Andrew Bogut

Forget about Bogut... he just doesn't fit with the Trail Blazer model

Forget about Bogut... he just doesn't fit with the Trail Blazer model

You can find all sorts of Andrew Bogut-to-Portland rumors out there these days. You can find one here and here and here.

But from what I know about the direction of the Trail Blazers, there is no chance this team would trade for Bogut. Two things must be considered here:

  1. Bogut, at 32 years old, does not fit the model this team has set up -- players of the same age growing together as a group. Neil Olshey, the director of basketball operations, has shown no sign of moving away from his plan for this roster.
  2. Bogut's contract runs only through the end of the season. I do not see the Trail Blazers in the market for a one-year rental of a player. If they were close to making it to the NBA Finals, yes -- go for it and see what happens. But this team isn't ready to waste trade chips on one-and-done players.

The other piece of any deal that must bo considered is that three potential trade pieces -- Maurice Harkless, Meyers Leonard and Allen Crabbe cannot be traded until Jan. 15. So I wouldn't expect Portland to be involved in even the possibility of any deal for about a month.

I would say that I believe Neil Olshey will not hesitate to make a move if he can find one that fits his model -- and it probably would have to be for a player who would project to be a long-term solution, rather than a Band-aid.

Trail Blazers survive Dallas thanks to brilliant Lillard performance

Trail Blazers survive Dallas thanks to brilliant Lillard performance

DALLAS -- The good news for the Trail Blazers is that Damian Lillard has been one of the best players in the NBA to start the season. 

The bad news is the Blazers struggle when he is not on the court. 

In another dominant performance Friday, Lillard rescued a wayward Blazers team with a 42-point performance that helped them stave off a depleted Dallas Mavericks team, 105-95 at American Airlines Arena. 

Portland improved to 3-3 while Dallas fell to 0-5 for the first time in franchise history.

The Blazers needed every bit of Lillard's performance, even though the Mavericks played without starting center Andrew Bogut, who was a late-scratch (personal reasons) and Dirk Nowitzki in the second half (sore Achilles). 

It appeared the Blazers would win comfortably when they took a 16-point lead in the third quarter on a stretch sparked by three consecutive three pointers by Lillard, the last two coming from 31 feet and 34 feet.

But in what is becoming an early-season trend, the Blazers let the lead evaporate after being on the wrong end of a big scoring run. This time it was a 16-1 run by Dallas that brought them within 79-78 less than a minute into the third quarter. 

That's when Lillard re-entered the game and instantly righted the ship, hitting back-to-back jumpers that steadied the team and led to the Blazers ending a two-game losing streak. Lillard was a plus 17 in his 37 minutes on the court. 

Lillard, who entered the game as the NBA's third leading scorer at 32.6 behind DeMar DeRozan and Russell Westbrook, finished 12-for-18 from the field and 5-of-6 from three-point range. It was his fourth game of 30 or more points and his first 40 point game of the season. 

The Blazers led 55-52 at halftime even though they allowed Dallas to score the final seven points of the half. The lead was established by a stretch when Portland scored on 11 consecutive possessions, turning a 35-28 deficit into a 51-45 lead. Lillard was instrumental in the run, scoring nine of his 15 first-half points during the spurt.

Portland forged a 26-26 tie at the end of the first quarter when Shabazz Napier made a running three-pointer at the buzzer after Al-Farouq Aminu popped the ball loose from Mavericks point guard JJ Barea. The Blazers, who have been prone to being on the wrong end of scoring runs, allowed Dallas to go on a 13-0 run in the first quarter, which turned a 19-11 lead into a 24-19 deficit. 

The Mavericks started three guards because center Andrew Bogut was a late scratch for personal reasons. As a result, Plumlee had a field day early as he was checked by smaller players like 6-foot-8 Harrison Barnes, resulting in four dunks for Plumlee in the first half. 

Plumlee finished with 19 points, tying his high as a Blazer and Aminu added 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Former Blazers guard Wesley Matthews had seven points in 29 minutes, finishing 1-for-6 from the field. 

