NBA Champion Jordan Bell signs new deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers

NBA Champion Jordan Bell signs new deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers

Former Oregon Duck Jordan Bell has had quite the rollercoaster career in the NBA thus far.

He is an NBA Champion (Golden State Warriors, 2018) and has already experienced an NBA Finals (twice). From the biggest stage to more recently, simply being a trade pawn for several teams, Bell has finally landed a new home. This time, for at least a few years.

On Monday, it was reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic that free agent Bell has signed a two-year contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

NBA JOURNEY

The 6-foot-8 forward/center was drafted in the second round (No. 38 overall) by the Chicago Bulls in the 2017 NBA Draft. His career with the Bulls franchise was over before it even began. That same night, Bell was traded to the Golden State Warriors for $3.5 million in cash considerations. 

His first year in the league ended in a championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2018. The next season, a banged up Warriors squad still made the NBA finals, but eventually lost to the Toronto Raptors. Bell played in 68 games that season with three starts and was sixth on the team in blocks per game (0.8).

Following the 2019 season, Bell signed as a free agent with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Olympian Devon Allen].

Just before the NBA All-Star break in 2020, Bell was a part of a four-team trade sending him to the Houston Rockets. Less than 24 hours later, his career with the Rockets ended and he was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, where he would join former Oregon teammate Dillon Brooks. The dynamic duo was back together once again, but only for a short time.

Bell was waived by the Grizzlies on March 2, 2020.

Three months of not calling an NBA team his home is finally over. 

The LeBron James era in Cleveland had concluded in 2018 and the rebuild began. Bell will now join Kevin Love, Andre Drummond, Larry Nance Jr., Collin Sexton, Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova amongst others in Cleveland.

The Cavaliers (19-46) finished last in the Eastern Conference standings this season and at the time of the NBA suspension and did not qualify for the NBA’s 22-team format to resume play in Orlando, Florida at the end of July.

Bell had the opportunity to learn from one of the best defenders in the league, Andre Iguodala as well as Draymond Green in Golden State. In Cleveland, another opportunity awaits with Drummond who leads the NBA in rebounds per game (15.2) and averages 1.6 blocks per game. For a team that needed to get better on the defensive end (ranked 23rd in team defense last season), Cleveland signing Drummond and now Bell just got better on that end of the court. 

OREGON CAREER

Bell was a complete menace defensively at Oregon. The duo of Bell and Chris Boucher (now with the Toronto Raptors) hosted a block party each game and invited everyone on the opposing team. He posted career highs of 10.9 points and 8.8 rebounds to go with 2.3 blocks (second in the Pac-12 conference) as a junior in 2016-17, earning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors. 

In case you forgot, #ThingsJordanBellCanBlock once trended on Twitter.

The Ducks made a Final Four appearance in 2016 before losing to the eventual national champion North Carolina Tar Heels.

Be sure to download and listen for free Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football

How the Trail Blazers will repeat the magic of '77 in 2021... or sooner

How the Trail Blazers will repeat the magic of '77 in 2021... or sooner

On Sunday, NBC Sports Northwest aired the first of 12 Trail Blazers Classic Games, starting with none other than Game 6 of the 1977 NBA Finals. 

In case you aren't up to speed on Trail Blazers history, it was on the afternoon of June 5th, 1977 that the Blazers beat the 76ers in Game 6 to claim a 4-2 series victory and the franchise's first and only NBA Championship. 

The next morning, Portland was bursting at the seams. Fans lined the streets of downtown as the team celebrated with a victory parade. 

It has been 43 years since that parade took place. But, what if this were the last summer the Trail Blazers had without one? What if next season all the cards were dealt in Portland's favor? What if 44 years after making history, the Blazers did it again? What if there was a '21 championship parade?

Just imagine for a minute what could happen next season...

It's late October 2020. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 the NBA suspended and later canceled the remainder of the 2019-2020 season. 
Finally, all the quarantines are lifted and it's back to business as usual. 

