Trail Blazers reflect on Gasol's time as a player, look to what he can do as a coach

Trail Blazers reflect on Gasol's time as a player, look to what he can do as a coach

MILWAUKEE – As the Blazers prepare for the Bucks, the team offered up their thoughts on the decision of Pau Gasol to no longer be a Portland Trail Blazer.

The Blazers waived Gasol on Wednesday so the 39-year-old can focus solely on his rehabilitation. He has been rehabbing his left foot since having surgery to repair a stress fracture last May.

“Nobody wanted to come back more than he did,” Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said after Thursday morning’s shootaround.

“He loves the game, and he wanted to be a part of that. That being said, we were counting on him being a part of the team this year and what a healthy Pau Gasol brings to a team was something we were looking forward to having, so in that context it was very disappointing,” Stotts said.  

The Trail Blazers current plan with Gasol will be to add him to the coaching staff. Coach Stotts hasn’t sat down and talked with Gasol yet, but said, “the hope is that [Pau] will be involved... Doing everything that a coach does except for maybe game plans… He’ll travel, sit behind the bench, so the hope is that as he is rehabbing… this will be a good year for him to stay involved with the game, as well.”

[RELATED]: Pow! The Pau Gasol Era in Portland ended before it even started 

Damian Lillard spoke with Gasol on Wednesday night after the announcement was made. The two talked about how unfortunate it was that Gasol wasn’t able to get on the court.

Gasol told Lillard that it’s disappointing his rehab hasn’t allowed him to move along like he thought and like he had hoped.

“Pau’s a great dude. He’s very present for somebody that wasn’t healthy so far this season. And I think his experience and what he knows as had an impact on our bigs… It’s unfortunate. We both acknowledged that I’m happy that he’s probably going to be around our team still because I think he can help us,” Lillard said.

[RELATED]: Social media reacts to Pau Gasol: Best wishes in your rehabilitation, Pau! 

CJ McCollum discussed what it has meant to have Gasol around the team already this season:

“[He's] a veteran leader who knows what it takes to win, what it takes to get a team together, and build that camaraderie and just a good guy to have. He’s always happy, he’s always go-lucky, and he tells a lot of great stories and gave us a lot of great advice.”

Gasol has not been on the Blazers’ current six-game road trip. 

The Trail Blazers return home next Tuesday after wrapping up the trip in Chicago on Monday night. Maybe then we will see Gasol in a new role with the team.

Social media reacts once again to Damian Lillard's 61-point performance in win over Warriors

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USA Today Images

Social media reacts once again to Damian Lillard's 61-point performance in win over Warriors

Portland had nine players available. 

Golden State had eight.

But, with Damian Lillard taking over the Jan. 20, 2020 game it was another instant classic that was fun to re-watch. 

Portland was without CJ McCollum, Rodney Hood, Zach Collins, Skal Labissiere, and Jusuf Nurkic due to injuries, but the Blazers were also missing Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver at this point in the season too. The trade with the Kings had not been made official, thus no Trevor Ariza either.

That didn’t matter for the Blazers.

Portland defeated the Golden State Warriors 129-124 in overtime behind Lillard’s 61 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists on the night.  

Lillard had 42 points at the end of the third quarter. The rest of the Trail Blazers combined had 45 points.

Blazers fans all over Twitter couldn’t help but show their love for Lillard’s 61-point performance.

Also, does this game seem like it was less than three months ago? 

 

Heading into this one, in two games against Golden State this season, Lillard had averaged 35.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 8.5 assists and 1.0 block.

The 61-point performance from Lillard was smack dab in the middle of a tremendous scoring run for the 29-year-old. During an eight-game span from Jan. 17 to Feb. 2, Lillard averaged 45.1 points, 9.6 assists, and 5.5 rebounds.

We all know Lillard can score in a variety of ways. He has plenty of go-to moves in his arsenal.

It was fun to see what Lillard-moves fans absolutely love or are still stunned that he can do. (Even though really, nothing Lillard does these days should surprise anyone.)  

Next up, re-live Lillard’s 0.9 game-winner over Houston in the 2014 NBA Playoffs Tuesday night at 6:00pm on NBC Sports Northwest. 

