Anthony Tolliver

CJ McCollum discusses the human aspect of NBA trades on latest Pull Up Podcast

CJ McCollum discusses the human aspect of NBA trades on latest Pull Up Podcast

"It’s a business."

NBA players regurgitate that sentence over and over especially when the trade deadline is approaching.

Of course, players know that trades happen and must happen because… It’s a business.

But, sometimes it’s as if professional athletes chose to answer the media’s questions about trading away a teammate with -- ‘it’s a business’ to continue to convince themselves of that fact.

Yet, to some fans, they really forget it’s not just a business.

It's the ugly truth of the NBA.

People can't get enough of it, though. Fans flock to their trade machine generators to see how they can ship players out for more desirable ones. They post on social media talking about players as commodities rather than actual people.

On the latest Pull Up Podcast with Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum, he discussed the human element often overlooked in NBA trades. 

Mostly, how families are impacted.

McCollum was getting treatment on his ankle in Oklahoma City when the news broke last Saturday that his teammates Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver were being traded to Sacramento for Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel, and Caleb Swanigan.

On the podcast, McCollum talked about how normally he would be taking a nap at that time before a game, but instead was watching Netflix while rehabbing his sprained ankle.

Bazemore was asleep when the news broke, however, while AT was on a conference call with one of his business ventures.

“It’s tough man, this is a tough business to be part of,” McCollum said. 

It’s a sick business in the way it operates. The trade happens, physicals are cleared. They take the nametags down, the gear’s getting sent to the next city, and it’s all she wrote. It just gives you perspective. It’s definitely bittersweet, because you enjoy the company, you enjoy being around the guys and then you kind of fast-forward and you go to practice and they’re not there. -- Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum on the human element of NBA trades

In the 43 games that Bazemore played for the Trail Blazers, he showed his veteran experience on the floor. He awed Portland fans with his tenacity and his chase down blocks that he would always seem to do with such ease.

Bazemore also shared his thoughts on many occasions of how both McCollum and Damian Lillard were such great leaders.

Plus, he showed off his dance moves numerous times before the Blazers would run out on the court to warm-up before games.

But, he failed to develop offensive consistency and his expiring contract made him ripe for the trade block. Why? It's a business. 

In Tolliver’s 33 games played in a Trail Blazers uniform, he exemplified what it means to be a true professional. Whether it was on the court or off the court Tolliver was a go to guy for wisdom.

He had been there, done that.

But, he also couldn't find his shot and his veteran's minimum deal made him an attractive candidate to be thrown into a larger deal to balance out rosters and money for trades. Why? It's a business. 

And lost in all of this, is how it all goes down. There's little to no heads up. Teammates find out about the news on social media. Players are used to this by now, though. They're numb to it. 

But, McCollum explains on the podcast what it’s like for the families once a player has been traded. 

“You more so feel sorry for their families,” McCollum said. “When you play, you get caught up in the business, you get caught up in the day-to-day life. But, the families have to adjust most. Guys have kids, they have wives. And, the kids are in school. So, you have to figure out if you’re going to uproot your kids— do you take them out of school or do you let them stay for the year? And, if you let them stay for the year, you’re by yourself. There’s a lot that goes into that dynamic and a lot of people in the outside world don’t see it.”

But, just because an old teammate is moving on and beginning a new chapter that doesn’t mean a current player can’t shut the door on the new teammates.

McCollum preached just that.

You have to be respectful of the business and understanding that you can’t mourn the loss of teammates because now you have new teammates that have come in. You have to make them feel welcome. You can’t have any ill will towards them; it’s not their fault. It’s apart of the business. The business is what it is, and the organization has to do what’s best for themselves. So, you’re sad that you lost some teammates, but also looking forward to playing with new guys and getting them accustomed to how you do things. – CJ McCollum

Listen to the entire Pull Up Podcast RIGHT HERE.

The Blazers need Biggie, and Biggie needs the Blazers

The Blazers need Biggie, and Biggie needs the Blazers

On Tuesday morning the Trail Blazers officially announced their long-rumored trade with the Sacramento Kings

Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver are gone, while Trevor Ariza, Caleb Swanigan, and Wenyen Gabriel are on their way Portland.

The Blazers know what they are getting in Ariza: a solid veteran player that has made his entire career on the defensive side of the ball. Coach Stotts anticipates that Ariza will be the team's starting small forward, as many of us expected. 

But what about Gabriel and Swanigan? 

Let's start with Gabriel. He is a largely unknown commodity. In his first year in the league, after spending time in the G-League, Gabriel has played in just 11 games for the Kings. 

