What went wrong for the Portland Trail Blazers vs. Hawks

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What went wrong for the Portland Trail Blazers vs. Hawks

ATLANTA – “If we move the ball and don’t guard, it’s not going to matter.”

That was final statement made by CJ McCollum during his postgame interview Saturday night.

McCollum was asked if his team needed to make more of an effort getting the ball movement flowing since Portland had just 14 assists on the night against the Hawks.

That wasn’t McCollum’s concern.

For the current team captain, who once again led the charge with Damian Lillard out, it was all about the Blazers defense and how the game plan didn't work against Atlanta.

They’re shooting the ball well. A lot of them were open so that’s a credit to them for making open shots… Part of the game plan was to try to stop Trae Young and to make other guys beat us and they did tonight. – Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum said postgame 

McCollum was discouraged and rightfully so.

“Absolutely. Lost opportunity.”

The 28-year-old finished with a game-high 35 points as the Blazers fell to the Hawks 129-117.  

Portland held Young to under his season average of 29.9 points with 25 points on the night, but like McCollum said, that made way for other Atlanta players to step up and knock down threes.

McCollum explained how “momentary breakdowns” on the defensive end was partly to blame for the Hawks shooting 42.9 percent from deep.

But, it was more than that.

It had to do with the scouting report on Atlanta. 

“Some of it was strategically trying to take the ball out of [Young's] hands, let the other guys shoot. I think [De'Andre] Hunter his about five threes, [John] Collins hit some threes, the rest of the guys did a good job knocking down shots. They’re playing well,” McCollum said.

“They shot the ball well. They got what they wanted most of the night.”  

The Hawks weren’t just getting threes from their starters, either.

Treveon Graham shot a perfect 2-for-2 from deep in his limited minutes. On the season, he is shooting 24.5 percent from long distance.

That says a lot. 

Even though the Hawks aren’t known for being a very consistent three-point shooting team this season when taking Young out of the equation, Atlanta has been changing that narrative.

The Hawks shot 48.7 percent (19-of-39) in their win over the Nets Friday night.

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts was quick to mention that Atlanta is clearly a team that can knock down the long ball when given the chance.

“If the Hawks shoot the ball like they did last night and tonight and they did tonight, they’re going to score a lot of points,” Coach Stotts said postgame.

That brings us back to McCollum’s final statement.

Portland can have a lot of things working for them on any given night, but if the Blazers can’t defend, especially from three, the wins are not going to be there. 

Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers clinch 8-seed in shocking fashion

Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers clinch 8-seed in shocking fashion

It wasn't easy. 

The Trail Blazers and Nets traded baskets for most of the night Thursday. At the end of the first quarter, the game was all tied up at 31.

It was clear from the jump, the Nets wanted to play spoiler since Brooklyn had already locked up the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference before Thursday’s game.

Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum, who has reportedly been playing with a fractured back since Portland’s first seeding game, didn’t look like he was playing with pain as he found success from mid-range and at the rim. McCollum had a quick 12 points in the first quarter.  

As for Nets shooting guard, Caris Levert, who has been hot in the Orlando bubble and was averaging 18.3 points heading into Thursday’s game, was in a groove against the Trail Blazers. Levert finished with 37 points. 

The Nets shot 59.1 percent from the floor in the first half, but still trailed at halftime.

Portland led 73-67 at the break in big thanks to the Blazers backcourt duo of McCollum and Damian Lillard. The two combined for 35-first-half-points. Portland also dominated on the boards in the first half, outrebounding Brooklyn, 25-15.

As many NBA teams do, the Nets defended Lillard with two players blitzing him in hopes of forcing someone other than the Trail Blazers All-Star point guard to get buckets. Portland did get scoring from others, but the problem for the Blazers was that Brooklyn had six players in double figures. 

Lillard and McCollum played the entire second half and Portland needed it.

Once again, the Blazers' final seeding game came down to the wire after the Nets outscored Portland, 37-24, in the third to take a 104-97 lead heading into the fourth.

Between Lillard, Jusuf Nurkic, and Carmelo Anthony's efforts in the fourth quarter, the Blazers left it all out on the floor and are now staying in Orlando.  