The NBA, one of the first sports leagues in the United States to feel the impact of the pandemic, is finally taking back to the court. 

For the Blazers, there is more than just a return of the game, but the return of key players as well. 

Jusuf Nurkic, who was supposed to make his return on March 15th, will finally see game action after a 17-month hiatus. Zach Collins, who was dealing with a shoulder injury and missed most of the 2019-20 season, is returning as well. Except for Rodney Hood, who is in the final stages of recovering from a ruptured Achilles, the Blazers are finally close to full strength. 

Continuity is key in the NBA, and the Blazers have a lot of it at this point. 

Thanks to a shortened offseason, the Blazers wasted no time signing their own free agents. 

Hassan Whiteside returned on a team-friendly deal and Carmelo Anthony, staying true to his word about seeing himself retire as a Blazers, signs a multi-year deal to ride off into the sunset wearing red and black. 
Trevor Ariza's contract was also guaranteed for the season and the team signed Wenyen Gabrial to a multi-year after he showed great potential in limited time last season.

However, Caleb Swanigan walked as a free agent, signing a lucrative deal to be the starting center for the New York Knicks. Needing to find another big to fill the roster, the Blazers turned to a familiar face: Meyers Leonard.

The seven-footer signed a veteran minimum deal, and with Leonard and Hezonja, the Blazers had the best Call of Duty duo in the league.

The roster was fully loaded and ready to roll. 
PG: Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons, 
SG: CJ McCollum, Gary Trent Jr
SF: Trevor Ariza, Nassir Little, Mario Hezonja
PF: Zach Collins, Carmelo Anthony, Wenyen Gabrial
C: Jusuf Nurkic, Hassan Whiteside, Meyers Leonard
INJURED: Hood

The Blazers were primed for a run, but first they had to get through the stacked Western Conference. 

Atop the west were the two favorites, the Lakers and the Clippers. 

Unfortunately for the Lakers, LeBron James showed up to camp out of shape having treated every day of the quarantine as Taco Tuesday.
Now you know why Taco Wednesday, Taco Thursday, etc were trending all summer. 

As for the Clippers, they were laser-focused. Kawhi Leonard has always been the self-isolation king. He was the only NBA player in his element all summer, and Clippers would reap the benefit. 

Next, you had teams like the Nuggets.  

People would continue to sleep on Denver and burn Jokic for being "out of shape," yet no team has an answer for the Joker. If he is a triple-double machine "out of shape," I'd hate to see him in shape. They were deservedly a Top-3 team. 

The rest of the conference is a wild card. The Thunder, Mavericks, Jazz, and Grizzlies. Any of these teams could finish top four, but they could also finish out of the playoffs. How and where they finish all depends on if they remember to tuck in there jerseys any time they play CP3.

As for the Rockets, they lost their luster. During the pandemic, the CDC recommended against facial hair. To cover his bases and stay safe, James Harden did the unthinkable. He shaved his beard. 

Now clean-shaven, he was no longer intimidating. He could no longer hide behind his beard. Russell Westbrook became the alpha, and Harden just became a run of the mill spot-up shooter. 

The season played out as many expected. The Blazers started slow out of the gate as they tried to figure out lineups and build some chemistry. Anthony and Whiteside had never played with Nurkic before, and for all intents and purposes had never played with Collins. It was like adding two new free agents to the mix. 

Come mid-December, the Blazers were starting to put it all together and found themselves in the Top-8 out west. Then they got reinforcements. Rodney Hood was finally ready to return. 

He started as a bench player behind Ariza, playing on a minutes restriction, but quickly rounded into form and earned his starting spot back. 

By mid-January, the Blazers starting lineup was Lillard - McCollum - Hood - Collins - Nurkic, with a bench rotation of Simons - Trent Jr - Ariza - Anthony - Whiteside. That is a championship-caliber roster, and they went into All-Star break as a Top 5 team in the West.