In those games, he has averaged 1.7 points, 0.9 rebounds, and 0.3 assists in 5.5 minutes per game.

He is another Moses Brown. A big body with potential, but still very raw and rough around the edges. Most likely, he will be an end-of-the-bench guy. 

That is the quick rundown on Gabriel. Now, what about Swanigan?

First, remember that Swanigan has been in Portland before and that stint didn't work out. 

He was drafted by the Blazers in 2017, failed to crack the rotation, and was later traded to the Kings in return for Skal Labissiere. 

Swanigan played 45 games for the Blazers, averaging 2.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.5 assists per game. Swanigan's stint in Sacramento was much the same. He failed to crack the rotation, playing in just 10 games while averaging 1.3. points, 1.9 rebounds, and 0.6 assists. 

To be fair to Swanigan, getting on the floor wasn't easy. He is a versatile player that can play power forward or center in small lineups, but he still had an uphill battle.

In Portland, he was buried behind the likes of Jusuf Nurkic, Al-Farouq Aminu, Noah Vonleh, Ed Davis, and Zach Collins.

In Sacramento, he was buried behind Dewayne Demon, Nemanja Bjelica. Richaun Holmes, Harry Giles, and Willie Cauley-Stein.

Getting on the floor wasn't easy. That's not the case in his second stop here in Portland. 

As we all know, injuries have ravaged the Blazers, especially in the frontcourt. 

The Blazers don't have Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, Skal Labissiere, or Pau Gasol available.  

In fact, the Blazers now only have four players available that are 6'9" or taller: Hassan Whiteside (7'0"), two-way player Moses Brown (7'2"), and the newly-acquired Gabriel and Swanigan who both stand at 6'9."

Quite simply, Swanigan is going to get on the floor out of necessity. 

If the team were fully healthy, Swanigan would once again find himself on the bottom looking up. This time, he gets to start near the top.

The Blazers have lived by a "next man up" mentality all season long, and this time they had to go outside of Portland to find that next man. 

If Swanigan hopes to turn it around, to resurrect his career, there is no better chance than what the Blazers are giving him. 

To use a football analogy -  The ball is on the one-yard-line and the team is choosing to hand the ball off to Swanigan. What he does from there is up to him. When someone gives you the ball, you run with it.

He either runs through the door of opportunity that has been opened, or he runs himself back out of town... hopefully it's the former. 

The Blazers need Biggie, and Biggie needs the Blazers. The chance for both of them to turn their season around starts on Thursday against the Mavericks. 

Trail Blazers acquire Trevor Ariza from Kings -- remember him, Portland?

Trail Blazers acquire Trevor Ariza from Kings -- remember him, Portland?

The Trail Blazers made a move Saturday and it was all about two things -- a) obtaining a taller small forward in Trevor Ariza, who can shoot threes and b) cutting $12.3 million off their payroll.

Portland got Caleb Swanigan, the former Blazer who has been spending time in the G-League, and Wenyen Gabriel, a rookie power forward. The Blazers sent Anthony Tolliver and Kent Bazemore to Sacramento in the trade.

Ariza, a 34-year-old, 15-year veteran, has not seen a lot of action this season for the Kings, who are in the midst of a youth movement. He has played 32 games, averaging six points and shooting 35.2 percent from three-point range, just a tenth of a point above his career average. For Portland, he's a better fit than Bazemore at small forward at 6-8 and the Blazers are going to cut their tax bill approximately in half with the trade.

Ariza has not been a popular player in Portland since his hit on Rudy Fernandez, which got him ejected from a game in Moda Center in 2009.

Not a major deal for sure, but if Ariza can make some three-point field goals and improve the team's defense, it will be an upgrade. And Portland fans have always had short memories, right?

BREAKING: Blazers trade Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver to Sacramento

BREAKING: Blazers trade Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver to Sacramento

Breaking news in Rip City.

According to multiple reports, the Trail Blazers have agreed to trade Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver to the Sacramento Kings for Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel, and Caleb Swanigan. 

According to the reports, the trade saves Portland $12.3 million, cutting the luxury tax bill in half. 

Tolliver signed with the Blazers this past offseason, while Bazemore came over in an offseason trade with the Atlanta Hawks. 

Tolliver played in 33 games for the Blazers, starting nine of them. He averaged 3.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 0.9 rebounds per game. 

As for Bazemore, he was meant to be a key bench contributor for the Blazers, but was thrust into the starting role when Rodney Hood went down with an Achilles injury.

