Atlanta Hawks

Trae Young addresses the infamous nutmeg on Trevor Ariza

Trae Young addresses the infamous nutmeg on Trevor Ariza

Back in late February, a time when live basketball was still a thing (it feels like years ago), things go a little heated between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Atlanta Hawks. 

Portland had lost seven of its previous 10 games, and Atlanta wasn't helping them get back on the right track. 

Midway through the third quarter, Atlanta had a double-digit lead... then emotions boiled over.

Hawks star Trae Young tried to pull off a playground move, dribbling the ball through Trevor Ariza's legs on the fast break.

Ariza didn't take kindly to the nutmeg and made sure to let Young know, the only way a grizzled vet knows how.

Ariza was hit with a Flagrant 1, and a few plays later Young received a technical for taunting.

Things were heated in the moment, but by the end of the game, the two had buried the hatched.

Young recently joined All The Smoke with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson to address the situation.

People look at me and they think it's all fun and games and soft. When I'm on the court I'm a dog. Hell yeah, I'm physical.  If someone threw it in-between my legs, in the middle of a game or a transition, I ain't about to let that happen. I may do the same thing Trevor did. People going to look at that and say whatever, but I love it. That next play, to be honest, it felt like we were at the park. - Trae Young on altercation with Trevor Ariza.

Ariza is an old school player and something tells us part of him loves this response from Young. Had the roles been reversed, he would have done the same thing.

The whole situation has a very pick-up ball feel to it and that's something any player or fan can appreciate. At the end of the day, it's just all about basketball. 

 

What went wrong for the Portland Trail Blazers vs. Hawks

usatsi_14121074.jpg
USA Today Images

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. 

Trevor Ariza and Trae Young hug it out in Atlanta, no bad blood

Trevor Ariza and Trae Young hug it out in Atlanta, no bad blood

Emotions were high inside State Farm Arena on Saturday when the Atlanta Hawks (19-43) welcomed the Portland Trail Blazers (26-35).

Portland came in having lost seven of their last 10 and hoped to right the ship. 

However, the Hawks shot the lights out and with it took away some of the hope the Blazers still have of making the playoffs. 

Down double-digits midway through the third quarter, the frustration finally boiled over. 

Trae Young tried to dribble the ball through Trevor Ariza's legs, but Ariza wasn't about to have it. 

The Blazers small forward reacted with a hockey-style check that sent Young flying.

The play resulted in a Flagrant 1 for Ariza, and moments later Young received a technical for taunting after a made three. 

It appeared the two players and the two teams had no love lost for one another. 

But after the game, they proved us wrong. 

As soon as the whistle blew, Ariza made it a point to find Young and prove they may battle each other on the court but it's nothing but love once the buzzer sounds. 

Sometimes emotions can get the best of us. When they do, it's always nice to bury the hatchet. 

If Meyers Leonard and Chad Doing can do it, anybody can. 

Ariza and Young quickly did so in Atlanta. 

 

How Anfernee Simons sprained his left ankle, then played through the pain

How Anfernee Simons sprained his left ankle, then played through the pain

Playing through the pain is something the Trail Blazers second-year guard did Saturday night in Atlanta.

Anfernee Simons played nearly three full possessions on a left ankle sprain.  

Saturday night, as the Trail Blazers battled against a young Hawks team that caught fire from three, Simons rolled his left ankle, but it wasn’t one that he could just run off and have the pain subside.

Despite Ant's best efforts. 

“Some of them are about the same… Some of them you can easily run off, but tonight it kind of hurt more than usual. It’s getting better right now. It’s better than it was an hour ago,” Simons said.  

Before Simons left the game late in the third quarter, it looked as though he may have suffered the injury when he attacked the rim.

But, that was not the case. The injury happened a possession before the lay-in.

The Blazers youngster was trying his hardest to stay on the floor.  

The defensive play before, we was trying to get the rebound. I kind of landed on somebody’s foot and I kind of rolled it. I tried to play through the offensive possession and I tried to shoot the lay-up and I came back down and couldn’t go no more, so I asked to come out. -- Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons said postgame

In the locker room postgame, Simons was walking around with no tape or wrap on his left ankle, but he had received treatment on the ankle during the fourth quarter.

“It’s alright. I just got to try to get it better, see where I can go from here,” Simons said.  

The good news for the injury riddled Trail Blazers is that the x-rays on Simons’ ankle came back negative.

Simons was already looking ahead to Monday’s game in Orlando.

He is hopeful to play versus the Magic.

“Just treatment, try to get it right and hopefully, I can come back for the next one,” Simons said.

The 20-year-old is averaging 9.0 points and 2.4 rebounds in 24 minutes of action.

Before leaving the game and not returning Saturday night, Simons had 10 points in 16 minutes.