Speaking of All-Star break, the Blazers had three, yes THREE, representatives at the game. Lillard, Nurkic, and McCollum 

Nurkic was having the best year of his career, and behind Jokic was the best center in the west. McCollum was also having one of the best years of his career and grabbed the vacant spot left by James Harden. 

You see, baby-faced Harden suddenly started getting called for traveling and wasn't being sent to line anymore. Without the beard he was nothing. He would later decide to grow the beard back out, but it wouldn't be ready until 2022. The Rockets were sent to the lottery while they waited.

Flash forward to the end of the season, the Blazers ended strong and finished behind the Clippers and just ahead of the Nuggets. Oh, wait, what about the Warriors? The entire league forgot about Klay Thompson and Steph Curry returning. This wasn't the Eric Paschall show anymore...

With Steph, Klay, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins and first overall pick and rookie of the year Anthony Edwards, the Warriors were once again unstoppable. And for some reason, no one noticed. 

Final Western Conference Standings:

1) Warriors
2) Clippers
3) Blazers
4) Nuggets
5) Jazz
6) Thunder
7) Mavericks
8) Lakers

FIRST ROUND: BLAZERS VS THUNDER

The Blazers matched up with the Thunder in Round 1. Ironically, this Thunder roster, led by Chris Paul, was made as a direct result of what happend the last time these two played in the playoffs. The Bad Shot. 

There were no bad shots this time around, only good ones, and the Blazers swept the Thunder. 

The rest of the field:
1) Warriors over 8) Lakers: 4-2
Over the season LeBron swore off tacos, and got back in shape. But, it wasn't until late in the season that he was the LeBron we had come to know. The King was ready, and so were the Lakers. Unfortunately, they had to meet up with the Warriors. Golden State was LeBron's kryptonite for years, and it didn't change with him in a Lakers uniform. The Warriors were back...

7) Mavericks over 2) Clippers: 4-3
This was, by far, the best series in the first round. Every game was decided by single digits, with Game 7 being won on a Luka Donic buzzer-beater. 

4) Nuggets over 5) Jazz: 4-2
Two boring teams put on a boring series, and boring Jokic averaged the most boring triple-double and tore the boring Jazz apart in the most boring way. 

SECOND ROUND: BLAZERS VS NUGGETS

The last time the Blazers made it to the second round they played the very same Denver Nuggets. They beat the Nuggets in seven games in 2019, but things are different this time around. In 2019 they didn't have Melo, Whiteside, and most importantly they didn't have a healthy Jusuf Nurkic. With a full complement of weapons, the Blazers went to battle with the Nuggets. 
The Blazers defense was able to hold Jokic to only double-doubles in round two, but he still helped the Nuggets put up a fight. But in the end, the Blazers depth was too much and Nurkic wished the team from the Mile High City a "happy summer" after his 20-20 game sealed the deal in Game 6. 

Rest of the field:
1) Warriors over 7) Mavericks: 4-1
The ol' gentleman's sweep. The Mavericks didn't go down without a fight, but Donic and Co. just ran out of gas after that grueling seven-game series against the Clippers. One thing is for certain, the Mavericks will be a force for years to come, 2021 just wasn't their year. 
Curry and the Warriors shimmy into the Western Conference Finals. 

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: BLAZERS VS WARRIORS
Déjà vu or what? In 2019, the Blazers beat the Thunder in the first round, Nuggets in the second round, and met the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. 

The Blazers were swept that season, but no one would forget the magical performance of Meyers Leonard in Game 4. The Blazers reserve center got the start that night and went off for a career-high 30 points. 

After a season filled mostly with DNPs, it was time for the Hammer to do his thing. Coach Stotts tinkered with his lineup, moving Melo to backup SF  in an effort to get Leonard minutes. 

The move proved to be the x-factor. 

Every Curry bomb was matched by Lillard. 
Every Thompson trey was matched by 3J. 
Every Wiggins bucket was matched by Nurkic. 
Every Green brick was countered by a Leonard swish. 

