Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic thrown off that Damian Lillard wasn't an All-Star starter

Luka Doncic thrown off that Damian Lillard wasn't an All-Star starter

With the way Mavericks point forward Luke Doncic has been dominating the 2019-20 season, it’s no surprise he was named a Western Conference All-Star starter Thursday night ahead of Dallas' game vs. Portland. 

About four hours before the Trail Blazers and Mavericks tipped off, the All-Star starters were announced.  

The Western Conference All-Star starters includes:

  • LeBron James
  • Anthony Davis
  • Kawhi Leonard
  • James Harden

And then of course, Doncic rounds out the top-five.

If it weren’t for Doncic, it would’ve been Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard to slip into the starting spot.

Last year’s Rookie of the Year is putting up CRAZY numbers. This season, he’s averaging 29.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 9.0 assists.  

But, somehow he still can't believe Lillard isn't starting alongside him. 

After the Mavs beat the Blazers, 133-125, Doncic was asked if he had a conversation with Lillard.

He did.

But the newly named All-Star admitted he was confused by the results. 

Yes, he congratulated me. He’s an amazing player and that just means a lot to me. It’s weird not seeing him in the starters. – Mavs All-Star Luka Doncic on Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard

At just 22 years old, Doncic holds the honor of being an All-Star starter in high regard.

He even said it felt different for him out on the court knowing he was heading to his first All-Star game.

“It does-- I used to wake up every year for that to watch the game. My mom used to say 'you have to do your homework' if I want to wake up early. It’s different, but it’s something that is really special.”

Doncic isn’t the only one bewildered by the All-Star starters results.

Lillard’s former teammate Meyers Leonard voiced his concern on the matter, calling it "asinine."

Just imagine how many people would be sharing this same sentiment of it being asinine if Lillard didn’t make it as an All-Star reserve.

Lillard has been doing everything in his power to keep the injury riddled Blazers afloat. He’s averaging 27.9 points, 7.6 assists, and 4.1 rebounds this season and 33 points per game since January 3rd.

The All-Star reserves will be announced on Thursday, January 30 where Lillard is poised to be named an All-Star for the fifth time.

Instant Analysis: Mavericks weren't horsing around from three vs. Blazers

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Instant Analysis: Mavericks weren't horsing around from three vs. Blazers

The Trail Blazers and Mavericks squared off for the second time in less than a week.

But, the lineups looked a bit different this time around.

Thursday night, Portland was without CJ McCollum, who had sprained his left ankle early in the second quarter in Dallas last Friday night. The Blazers also traded away Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver to Sacramento. With the trade now official, Trevor Ariza got the starting nod Thursday.

For Dallas, the Mavs were without Kristaps Porzingis last week when they hosted the Blazers, but Porzingis was back in the starting lineup Thursday.

Dallas started the game 10-for-15 from the field.

The Mavs were able to jump out to a 45-37 first quarter lead thanks to their efficient three-point shooting.  

At the break, the Blazers were shooting 55.8 percent from the field to the Mavericks’ 53.8 percent, but with Dallas’ hot shooting from deep, the Mavs held a 78-63 halftime lead. 

The Mavericks biggest lead on the night was 25. Down the stretch, Portland wasn't able to get enough stops even though they hung within 10 points for most of the fourth quarter. 

FINAL BOX SCORE: MAVERICKS 132, TRAIL BLAZERS 122

Here are three quick takeaways from Thursday's loss: 

1.  SO MANY MAVS 3s

From start to finish Dallas was taking its chance from behind the arc.

The Mavericks came out firing from long distance. Dallas went 10-of-16 from three in the first quarter. The Mavs did cool off a bit from deep in the second quarter. However, in the second half, they picked up where the left off early in the game. Dallas finished the game 22-of-47 from three-point range. Luke Doncic went 2-for11 from three. This season he is averaging three three-pointers a game. Thursday night, it was  Seth Curry Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr. who led the Mavs from three.  

2.  Ariza, Biggie make their debut

It didn’t take long for Trevor Ariza to get a shot that he liked from deep. 

Ariza’s first attempt came at the 9:24 mark of the first quarter, but his 25-foot three-point jumper was long and clanked off the back iron.

