Chandler Parsons

Re-living Damian Lillard’s shot still gives us goosebumps

Re-living Damian Lillard’s shot still gives us goosebumps

During the Portland-Houston first round playoff series in 2014, three of the six games went to overtime.

The entire series was a classic in its own right, let alone adding in Damian Lillard’s incredible Game 6 buzzer-beater.

The Rockets had won the regular season series, 3-1 that year. Both teams scored over 100 points in each of the four games.

The big question is: How was this almost six years ago?

Game Summaries heading into Game 6:

GAME 1 - Portland 122, Houston 120 (OT)

GAME 2 - Portland 112, Houston 10

GAME 3 - Houston 121, Portland 116 (OT)

GAME 4 - Portland 123, Houston 120 (OT)

GAME 5 - Houston 108, Portland

One thing is certain: Rip City Faithful misses this 2013-14 team.

Whether it was LaMarcus Aldridge, Nic Batum, Wesley Matthews, Robin Lopez or Thomas Robinson, Blazers fans shared their thoughts on how much fun it was to watch this squad.

Lillard, along with Aldridge, helped guide the Blazers to the Western Conference semifinals for the first time in 14 years.

Aldridge had a career season, winning three Western Conference Player of the Week honors, while also putting up career highs in several statistical categories including:

  • Points per game
  • Rebounds per game,
  • Free-throw percentage
  • Defensive rebounds
  • Double-doubles

Rewatching this game had Trail Blazers fans thinking about the what ifs.

What if Aldridge had stayed and not left for San Antonio in the summer of 2015?

What if…

But then, of course, there were all the feels once again with Lillard draining the three-point over Chandler Parsons with nine tenths remaining on the clock.

Lillard finished with 25 points, six rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Aldridge added 30 points and 13 rebounds.

Damian Lillard also gave Rip City their first taste of a game-winning three that nobody will ever forget.

Damian Lillard exits early (but eventually returns) after apparent right ankle injury

Damian Lillard exits early (but eventually returns) after apparent right ankle injury

UPDATE: Lillard returned to the floor and started the second half for the Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers star guard Damian Lillard had to head to the locker room early after rolling his right ankle late in the first half against the Grizzlies. Lillard was driving for a layup and appeared to step on the foot of Grizzlies small forward Chandler Parsons, rolling his right ankle and falling to the floor. 

After subbing out of the game Lillard tried to loosen the ankle back up while on the bench, but eventually left to be treated in the team’s locker room.

During halftime the Trail Blazers announced Lillard is PROBABLE to return with a right ankle sprain

Be sure to follow up on Twitter @nbcsnorthwest for all the latest updates.

CJ McCollum on tweets to Parsons: 'I always have a sense of humor'

CJ McCollum on tweets to Parsons: 'I always have a sense of humor'

When CJ McCollum arrived at Trail Blazers practice Saturday afternoon, his tweet exchange with Chandler Parsons from the night before was quite the topic.

“A lot of jokes being made,’’ McCollum said of the back-and-forth with the Memphis wing.

McCollum, who tweeted back at Parsons that the Blazers hit the lottery by not signing him in free agency this summer, said the tweet was borne out of humor.

“I always have a sense of humor, so when I see something that I want to respond to, I respond,’’ McCollum said. “I felt like that was something I wanted to respond to.’’

Teammate Evan Turner, for one, said he nearly lost himself when he first read the tweets on Friday night while dining at Departure in downtown Portland.

“I knocked like everything over at the bar,’’ Turner said. “Everybody went crazy. I went crazy … threw my cellphone. It was unreal, man. It was crazy: On Chandler’s part, on CJ’s part … very funny. Hilarious.’’

McCollum said he knows Parsons in passing from a few encounters throughout the years. He said he made the response mostly because he was defending his team.

“It’s my team. I ride with my guys,’’ McCollum said.

Turner said one of the things that made the exchange so funny is knowing the personality of the two players involved. Turner said Parsons is very sarcastic and McCollum is usually very conservative.

“I’m surprised CJ said it because he is always so politically correct like he’s trying to run for president,’’ Turner said. 

