Kent Bazemore

Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers have same problems, on a different night

Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers have same problems, on a different night

Portland, OR-- Portland’s defensive struggles continued Saturday night.

The Kings got out and ran on the Trail Blazers. Sacramento made a living with its fast break points early on. The Kings took a quick 26-10 lead midway through the first quarter.

At the end of the first quarter, Sacramento held a 40-24 after scoring 14 fast break points.

Saturday’s game was very similar to Friday’s contest in Phoenix where the Suns got hot from the start and the Blazers were not able to dig their way out of the hole even with Portland going on big runs.

The Kings scored 77 points in the first half on 57.7 percent shooting.

After being down by 23 at halftime, Portland outscored Sacramento 26-23, but it wasn’t enough heading into the final period. The Kings stepped up their defensive effort and cruised to a victory.

Here are three quick takeaways from Saturday’s loss:

1.  Another slow start for Portland

The Trail Blazers game plan to start the game was to get big man Hassan Whiteside involved in the offense. The Blazers went to Whiteside for the first four possessions. The first two resulted in a lay-up and a dunk. But, besides Whiteside’s production and Gary Trent Jr.’s scoring outbreak off the bench, Portland had a hard time putting points on the board.  

For the Kings, they found a shooting groove early while sharing the ball. Sacramento had five players double figures after three quarters.

2.  Same old problems

When the Kings weren’t beating the Blazers down the court and finishing with an easy lay-up, Sacramento was beating Portland from three. Just as the Blazers have struggled with all season – rotating on the perimeter does not seem to be in Portland’s defensive playbook. The Kings shot 66.7 percent (14-21) from deep in the first half. Bogdan Bogdanovic, Harrison Barnes, and Buddy Hield led the way from behind the arc with a good majority of the threes were uncontested. For the game, Sacramento shot 55.3 percent from long distance.  

3.  Tempers boil over

Early in the third quarter, frustrations mounted for the Trail Blazers with 8:50 on the clock and Portland down by 20.  

Following a pick set by Kings big man Alex Len on CJ McCollum, the two exchanged shoves and nearly exchanged punches.

After the officiating crew took a look at the replay for a ‘hostile act,’ it was determined that Len was charged with an offensive foul and both Len and McCollum were charged with offsetting technicals. The third quarter scuffle showed how frustrated the Blazers are after finding themselves in such big deficits so early in their past two games to teams with worse records than them. 

Up Next: Portland continues its six-game homestand Tuesday night when the Trail Blazers host the Phoenix Suns. Catch all the action between the Blazers and Suns at 7:00pm on NBC Sports Northwest and the MyTeams App.

Check back throughout tonight and tomorrow for more articles and videos from the player!

Trail Blazers fans show love to Kent Bazemore in his return

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Trail Blazers fans show love to Kent Bazemore in his return

It’s been nearly two months since the trade went down between the Trail Blazers and Kings.

Saturday’s game marked the first time that Kent Bazemore and Trevor Ariza have faced their former teams since the Jan. 18 deal that sent Bazemore, along with Anthony Tolliver and two future second-round draft picks to Sacramento for Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel and Caleb Swanigan.

When Bazemore checked into the game at the 5:47 mark of the first quarter, Trail Blazers fans had nothing but love for the former shooting guard.

Bazemore played in 43 games with the Blazers this season, averaging 7.9 points and 4.0 rebounds while playing 25.8 minutes.  

He has found a nice shooting groove with Sacramento, shooting over 41 percent in his bench role. In 19 games with the Kings, Bazemore is averaging 10.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in 23.3 minutes of action.

Before the game tipped off, Bazemore showed his appreciation with a hearts emoji RT.

Catch the Trail Blazers and Kings in action now on NBC Sports Northwest and the MyTeams App! 

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. 

That Trail Blazer defense on James Harden? Call it a Twilight Zone

That Trail Blazer defense on James Harden? Call it a Twilight Zone

Where in the world did that defense come from?

Coach Terry Stotts didn't get specific about it, but the Trail Blazers were different Wednesday night than they've been all season. The team that hasn't defended well, did. Portland held Houston's James Harden, who came into the game averaging a league-leading 37.8 points per game, to just 13 points on 3-12 shooting on the way to a virtual wire-to-wire 117-107 triumph.

A really good win for us," Stotts said. "I was proud of how we competed. We did some things defensively... the guys were really locked in on what we did.

