s not like what people think, Little said. “I wasn’t up at four in the morning with the bed made and all that type of stuff. No, they just kind of let us be kids for the most part. It was nothing really crazy like most people expect.”

Nassir’s father, Harold, played a major role in getting the 19-year-old to this point. Little said he couldn’t even begin to list all of the sacrifice his parents made for him.   

“They’ve done a lot from taking me to the gym everyday, taking me to practice, helping me eat the right stuff, they’ve done so much… They’ve been a huge part, they played a key part in helping me get here,” Little said.

Little did have the typical military upbringing as far as moving around. He lived in Hawaii, Virginia, England “for a little bit,” and Washington D.C.

At Orlando Christian Prep high school in Orlando, Florida, Little was committed to waking up at 4:40 a.m. for his morning workout before school. His day would consist of schooling and/or a second workout along with basketball practice. He did this workout routine for two years.  

“I’m a perfectionist," Little said. "I want to be as good as I possible when I put my time into it. Basketball’s fun when you’re good at it."

In his recent move to Portland, Little already has a friend here in Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons.

“It’s cool,” Little said of his friendship with Simons and already knowing a player on the roster. “It provides a sense of comfort. A guy I’m familiar with, a guy I played in high school with, and I think it’s just cool to see two guys from the same city kind of do big things and be in the same place.”

April has already posted on her social media how thankful she is that the Trail Blazers are taking a chance on her son.

On Monday morning, April got a glimpse at the Trail Blazers true brotherhood.

Sitting in the front row of the Trail Blazers media theater was Trail Blazers center Zach Collins, just three chairs down from April. Along the wall on the right side of the theater stood shooting guard Gary Trent Jr. and Blazers assistant coaches Jim Moran and Nate Tibbetts.

“CJ hit me up on Twitter. And, I just met all these guys over here today, so they’ve all been really welcoming and making me feel really a part of the team already,” Little said.

The 19-year-old laughed when Olshey called out Trent Jr. for tweeting at Little about how “Duke will always be the better blue.”

And there in lies a true brotherhood, if a North Carolina and a Duke basketball player can become brothers that shows the genuine camaraderie this Trail Blazers roster has had and continues to have. It shows how the Blazers organization values high character players. 

After the news conference was finished and the pictures of Little holding up his No. 9 Trail Blazers jersey with Olshey by his side were taken, Collins and Trent Jr. made their way over to introduce themselves to Little’s mother and sister.

That’s the high character that goes along way in the locker room and ultimately helps the chemistry on court.

That’s the Trail Blazers brotherhood at its finest. 

Former Trail Blazer Greg Oden and new coach Jannero Pargo square off in Big 3 opening weekend


Former Trail Blazer Greg Oden and new coach Jannero Pargo square off in Big 3 opening weekend

This weekend kicked off Week 1 of  the Big 3, a 3 on 3 league that features none other than former Trail Blazer great Clyde Drexler as commissioner. 

In Game 1 of Week 1, the Triplets defeated the Aliens 50-40. Why do we care? The game featured former Trail Blazer Greg Oden (Aliens) and new Trail Blazer coach Jannero Pargo (Triplets).

Oden finished the game with eight points, six rebounds, and one assist. 

Pargo chipped in six points, three rebounds and two assists for the Triplets who were led by Joe Johnson ((27 points, 16 rebounds). 

The 3 on 3 league, which features a 4 point shot, has a number of well-known names playing for it and some with Northwest ties including Jermaine O'Neal, Bonzi Wells, Nate Robinson, Jason Terry, and Gary Payton (coaching).

Trail Blazers add South Dakota State's Mike Daum to summer league roster

Trail Blazers add South Dakota State's Mike Daum to summer league roster

The Trail Blazers have added another name to their Las Vegas Summer League roster and this time it is South Dakota State's Mike Daum

Daum started all 33 games for SD St. last season and averaged 25.3 points and 11.7 rebounds on the season. According to the team site, he was the only Division I player to average 25 and 10 on the season. 

The 6'9'' forward will bring a high level of scoring ability to a Trail Blazer's summer roster that already features Anferenee Simons, Gary Trent Jr., and Nassir Little on the perimeter. 

The Blazers tip-off their summer league in Las Vegas on Saturday, July 6th at 12:30pm vs. Detroit. 

We will have full coverage of the NBA Summer League from Dwight Jaynes, Jamie Hudson and the NBC Sports Team as we follow not only the Trail Blazers but also your local Pro Ducks and Pro Beavs throughout the event in Las Vegas. 

Plus we'll have loads of interviews with GMs, media, and players over the course of the 10 day event. 

Damian Lillard on Nassir Little: He's a steal

Damian Lillard on Nassir Little: He's a steal

The Portland Trail Blazers selected UNC forward Nassir Little with the No. 25 overall selection on Thursday night.

Over the weekend, Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard posted a live video to his Instagram giving his first thoughts on the rookie.

“He’s a steal for sure. That’s a steal for us… His pull-up going left is crazy,” Lillard said.

Lillard went live on his IG while grabbing sushi for lunch.

As NBA fans all around the country asked him questions, he not only talked about Little, but he also joked about his new diss tracks on Kings power forward Marvin Bagley, saying “there’s no beef” between the two.  

Lillard also gave major props to the New Orleans Pelicans on their trade with the Lakers that sent Anthony Davis to LA.

“Zion Williamson with that group, I like what New Orleans has got going,” Lillard said.

Lillard expressed how he feels the Pelicans will benefit from the Lakers trade in having Lonzo Ball run the show now.

Lillard said of Ball, he’s a “good defender, he can pass the hell out of the ball… I think he’s gonna be real good.”

While Lillard continues to train and workout this offseason, to drop diss tracks, and to go live on Instagram, the Trail Blazers newest addition will have his first press conference on Monday morning at 10am. Check Monday afternoon for the latest from Little’s press conference.