Trail Blazers transfer Wade Baldwin IV to NBA G League’s Texas Legends

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Trail Blazers transfer Wade Baldwin IV to NBA G League’s Texas Legends

PORTLAND, Ore. (December 6, 2017) – The Portland Trail Blazers have transferred guard Wade Baldwin IV to the Texas Legends of the NBA G League, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey. 

A two-way roster player signed on Oct. 19, Baldwin IV underwent successful surgery to repair an ulnar collateral ligament tear in his right thumb on Oct. 25.

Baldwin IV averaged 3.2 points, 1.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 12.3 minutes in 33 games (one start) during his rookie 2016-17 season with the Memphis Grizzlies.

The 17th overall pick in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft out of Vanderbilt, Baldwin IV (6-4, 200) posted averages of 12.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.33 steals and 28.2 minutes in 33 games (22 starts) with the NBA G League’s Iowa Energy last season.

Trail Blazers looking for wins "by any means necessary"

Trail Blazers looking for wins "by any means necessary"

NEW YORK –- CJ McCollum, who just happened to score 31 points, best summed up his team’s 118-114 win over the lowly (4-14) New York Knicks Tuesday night:

“We won. That’s the biggest thing right now. At the end of the season, nobody’s going to go back and say, ‘Oh, you only beat this team by two or three points.’ We just have to get wins by any means necessary.”

Exactly. It really doesn’t matter how it came about, the Trail Blazers survived 50.6 field-goal shooting by New York and their own 70.6 percent free-throw shooting, to come from 10 points behind in the third quarter and post a win that was a struggle all night.

“CJ got hot at the right time,” Portland Coach Terry Stotts said. “We were kind of struggling. We went back to staggering (the minutes on the floor) of Dame and CJ in the second half and CJ took advantage of that opportunity when we really needed it.”

McCollum hit two long three-point shots from the left wing, a layup and then another three to help Portland extend what was a four-point lead out to 11. In the fourth quarter he scored 13 points on 5-8 shooting, including three of his four three-pointers.

With Lillard on the bench, he had the ball in his hands more and made the Knicks pay.

The Trail Blazers were full of praise for their pesky opponents.

“I thought the Knicks played a really good game,” Stotts said. “They played hard. They made a lot of shots and were very competitive. I don’t think their record shows how well they were playing.”

This one was close down the stretch and perhaps the biggest play of the game was an Evan Turner rebound and putback from the right side with 9.5 seconds to play that doubled his team’s lead from two to four.

“Evan’s tip at the end was big-time,” Stotts said.

Turner is experienced enough that it’s no accident when he ends up in the right place at the right time in a big moment.

“Shot clock was winding down. I had seen a couple of times during the game where I could have gotten a tip-in,” Turner said. “I figured on that shot there might be a bunch of mix-ups so I saw when Dame shot it that it could be a free ball. ‘Nurk’ should have gotten an assist on it – he tipped it to me. I just put it in.

“A big play and a big team win. Credit the New York Knicks – they played a tough, hard-fought game.”

Turner isn’t necessarily pleased with the way fouls are being called these days in the NBA. Maybe the whistles are blowing a little too often?

“What made it tough, we could have made it a 15-point lead but in the NBA you can’t touch any-damn-body. You really can’t. It’s getting ridiculous.”

The road trip gets nothing but tougher for the Trail Blazers, with two of the best teams in the league ahead – Milwaukee Wednesday night and Golden State Friday.

 

Blazers Radio play-by-play voice Brian Wheeler returns from medical leave on Nov. 25

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TrailBlazers.com

Blazers Radio play-by-play voice Brian Wheeler returns from medical leave on Nov. 25

For the first time in the 2018-19 season, Portland Trail Blazers radio play-by-play voiceBrian Wheeler takes the microphone as the team hosts the LA Clippers this Sunday, November 25.  Wheeler had been on medical leave, and for now will be limited to broadcasting only home games.  NBC Sports Northwest (NBCSNW) Rip City Radio broadcasterTravis Demers, who had been filling-in for Wheeler so far this season, will handle Trail Blazers road games.

 

“Addressing my health in a positive manner was a top priority, and I’m excited about my progress so far,” said Wheeler, now in his 21stseason with the Trail Blazers.  “I’m very appreciative of what Travis Demers has done for Rip City fans in my absence; and am grateful to the Trail Blazers organization for their continued support.”

 

Wheeler is one of the NBA’s longest-tenured radio broadcasters with 1,777 games called in Portland.  At one point for the Trail Blazers, Wheeler had broadcasted an impressive 1,359 consecutive games before illness briefly sidelined him in 2013. 