Just a reminder, the first Western Conference play-in game will tip-off at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.   

FINAL BOX SCORE: TRAIL BLAZERS 134, NETS 133

Here are three quick takeaways from Portland's eighth and final seeding game from our NBC Sports NW team:

Dwight Jaynes, Insider:   

 

Jamie Hudson, Reporter

The Blazers didn’t make it easy on themselves after allowing the Nets to see the ball go through the net early and often. You’ve got to give credit to the Nets throwing everything they had at Damian Lillard. Brooklyn definitely didn’t make it easy for Lillard and the Blazers. BUT, this Portland squad wanted this win more than anything and when Lillard is determined, nobody should ever bet against him. 

Mike Richman, Reporter

Did this one feel familiar? An opponent scored at will. The Blazers were bad in third quarter. And Damian Lillard was really special. That seems to be the script for these. See you Saturday.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon:]

Up Next: As the No. 8 seed the Trail Blazers will face the No. 9 seed Grizzlies in the first play-in game this Saturday at 11:30a.m. PST.

Also, be sure to check back throughout the rest of the night and tomorrow morning for analysis, articles, and videos from the players!

Trail Blazers clinch 8-seed, advance to play-in games vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Trail Blazers clinch 8-seed, advance to play-in games vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Blazers playing on in the play-in! 

And, that was a close one.

But where there’s a Damian Lillard, there’s a way!

Now that the Trail Blazers beat the Brooklyn Nets, 134-133, Thursday night, Portland is now the No. 8-seed and will face the No. 9-seed Grizzlies in the first play-in game Saturday at 11:30a.m. PT.

Being the eight seed means Portland will need to win just one of the play-in games to advance to the playoffs.

[RELATED-- Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers clinch 8-seed in shocking fashion]

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon!]

In Thursday’s victory, Lillard finished with 42 points and 12 assists despite the Nets throwing two defenders at him a majority of the game.

If the Blazers had lost Thursday’s game, they would be heading home and the season would be over.

But now Portland’s sights are set on beating the Grizzlies Saturday to secure their playoff spot.

The Western Conference First Round playoffs will begin Tuesday evening against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Be sure to check back throughout the rest of the night and tomorrow morning for analysis, articles, and videos from the players.

Check back for more updates from postgame!

Everything you need to know about Trail Blazers play-in game(s) vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Everything you need to know about Trail Blazers play-in game(s) vs. Memphis Grizzlies

The Blazers took care of business on Thursday, beating the Brooklyn Nets 134-133. In doing so, the Blazers locked in the 8th seed in the playoffs and a play-in series with the Memphis Grizzlies. 

It will all be on the line this weekend with two teams battling it out for one open spot and a chance to face the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. 

As the current team in eighth place, the Blazers have an advantage. There will potentially be two games played for the play-in, but Portland only has to win one. Memphis, on the other hand, has to win twice.  Game 1 is scheduled for Saturday, August 15 at 11:30 a.m. PT, and Game 2 (if necessary) is scheduled for Sunday, August 16 at 1:30 p.m. PT.

[RELATED: Trail Blazers eliminated from playoff contention after shocking loss to Nets]

The winner of the play-in will go on to face the No.1 Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs, with the first game taking place on Tuesday, August 18th. 

HOW DID WE GET HERE: 

Back on July 31st the Blazers and Grizzlies played their first of eight seeding games to finish the season. They happened to play each other that night, with the Blazers earning the 140-135 overtime victory. 

With seven games left, the Blazers trailed Memphis by just 2.5 games. According to the NBA rules for the seeding games, all Portland had to do to force a play-in game was finish in ninth place and be within four games of the eighth-place team. However, the Grizzlies stumbled, going 2-6 in Orlando. The Blazers took advantage, going 6-2, and passed Memphis in the standings. 

Many experts thought Portland would rely on the play-in, but now it's Memphis benefitting from the rule. The irony of it all is that prior to the seeding games starting, Memphis star Ja Morant said the play-in series was unfair. 