Bazemore played in 43 games for the Blazers, starting 21 of them.

He averaged 7.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game. 

The key return here for the Blazers is Trevor Ariza. The 34-year-old has made his career on the defensive side of the ball, which is where the Blazers need the most help. Ariza has played in 32 games this season, averaging 6.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. He is set to make $12.2 million this year and is under contract through 2021. 

With all the injuries up front, the Blazers need bigs, and they got two of them in Gabriel and Swanigan. Gabriel is a 6'9", 220lb forward in his first season in the NBA. He has played in just 11 games for the Kings, averaging 1.7. points, 0.9 rebounds, and 0.3 assists.

As for Swanigan, he is someone Blazers fans know well. He was drafted by Portland in 2017 26th overall and played parts of two seasons with the Blazers before being traded to the Kings for Skal Labissiere. In seven games with the Kings this season he averaged 0.7 points, 1.0 rebound, and 0.3 assists. 

The Blazers are already depleted by injuries, and may not get the reinforcements before tipoff tonight in OKC. If Gary Trent (illness) is unable to play tonight, Portland would have just seven players available against the Thunder. 

Be sure to stay tuned to NBC Sports Northwest as we get more information on this breaking news. 

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... Anthony Tolliver?!

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... Anthony Tolliver?!

Wait a second…

Blink.

Now, blink again.

Hey, that’s Anthony Tolliver taking Cody Zeller off the dribble and finishing with ease in what turned out to be a complete fourth quarter for the Blazers big man.

The Trail Blazers veteran was out there looking spry Monday night against the Hornets. 

Some would say he looked like his high school glory days.

In fact, that’s pretty much how CJ McCollum described Tolliver’s fourth quarter performance.

“It looked like he was back in Missouri. McCollum said with a smile. "A bounce in his step, he got to the lane, a little reverse layup, hit some threes, just brought a lot of energy for us and some veteran leadership.”

The Missouri native brought some much needed scoring off the bench in the fourth quarter. Tolliver scored all 16 of his points in the final period. And the Blazers needed every last point to come away with a 115-112 win over the Hornets.

“I didn’t realize that I had 16 in the quarter,” Tolliver said after reporters informed him that he tied his career-high with the most points in a single quarter.

The 34-year-old has been asked to do a lot for the Trail Blazers due to all the injuries the Blazers have dealt with this season.

Tolliver is currently the Blazers backup center.

It’s been apparent that even with Tolliver's inconsistent three-point shot this season, the Blazers look to him for his leadership.

But on Monday night, Tolliver really gave the Blazers everything he had in his toolbox.

I’m not a one-on-one type of guy. I’m not a guy who's gonna mix people up or anything like that, just somebody who is out there just trying to be in the right place at the right time. – Trail Blazers veteran Anthony Tolliver 

Sure, Tolliver doesn’t look at himself as a guy who is going to cross somebody up or take them off the dribble, but that’s what he did against Cody Zeller midway through the fourth.

Tolliver went 7-for-8 from the field, including 2-for-3 from downtown. He also had 11 rebounds on the night. 

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said he would give Tolliver the game ball if the Blazers were a team that handed out game balls.

“I’m glad we kept our composure, and made plays when we needed to. Anthony Tolliver, we haven’t researched if that’s the most points that he’s scored in a quarter, but I told him in the locker room, 'we don’t give out game balls but if we did, he would get it,' Stotts said postgame.

And, it wasn’t just AT’s scoring that Stotts was happy about.

“It’s easy to just look at the points, but he got us extra possessions. When they were double teaming, he found the opening to make himself available. He just made a lot of hustle plays; tipping the ball out and getting extra possessions, I don’t know how many times he did that."

Damian Lillard agreed with his coach -- it was Tolliver’s hustle on the defensive end that made a difference.

 “He obviously had a really good quarter. He made shots. He had an impact on our defense. And it was needed – a close game, a great effort by him. I think that was his best game of the season, obviously a win that we needed and he came through,” Lillard said.

But, as the 11-year veteran explained in the locker room Monday night, Tolliver was just making the right decisions at the right time.

“Just playing basketball," Tolliver said of his fourth quarter performance. "I don’t think too much about individual accolades or stats or anything like that. If I’m the one shooting it than, obviously, I want to make it, but tonight my teammates were finding me in positions to score and I was able to capitalize on them."

The Blazers were thankful to snap a two-game losing streak in big thanks to Tolliver’s individual accolades.

Now it’s off to Houston where Portland could definitely use more of this “Missouri-like’’ Tolliver. 