The extra firepower was the difference, and just like he did in Game 4 in 2019, Leonard found his groove. 

It took six games, but the Blazers finally got over the Golden State hump. For the first time since 1992, the Blazers were heading to the finals. 

THE NBA FINALS.  BLAZERS VS ???? 

The Blazers flew across the country for Game 1 against the (checks notes)... Philadelphia 76ers! It was like 1977 all over again, and the series played out like an epic remake of a classic movie. 

The 76ers jumped out to a 2-0 series lead and had the Blazers on wobbly legs. 

But, Game 3 in 2021 started like Game 2 ended in 1977. 

Zach Collins and Ben Simmons both went up for a rebound late in the first quarter, but became tangled up and wrestled to the floor. They both jumped up, fists clenched ready to fight. The benches started to clear. Surprisingly, Joel Embiid elected to stay out of it and remained calm away from the fight. And before anyone could get in to separate the two, Trevor Ariza came flying in. Ariza, playing the role of Maurice Lucas, came in and gave Simmons a Goldberg-esque spear to the floor. 

Ariza was ejected and suspended for Games 4 and 5, but the message was sent loud and clear: Portland wasn't going down without a fight. 

Immediately following the fight the Blazers went of a game-deciding run and never looked back. The Blazers won Games 3, 4, and 5, and in a perfect storybook ending Ariza returned in Game 6 only to hit the series-clinching bucket as time expired. 

Fans rushed the court as Mark Mason yelled the loudest "Blazers win" of all time. Damian Lillard came over, grabbed the mic and yelled "RIP CITTTTTYYYYY."  

On TV you heard the epic call, "And the Blazers win the series for the first time in 44 years."

Rip City was ready to party like it was 1977. 

Luckily for those watching at home, they got to see the full celebration. There was no cutting to the Kemper Open!

The next morning was one giant party in Portland. 

Lillard and Co. boarded the parade bus and went around the city to celebrate with the hundreds of thousands of fans in the streets. 

They started at VMC, went over the Broadway Bridge, all the way down Broadway, found their way onto the 405,  crossed over the Marquam Bridge, up I-5 North, eventually ending with an extravagant rally inside Moda Center. 

It was an event 44 years in the making. 

A long wait worth every second. 

Will it happen in 2021? Only time will tell. 

Stephen Curry takes a side on Damian Lillard's meaningless games comment

Stephen Curry takes a side on Damian Lillard's meaningless games comment

Now that the NBA is reportedly ready for the Board of Governors to vote on a proposed 22-team format to return to play in Orlando, it sounds like Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard and the Blazers, who are currently in a three-way tie for ninth place out West, will get the opportunity to make the playoffs.

Lillard created headlines last week with his comments about the NBA's potential plans for resuming the season and not wanting to play in 'meaningless games.'

If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team. But I'm not going to be participating. I'm telling you that right now. – Damian Lillard told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes. 

Lillard continued, "If we come back and I don't have an opportunity to make the playoffs -- I will show up to work, I'll be at practice and I'll be with my team. I'm going to do all that and then I'm going to be sitting right on that bench during the games."

But now, as 22 teams get set to pack their bags for Orlando, pending the NBA’s Board of Governors vote, it’s crazy to think about the Golden State Warriors not be among the teams traveling. The Warriors hold the worst record in the league at 15-50 after a trip to the NBA Finals the previous season.

This week, Warriors guard Stephen Curry joined Anthony Morrow and Justin Jack on 'The Life Podcast' to discuss the killing of George Floyd, as well as how COVID-19 is affecting the NBA and the plan to move forward, and much more.

But hey, Curry understands where Lillard was coming from with his comments about meaningless play.

I feel what he's saying because it's hard mentally to go with this long of gap, and then prepare for games you know don't matter. I get it. -- Steph Curry on the ‘The Life Podcast’

Curry added, "it's a hard thing to put your mind in that space, 'I'm gonna go out here and compete and bust my a-- and know in five games we're just gonna be back in the offseason again.'”