Chandler Parsons starts Twitter war with Blazers

Chandler Parsons starts Twitter war with Blazers

Well, that escalated quickly. Following the Blazers 112-109 win over his Grizzlies, Memphis forward Chandler Parsons took the time to jump on Twitter and take a shot at the Trail Blazers. It didn’t sit kindly with a certain Portland star.

It all started with a innocent, yet funny tweet from the Trail Blazers. A simple gif of Chandler Parsons air balling a three, with the words “To be fair, the NBA 3-point line is really, really far away from the basket.”

Even the greatest NBA player has the occasional air ball. It happens. What doesn’t always happen is what followed on Twitter after the game. Parson caught wind of the Blazers tweet, and took a shot. Unlike his air ball, this one hit its target.

Boom. The shot heard round the world, and heard very loudly in the ear of one CJ McCollum. The Blazers’ star guard wasted little time firing back at Parsons, and ended the argument rather quickly.

Mic. Dropped.

For those who don’t remember, just last summer the Blazers reportedly offered Parsons a 4-year max deal, which Parsons turned down in favor of signing with the Memphis Grizzlies. Parson’s has dealt with injuries all season long, and has appeared in just 19 games for the Grizzlies.

Well, we thought the mic was dropped. Despite all his injuries, Parsons' thumbs seem to working just fine. Just when you thought it was over Parsons sent the ball right back into McCollum’s court.

This is where the fun started, as some other Blazers decided to chime in.

Needless to say, fans blew up the Twitter world:

Too bad this was the final meeting of the year between these two teams. Here's to hoping they meet in the playoffs. 

CJ McCollum ties his career high while leading Trail Blazers past Memphis

CJ McCollum ties his career high while leading Trail Blazers past Memphis

MEMPHIS -- CJ McCollum had his first breakout performance of the season, and it couldn't have come at a better time for the Trail Blazers. 

McCollum tied his career-high with 37 points, which included 16 in the fourth quarter, to lead Portland to a 100-94 win over Memphis at FedEx Forum.

McCollum on Saturday said he wasn't worried about his slow shooting start to the season. He said he has spent too much time working on his shot, too many repetitions honing the skill, to be worried about his 43.6 percent shooting.

A day later, he showed why he had so much faith.

In his most explosive performance of the season, McCollum hit 13-of-23 shots and six three-pointers to help the Blazers (4-3) record back-to-back wins for the first time this season. 

McCollum's performance came on a night when Damian Lillard was beat up and nearly injured twice - once in the first half on a fall that hurt his left thumb and once on a second-half drive when he tweaked his right ankle. Lillard finished with 19 points on 3-of-11 shooting, but he added seven assists. Maurice Harkless added 18 points and seven rebounds.

Memphis (3-4) lost its second straight even though it welcomed the debut of free agent signee Chandler Parsons. Parsons, who was once courted by Portland during the offseason, played 22 minutes and did not score while missing all eight of his shots.

Portland trailed by as many as 10 in the third quarter and by one entering the fourth quarter, but McCollum quickly took control of the quarter, and the game. The Blazers went on a 8-0 run early in the fourth thanks to back-to-back buckets from Harkless and then consecutive baskets from McCollum. He later hit a dagger three-pointer with 3:27 left that pushed the Blazers lead to 98-92.

Memphis took a 51-47 halftime lead after Conley made a running three-pointer to beat the buzzer. Memphis held the lead despite shooting just 36.6 percent, in part because Portland had 10 turnovers and in part because the Grizzlies outscored them 18-9 at the free throw line.

As they have done nearly every game, the Blazers bolted to an early lead, taking an 8-2 lead and later a 20-12 lead. But Memphis came back and pulled within 25-22 at the end of the first quarter as the Blazers' second unit struggled to score over the final 4:56.

Marc Gasol led Memphis with 21 points while Mike Conley added 16 points.

Next up: Phoenix at Blazers, 7 p.m. Tuesday (CSN)


A quick word about the possible recruiting of Pau Gasol

A quick word about the possible recruiting of Pau Gasol

Last season, the Portland Trail Blazers lost their No. 1 free-agent target, Greg Monroe, to the Milwaukee Bucks. This year, they lost their top choice, Chandler Parsons, to Memphis. And let's not even take into consideration that their top choice two years ago, Spencer Hawes, spurned the Trail Blazers (fortunately) for the Los Angeles Clippers.