 

Wheeler will rejoin his regular broadcast partner, color analyst and former Trail Blazers player Michael Holton for his home game duties.  Demers, co-host of the daily radio show “Rip City Drive” alongside Chad Doing, will continue working with Trail Blazers Insider Casey Holdahl for road games as he’s done all season.

 

The Sauce and the Hammer: An unlikely pairing that works just fine

The Sauce and the Hammer: An unlikely pairing that works just fine

Team chemistry has been a major topic of conversation as of late when talking about this 2018-19 Trail Blazers squad.

There’s a strong connection on and off the court with the Blazers, that’s evident in being around them at practice and before and after games.

Off the court connections always seem to translate nicely on the court and that is one of the reasons why the Blazers were able to survive a young Knicks team that would not back down on Tuesday night. Portland beat New York in the final seconds, 118-114 behind CJ McCollum’s 31 points and Damian Lillard’s 29.

It was another good showing of team ball on Tuesday as Portland finished with 25 assists. Keep in mind; the Blazers averaged 19.5 assists last season.

At Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, all of Nik "Sauce Castillo" Stauskas’ first half assists went to Meyers "The Hammer" Leonard. Stauskas had three assists through the first two quarters. And all of Leonard’s first half points came from Stauskas as he scored eight first half points.

Coincidence??

“It’s really easy to play with him in the pick and roll and off dribble handoffs. He does a really good job with setting screens and I was just trying to be aggressive getting down hill as a result of that he ended up being open a lot of the time. He does a good job of making himself available,” Stauskas told NBC Sports Northwest’s Dwight Jaynes. 

Yes, the second quarter magic between Stauskas and Leonard just happened with Leonard getting open down low and out on the wing, which helped the Blazers keep pace with the Knicks.

“I think that our second unit and the first unit does a good job of moving the ball, trusting each other, playing off flares, DHOs, pick and rolls. So, Nik and I had it going there in the first half… Whoever the open man was I feel like we’re going to find each other, but it just happened to be Nik and I,” Leonard told reporters.

The Stauskas and Leonard dominance all happened with a few minutes of each other early in the second.

At the 10:52 mark, Leonard slammed it home after Stauskas found him down low.

Then with 9:58 left in the quarter, Leonard nailed a three point jumper, assisted by Stauskas, and finally at 9:03 Stauskas found Leonard who drained another three.

But, there was one three-pointer in the third quarter that Leonard passed up that could given Stauskas yet another assist.

In the locker room postgame, it sounded like Leonard has now learned he better not pass up another good look like that one again.

“First thing we came in after the game, CJ tells me good job, but don’t turn down shots. It’s a good problem to have. It’s better than people tell me not to shoot,” Leonard laughed.

“I just have to be confident ready to shoot the ball… That’s one of my biggest assets is shooting the ball, spacing the floor and providing a different dynamic,” Leonard said.      

Do you still not think that Stauskas and Leonard were on the same page? Well, they both hit buzzer beaters vs. the Knicks, so tell me that isn’t some synergy right there?

Stauskas heaved a half court buzzer beater to end the first quarter. 

The real question is, did Nik call bank?

“I can’t say I called bank, but huh, I’ll take it… Stauskas said with a smile.

“Once I released it I thought there was a chance it was going to go in. I just didn’t know if it was going to be off the glass or if it was gonna be a swich, but I’m glad it did,” Stauskas said.

Leonard had a buzzer beating dunk to end the third.

“Yes, I knew the game clock was going down and that I needed to be prepared to score, I was ready,” Leonard said. That dunk came after Leonard passed up the three-pointer, but in case you were wondering, it was Lillard who assisted on the Leonard slam.

Hey, Nik can't have them all, but Rip City should look forward a new equation that seems to work just fine for the Trail Blazers, Sauce + Hammer = Buckets.

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Blazers win over the Knicks

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USA TODAY

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Blazers win over the Knicks

The Blazers trailed by as many as 10 points in the third quarter before storming back to lead by double-digits in the fourth. However, the Knicks wouldn't go away easily and this game ended up coming down to the wire. In the end, the Blazers did what they needed to do to pick up the victory. 

Here are some quick thoughts from our reporters on the scene...

Final Box Score: Blazers 118 - Knicks 114

Dwight Jaynes, Trail Blazers' Insider:  Blazers stole one. Knicks shot 51 percent and lost, in part because of Noah Vonleh's run of four straight missed fouls shots. Blazers had a big talent edge in this one and in the end, it doesn't matter how much you win by.