"We tried to get the ball out of (Harden's) hands in different ways. I thought our guys took the challenge of getting the ball out of his hands."

It appeared the Trail Blazers often used a combination defense, something between a box-and-one and a diamond-and-one, which led to opportunities to double-team Harden many times and just as often led to open three-pointers for other Houston players. But the Rockets made only 16 of 49 three-pointers, with Harden going only 1-6. The league leader at getting to the foul line, Harden was just 6-8 from there and he averages 11 made charity tosses a game.

"We gave him a lot of attention," Damian Lillard said. "We pretty much decided we were going to live with somebody else beating us and it turned out to be a pretty good game plan. Our coaches came up with a great defensive game plan."

Houston shot only 39.6 percent from the field as a team.

Hassan Whiteside had 18 rebounds -- seven on the offensive end -- to lead the Blazers to a 58-50 advantage on the boards. Kent Bazemore had a miserable 3-13 shooting night but had nine rebounds, three assists, a blocked shot, a steal and was in Harden's face a good part of the game.

This was a terrific team win -- the best of the season -- as the bench gave quality minutes and the offense resulted in all five starters scoring at least a dozen points.

But it was the defense that won this one. Was it a zone? If so, what kind?

Well, it came from out of nowhere. It was like nothing the Trail Blazers have done all season.

A zone? Yes... call it a Twilight Zone.

The Fire Within: Kent Bazemore ignites Blazers with his ejection

The Fire Within: Kent Bazemore ignites Blazers with his ejection

There could be a number of different things to point a finger at and say -- yes, that’s why the Trail Blazers were able to clamp down and rally back to beat the Raptors Tuesday night.

It could be Damian Lillard and Carmelo Anthony’s second half shooting barrage.

Or that the Blazers as a team defended better.

Plus, Portland shot the ball extremely well in the fourth quarter; in fact, they were 25 percent better from the floor in the final period than the first three quarters.

And then, of course, there was Melo’s go-ahead bucket to secure the Blazers two-point victory.  

But, possibly, what turned things around for Portland happened earlier in the third quarter is what ignited the Blazers.

The Trail Blazers were down 73-65 when Kent Bazemore took it coast to coast after snagging a defensive rebound.

When Bazemore missed the lay-in with 3:06 to go in the third, and he didn’t get a whistle on the call, the Trail Blazers starting small forward shared his frustrations verbally with the referees.

Bazemore was then hit with two quick technical fouls, resulting in an ejection. 

After the game, Bazemore explained what happened.

“I thought there was a lot of contact on the drive. We had been getting in the paint all night, and we felt like we were getting hit pretty much on every play early in the game. Dame gets hit upside the head – nothing. I drive a couple of times, a lot of contact – nothing. I was just frustrated and I took it upon myself and I got ejected for it,” Bazemore told reporters postgame.

Gary Trent Jr. entered the game for Bazemore after he was escorted to the locker room.

Bazemore had scored seven points, to go along with two rebounds, and two steals in 26 minutes before getting tossed.

For Baze, he was happy to see his team come from behind and secure a victory more than anything else.

“Came out, collected myself in here for a little bit, got my heart rate back down, took a quick shower, and then went back there and watched my guys. A heck of a win,” Bazemore said.

To quote the 30-year-old from his Instagram post Tuesday night, ““Throw yo hands in the ay-yerrrr and wave em’ like you just don’t cay-yerrrrr... Great win.”

Yes, the Blazers were throwing their hands in the air after the game, and they were also giving credit to Bazemore for “sacrificing” himself in order to get the W.

That’s his first time being ejected in 38 games, so it’s not like he’s out there just getting mad all the time, and getting techs, and getting tossed all the time, he was really mad because we fighting for it, and we trying to win the game. And, I think that just kind of lit a fire up under us to continue to press forward. -- Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard said postgame

Melo added, “We rally around Kent. We rally around just that atmosphere, and situations like that. Sometimes it takes sacrifices… to spark something and today Kent was that. He was really into the game, he was locked in, and I think when you get locked in, a lot of emotions goes into it. It was unfortunate that he got ejected, but we rallied and we won the game for him.”

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts wasn’t sure if Bazemore leaving the game really made the difference, but he did believe one thing was true: “I think that just showed how much we wanted to win a game.”