Zach Collins shares his 3 Movie Picks for the Week of April 6th

Zach Collins shares his 3 Movie Picks for the Week of April 6th

Now that we are all going on four weeks of no NBA and no sports while self-isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic, Trail Blazers big man Zach Collins is here to help!

For those of you who don’t know, Collins is a bit of a movie buff.

And now he is going to be sharing his movie recommendations with you, Rip City!

For the next few weeks, Collins will be handing out his top three movie picks each week.

Here are Zach’s picks for the week of March 30th:

Pick No. 1: Chef

Independent, feel-good movie. Not too long and easy watch. -- Zach Collins on why he recommends Chef

Who’s in it?

Jon Favreau, Sofía Vergara, and John Leguizamo

Plot: Chef is a 2014 American comedy-drama film where Jon Favreau plays a chef, who after a public altercation with a food critic, he quits his job at a popular LA restaurant and then starts a food truck business with his son.

Rated R for language

Rotten Tomatoes gave it an 87%

Where to stream Chef?

  • Amazon Prime Video
  • iTunes
  • VUDU
  • YouTube

Movie trailer:

Pick No 2: Whiplash

Another independent movie. Really intense, great acting. J.K. Simmons won the supporting actor Oscar. -- Zach Collins on why he likes the movie Whiplash

Who’s in it?

Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, and Melissa Benoist

Plot: A 2014 American drama film written and directed by Damien Chazelle. It outlines the relationship between an ambitious jazz drumming student and his abusive music instructor.

Rated R

Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 93%

Where to stream Whiplash?

  • Amazon Prime Video
  • iTunes
  • VUDU
  • YouTube
  • Google Play

Movie trailer:

Pick No. 3: American Assassin

Critics didn’t love it, audiences thought it was OK. I think it’s a very slept on action movie and that’s a big reason why I love it.  Very gritty. -- Zach Collins on American Assassin

Who’s in it?

Dylan O'Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, Shiva Negar, and Taylor Kitsch

Plot: A 2017 American action thriller film directed by Michael Cuesta. The movie is based on Vince Flynn's 2010 novel of the same name about a young CIA black ops recruit who helps a Cold War veteran try to stop the detonation of a rogue nuclear weapon.

Rated R

Where to stream American Assassin?

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • VUDU
  • YouTube
  • Google Play
  • iTunes

Movie trailer:

Check back next week for more of Zach’s movie recommendations! 

CJ McCollum reaches out to Rip City for dinner ideas

CJ McCollum reaches out to Rip City for dinner ideas

As we all deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, self-isolation has become the new norm. 

No more going out to bars with friends. No movie theaters. No sports. 

It's basically, "what can I do at home?"

One thing many people have been doing is using food delivery services to "eat out."

You can't go to the restaurant, but the restaurant can come to you.

Not only are you getting your food fix, but you're helping local businesses in the process. 

On Sunday, CJ McCollum, looking to get some grub, reached out to Rip City for some help.

McCollum was looking to give back to businesses in Rip City, and Rip City was not hesitant to reach out and help. 

From mac and cheese to hot wings, the foodies around town gave McCollum plenty to chew on. 

If McCollum wasn't hungry before, he sure is now. Good thing he has a few places to pick from, thanks to Rip City. 

Memories from Damian Lillard's career-high vs. Golden State

Memories from Damian Lillard's career-high vs. Golden State

I’m pretty sure a lot of Trail Blazer fans have been waiting for this (Sunday, 6 p.m.) classic game. Not because it was played a long time ago and they haven’t seen it in a while, but because of the spectacular nature of what happened on this January night in Moda Center against the Golden State Warriors.

This was the night Damian Lillard went for 61 points and you have your chance to see every single one of them.

Lillard broke his own franchise record (60) for points in a game, set earlier in the season, while taking just 37 shots from the field. He became the first player in NBA history to score 60-plus points and hit 10-plus three-pointers in a game and he was just the sixth player in league history to have more than one 60-point game.

Portland trailed the outmanned Warriors by a dozen points in the third quarter and needed a Lillard three with 14.9 seconds to go to send it into overtime.

The Trail Blazers then faced a six-point deficit in overtime before rallying for the win.

‘’He’s a great player,‘’ Warriors Coach Steve Kerr said of Lillard. ‘’He’s an All-Star who has had a million big shots in his career, so none of it was surprising. You just take it for granted with him.‘’ 

Lillard made all 16 of his free throws, had 10 rebounds and seven assists.