​​​​​​Jamie Hudson, Trail Blazers' Reporter: This young Knicks squad competes hard. It's difficult to believe they lost five straight before this game because they have wings who can knock down shots (although they haven't been able to do so consistently this season) and they don't back down. I'd say, with time this Knicks squad will grow and learn and then once Kristaps Porzingis is back from his ACL injury they will be fun to watch... But right now, the Blazers are the team that is fun to watch. This team continues to find its teammates. Portland finished with 24 team assists in the win.

Peter Socotch, Producer on the road: It wasn’t pretty, but the Blazers picked up the W behind clutch shots from their stars. I really liked the Leonard-Stauskas connection in the first half. All of Leonard’s points came from assists from Stauskas and all of Nik’s assists went to Meyers. It was nice to see Vonleh boom on his former team, too. Side note: MSG continues to have a top-3 worst media seats in the NBA

***Be sure to check back here throughout tonight for locker room videos with Coach Stotts and the players, plus locker room reports from Jamie Hudson and Dwight Jaynes***

NEXT UP: The Blazers take on the Bucks in the second of a back-to-back on Wednesday, November 21.  Tip-off is set for 5:00pm with coverage beginning at 4:00pm on NBC Sports Northwest.

Fizdale on Lillard and McCollum: "Two of the elite shooters in this league, elite playmakers"

Fizdale on Lillard and McCollum: "Two of the elite shooters in this league, elite playmakers"

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts and Knicks head coach David Fizdale address the media ahead of tonight’s Blazers-Knicks contest and both coaches had a lot to say about how their teams are progressing at this point in the season.

Coach Stotts attributes the quick start of his team to the “togetherness” and “character” of his players. Portland is currently number one in the Western Conference Standings with an 11-5 record.

Coach Stotts also discussed how Jusuf Nurkic’s defense this season has made such a big impact for the team’s defense overall.

“Young teams will make mistakes… But number one on our scouting report is they’re going to play hard,” Stotts said of the Knicks as he team prepares for tonight’s contest.

As for New York, the Knicks have been changing up its starting lineup this season.

Here’s tonight’s staring lineup vs. the Blazers—

Emmanuel Mudiay, Tim Hardaway, Mario Hezonja, Noah Vonleh and Enes Kanter.

This young Knicks team is “learning” and “growing” right now and Coach Fizdale feels that with continuing to learn, his team has not been winning as many games as everyone in New York wants, but he says the players “have to learn through some suffering.”

When talking about tonight’s matchup, Coach Fizdale has high praise for the Blazers…

“Two of the elite shooters in this league, elite playmakers,” Fizdale said about the Blazers backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

Fizdale also added that the players around Lillard and McCollum “are really solid and they make them better.”  For the Knicks defense vs. Portland, “it tarts with the competition on the ball,” coach said.  

Once the Knicks get to about 25 games, that is when Coach Fizdale feels he will be able to solidify the Knicks rotation. Knicks Forward Noah Vonleh, who played for Portland from 2015 to early 2018, is averaging 7.7 points and 7.9 rebounds while playing 23.2 minute per game. Vonleh has started 10 of 17 games so far this season.

 

 

Coach Stotts

 

 

 

Coach Fizdale

 

 

You can find out more about tonight’s matchup on the Blazers Outsiders Pregame Show right here.

Trail Blazers sitting atop West standings and it means... what?

Trail Blazers sitting atop West standings and it means... what?

NEW YORK – The Portland Trail Blazers sit atop the Western Conference standings today, albeit as part of a three-way tie.

How great does that feel after 16 games?

Well, to the team, not much. They are well aware that when you’re playing an 82-game schedule, it’s a little too early to get excited about such things.

“The first thing I thought of,” said captain Damian Lillard, ”is that it’s less than 20 games. I don’t think you can look at it and say, “We’re No. 1 in the West!’ Obviously, it’s something to be proud of to be in a good position.
“I like where we are. We’ve played good team basketball. Our bench has been pretty good. Good team play. It’s been good for us. We’ve had some rough patches, too. We’ve lost a few home games and dropped the first two on this road trip.

“So it hasn’t been like everything is peaches and cream. There have been some rough spots where we’ve been able to do the things we needed to do to get in the position we’re in.”

CJ McCollum feels much the same way.

“It’s too early,” he said. “It’s nice to get off to a good start. But there is still a lot of work to be done. Sixty-plus games left. I feel like we have a lot of areas we can improve on.”

Like what?

“Being able to sustain leads,” he said. “Defensively, holding up for four quarters. Giving up second-chance opportunities. Some of those areas we can tighten up – as well as execution.”

Evan Turner seemed to have much the same view.

“It’s too early, but at the same time, it could be worse,” he said. “A couple of years ago we didn’t start off too well. We were digging our way out of the hole after that.

“There are a lot more games to be played.”