 

Forget about tanking, but the Trail Blazers are out of the playoff chase

Forget about tanking, but the Trail Blazers are out of the playoff chase

OK, let’s get this straight right now -- I don’t think the Trail Blazers should start sitting out key players and tanking. No way. The Portland fans have suffered enough this season without paying good money to watch an under-talented bench try to play in the NBA.

I say that with the conviction I have that the Trail Blazers have finally played their way out of a shot at making the playoffs this season. And yes, I know Portland is still mathematically in contention for that No. 8 playoff berth.

But they aren’t going to get it by playing the way they’ve been playing. It’s just not good enough. And Saturday night’s loss at Atlanta was an example of what’s going on with this team.

Injuries have killed them this season. I’ll give them that. But that’s not an excuse for the players still on the court struggling the way they are -- making poor teams look great and themselves look inept.

The Hawks came into the game as the worst three-point shooting team in the NBA, but the Trail Blazers turned that around.

Atlanta, playing on the second night of back-to-back games, made 18 three pointers and shot 42.9 percent from distance. Portland was 8-28 from three-point range, so was outscored by 30 points from distance.

They’re either going to have to defend those threes better (try rotating to open shooters and get a hand in their face) or make a few more themselves (move the ball better and maybe end up with more than 14 assists) to overcome that deficit.

And more than that, they just can’t seem to tighten their game up. They had 17 turnovers and a lot of them were unforced errors.

It’s not as if this team makes a lot of turnovers, it just makes them at the wrong time or as a result of shockingly bad decisions.

I know people are going to say they aren’t playing hard, but I don’t really believe that. I just don’t think they are playing well -- or playing smart.

And I look at their starting lineup compared to Atlanta’s  and think they have an edge with their starters, even with Damian Lillard sidelined. But their starters had 13 of those turnovers and some of them were crazy bad.

And yes, if they had lost because their bench would have trouble winning a G-League game, I could understand it.

And while that certainly played into it -- this one was on the whole team. And games like this simply have to be wins in order to chase a playoff spot. My goodness, these guys gave up 84 combined points in the second and third quarters to a 19-win team.

The only Portland highlight of the game was a flagrant foul -- the one Trevor Ariza got for giving Trae Young a pretty stiff forearm to the chest after he tried to dribble the ball between Ariza's legs. You don't do that to a 15-year vet and Ariza showed him why,

But the way things are going now, Portland has no chance to catch up to that No. 8 slot. Memphis may not hold onto it, either, with New Orleans bearing down on it.

But the way they are playing now, the Trail Blazers certainly aren’t going to get there.

Instant Analysis: Hawks continue high-scoring tear in win over Trail Blazers

Instant Analysis: Hawks continue high-scoring tear in win over Trail Blazers

ATLANTA – With the Hawks playing on the second night of a back-to-back, the Portland Trail Blazers looked to take advantage of potentially tired legs. However, the young Hawks squad looked fresh following their 141-118 win over the Nets Friday night.

The Blazers jumped out to a 28-23 lead after one quarter.

In the fifth consecutive game that Damian Lillard has missed following a strained right groin, CJ McCollum continued to lead the Blazers in scoring.  He finished with 35 points. 

Atlanta caught fire in the second quarter, outscoring the Blazers 40-28 to take a 63-56 lead at the half.

The second half was much of the same: The Hawks took full advantage of the Trail Blazers’ defense.

As the Blazers were trying to dig themselves out of a hole, Portland lost backup guard Anfernee Simons to a left ankle sprain late in the third quarter. 

FINAL BOX SCORE: HAWKS 129, TRAIL BLAZERS 117

Here are three quick takeaways from Saturday’s loss:

1.  Hawks get it going from deep

Despite Atlanta being one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the league, the Hawks were knocking them down against Portland. The Blazers had a hard time putting any pressure on the Hawks from behind the arc. Portland’s three-point defense has been an issue all season. De’Andre Hunter really took advantage of the open threes, as did, Trae Young, Cam Reddish, and Kevin Huerter.

2.  Offense running through Melo

After starting the game 2-for-6 from the field, Carmelo Anthony continued to try find a way to get points on the board. The Trail Blazers made a conscious effort to get the ball on the block to Melo, especially early on. Whether it was his power step to the hoop or his fadeaway, the veteran power forward was looking to help his team fight back after being down by 20 points midway through the third quarter.  

3. Getting heated

Even though in third quarter it felt as if the game was slipping away from the Blazers, Portland was still putting a fight. Trevor Ariza and Trae Young got into it. After a video review, Ariza was called for the flagrant one. 

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts was hit with a technical foul in the first quarter after arguing a non-foul call.

Up Next: The Trail Blazers head to Orlando for the final game of this three-game road trip. The Blazers and Magic will tip-off at 4:00pm PT Monday on NBC Sports Northwest and the MyTeams App.

