Luka Doncic

An update on Zach Collins' left shoulder injury

An update on Zach Collins' left shoulder injury

DALLAS – Trail Blazer starting power forward Zach Collins had the tough assignment of guarding Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis on Sunday night, but it was a battle for the rebound with Luka Doncic that forced Collins to leave the game with a left shoulder injury

Immediately after the Blazers come from behind victory, head coach Terry Stotts informed the media that Collins’ left shoulder injury was a dislocation.

There is no timetable yet on his return.

The 21-year-old will have an MRI on Monday.

The Blazers have already ruled Collins out for Monday’s game vs. the Spurs.

Collins left the game with 2:01 remaining in the third quarter after he came down with his arm tangled up with Doncic. He instantly put his right hand over his left shoulder. 

“It’s a weird feeling, didn’t really hurt. It’s just you know something is wrong. Your shoulder is not where it's supposed to be,” Collin said postgame.

The Blazers big man said it was a play that he shouldn’t have made as he was whistled for the foul.

“I had my hand on, I think it was Doncic’s shoulder, and I shouldn’t have done it, I mean, period – it’s over the back, but he jumped up and just jumped back, and my arm was still on his shoulder and it just went back the other way,” Collins said.

After the play, Collins walked straight to the Trail Blazer bench where he was met by head athletic trainer Geoff Clark. The two immediately walked back to the locker room.

The Blazers' training staff told Collins that because his shoulder popped back in ‘so cleanly’ that's a really good sign.
This is the first time Collins has ever dislocated a shoulder. He was worried about what it was going to feel like to pop it back into place.

“I thought it was going to be painful, but it was like, so easy, and it didn’t hurt at all… I thought it was gonna be quick and it was real smooth, and I just felt it going back and in, and I was like, ‘that was it?’ So, luckily it didn’t hurt too bad,” Collins said.

After having x-rays done on his shoulder at the arena, Collins stayed in the locker room to watch his team complete the comeback.

Collins said this was nothing new. He has witnessed this team make many comebacks over the last couple of seasons.

“It just shows a lot of heart, and a lot of toughness, things I already knew we had,” Collins said.

Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers rally to beat Mavericks

Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers rally to beat Mavericks

DALLAS -- The Mavericks weren’t messing around on Sunday night as they got off to a hot start against the Trail Blazers.

Portland was looking to hand Dallas its first loss of the season, but a quick 17-7 start by the Mavs set the tone for a majority of the game. As the fourth quarter came around it wasn’t looking like that was in the cards for the Blazers.

Dallas scored 71 points in the first half, but the Blazers managed to claw back and send our heart rate into the stratosphere. 

This game came down to the wire.

FINAL BOX SCORE: Trail Blazers 120, Mavericks 119

Here are three quick takeaways from the Blazers win over the Mavericks:

1.  The Big-D Duo was having their way with the Blazers ‘D’

The Mavericks duo of point-forward Luka Doncic and big man Kristaps Porzingis has already developed good chemistry, and they’re just three games into the season. As Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said after yesterday’s practice, Doncic and Porzingis present so many different challenges because of how unique they both are on the floor.

Doncic showed off his playmaking ability. Doncic is such a great shooter. It’s natural and necessary to play tight on him, but because of that, Doncic can take a player off the dribble and find his way to the basket or find a teammate. He makes it look so easy, and his just a second-year player.

Zach Collins had the difficult task of guarding Porzingis. Porzingis saw most of his success on the night by taking Collins out to the three-point line or right inside the line.

Unfortunately for Collins, he left the game late in the third quarter and did not return after suffering a left shoulder injury.

2.  Hood bringing it on both ends

With so much of Dallas’ focus on Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, things opened up for Rodney Hood. Hood started the game going a perfect 3-for-3 from deep. He was Mr. Consistent, and the first Blazer to reach double figures. What made his solid offensive night even more impressive is that he had to spend extra energy guarding Doncic at various points throughout the game. There can be nights when a player has that tough of a defensive assignment, their offense isn’t really there, but Hood was up for the challenge.

3. #LillardTime alive and well

After struggling in the first half, only scoring two points, Lillard got the Blazers back in the game with his 18 points in the third quarter. However, it was CJ McCollum who kept the Blazers in the game in the first half. Knowing the Mavs sometimes like to play with a smaller lineup, it seemed like the Blazers missed an opportunity by not trying to get Hassan Whiteside involved more on the offensive end. Yet in the end, the Blazers got the job done.   