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon, and Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri. 

On this day in history: Meyers Leonard played his last game as a Blazer, which happened to be his best

On this day in history: Meyers Leonard played his last game as a Blazer, which happened to be his best

Where were you on May 20, 2019?

That was the night the Moda Center crowd chanted Meyers Leonard’s name.

It was his final game as a Trail Blazer and it was his best game as a Trail Blazer.

Leonard finished with a career-high 30 points.

The former Trail Blazers big man sat down with our Dwight Jaynes over the summer, just days after he found out he had been traded to Miami, to put into words what that game meant to him.

Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals for me, was truly surreal. That is a moment that I will never forget ever in my life. That game was special. I remember in the second quarter, I think at that point I had 25 points in the first half, and the crowd started chanting my name. I’ve had boos before in that arena. It’s very hard to describe, I mean, it was truly surreal. It made me feel that all the work that I’ve put in, all the ups and downs I’ve been through it was so emotionally powerful.  -- Former Portland Trail Blazers center Meyers Leonard

All Leonard ever wanted to do since he was drafted by the Blazers in 2012 as the No. 11 overall pick, was to help the franchise win. Even if his seven years in Portland didn’t go the way some had hoped, or how Meyers had hoped at times, he is extremely thankful for his time with the Blazers.

Leonard continued to describe Game 4, saying, “if you go look at it, I’m pretty sure I put my head down because I didn’t want to tear up. That’s how emotionally tied to that moment I was because of everything that I had been through in Portland and how badly I wanted to help us win for all of those seven years and now here I am, which ended up being my last Blazers game, doing my best to help us.”

Game 4 was a special one for Leonard even if the outcome didn’t go the way he and the Trail Blazers wanted.

It’s hard to believe it has already been a year since the Warriors swept the Blazers in the Western Conference Finals, but it was a day The Hammer and many around Rip City will never forget.  

To celebrate the one year anniversary of Leonard's best game as a Trail Blazer, here are some of the greatest moments from Twitter as people congratulated Meyers on a great finish to the season.

Thanks for the memories, Hammer!

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Jusuf Nurkic, Rip City react to Trail Blazers win in last regular season game at Oracle Arena

Jusuf Nurkic, Rip City react to Trail Blazers win in last regular season game at Oracle Arena

Oh, what used-to-be…

Thursday’s Trail Blazers Classic Game on NBCSNW brought about many emotions.

The game was played just over 16 months ago and yet it was a contest in which a healthy Jusuf Nurkic, a healthy Kevin Durant (in a Warriors jersey), a healthy Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry were all getting up and down the court with their usual success. 

To be exact, this Trail Blazers and Warriors regular season finale at Oracle Arena was 497 days ago.

It was a memorable one, with Damian Lillard hitting a go-ahead three-pointer in overtime, after not connecting from deep as regulation was winding down. The Trail Blazers defeated the Warriors, 110-109 on Dec. 27, 2018. 

Lillard went 7-for-20 from the field in front of his friends and family in what could’ve been his last game at Oracle, had the Blazers not met the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals last year. The Trail Blazers All-Star finished with 21 points and five assists.

Blazers fans rejoiced in watching the play of Jusuf Nurkic once again.

With Nurkic’s return to action put on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fans were happy to see the big fella out on the court again.

Nurkic finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds. CJ McCollum added 24 points.

The Warriors didn’t have an answer for the Trail Blazers 7-footer. The spin move, the passing, his aggressive nature attacking the rim -- whatever Nurkic threw at Golden State they struggled to defend it. 

The Bosnian Beast watched the re-air of the game on NBCSNW in somewhat disbelief using a mind blown emoji.

As for that strong connection between Lillard and Nurkic, Nurk guaranteed that the Trail Blazers all-important two-man game isn’t going to change.  

https://twitter.com/raiderripcity/status/1258601413073973254

Nurkic’s impending return before the NBA suspension brought about a lot of optimism as did watching this game and remembering Nurkic's attack mentality on both ends.