At halfway point of the season, what have we learned about the Trail Blazers?

At halfway point of the season, what have we learned about the Trail Blazers?

In Game No. 41 Monday night, the halfway point of the regular season, the Portland Trail Blazers showed what the first half of their season was like and what the second half could become.

Their 115-112 win over the lowly Charlotte Hornets did not come easy -- which has been what the first half has been about. Nothing has been easy for the oft-injured Trail Blazers. They shot the ball well Monday, 50 percent overall from the field and 43.2 percent from behind the three-point line, and are now 8-1 when they shoot 50 percent or better from the floor.

So obviously, shooting a higher percentage on a more consistent basis would improve the second-half record.

They also allowed Charlotte to shoot 47.4 percent from three. A constant theme during the first half, with 17 wins in 41 games, has been allowing opponents wide-open threes -- and that continued.

But Portland got a huge contribution from Anthony Tolliver off its bench. Tolliver had 16 points (all in the fourth quarter) and 11 rebounds and did as much to contribute to the win as anyone in uniform. And that's a big difference from the first half of the season, when the Blazers have struggled to find help off the bench during a season when so many starters have been injured or ill.

One other thing from this game so typified the first half was inconsistency -- not just from game to game but almost quarter to quarter.

The Trail Blazers outscored the Hornets 37-20 in the second quarter behind CJ McCollum to take a 16-point halftime lead, only to have Charlotte come out after intermission and bury four straight three-pointers to close the lead to four. It was nip and tuck the rest of the game against a team that had lost 10 of its previous 12 games.

Damian Lillard made a 47-foot three-pointer -- just a step across the halfcourt line -- to end the third quarter and push Portland into a two-point lead going into the fourth. But it was tied before Tolliver knocked down a three with 2:11 to go in the game to give his team a 112-109 lead. But neither team scored until 17.3 seconds remained when Lillard hit a driving layup.

That came after Carmelo Anthony picked off a pass and made a near-miraculous save before the ball went out of bounds.

"It was just a play I knew I had to make,:" he said. "I saw them looking for that pass in the corner, made a great play and got my hand on the ball, but couldn't really control it. My thing was to just try and keep it in bounds -- keep it in. My teammates did a great job of getting control of the ball. It made my hustle play look even better."

Anthony was asked about Tolliver's game.

"He's a pro," Anthony said. "That's what you call a pro. Somebody who never knows when his number is going to be called and always prepares himself for that moment and that game. Takes it one day at a time. When his number is called, he's ready to deliver. To me, that's a pro. This is a league where guys can lose their confidence. His preparation for the game, day in and day out, he's always prepared."

Tolliver brought his entire bag of tricks to this one -- quality defensive plays, tip-backs of offensive rebounds, reverse layups and a couple of three-pointers,

And if the Blazers continue to be short-handed for long into the second half of the season, bench play is going to be critical -- whomever it comes from.

Anthony Tolliver has always been able to shoot, but why not now?

Anthony Tolliver has always been able to shoot, but why not now?

On a recent road trip with the Trail Blazers, I had the opportunity to check in with a couple of long-time NBA scouts who have been watching the league closely over the past several seasons. They don’t scout college players much, they specialize in looking at players who might be available to their own team at some point.

I like to ask people in those positions their opinion on Portland’s roster and catch up on any gossip or rumors floating around.

When I asked them about the Blazers’ recent struggles they both pointed to the injuries, of course. But one of them also mentioned the shooting problems that have plagued the team.

“The guys who were added this summer have always shot the three better than they are doing this season,” one scout said. “I’m really surprised that Anthony Tolliver hasn’t been making shots. He’s always been pretty consistent with his threes.”

Indeed, I’ve been surprised, too. When you look back at his 11 years in the league you see someone who has been dependably productive from three-point range.

But you also see a player this season who has been forced into several different roles with the Trail Blazers that are different than what he’s done before. With all the injuries to Portland’s bigs, Tolliver – primarily a power forward during his career -- has been forced into playing backup center on several occasions and even starting center Saturday night when Hassan Whiteside was forced to the sidelines with an upper respiratory ailment. And Tolliver's playing time has been up and down, too. He's played in 30 of the team's 40 games.

Playing center wasn’t exactly what the veteran expected when he signed on last summer.

“Probably not,” he said with a smile. “If anything, slide over to the 3 (small forward) some, with the original roster. I’m just doing whatever I can to help our team be as successful as possible.”