Up Next: Portland will play in its second leg of this current back-to-back when the Blazers visit San Antonio on Monday. The Blazers and Spurs tip-off at 5:30p.m. PT.

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

Kent Bazemore 'looking forward' to guarding Luka Doncic

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USA Today Images

Kent Bazemore 'looking forward' to guarding Luka Doncic

DALLAS - Let’s be honest, the Dallas Mavericks truly have two unicorns.

Yes, Mavericks big man Kristaps Porziņgis has had the nickname unicorn for years now, but really he and Mavs point-forward Luka Doncic are two ‘very unique’ players.

Portland will have its hands full. Trail Blazer forwards Rodney Hood and Kent Bazemore both say it will be a team effort when trying to slow down the duo.

“Their pick and roll, their ability to shoot the ball from both of those guys. Everything. We’ve gotta be locked in. We’ve gotta guard with five guys, not just the two guys involved in it… We just gotta talk and work our way through it,” Hood said after Saturday’s practice.

Blazer head coach Terry Stotts wouldn’t reveal the exact game plan on how Portland plans to defend Dallas, but he did mention it would be by committee.

“The matchups to start the game, and the matchups throughout the game are going to be fluid,” Stotts said.

“You’re going to see different guys guarding Doncic and Porzingis,” Stotts added.  

Doncic is coming off a night in which he notched his ninth career triple-double in the Mavericks win over the Pelicans on Friday.

Coach Stotts had a lot of praise for the reigning rookie of the year.

“He’s picked up where he left off. He’s remarkable, what he can do at his size,” Stotts said.

Coach Stotts hinted at the two-unicorn situation in Dallas.

“What makes it interesting is that they’re both so unique, and then you throw them together now, you’ve got very unique,” Stotts said.

Dallas is now 2-0 to start the regular season for the first time in 15 years.

Bazemore will have time on Doncic when they are both in the game at the same time, and Baze is more than ready for the challenge.

He also wants to alleviate some defensive stress from Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

“We’re going to have to do it by committee. But, I’m looking forward to it. That’s why I’m here, to take some of the pressure of my two guards. So, when I’m out there and [Doncic] is out there, I’ll take my chances at it,” Bazemore said.  

Bazemore and the Blazers get the chance to hand the Mavs their first loss of the season. Portland and Dallas tip-off at 4pm Pacific Time Sunday.

Trail Blazers face not one, but TWO unicorns vs. Mavericks tonight

Trail Blazers face not one, but TWO unicorns vs. Mavericks tonight

DALLAS -- It’s tough enough when you play the Dallas Mavericks to try to do something to stop Luka Doncic, the Mavs’ 6-7 point guard/forward, who wore out the Trail Blazers last season. He’s an almost impossible matchup with his ability to pass and shoot, play inside and outside and set up teammates with pinpoint passes.

But now, Dallas has two ridiculous matchup problems, after adding Kristaps Porzingis in a trade last season.

And in spite of missing all of last season with an injury, Porzingis – they call him “The Unicorn” – is back, seemingly better than ever. The 7-3 Latvian is the total package. In the first two Dallas games of the season (both victories), Porzingis has averaged 23. 5 points, 2.5 assists and three blocked shots in just 29 minutes per game, while shooting 50 percent from the three-point line.

He’s huge, he moves well and he can play inside or outside. And, by the way, he’s another extremely difficult matchup for Portland’s starting center, Hassan Whiteside. It’s similar to the same dilemma teams face when playing Denver and its versatile center, Nikola Jokic. You put a big man on him and he takes your big man outside and shoots threes over the top, or you put a quicker, smaller defender on him and he takes him inside.

That’s when the Trail Blazers are fortunate to have Zach Collins.

The third-year 7-footer out of Gonzaga has proven to be an all-purpose defender for Portland and a good complement to Whiteside, in that he can defend smaller, quicker players when opponents go to small lineups or feature a center who hangs out at the three-point line.

“I think I will probably spend a lot of time on (Porzingis),” Collins said Saturday after practice. “I can move my feet. He’s solid. He’s big, but he’s so mobile. Everybody knows how mobile he is. So it’s going to be another tall task for our team. It’s going to be a team defensive game plan for him. The guy’s an all-star, for sure. It’s going to be tough but we’re ready for it.”

Collins has never played against the former New York Knick.

“My rookie year, I wasn’t in the lineup yet when we played them the first time,” Collins said. “Then, when I was in the lineup, he was hurt. Then last year he was out all year.”