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

Anfernee Simons leaves game with left ankle sprain

usatsi_14119947.jpg
USA Today Images

Anfernee Simons leaves game with left ankle sprain

ATLANTA – More bad injury news for the Blazers.

Second-year guard Anfernee Simons left the Blazers-Hawks game late in the third quarter after suffering a left ankle injury.

With 1:17 left in the third quarter, Simons went up for a baseline floater but came down awkwardly. He was able to get back on defense, where a foul was called, before heading straight to the bench.

Simons was briefly checked on by the medical staff before heading back to the locker room. 

The team later announced that Simons had suffered a left ankle sprain. He did not return.

We will update you as we get more information. 

 

Pregame Notebook: Blazers need to focus on pick and roll and three-point defense vs. Hawks

usatsi_13653032.jpg
USA Today Images

Pregame Notebook: Blazers need to focus on pick and roll and three-point defense vs. Hawks

ATLANTA – Portland is looking to take advantage of the Atlanta Hawks playing in the second night of a back-to-back.

The Trail Blazers and Hawks will tip-off at 4:30p.m. PT tonight on NBC Sports Northwest and on the 'MyTeams' App

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts discussed tonight’s matchup in his pregame media availability.

Coach Stotts mentioned that Trae Young has been able to ‘navigate things easier and makes fewer mistakes.’ Stotts also made sure to add that his team has to respect Hawks big man John Collins from behind the arc because he has become a consistent three-point shooter. Stotts emphasized that Young and Collins have a good two-man game with their pick and roll action as well.  

Stotts also gave his thoughts on how the season has gone for second-year player Anfernee Simons. Simons is averaging 9.0 points, 1.5 assists, and 2.4 rebounds this season.   

“I think he’s going through what you’ve kind of expect from a young player,” Stotts said. “He’s had some good games. He’s had some tough times… Like a lot of young players getting a chance he’s been up and down.”

HEAR FROM COACH STOTTS HERE:

(Audio start 48 seconds in)

BLAZERS INJURY REPORT:

Damian Lillard (right groin strain), Rodney Hood (left ruptured Achilles tendon), Zach Collins (left shoulder dislocation), and Jusuf Nurkic (left leg fracture) are out for Saturday’s game vs. Atlanta.

HAWKS INJURY REPORT:

DeAndre’ Bembry (abdominal pain), Clint Capela (plantar fasciitis), Dewayne Dedmon (right elbow pain), and Skal Labissiere (left knee chondral injury) are out.

STANDOUT GAME NOTES:

-- Thursday's meeting will round out the two-game series between the Trail Blazers and Hawks during the 2019-20 season. Portland leads the season series, 1-0.

-- The Trail Blazers have won four consecutive games against the Hawks, dating back to Jan. 5, 2018.

-- Portland and Atlanta rank second and third in the NBA in pick-and-rolls per game. The Trail Blazers run 27.3 pick-and-rolls per game, while the Hawks runs 26.7.

-- LAST MEETING: Portland defeated Atlanta in double-overtime, 124-113, at Moda Center on Nov. 10. Damian Lillard led Portland with 30 points (8-17 FG, 3-9 3-PT, 11-12 FT), seven rebounds, six assists and one steal, while Trae Young paced Atlanta with 35 points (9-30 FG, 3-13 3-PT, 14-17 FT), eight rebounds, 10 assist and three steals.

-- CJ McCollum scored 23 points (11-23 FG, 1-6 3-PT) to go with eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks in Portland's Nov. 10 win over Atlanta. McCollum has scored at least 20 points in six of his last seven games against the Hawks, with the exception coming when he scored 18 on Dec. 30, 2017.

-- Trae Young has scored at least 25 points in each of his three career games against Portland, including two games of 30-plus points. His 30.3 career scoring average against Portland is his third-highest against any team.

-- John Collins scored at least 20 points in both of his games against Portland during the 2018-19 season, averaging 20.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists over those two games. He missed the Nov. 10 game against the Trail Blazers.

How to watch, stream Trail Blazers at Hawks today at 4:30pm

usatsi_13653134.jpg
USA Today Images

How to watch, stream Trail Blazers at Hawks today at 4:30pm

ATLANTA – The Portland Trail Blazers (26-34) visit the Atlanta Hawks (18-43) Saturday night in the second game of Portland’s current three-game road trip.

The Trail Blazers started off the trip, feeling better about their defense in Indiana Thursday night despite falling to the Pacers, 106-100. It’s time for a bounce back game after the Blazers felt like they let one slip away against the Pacers.  

As for the Hawks, Saturday night will be the second night of a back-to-back for Atlanta following Friday’s home matchup against the Brooklyn Nets.