Hassan Whiteside had a memorable game, too, getting 17 points, 21 rebounds and six blocked shots.

But this game will forever have Lillard’s name stamped all over it. A night when Lillard Time lasted the entire four quarters and an overtime. 

How to Watch: Damian Lillard’s 61-point game vs. Warriors

How to Watch: Damian Lillard’s 61-point game vs. Warriors

Enjoy your Sunday evening with this instant classic and what Damian Lillard calls one of the best performances of his career.

It was less than three months ago when Lillard topped his own franchise scoring high with 61 points along with a career best 11 three-pointers in a home win over the Golden State Warriors.

The short-handed Trail Blazers defeated the Warriors 129-124 in overtime behind Lillard’s 61 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists on the night.  

"It's one of the best of my career," Lillard said postgame. "One of my better performances in a game we needed to win. “I think that's just what it is. We needed a win tonight. A great performance. I'm excited about it. I'm happy about it, but I wish it counted for three wins instead of one."

Lillard’s previous career high was 60 points that he set earlier in the season against Brooklyn, which broke the club record at the time.

With the rare feat, the 5x All-Star became the first player in NBA history with 60-plus points and 10-plus 3-pointers in a game, and just the sixth player with multiple 60-point games.

But, the 61 points almost didn’t happen.

After Hassan Whiteside nailed two clutch foul shots with 8.5 seconds left, Lillard, was tossed two more free throws in the final seconds.

The Trail Blazers point guard admitted after the game that he knew what his point total was when he went to the line.

"Yeah, I knew," he said. "I knew I had 59 after it was eight seconds left so I was like, it's probably going to sit at 59. Then the shot went up, I got the rebound, the guy bumped me and I was like, I'm going to fall down. They’re going to have to blow the whistle and I’m getting those two free throws."

This 61-point game from Lillard was smack dab in the middle of a tremendous scoring run for the 29-year-old. During an eight game span from Jan. 17 to Feb. 2, Lillard averaged 45.1 points, 9.6 assists, and 5.5 rebounds.

Starters for Blazers vs. Warriors Game on Jan. 20, 2020

GOLDEN STATE

D’Angelo Russell

Damion Lee

Eric Paschall

Willie Cauley-Stein

Alec Burks

PORTLAND

Damian Lillard

Anfernee Simons

Carmelo Anthony

Nassir Little

Hassan Whiteside

HOW TO WATCH: Lillard’s 61-point performance

WHEN: Sunday, April 5 at 6:00pm 

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.  

NBC Sports Northwest is airing 12 Trail Blazers Classic Games over the next few weeks.

The full schedule can be found here.

No way NBA is throwing in the towel this soon with so much money at stake

No way NBA is throwing in the towel this soon with so much money at stake

Yesterday I wrote about my doubts about the NBA, and other pro sports, resuming play as quickly as they would like. Soon after that was published, there was this report:

...the NBA is angling to set up a deal that enables them to shut the season down.

That could well be true. But from what I’ve heard from sources within the league, the NBA is also doing its due diligence in regard to multiple scenarios that would allow it to complete the regular season and/or the playoffs.

It’s what you do in this situation -- you still have plenty of options and plenty of time to make a final decision, so why not make plans for all outcomes?

There is no particular reason at this time to give up on playing a season, even if it would be judged the most probable outcome.

Let’s say that a treatment for COVID-19 is developed quicker than anticipated, a league would need to have a plan in place based on whatever date it would get the all-clear to gather for games, either with or without fans.

Those plans could be made and changed based on when a possible return could happen. And the point is, the league must prepare for all eventualities. 

It’s hard to believe but the NBA has been shut down for just a little more than three weeks. It seems like three months. But we're still a few months away from having to make a call on the season.

I’m sure the NBA -- and the other major pro sports leagues -- will do what’s best for the health of their employees and fans. But at the same, keep in mind there are billions of dollars at stake here -- for owners, players, staff and associated businesses.

The league will do anything and everything to make sure it exhausts all avenues for retaining some or all of that money. You can depend on it.

There is no point in cashing in the chips at this point. I think there could be doomsday planning being done, but you can bet that scenarios are also being developed to pick up the pieces of this season whenever possible.

It’s just the smart thing to do.