Honestly, I don’t think so, but we can't control that. Only thing we can control is how, you know, we go out and attack each of these games before that decision is made. -- Memphis rookie Ja Morant on fairness of play-in games

The unfair play-in could now help Morant get into the playoffs. Funny how that works.

[RELATED]: Ja Morant says NBA's play-in format isn't fair ahead of game vs. Blazers

However, Morant and the Grizzlies would have to beat the Blazers twice, on back to back nights. No easy feat. 

The two teams meant twice this season, with each team picking up a victory. 

WHAT'S NEXT?:

The winner of the play-in gets the reward, if it can be called that, of playing the No.1 Los Angeles Lakers. 

The schedule for the first-round series is as follows:

GAME 1: Tuesday 8/18 6pm 
GAME 2: Thursday 8/20 6pm
GAME 3: Saturday 8/22 5:30pm 
GAME 4: Monday 8/24 6pm
GAME 5 (if necessary): Wednesday 8/26 TBD
GAME 6 (if necessary: Friday 8/28 TBD
GAME 7 (if necessary: Sunday 8/30 TBD

The Grizzlies went 1-3 against the Lakers this season, while the Blazers went 1-2.

Report: CJ McCollum suffered back injury in first NBA restart game vs. Memphis

Report: CJ McCollum suffered back injury in first NBA restart game vs. Memphis

The Trail Blazers are playing in a ‘win or go home’ game Thursday night against the Brooklyn Nets.

One concern heading into Thursday’s game has been the health of Blazers starting shooting guard CJ McCollum. 

On Tuesday, NBCSNW Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes reported McCollum had suffered a L3 vertebral transverse process fracture (non-displaced). It was first reported that McCollum suffered the injury in Portland’s fourth seeding game against Denver.

However, during Thursday’s Blazers and Nets game on TNT, sideline reporter and NBA Insider from Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported that McCollum suffered the back injury on July 31 in Portland’s first seeding game.  

 

Sources informed me McCollum actually suffered the injury in the first game of the Restart against Memphis when he dove for a loose ball and was kneed in the back by Jaren Jackson. He has been treated daily. --  Chris Haynes on CJ McCollum

 

According to Haynes, McCollum told him, ‘I’m not worried now. I can worry about it in the offseason.’

McCollum had just 8 points in the Blazers 134-131 win over Dallas Tuesday before the news broke, shooting just 2-14 from the field. He did sink two clutch free throws in the final seconds of Tuesday’s game. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon!]

[RELATED]: Injured or not, Damian Lillard believes in CJ McCollum

McCollum is off to a hot start against the Brooklyn Nets Thursday. McCollum scored 12 points in Portland’s do or die game. 

Portland leads Brooklyn, 73-67, at the break. 

Check out the second half action between the Blazers and Nets on NBCSNW right now. 

Carmelo Anthony earns 2019-20 Maurice Lucas Award

Carmelo Anthony earns 2019-20 Maurice Lucas Award

The Portland Trail Blazers announced Thursday before the Blazers and Nets tipped off in their final seeding game, that Carmelo Anthony has been named the recipient of the 2019-20 Maurice Lucas Award.

The award was presented to Anthony in Orlando by Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey and head coach Terry Stotts.

In the team’s press release, Olshey said, “Carmelo’s selfless attitude and leadership on and off the court make him an ideal recipient of this year’s Maurice Lucas Award,” while President & CEO of the Trail Blazers, Chris McGowan added, “Carmelo is an authentic leader both on and off the court and truly embodies what the Maurice Lucas award is about. His experience, knowledge, leadership and authenticity have been the perfect addition to the Trail Blazers and the city of Portland.”

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon!]

The annual Maurice Lucas Award was created in the 2010-11 season to “honor the Trail Blazers player who best represents the indomitable spirit of Maurice Lucas through his contributions on the court and in the community, as well as in support of his teammates and the organization.”

Melo has selected the Social Change Fund for the Trail Blazers to make a $5,000 donation to the organization in recognition of the award.

In his 17th season, Anthony signed with the Trail Blazers back on November 19, 2019. The 36-year-old is averaging 15.5 points (43.1% FG, 38.7% 3-PT, 84.5% FT), 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 57 games (all starts). Anthony (26,437 career points) has moved up to 15th on the NBA all-time scoring list this season and ranks second among active players in career scoring.