You can watch all the action between the Blazers and Hawks game on NBC Sports Northwest, the Official Network of the Portland Trail Blazers and you can stream the game on our website or by downloading the MyTeams app!

And, have you heard about Blazers Pass

You can get 15 live Trail Blazers games, pre and postgame shows, and on-demand full-game replays with Blazers Pass! (Only available to fans located in Blazers Territory, pursuant to NBA rules and agreements. No TV provider required. Subscription Period: November 4, 2019 - April 16, 2020. Subscription auto-renews prior to start of next season.)

Don't miss any of the coverage of tonight's game:

1:30pm Blazers Game Day with Chad Doing

3:30pm Blazers Warm-Up

4:00pm Trail Blazers Pregame Show

4:30pm Trail Blazers vs. Hawks

After the game catch Blazers Outsiders with hosts Joe Simons and Dan Marang!

Plus, for full coverage of the game check out Dwight JaynesJamie Hudson and our digital team. Follow us on social throughout the night for the latest updates. 

Quotable

“I see him continuing to stay confident and working hard every day. He’s starting to understand defenses and how defenses play certain players. He’s taking advantage of his spots when he gets opportunities.” -- Trevor Ariza on the development of Gary Trent Jr. 

Trail Blazers facing reality on upcoming three-game road trip

Trail Blazers facing reality on upcoming three-game road trip

The Portland Trail Blazers have 23 games remaining on their regular-season slate.

Twenty-three games to try and move up and seize the eighth and final playoff spot out West. Entering Wednesday’s games, the Trail Blazers currently sit in the ninth spot in the Western Conference standings, 3.5 games back of the Memphis Grizzlies.

And, it's now confirmed that the Blazers will have at least a couple more games without their All-Star Damian Lillard.

Lillard did not travel with the team Wednesday morning as the Blazers set out on their current three-game road trip.  

Following the All-Star break, Lillard was asked how many games he expected to miss as he continued to rehab a right groin strain. "If I had to guess I would say at least 3-4 games. Maybe five games," Lillard said. 

The Trail Blazers point guard has already missed three games with the injury. There’s still a chance Lillard could meet the team at a later date on the trip.

But, as Blazers head coach Terry Stotts discussed following Tuesday’s loss to the Celtics, the team’s medical staff must clear Lillard first and foremost. 

“It’s usually a mutual decision,” Stotts said of Lillard and the medical staff. “We have to clear him medically, and this is not just Damian, it’s any player. He has to be cleared medically and then the player has to feel if he’s up to play or not. That’s not specific to Damian, that’s just the right thing to do. Ultimately, the player knows whether he feels 100% and if he’s ready to go.”

Portland has been relying heavily on CJ McCollum and Carmelo Anthony with Lillard sidelined. The two veterans have mentioned that they have to step up, but they also realize the number one priority is for Lillard to only come back when he is completely healthy.

“It’s an adjustment. It’s an adjustment for everybody, starting with the guys on the bench, as a team, and as a whole, you lose a component like that to injury, but… Dame's got to get healthy, that’s the most important part -- is for him to be healthy,” Melo said.

With Lillard sidelined, the Blazers have gone 1-2. It’s been apparent that Portland has missed the two-man game between Lillard and Hassan Whiteside. 

Late in Tuesday’s game vs. Boston, McCollum and Whiteside showed that they too could have a pretty solid connection. Whiteside finished with 18 points and 19 rebounds in the losing effort.

But the big fella understands that they have to continue to come together with their team captain out.  

“There’s nothing we can do about injuries. Injuries pretty much have been haunting us all season,” Whiteside said.

Now as the Blazers embark on their current three-game trip starting off with Thursday’s contest in Indiana, followed by Saturday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, before wrapping up the trip in Orlando Monday, it’s all about the playoff push.

It’s about catching Memphis, while still dealing with so many injuries.

It’s our reality so we’ve got to figure it out -- how to get as many wins as possible starting in Indiana and progressing forward. I don’t know how many –we’ve got 20 games left, 21 games left? 23 – so we’ve got to win the majority of them to give ourselves a chance to make the playoffs. – Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum said following Tuesday's game

The reality a month ago was Lillard went off for 50 points against Indiana with the Blazers beating the Pacers 139-129 at home.

Melo’s mentality heading into the road trip is all about how the trip starts off against the Pacers. 

“To win in Indiana. For me, that’s the only thing that we should be thinking about. Because the first game on the road trip is always the one that if we have a chance to get, we want to go in there and get it. I’m sure they’ll be thinking about them coming in here losing to us on our home court and they want to get that win back.”

While, Whiteside put it simply:

“We just gotta get some wins on the road. Let’s get a couple of wins on the road, and pretty much that’s all there is to say.”

That’s the truth. There really isn’t much more to say or do, the short-handed Blazers just need to go out and win on the road.