But in today’s NBA, the game has become almost position-free. Small lineups have become commonplace and Saturday night the Bucks did very little to attempt to punish Portland for using a small lineup.

“It’s all basketball, still. Especially in today’s NBA,” he said. “Most of the 5 men (centers) are popping out to shoot the three. You have to be able to guard multiple positions, slide your feet and make reads that used to be more guard-type reads. It’s whatever. I just come on the court and try to bring energy.

“Unfortunately, my shot hasn’t fallen for me the last couple of games.”

Tolliver came into this season as a .376 career shooter from three-point range, a very solid percentage for a veteran known as an intelligent player capable of defending several positions, adept at drawing charging fouls (he’s 24th in the league, right behind Draymond Green, in this category).

But this season he’s shooting just .316 from three-point range.

“Percentages always work out,” he said. “I have confidence and my teammates have confidence in me. Obviously, things have been pretty inconsistent this year, as far as playing time, roles and all the different stuff. That’s been part of it. You’re always looking to find out where your shots are going to come from.

“But I never worry about shooting. It’s something I know that always comes around. For me, it’s always about what it looks like at the end. It’s lower than normal right now and that just means I should have a really good stretch coming up here pretty soon...”

Missing players and missing shots a bad combination for Trail Blazers

Missing players and missing shots a bad combination for Trail Blazers

Outmanned and outsized Saturday night against the Milwaukee Bucks, it was the perfect time for the Trail Blazers to shift gears into the new-school NBA:

Spread the floor and fire up a load of three-point field goals. I mean, just bring out the long-range artillery. From high school through college and the NBA, the way smaller teams with lesser talent deal with their situation is to shoot from long range and try to make most of their shots count for three points instead of two.

It's effective if you can make the threes.

But it didn’t work out that way for the Trail Blazers in Moda Center. The idea was fine, but the execution was lacking. Portland hit four of its first seven three-point attempts and then finished out the first quarter missing its next six and went 7-20 in the first half. And as the misses mounted up, the attempts dried up. The Trail Blazers finished 10-36 from long range (27.8 percent) and lost the game 122-101.

“Obviously, we weren’t going to beat them inside,” Coach Terry Stotts said. “I thought we could collapse the defense with some penetration. They were open from three, we wanted to shoot them. I’m glad we took 20 in the first half. I was hoping we would take at least 20 in the second half.”

Damian Lillard, the only Portland starter to make at least half his shots (10-20), knew Milwaukee would be vulnerable from the outside.

“Watching them on film, they give up threes and opportunities were there with the bigs being back, so we took them,” he said. “Those were the shots that were there.”

The Bucks did very little to take advantage of their overall size advantage with Portland center Hassan Whiteside sitting the game out with an upper respiratory illness. Milwaukee took two more threes than the Blazers did and only seven more shots in the paint than Portland. Vulnerable to offensive rebounds in the recent past, the Blazers, with nobody on the floor taller than 6-8, allowed only 10 of them to the visitors.

Milwaukee is 35-6 this season and probably figured it could win the game without making any major adjustments in its style of play, which leans on the three-point shot.

“If we would have shot well, we would have been fine,” said Anthony Tolliver, who, at 6-8, got the starting nod at center vs. a front line that was 7-foot. 6-11 and 6-7. “Unfortunately, the ball didn’t go in for us at the right times. We made a few shots, but not enough. That’s today’s NBA. It’s a spread-out court and you depend on a lot of shooting.

“Most teams who have had so much success with the way they play, just stick to the game plan and play the way that they play.”

The Blazers got only four three-point attempts from their reserves, who made none of those shots.

Portland came into the game shooting only 31.9 percent from three over its previous five games and couldn’t even do that well against the Bucks.

Sick and tired, battered and bruised, Trail Blazers end trip with loss

Sick and tired, battered and bruised, Trail Blazers end trip with loss

MINNESOTA – Battered, bruised, sick and tired in their locker room after the game, the Portland Trail Blazers looked as if they’d been in a cage fight – and the cage won.

The Minnesota Timberwolves put a physical 116-102 whipping on them Thursday night, the final bout of a five-game, 10-day road trip that appeared to have gone one game and two days too long for the Trail Blazers.

Mario Hezonja was nursing a sore back from a nasty fall. Anthony Tolliver was icing a sore elbow as a result of another bad fall. Damian Lillard was still working the kinks out of a hyper-extended arm. Anfernee Simons had four stitches taken under his right eye. Hassan Whiteside was taking an IV for an upper-respiratory problem that had already weakened CJ McCollum. And I probably missed someone else… it was that kind of night.