The big fella hasn’t played since Mar. 25, 2019 when he went down against the Brooklyn Nets. The game went to overtime. With just 2:22 remaining in OT, Nurkic came crashing down. He was lying on the baseline holding his left leg, while Nets players ran the other way not wanting to look at the gruesome injury.   

Now with Nurkic tweeting about this instant classic game, fans are eager for what could be if the 2019-20 season does resume later this summer.

Could there be that proposed play-in tournament?

Fans like the idea of watching Lillard and Nurkic work together again in such a tourney.

https://twitter.com/Opher0010/status/1258583686485700608

By the way, Nurkic’s play isn’t the only thing that’s strong.

His Twitter game is pretty strong too.

 

How to watch: Damian Lillard's game winner in OT at Golden State in 2018

How to watch: Damian Lillard's game winner in OT at Golden State in 2018

It wasn’t all that pretty until the end.

The Trail Blazers had missed their first nine shots of the second quarter against the Warriors and it was a similar start to the third for Portland. The Warriors struggled from the free throw line from tip-off, and there were plenty of costly turnovers committed by both teams.

But, this week’s theme of the Trail Blazers Classic games on NBCSNW is game-winners and this was a good one! 

Damian Lillard hit a go-head three-pointer in overtime that is worth another watch.
This was the last regular season game the Oakland native would play at Oracle Arena on Dec. 27, 2018.  

With Lillard’s three, the Trail Blazers beat the Warriors, 110-109 in OT.

The Trail Blazers five-time All-Star went 7-for-20 from the field in front of his friends and family at Oracle. He finished with 21 points and five assists. And what an ending it was to a chapter in Lillard’s life. He grew up attending games at Oracle, sometimes even sneaking into games as a kid. He joked that the security was not what it was today. 

Lillard said postgame,"that's a hell of a way to go out. We needed this win. It was a big game for us, especially having to play them two times in a row, having to play such a solid game.”

Jusuf Nurkic added 27 points and 12 rebounds. CJ McCollum finished with 24 points.

Starters for Blazers vs. Warriors on Dec. 27, 20018:

GOLDEN STATE

Draymond Green

Kevon Looney

Kevin Durant

Stephen Curry

Klay Thompson

PORTLAND

Al-Farouq Aminu

Maurice Harkless

Jusuf Nurkic

Damian Lillard

 CJ McCollum

HOW TO WATCH: Damian Lillard’s game-winner at Oracle

WHEN: Thursday, May 7 at 6:30pm 

Channel: NBC Sports Northwest, Channel 737 (Portland), 617 (Seattle)

CHANNEL FINDER

Stream the game here.  

Or stream the game on your phone with the 'MyTeams' App -- available in the App Store for iPhones and on Google play.

Check out the full slate of Trail Blazers Classic Games right here.  

Inside Sabrina Ionescu's relationship with “big brother” Steph Curry

Inside Sabrina Ionescu's relationship with “big brother” Steph Curry

Family isn’t always defined by blood.

It’s about the connections we make with other people.

For Sabrina Ionescu and Steph Curry, this couldn’t be more true. 

Ionescu, a Walnut Creek, California native, grew up a Golden State Warriors fan and would drive the 16.5 miles west on CA-24 to watch her team from the stands of Oracle Arena. Her soon-to-be favorite player entered the league in 2009, when the Warriors used the No. 7 overall pick to draft sharp-shooter Stephen Curry from Davidson College. 

Curry returned the favor, attending Oregon’s away game against the Cal Golden Bears during Pac-12 conference play in Berkeley, California. He brought his daughters, Riley and Ryan, and the three sat front row to watch the player who he hopes his daughters can aspire to be some day. If they want to play basketball growing up, Curry said he would play them Ionescu’s highlights and say "This is how you play the game the right way.”

Ionescu caught Curry’s eye during her junior year at Miramonte High School in Orinda, California. Since then, the Chef has been astonished at what she has been cooking up in her game.