Miami Heat throws shade at Hassan Whiteside with social media post

Miami Heat throws shade at Hassan Whiteside with social media post

When Hassan Whiteside got traded to the Portland Trail Blazers on the second day of 2019 free agency, he took to his Instagram to announce his pleasure with the move.

'WE GOT SHOOTERS."

Of course, Whiteside was referring to guards Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Rodney Hood, and more which looked much more promising than Whiteside's previous stop, the Miami Heat, which ranked 20th in three-point percentage that prior season. He seemed hyped to have more open space in the paint to operate created by the spacing from playing with one of the league's elite backcourts.

Well, that prior season may have been an anomaly in Miami because in their first season since trading Hassan Whiteside, the Heat are tied for first in the NBA in three-point percentage at 38.3%. (In Whiteside's defense the Blazers are sixth which isn't shabby at all.)

Part of the Heat's newfound success from distance has been the emergence of second-year player Duncan Robinson who's shooting a scorching 44.8% from beyond the arc, good for fourth in the NBA. 

The Miami Heat decided to give a shoutout to their sensational sophomore by comparing him to NBA legend Ray Allen who shot 41.3% from three in 2012-13 for Miami...and also threw some shade towards Whiteside in the process.

"We (always) got shooters" is obviously a reference to Whiteside quote, and while it may just be referring to how over they had elite shooting this season and with Ray Allen. It also can be shading the Portland center by saying the franchise has always had shooting and he shouldn't have acted liked he didn't have any when he got traded. 

NBA planning a televised H-O-R-S-E competition with 'high-profile players'

NBA planning a televised H-O-R-S-E competition with 'high-profile players'

Yes, the NBA is talking about horse and no, they're not referring to Hassan Whiteside. 

They're talking about the schoolyard game of H-O-R-S-E where players shoot a shot and if they make it, their opponents need to shoot the same shot to avoid getting a letter. Get five letters and you lose. The last player standing remains. 

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA and ESPN are planning to put on a game of H-O-R-S-E between NBA players involving several "high-profile players" and players would shoot in isolation in separate gyms. 

Given that the NBA will be on hiatus for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19, the basketball community will take anything close to professional basketball they can get. Getting to see some of the best shooters in the world go head to head in a game of H-O-R-S-E is better than nothing and a welcome sight.

Plus, perhaps one of the "high-profile players" could be a Blazer like Damian Lillard who is famous for his deep range i.e. Logo Lillard. Watching Dame warm up from that distance is something you don't see every day and would make him a force in the competition. It'd be great to see him bomb away from deep after having to sit out of the Three-Point competition due to a strained groin, especially after the contest implemented a new deeper shot with green "Dew" balls. 

Also, this wouldn't be the first time the NBA has held a game of H-O-R-S-E. In 1977-78, the NBA and CBS aired multiple games during the regular season and postseason to crown a champion between 32 players. Eventually, Paul Westphal defeated Rick Barry in the finals.

The NBA tried it again over the 2009 and 2010 All-Star Weekends where Kevin Durant won both games, defeating Joe Johnson and O.J. Mayo in 2009 and Rajon Rondo and Omri Casspi in 2010. 

It's reported that details for the newest edition are still being finalized.

Donald Trump wants fans back in arenas in time for NFL, CFB season

Donald Trump wants fans back in arenas in time for NFL, CFB season

President Donald Trump had a conference call with the heads of numerous leagues Saturday, including NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NFL commissioner Rodger Goddell to discuss the next steps in the coronavirus pandemic.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski, Trump told the panel that he wants to see fans returning to arenas and stadiums by August and September, which would allow the NFL and NCAA College Football seasons to start on time with fans in attendance.

The report also clarified that it's unclear if medical experts find that to be a realistic timeline or if it's just Trump's desire.

Adam Silver stated that he wants the various leagues to help lead the economy back to normalcy once they received the "all-clear" from public health officials. The NBA was the first sports league in the United States to suspend their season after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 on March 11th. 

The President also brought up the idea of leagues lobbying for tax credits to allow for the deduction of tickets and concessions from taxes to incentivize fans to return to games during the current economy. 

The call had representation from higher-level executives from the 12 major sports leagues in the United States: The NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, NHL, Major League Soccer, WNBA, WWE, the PGA Tour, LPGA, UFC, IndyCar and Breeders' Cup, according to a White House pool report.