Portland led by as many as eight in the first quarter but then just got clobbered in the second and third quarters. The Wolves won the second quarter 31-13 and the third 41-27.

“The first quarter, we scored the ball well,” Coach Terry Stotts said. “They had nine second-chance points that kept them in the game in the first quarter. In the second quarter, our offense was pretty poor. We didn’t have an assist in the quarter. Didn’t make shots, didn’t pass the ball well. They were able to get out in transition, and it made their offense that much better.”

Then, with a six-point lead going into the second quarter, things went sideways very fast.

“I thought some of our guys looked tired,” Stotts said. “Whether it was the road trip, the last game of the road trip or the illnesses that are going around, I don’t know. It looked like we weren’t able to sustain the energy level after the first quarter.”

But the Timberwolves’ lead was only a dozen at the half and in the NBA, that’s not a big advantage to overcome in two quarters. But the tank was empty, it seemed.

“They came out and hit three threes early,” Stotts said. “When you’re down 12 at the half, those first five minutes of the third quarter are important. You want the lead to get down to single digits instead of ballooning up. They gained the momentum right at the start of the third quarter and all of a sudden, it’s a 20-point game. And that’s pretty deflating.”

And the Trail Blazers seemed powerless to stop it.

“You know, that edge and that energy just wasn’t there,” Damian Lillard said. “It just felt like, overall, we were a little bit tired. We’ve been on the road a long time and we just didn’t have the kind of energy that we needed tonight. Not a great effort by our team.”

Lillard finished with 20, CJ McCollum and Whiteside with 15.

And the sad thing for Portland is that it gets just one day of rest, Friday, before the Milwaukee Bucks arrive Saturday night in Moda Center.

No rest for the weary in the NBA.

Pregame Notebook: Hassan Whiteside is available for tonight's game vs. Timberwolves

Pregame Notebook: Hassan Whiteside is available for tonight's game vs. Timberwolves

It’s the final game of the Portland Trail Blazers (16-22) five-game road trip as the Blazers look to go up 2-0 in their regular season series with the Minnesota Timberwolves (14-22).

Knowing that Skal Labissiere has suffered a left knee articular cartilage lesion and will be out for at least four more weeks, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts was asked about how the team will continue to deal with a thin frontcourt. 

When Skal went down we didn’t know the extent of it, and we kind of assumed it was -- he wasn’t going to be around for a little bit, but we didn’t know how long… The team is what it is right now and we keep moving forward. – Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts

Before the Trail Blazers and Timberwolves tip-off at 5:00 p.m. PT tonight on NBC Sports Northwest and on the 'My Teams' App, coach Stotts discussed how they are dealing with no height, especially now that Hassan Whiteside has come down with an upper respiratory infection.   

“You’ve got to do it by committee when Hassan’s not there, he can get a lot of them, but when he’s not, it’s gotta be a team thing,” Stotts told reporters during this morning’s shootaround.

THE GOOD NEWS for the Blazers: Whiteside is available for tonight's game. 

BLAZERS INJURY REPORT:

Skal Labissiere (left knee inflammation) and Jusuf Nurkic (left leg fracture) are out for tonight’s game at Minnesota.

TIMBERWOLVES INJURY REPORT:

The Timberwolves will be without Karl-Anthony Towns (left knee sprain) and former Trail Blazer Jake Layman (left toe sprain).

STANDOUT GAME NOTES:

• Thursday’s game will be the second of four matchups between the Trail Blazers and Timberwolves during the 2019-20 season. The Trail Blazers lead the season series, 1-0.

• LAST MEETING: Portland defeated Minnesota, 113-106, on Dec. 21 in Portland. Damian Lillard led Portland with 29 points (10-25 FG, 3-12 3-PT, 6-9 FT), three rebounds and seven assists. Andrew Wiggins paced the Timberwolves with 33 points (13-24 FG, 4-6 3-PT, 3-4 FT), six rebounds and a season-high three blocks.

• OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION: The Trail Blazers (112.0 ppg) and the Timberwolves (111.8 ppg) rank 11th and 12th in the NBA in scoring, respectively. • Damian Lillard has scored at least 20 points in 10 of his last 14 appearances against Minnesota.

• CJ McCollum scored 26 points (8-23 FG, 5-10 3-PT, 5-7 FT) to go with three assists and a season-high three steals against Minnesota on Dec. 21. McCollum has shot 8-of-17 (47.1%) from 3-PT range over his two most recent games opposite the Timberwolves.