Everything. I think her passion for the game, her leadership, she’s got that winning mentality, and every night she just appreciates being out on the floor playing. It shows in how she makes her teammates better but still plays her game. Triple-doubles are nice too, but she just has it all.

It’s in her eyes. The competitive nature that she has, you can’t teach that. — Steph Curry

Just two people who have changed the game of basketball forever.

Ionescu has rewrote the history books in collegiate basketball. 

Curry has redefined the three-point line.

The two have blossomed a unique, family-like relationship over the years.

Now being able to pick up the phone, FaceTime him, call him, see him at the gym. It’s really crazy to think of, you know, I don’t really see him as a basketball player. I see him as a person and a friend, almost like a big brother. It’s been cool to see our relationship grow and continue to grow. — Sabrina Ionescu 

The two currently workout at the same gym in California. While practicing social distancing, Ionescu snapped a video of the two getting in some shots.

You may have seen this video surface a few times in the past couple days.

Just two game-changers getting up shots in the same gym. 

Hey stopped by to say ‘Hi’ and we were just joking around. We all kept our distance in the gym, far away from each other. He was shooting some shots in the background, so I was like ‘Hey, I’m going to record you rom 6ft away.’ Wasn’t expecting it to go viral but it did so we kind of laughed about it after. — Sabrina Ionescu 

In the video above, our very own Dwight Jaynes sat down (over Zoom) with the Oregon basketball prodigy.

Zach Collins still gets hate mail from Warriors fans after run-in with Klay Thompson

Zach Collins still gets hate mail from Warriors fans after run-in with Klay Thompson

Trail Blazers big man Zach Collins joined Trail Blazers courtside reporter Brooke Olzendam on the latest episode of OlzenGRAM Live Wednesday to discuss quarantine life.

During the live IG video on the Trail Blazers Instagram account, the two discussed several different topics including Collins’ signature haircut and whether or not a hotdog should be considered a sandwich, which Collins had a tough time answering. He went back and forth, but ultimately, Zach decided a hotdog is NOT a sandwich.

Now that we got the important stuff out of the way, let's talk about how Collins does not back down from anyone. 

Brooke threw out a fan question, who wanted to know if he has a favorite “trash talking moment.” Collins smiled saying, “I know what people want me to say.”  

And, guess what?

He said it.

Yep, Collins’ favorite chippy moment came back in Feb. of 2019 when he was not about to back down from Warriors guard Klay Thompson.

“In that moment I probably said some things I shouldn’t have, but you know, I was in the moment, I was hyped. It was against the Warriors and everybody’s trying to beat them… We had been going on a run and I was just like, I didn’t care who it was -- you were getting it that night if you came up to me,” Collins said with a smile.

Collins didn’t reveal exactly what Klay said to him, but he admitted that after Thompson was jawing with him, he “went crazy for a second.”  

“[Klay] said something to me and I turned around and I saw red. I just went crazy for a second… I got a lot of clout from that. I got a lot of followers,” Collins joked.

It wasn’t just Rip City hitting Zach up on social media.

Enter, Golden State Warriors fans.

“I got a lot of hate mail from Warriors fans… I still get it to this this day. It went on probably the rest of the year.”

Not only is the Klay Thompson incident is favorite trash talking moment so far in his career, but he also learned something about Warriors fans:

“They’re passionate.” 

It sounds like Zach isn't looking for any more hate mail. 

How to Watch: Damian Lillard’s 61-point game vs. Warriors

How to Watch: Damian Lillard’s 61-point game vs. Warriors

Enjoy your Sunday evening with this instant classic and what Damian Lillard calls one of the best performances of his career.

It was less than three months ago when Lillard topped his own franchise scoring high with 61 points along with a career best 11 three-pointers in a home win over the Golden State Warriors.

The short-handed Trail Blazers defeated the Warriors 129-124 in overtime behind Lillard’s 61 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists on the night.  