Melo has made a huge impact both and off the court for the Blazers this season. In the NBA restart, he is averaging 17.6 points and 6.9 rebounds. 

Former Trail Blazers All-Star Maurice Lucas passed away on October 31, 2010 at the age of 58. A beloved member of the franchise and Rip City. "The Enforcer" was a central figure on the Trail Blazers' 1976-77 NBA Championship team. Portland retired Lucas’ No. 20 on November 4, 1988.

PREVIOUS MAURICE LUCAS AWARD WINNERS

  • 2018-19 – Jusuf Nurkic
  • 2017-18 – Evan Turner
  • 2016-17 – Al-Farouq Aminu
  • 2015-16 – Ed Davis
  • 2014-15 – LaMarcus Aldridge
  • 2013-14 – Robin Lopez
  • 2012-13 – Damian Lillard
  • 2011-12 – Wesley Matthews
  • 2010-11 – LaMarcus Aldridge

Trail Blazers vs. Nets available for $4.99 via "Blazers Pass"

Trail Blazers vs. Nets available for $4.99 via "Blazers Pass"

Tonight’s Portland Trail Blazers’ game against the Brooklyn Nets, which tips off at 6 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Northwest, is available for purchase one time only as a single game on NBC Sports Gold’s “Blazers Pass” for $4.99. Starting now, fans can sign up for “Blazers Pass” to access tonight’s game (NBA regional restrictions apply).  

The Trail Blazers (34-39) currently sit in eighth place heading into tonight’s last game of the season restart against Brooklyn. The Trail Blazers would clinch the Western Conference’s eighth seed and a spot in the conference’s play-in series with a win. 

NBC Sports Gold’s “Blazers Pass” is a streaming product that features live broadcasts of select Trail Blazers road games during the 2019 – 20 NBA season for $34.99. NBC Sports Northwest will continue to present its traditional TV offering and streaming via “TV Everywhere.”

Blazers Pass” is part of NBC Sports Gold’s suite of direct-to-consumer live streaming products available on desktop, mobile, tablets and connected TV devices. Find NBC Sports Gold in the NBC Sports app available in the U.S. on Apple iOS & tvOS, Android, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast, and NBCSportsGold.com, and also on Cox Contour, Contour Stream Player, Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex

Eye on the 8: It's win or go home for Trail Blazers

Eye on the 8: It's win or go home for Trail Blazers

It all comes down to Thursday evening.

And then it will come down to this weekend’s play-in games, but more on that later.

Now that the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Milwaukee Bucks, 119-106, AND the Phoenix Suns took down the Dallas Mavericks, 128-102, earlier today, the Portland Trail Blazers will need to win their game versus the Brooklyn Nets to secure a spot in the play-in games this weekend.

Yes, Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard is going to have his chance to shine Thursday night as he has been discussing the reality of the Blazers reaching the No. 8 seed in the West and that he didn’t want his team to come to Orlando for the NBA restart and waste their time.

Portland and Brooklyn tip-off at 6:00p.m. PT on NBCSNW.

If the Blazers win, they’ll be the No. 8-seed and will face the No. 9-seed Grizzlies in the first play-in game Saturday at 11:30a.m. PT.

Being the eight seed means Portland would need to win just one of the play-in games to advance to the playoffs.

If the Trail Blazers lose Thursday night, their season will be over as they will finish in the 10th or 11th seed out West depending on the result of the San Antonio Spurs-Utah Jazz game, which is being played as this article was written.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon!]

It all comes down to this…

Watch Thursday’s Blazers-Nets game on NBC Sports Northwest, the Official Network of the Portland Trail Blazers with tip-off set for 6:00pm. Our coverage starts at 4:30pm with ‘Blazers Game Day’ followed by ‘Blazers Warm-up’ at 5:00p.m. and ‘Blazers Pregame’ at 5:30pm.

Plus, to wrap up a Blazers Game Day, check out ‘Blazers Outsiders’ immediately following the 'Blazers Postgame Show.'