The Mavs have used different starting lineups in their two games and Portland Coach Terry Stotts isn’t sure exactly how the matchups will shape up until he knows what Dallas will do. But expect Collins to draw Porzingis a significant amount of time.

“The matchups to start the game and the matchups throughout the game are going to be fluid,” Stotts said. “You will see different guys guarding Doncic and Porzingis.”

Teams are already shifting their lineups throughout games against Portland to try to force Whiteside out of the game. The Sacramento Kings, for example, went with a small lineup featuring Harrison Barnes at center Friday night. Such lineups make it difficult for Whiteside to defend smaller players at the three-point line.

“Dallas might be the most unique team,” Stotts said. “You’ve got a point forward (Doncic) and a seven-foot four man and a smaller center, so it’s going to be interesting to see how we guard pick-and-rolls with Doncic and Porzingis. It’s going to be different.”

Different? For sure. The Mavericks are blessed with not one, but two very special players.

Two unicorns.

 

Trail Blazers put another brick in the foundation of the “Legend of Luka Doncic” – and lived to tell about it

Trail Blazers put another brick in the foundation of the “Legend of Luka Doncic” – and lived to tell about it

The Trail Blazers put another brick in the foundation of the “Legend of Luka Doncic” Sunday night – and lived to tell about it.

Doncic dropped a game-tying, three-point bomb from the right corner while falling out of bounds at the horn to end the fourth quarter.

The shot sent the game into overtime but Portland recovered to take a 121-118 overtime win over the Mavericks.

It was a miraculous shot but not a surprise, given the impact the rookie prodigy has made for the Dallas Mavericks so far this season.

Doncic, a Lithuanian, signed a pro contract with Real Madrid at the age of 13 and made his debut with the team at 16, helping the team to the Euroleague championship.

But he didn’t quite have enough to beat the Blazers.

Portland seemed in control throughout most of the game, leading by as many as 14 and by 10 with six and a half minutes to play in the fourth quarter.

“It was a wild finish,” Portland Coach Terry Stotts said. “Obviously, Doncic hit an outstanding shot. We didn’t defend it well but it was an amazing shot. We regrouped in overtime, kind of maintained the lead throughout the overtime.”

The Mavericks had three chances to hit a game-tying three-pointer with under 30 seconds to play in overtime but missed them all.

“The last possession got a little wild with all the threes but we were due to have a little good luck go our way,” Stotts said.

It was another game when the Trail Blazers struggled from long distance – hitting just 11 of 38 from three – but shot 47 percent overall, thanks to the inside presence of Jusuf Nurkic and Meyers Leonard.

Nurkic made five his eight shots, had 12 rebounds, six assists and two blocks before fouling out after 29 minutes on the court.

Leonard came on to make six of his 10 shots, grab six rebounds and score 13 points.

“I’m happy that Coach Stotts has given me some freedom out there,” Leonard said. “All I used to do, in high school and college, is dunk the ball. I never shot the ball.

“When I was younger I needed to find a way to play. All I did was dunk. I was bigger than everybody. So I’ve extended my range and become a three-point shooter but I’m trying to be aggressive from several different areas on the floor.”

As usual Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum carried a heavy load for Portland.

Lillard had 33 points and seven assists, McCollum totaled 22 points and five assists. Each made big shots down the stretch in overtime, as did Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu.

But afterward, a whole lot of the talk was about Doncic’s incredible shot.

“The guy has an uncanny knack for making shots like that,” Dallas Coach Rick Carlisle said. “I can’t say I was surprised when it went in. I’ve seen him do things like that too many times.”

The Mavericks had the ball out of bounds with six-tenths of a second left on the clock to set up Doncic, who caught the ball in the corner and fell out of bounds as he shot.

“I mean, it just went in,” he said. “It was a tough shot. I don’t know what to say.”

Does he practice those shots?

“Yeah, most of the time,” he said. “A lot of people think it’s a joke, but it’s not. Sometimes you need those shots.”

Lillard said, “He’s a really, really, really good player. It’s very obvious he’s been playing professionally. I’m sometimes on the weak side seeing him come off the pick and roll and his eyes are open. He’s seeing everything. He’s making the right plays.

“He’s kind of manipulating the situation to get what he wants to get out of the plays. And you don’t see that out of rookies – they’re playing much more off their natural ability.

“He’s got real game. He’s a real pro.”