All of it true. But the Trail Blazers do have a couple of statistical indicators validating they belong among the West’s best teams at this juncture.

Portland has the best in-conference record of any team, is the only squad among the top eight with a winning road record and has the best point-differential of any West team.

With the 4-13 Knicks on the schedule tonight.

Haberstroh: Just how good are the Blazers?

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Haberstroh: Just how good are the Blazers?

NBC Sports National Insider Tom Haberstroh debuted his new podcast, The Haberstroh Show, this week with the first episode featuring former Cleveland Cavaliers GM David Griffin. 

In the latest podcast, Haberstroh and Griffin discussed the Portland Trail Blazers (11-5) impressive start to the season, and why exactly Portland flew under the radar this offseason. 

Plus Griffin also noted the injury to Blazers forward Maurice Harkless, who missed the final nine games of the 2017-18 regular season, including two of the Blazers' four playoff games. Harkless, who underwent knee surgery in March, has still been dealing with some lingering pain this season, playing in only five of Portland's 16 games thus far. 

Second-year player Zach Collins also earned some praise from Griffin, who likened Collins to veterans Brook Lopez and Channing Frye. 

Haberstroh agreed with Griffin, adding that Collins, who is averaging 9.4 ppg, 4.4. rpg, 1.1 bpg and 1.0 apg, is a solid and versatile NBA defender. 

Haberstroh concluded the podcast with a few interesting notes on Portland, including why the Blazers aren't getting more love around the NBA.

"They suffer from the West Coast anti-bias, where it's like if they were on the East Coast…I feel like Portland would be everyone’s favorite team right now or a really hot team. I just think not enough people get to watch them, they play late at night."

Listen to the full podcast below, and find the Trail Blazers talk at the 27:15 mark..

Trail Blazers Courtside: Is the 2nd unit for real or will scouting reports catch up with them?

Trail Blazers Courtside: Is the 2nd unit for real or will scouting reports catch up with them?

On Monday night, there were plenty of Portland Trail Blazers storylines to talk about on Trail Blazers Courtside. I joined Michael Holton and Jordan Kent to talk about what has been some of the biggest contributions to the Blazers holding an 11-5 record to put them in the first spot in the Western Conference Standings sixteen games in.

Blazers off to quick start
We discussed how the Blazers have got off to hot start in comparison to the last couple of seasons. Is it the continuity of the Blazers that have helped them or the changes to the second unit? Or is it something else? I discuss the with the guys. 

Lillard’s leadership
Holton is also curious if Blazer fans or NBA fans around the country realize just how special Damian Lillard is to not only the Blazers, but to the NBA. We discuss what makes Lillard one of the top players in the league right now and how people need to recognize that he and CJ McCollum are two of the best leaders in the association. 

Turner running the second unit 
Do you think Evan Turner becoming the floor general of the Blazers’ bench has been a big reason why the second unit has had so much success? We talk about that and debate who has the biggest pleasant surprise off the bench. 

Two different systems in the NBA
There are many different types of teams and coaches throughout the NBA. We chat about what type of system Blazers head coach Terry Stotts likes to run and spoiler alert, this Blazers team might be running more than one system at a time. 

So if you missed Monday’s Courtside you can check out the clip below. 

Throwing it back to the last time the Blazers were #1 in the West

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Throwing it back to the last time the Blazers were #1 in the West

There’s a new best in the West.

With a 119-109 win over the Washington Wizards on Sunday night, the Portland Trail Blazers moved to first place in the Western Conference. The victory lifted the 11-5 Blazers a few percentage points over the Warriors, who fell out of first with a loss to the Spurs.

It’s been some time since the Blazers controlled the West. Let’s take a look back at the last time they were there.

On January 18, 2014, the Blazers routed the Mavericks 127-111 behind LaMarcus Aldridge’s 30 points. Damian Lillard, who was only in his second season with the Blazers, handed out 10 assists in the game, while rookie CJ McCollum came off the bench for nine points.

Portland improved to 31-9 with the victory, the team’s best start since the 1990-91 season, and tied San Antonio for 1st in the Western Conference.

Staying on top of the West didn’t last long for Portland, as the Blazers went on to lose eight of their next 13 games before All-Star break.

The Blazers still managed to finish 5th in the West that season, facing the fourth-seeded Houston Rockets in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Behind Lillard’s miraculous three-pointer with 0.9 seconds remaining on the clock, Portland made it to the second round of the playoffs. They fell in five games to San Antonio, the eventual NBA champion.

Years later, the Blazers find themselves in a familiar situation. The question, however, is not how long can they stay on top, but how will they stay on top? That's a question only Portland can answer as they look to their next opponent: the New York Knicks on Tuesday.