Or if you can’t get to a TV, stream the game on our website or by downloading the MyTeams app!

Plus, for full coverage of Portland’s eighth and final seeding game make sure to follow Dwight JaynesJamie Hudson and our digital team throughout the day. Follow us on social for the latest updates. 

[RELATED]: Damian Lillard is making sure Blazers' Disney World trip isn't a 'waste of time' 

[RELATED]: CJ McCollum, playing with fracture in lower back, hits 2 free throws to seal win 

[RELATED]: Move over, Wilt Chamberlain -- make room for Damian Lillard in 60-point club 

CJ McCollum NOT listed on Blazers injury report despite back fracture

CJ McCollum NOT listed on Blazers injury report despite back fracture

The Trail Blazers will play ‘the most important game of our lives’ Thursday night vs. the Brooklyn Nets, and Portland is a heavy favorite to win. 

But one glaring concern is the health of Blazers starting shooting guard CJ McCollum. 

On Tuesday, NBCSNW Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes reported McCollum had suffered a L3 vertebral transverse process fracture (non-displaced), which occurred during Portland game vs. Denver on August 6. 

McCollum had just 8 points in the Blazers 134-131 win over Dallas Tuesday before the news broke, shooting just 2-14 from the field. He did sink two clutch free throws in the final seconds of Tuesday’s game. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon!]

The Trail Blazers were not available to the media Wednesday, so CJ’s status for Thursday’s game remained a mystery. When an injury report came out Thursday morning, McCollum was not mentioned, in any capacity. 

“CJ’s a warrior,” Lillard said of McCollum postgame Tuesday. “We know he’s a little banged up. We know he’s out there also giving everything that he got and he’s in the fight with us. He’s there. We appreciate every little thing that he’s capable of giving us at this moment until he get his situation right. So, we’ve just got to rally with him, help him through it… He’s shown a different type of toughness right now.”

The lone name on the Trail Blazers injury report was rookie Nassir Little, who will be OUT Thursday due to dehydration. 

Will McCollum be limited and could his status be updated closer to the game? Certainly. 

But playing through a back fracture speaks to the toughness Lillard eluded to. 

McCollum has an over/under of 18.5 points.  

You can catch Thursday's Blazers-Nets game on NBC Sports Northwest, the Official Network of the Portland Trail Blazers with tip-off set for 6pm. Our coverage starts at 4:30 p.m. with ‘Blazers Game Day’ followed by ‘Blazers Warm-up’ and ‘Blazers Pregame.’

You can also stream the game on our website or by downloading the MyTeams app!

And, for full coverage of the game make sure to follow Dwight JaynesJamie Hudson and our digital team throughout the day. Follow us on social for the latest updates. 

NBA Betting Odds: Trail Blazers vs. Nets in final seeding game

NBA Betting Odds: Trail Blazers vs. Nets in final seeding game

The Trail Blazers enter their final seeding game vs. the Nets 9.5 point favorites, according to the Caesars Casino & Sportsbook.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon!]

Additionally, the over/under point total for the game is 229 points. Portland has averaged 123.2 points per game during the restart and Philadelphia has averaged 117 points per game. 

Following the Trail Blazers 134-131 win over the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday, point guard Damian Lillard called Thursday night's contest, "The most important game of our lives. We got to finish it out right. We control our own destiny and we know what we got to do.”

Damian Lillard, who is coming off tying a career-high in points at 61, is listed at over/under 37.5 points according to Action Network.  

Meanwhile, CJ McCollum, who is playing with a fractured back, has an over/under of 18.5 points.  

You can catch Thursday's Blazers-Nets game on NBC Sports Northwest, the Official Network of the Portland Trail Blazers with tip-off set for 6pm. Our coverage starts at 4:30 p.m. with ‘Blazers Game Day’ followed by ‘Blazers Warm-up’ and ‘Blazers Pregame.’

You can also stream the game on our website or by downloading the MyTeams app!

And, for full coverage of the game make sure to follow Dwight JaynesJamie Hudson and our digital team throughout the day. Follow us on social for the latest updates.