Next up: Blazers at Memphis, 12:30 p.m. Sunday (CSN)


Trail Blazers find that without Andrew Bogut, Warriors' defense 'just not the same'

Trail Blazers find that without Andrew Bogut, Warriors' defense 'just not the same'

When the Trail Blazers played Golden State in the last preseason game for both teams, Damian Lillard noticed something different about the Warriors defense: Getting to the rim was easier this season.

“It’s not the same,’’ Lillard said of the Warriors’ defense. “They are a great offensive team and I think they will still be a good defensive team, but it’s different than when  (Andrew) Bogut is not back there. It’s just not the same.’’

Bogut is the former Warriors’ center who was traded to Dallas over the summer in a salary cap move that enabled the Warriors to sign Kevin Durant. The Warriors now play center with veteran Zaza Pachulia, or when they play small, Draymond Green.

Without Bogut, rim protection could turn out to be the chink in the Warriors’ armor this season, especially if the first three games are any indication. Golden State has been outscored in the paint in all three games and are allowing an average of 52 points in the paint, third most in the NBA behind the Lakers and Orlando.

Come Tuesday night, when the Blazers (2-1) play host to Golden State (2-1), Lillard said the Blazers should take notice of how teams have attacked Golden State by going inside, either on drives or post ups.

“Watching their game against New Orleans, watching their game against Phoenix -- both teams attacked the paint a lot,’’ Lillard said. “They were attacking rim, attacking the rim, and it kept both teams in the game, so we have to do the same thing.’’

When the Blazers built a 16-point lead in the first half against Golden State in that Oct. 21 preseason game, it was largely by attacking the rim. They were 9-of-19 in the paint in the first quarter, when they scored 18 of their 37 points in the paint.

Much of the early success was Lillard blowing by Stephen Curry for layins. Midway through the first quarter Lillard scored layins on three of four Blazers possessions, including one in which Curry fouled him.

“I feel confident in my ability to attack whoever, but in a lot of those plays, Draymond likes to help from the weakside … and I saw him sprinting to (Mason Plumlee) to deny, which meant nobody was in the paint. I was taking advantage of that.

“It’s different when you don’t have a guy like Andrew Bogut in that paint. He controlled that paint really well for them on the backside of that defense, so (in that preseason game) I felt good about getting to the rim.’’

In the next two quarters, before the benches were emptied in the fourth quarter, the Blazers scored only 16 combined points in the paint, while attempting a combined 14 shots – down from the 19 in the first quarter.

Not surprisingly, the Blazers were outscored in the second and third quarters, which Lillard said was part discipline and part credit to Golden State adjustments.

“We stopped getting to the rim, but part of that was them,’’ Lillard said. “Like I said, they are still going to be a good defensive team, they are a championship level team, so they will adjust. You are not going to be able to get to the lane all night. But we have to keep finding ways and being crafty about how we get there. It’s not always going to be a straight, drive by … but we have to keep attacking paint.’’

Last season, the Warriors allowed 45.1 points in the paint, which was the sixth most allowed in the NBA. This season, they have given up 50 to the Spurs, 62 to New Orleans and 44 to Phoenix. The Blazers through three games are averaging 46 points in the paint, tied for 12th most in the NBA.

Warriors move on in NBA Finals without 'anchor' in Bogut


Warriors move on in NBA Finals without 'anchor' in Bogut

They’re smaller but quicker, less vocal but more reactive, sacrificing the element of mean for the benefits of lean.

The Warriors are different team in numerous ways without Andrew Bogut, and the big center that has started 88 of 104 games will be in street clothes for what’s left of the NBA Finals, beginning with Game 6 Thursday night at Quicken Loans Arena.

“He’s been a staple all season long,” guard Shaun Livingston said Wednesday. “He’s anchored our defense. Not having his IQ, his passing ability, rim protection, it’s going to hurt us. But it’s the last week of the season, so we’ve just got to grind it out.”

Bogut, who is sidelined with a knee injury, is a traffic cop on defense, a generator on offense. He’s a constant voice, too.

“He's very vocal, which sort of always flies under the radar,” veteran forward Andre Iguodala said. “The most important thing is he knows his role. Most guys tend to do what they're told, but they also want to add something else that they're not needed to do, which can be a detriment to your team.