What's it going to take to land one of these guys?

For a moment, let's put aside the old adage that top free agents never pick Portland. I think there is a danger of that becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy and I've never been convinced there's ever been many opportunities for it to happen, anyway. Instead of looking at this from a negative side, let's take another view.

At this time, people are streaming into Portland for all sorts of reasons. And it's not just the old Portlandia idea that young people come here to retire. There is a culture in Portland that's unique. There's an urban lifestyle that many find interesting.

Certainly, I think it's fair to assume the Rose City is at least on a par with Memphis and Milwaukee when it comes to cultural opportunity and lifestyle. And no, I'm not so sure it's yet on a par with those teams, basketball-wise. Well, actually I am -- but let's just assume it isn't. And perhaps those cities are being chosen as destinations strictly because of the vision that they offer better teams or playoff opportunities than the Trail Blazers do at this time.

That's debatable, obviously.

But if I were chasing Pau Gasol right now -- as is being widely reported -- I'm not sure I'd get into the basketball side of that recruiting pitch. This is a different kind of basketball player -- a mature world traveler who is smart, hip and perhaps looking for a place just like this one to finish up his basketball career.

This town might just be made for Gasol. I think it's entirely possible that he could actually be interested in exploring the lifestyle here.

If he's aware of it.

He is the son of a medical doctor and a hospital administrator who actually went one year to med school himself. He's known to appreciate the finer things in life. He's not some kid just set free after one year in college. Man, I'd be selling this guy on Oregon wine country, the charm of living in the Pearl and South Waterfront, Portland's highly touted restaurant scene, local music --  even the soccer team -- and all the other things that are bringing hipsters here from all over the country.

And I'd be taking a hard look at the style in which the previous top choices have been recruited. It hasn't worked. Why not consider a little different approach? Why not add a little romance to this deal? Is he a fisherman? If so, take him up the Columbia. Heck, for fun put him on a jet boat in the Willamette, if you can. Run him up the tram to the med school on a clear day. Even if you have to do it on video, try to give this man a feel for what the city is about.

This is a guy who just might FIT in Portland, basketball or not.

Olshey always has a plan -- we just don't know it yet

Olshey always has a plan -- we just don't know it yet

The news that the Trail Blazers are hot on the trail of free-agent forward Chandler Parsons was a bit surprising last night. When healthy, Parsons is a very promising player but he's had his last two seasons prematurely end because of injuries to his right knee. And the first of those injuries required what was called "hybrid microfracture surgery," which is indicative of cartilage damage.

And while I ponder that possible signing, I'm thinking about the sort of planning that went into Portland's decision to go after Parsons. We know, of course, that General Manager Neil Olshey has had months to plan his strategy for free agency -- and months to know how important this chase is for the long-term future of his franchise. All that cap space he's been building comes due this summer. Next year, a big new contract for C.J. McCollum will be added and this team will never in the foreseeable future have the kind of room it has right this minute.

This is his chance. And I wouldn't bet against him pulling off some sort of "Wow -- I can't believe he did that" move.

We also know that Olshey loves to work in the background. He's one of those magicians who doesn't make a big production out of his sleight of hand until the end of the show. You don't know he has your wallet until he pulls it out to pay the bill at the end of the night. And right now, I have no idea what he's up to except I'm pretty certain we haven't seen the end of his show this summer.

Parsons, yes. But there's more here. There has to be. Everyone knows this team needs a rim-protecting, rebound-gobbling big man. Is he using Parsons' friendship with Dwight Howard to try to lure him to Portland? Is he after someone below the radar -- Bismack Biyombo, for example? Or maybe Festus Ezeli?

I don't think we'll know until Olshey is finished.

The one thing I do know from watching the first few hours of free agency is that baseball genius Bill Veeck was right about a half-century ago when talking about the salaries of players. And he's been proved right countless times over the decades:

"It isn't the high price of stars that is expensive," he famously said. "It's the high price of mediocrity."