Often times it as a head coach that will get tossed to fire up his team, but thanks to Bazemore’s heated argument to the officials, showing that fire, and Melo’s vintage performance, the Blazers now have a chance to come back to Portland with a winning record on this trip if they take care of business in Minnesota Thursday night.

Kent Bazemore gets heated, gets ejected

Kent Bazemore gets heated, gets ejected

With the Trail Blazers down 73-65 late in the third quarter, Kent Bazemore took it coast to coast after snagging a defensive rebound.

But when Bazemore missed the lay-up and didn’t get a whistle, the Trail Blazers starting small forward shared his frustrations verbally with the referees.

Bazemore was hit with two technical fouls, resulting in an ejection.  

Gary Trent Jr. entered the game for Bazemore.

Before leaving the game, Bazemore had seven points, two rebounds, and two steals.

Could Bazemore getting tossed be what the Blazers needed to fire them up enough to complete the comeback over the Raptors?

Watch the fourth quarter on NBC Sports Northwest and on the MyTeams App. 

Haynes: "[Lillard] didn’t sign up to be on a team like this... there will be a move made"

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Haynes: "[Lillard] didn’t sign up to be on a team like this... there will be a move made"

We are exactly one month away from the NBA trade deadline.

We repeat, one month!

As the rumor mill continues to churn, the Trail Blazers trade chatter is heating up.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports caught up with NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh on the latest Habershow Podcast to discuss the latest surrounding the Blazers' trade rumors.

Haynes has no doubt the Trail Blazers, who are currently 15-22, will make a move.

With two valuable expiring contracts, that’s to be expected. 

“There will be a move made, for sure,” Haynes said. “It’s hard for me to believe that Hassan Whiteside and Kent Bazemore will still be there past the trade deadline.”

As Haberstroh discussed, Bazemore and Whiteside’s expiring contracts are worth a lot with Bazemore at 19 million and Whiteside at 27 million.

Haynes discussed how the Blazers are constructed at the moment is not what Portland is looking for with Damian Lillard in his prime. 

They just expire and that’s why it’s hard for me to believe that they’ll be on the roster past that deadline. A move will be made. This is Dame’s spot. He just signed his super max this past summer. He didn’t sign up to be on a team like this. Nobody thought this was going to be the team. The front office, it’s their call now. It’s their play. I know Terry Stotts is going to get a lot of heat for what’s been going on this season, and likely so. He’s the coach. He’s got to take some blame, but I think we all see flaws in this roster. – Chris Haynes from Yahoo! Sports

Does Haynes believe the Trial Blazers could land Kevin Love?


“I don’t know if Kevin Love is the call,” Haynes said. “I don’t know if they end up getting him. I just have a hard time looking at the assets that Portland has and it’s hard for me to believe that that’s enough to get Kevin Love. But stranger things have happened.”

The Yahoo! Sports NBA Insider does, however, think the Trail Blazers may have enough to offer Cleveland if they really wanted to go out and land the All-Star big man.

“I believe they have the assets, and I don’t believe they’ll deal Anfernee [Simons] and Zach [Collins]. He [Neil Olshey] loves that kid [Anfernee]. I look at Whiteside too. The deal is attractive, expiring deals, but then you got to go in there with that young roster, with those young, impressionable guys and Cleveland could definitely make a move after that trade if they wanted to. I don’t know if he’s [Kevin Love] the right fit -- locker room wise -- with those guys even for half a season or less than that. But Zach and Anfernee, if those guys are in play, and I have a hard time believing they are, you could make a case that Portland has the best package to offer Cleveland out there.”

Of course, there has already been a lot made about Love potentially coming back to play in his hometown of Portland, and he has made it known he wants out of Cleveland, that’s for sure. 

But, does he want to be trading to Rip City? Dwight Jaynes doesn’t think so.  

If not Love, then who could be another potential target?

Here’s a short list of other potential top targets that teams are rumored to be open to dealing before the trade deadline:

-- Pistons Andre Drummond

-- Grizzlies Andre Iguodala

-- Thunder Steven Adams

(Or really anyone on the OKC roster)

-- Wizards Davis Bertans

-- Kings Dewayne Dedmon

-- Knicks Marcus Morris

Don’t expect any move to happen right away.

It sounds like teams are weighing their options and won’t pull the trigger until closer to the February 6th deadline.

But as always we are continuing to keep our finger on the pulse. Keep it locked here at