"It's one of the best of my career," Lillard said postgame. "One of my better performances in a game we needed to win. “I think that's just what it is. We needed a win tonight. A great performance. I'm excited about it. I'm happy about it, but I wish it counted for three wins instead of one."

Lillard’s previous career high was 60 points that he set earlier in the season against Brooklyn, which broke the club record at the time.

With the rare feat, the 5x All-Star became the first player in NBA history with 60-plus points and 10-plus 3-pointers in a game, and just the sixth player with multiple 60-point games.

But, the 61 points almost didn’t happen.

After Hassan Whiteside nailed two clutch foul shots with 8.5 seconds left, Lillard, was tossed two more free throws in the final seconds.

The Trail Blazers point guard admitted after the game that he knew what his point total was when he went to the line.

"Yeah, I knew," he said. "I knew I had 59 after it was eight seconds left so I was like, it's probably going to sit at 59. Then the shot went up, I got the rebound, the guy bumped me and I was like, I'm going to fall down. They’re going to have to blow the whistle and I’m getting those two free throws."

This 61-point game from Lillard was smack dab in the middle of a tremendous scoring run for the 29-year-old. During an eight game span from Jan. 17 to Feb. 2, Lillard averaged 45.1 points, 9.6 assists, and 5.5 rebounds.

Starters for Blazers vs. Warriors Game on Jan. 20, 2020

GOLDEN STATE

D’Angelo Russell

Damion Lee

Eric Paschall

Willie Cauley-Stein

Alec Burks

PORTLAND

Damian Lillard

Anfernee Simons

Carmelo Anthony

Nassir Little

Hassan Whiteside

HOW TO WATCH: Lillard’s 61-point performance

WHEN: Sunday, April 5 at 6:00pm 

Channel: NBC Sports Northwest, Channel 737 (Portland), 617 (Seattle)

CHANNEL FINDER

Stream the game here.  

OR stream the game on your phone with the 'MyTeams' App -- available in the App Store for iPhones and on Google play.  

NBC Sports Northwest is airing 12 Trail Blazers Classic Games over the next few weeks.

The full schedule can be found here.

Dell & Sonya Curry were rooting for the Blazers over the Warriors the whole time

Dell & Sonya Curry were rooting for the Blazers over the Warriors the whole time

Now this is something we can get on board with for sure!

On the most recent episode of Dell and Sonya Curry’s podcast, Raising Fame, the two were joined by Klay Thompson's father, Mychal.

A big topic of conversation was how Mychal, who was drafted by the Blazers in 1978, was thinking about how tough it must’ve been for Dell and Sonya when Seth Curry and the Portland Trail Blazers faced Steph Curry and the Warriors in the 2019 Western Conference finals.

Thanks to this podcast, we now know the truth about who they were really rooting for…

-Thompson: "I was thinking about you guys during the Portland-Warriors series last year and seeing you guys in your split jerseys. And I said if I was the Currys -- if I had to choose -- I would choose Seth. Steph already had three rings ..."
 

-Dell: "We didn't tell the media that, but that was our choice (laughing)."
 

-Thompson: "I want my other son to get a ring now. And I'm sure Steph would have understood it."
 

-Sonya: "It was really weird, though. First of all, we hated that whole experience ..."
 

-Thompson: "Really? 
 

-Dell: "Oh it was tough. It was tough."
 

-Thompson: "You couldn't lose either way."
 

-Dell: "No. Somebody had to lose."
 

-Sonya: "You couldn't have the full fan experience because you were too aware of the fact that you were actually cheering against your other son ... and it was hard for Stephen because he's so used to having us there all the time -- more than Seth -- and (when) we would sit in Portland's section, you could tell he was like, 'Oh, this is confusing.' If he would do something good, he would want to look up and celebrate with us. Well, you can't look up in Portland's section (laughing)."

 

Now just imagine -- if The Currys had said they were truly just rooting for Seth and the Blazers while the games were being played, NBC Sports Northwest would’ve featured a lot more Dell and Sonya!