After missing his first three, Ariza hit his next four. The 34-year-old notched 15 points through the first two quarters.  Ariza was the Blazers' second leading scorer on the night.  

Caleb Swanigan also made his debut. In his return back to Portland in a Trail Blazers uniform, fans cheered as he entered the game with 3:41 remaining in the first quarter.  Biggie still looked a little out of sorts on the offensive end, but he finished with two points, five rebounds, and two assists in 22 minutes of action.

3.  Lillard's takeover not enough this time

Damian Lillard was looking to keep pace with the Mavericks in the three-pointers made department. After knocking down his first three three-point attempts in his first three minutes of action, Lillard went on a tear from long range. He went 8-for-15 from three and shot 16-for-28 overall. Lillard’s 47 points on the night was not enough. Lillard is coming off a 61-point game in Monday's win over the Warriors.

Up Next: Portland will host the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night in game three of their current four-game homestand. The Blazers and Pacers tip-off at 6:00p.m. on NBC Sports Northwest and the MyTeams app.

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

Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers lose McCollum to ankle sprain, lose to Mavs

Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers lose McCollum to ankle sprain, lose to Mavs

DALLAS – It looked as though the Trail Blazers had some carryover from Wednesday’s win over the Houston Rockets, as

Portland jumped out to a 12-2 lead over the Dallas Mavericks Friday.

Dallas started the game 0-for-5.  

It wasn’t until four minutes into the game that the Mavs hit their first field goal when Luka Doncic drained a 27-foot three-pointer.

Despite Portland losing its starting shooting guard to an ankle injury early in the second quarter, the Blazers were down single digits heading into the final period.

It came down to the wire, but with timely stops and big-time threes, the Mavs were able to hold off the Blazers.

FINAL BOX SCORE: MAVERICKS 120, TRAIL BLAZERS 112 

Here are three quick takeaways from Friday’s loss

1. McCollum leaves game with ankle sprain

Portland was forced to call a timeout at the 7:53 mark of the second quarter following CJ McCollum's hard take to the basket.

McCollum appeared to step on Mavericks' power forward Max Kleber’s right foot during his attempted lay-in at the 8:04 mark of the quarter.

 

Shortly after McCollum went back to the locker room with the team’s trainers, Blazers PR announced he would not return to the game due to a left ankle sprain. McCollum played just 12 minutes.  

Blazers backup guard Gary Trent Jr. also left the game early in the fourth quarter. The reason was not immediately known.

2.  Lillard plays through it

Damian Lillard was listed as questionable before the game tipped off with an upper respiratory infection.

But, it was hard to tell Lillard was dealing with the cold that has been going around the Blazers locker room.

The Trail Blazers All-Star point guard notched 11 points in the first 12 minutes of action. Lillard had it going from deep and down low. Heading into the fourth quarter, Lillard was 12-for-19 from the field with 32 points.   

3.  Doncic being Doncic

Just as Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said during his pregame interview, everything for the Mavs goes through Luka Doncic. The second-year player had his way from downtown against the Blazers.

Doncic started the game, attacking the rim, which then almost always resulted in him finding a teammate open under the hoop. He was on fire from deep too. He hit his first four three-point attempts and went 8-of-12 for the game.

Dallas fans on the concourse were proudly chanting “All-Star Luka” during halftime when Doncic had already recorded 23 points and five assists.

With Kristaps Porzingis (right knee soreness) and Ryan Broekhoff (left fibula fracture) both out against the Blazers, it was Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr. who picked up the slack on offense.

Up Next: Portland will play in its second leg of this current back-to-back when the Blazers visit Oklahoma City on Saturday. The Blazers and Thunder tip-off at 6:00p.m. PT.

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

Trail Blazers Pregame Notebook: Damian Lillard WILL PLAY tonight vs. Dallas

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Trail Blazers Pregame Notebook: Damian Lillard WILL PLAY tonight vs. Dallas

DALLAS -- Before the Trail Blazers and Mavericks tip-off at 6:30p.m. PT tonight on NBC Sports Northwest and on the 'MyTeams' App, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts discussed how everything for Dallas goes through Luka Doncic.

But, don’t expect the Trail Blazers to double Doncic, and put as much focus on him like the Blazers defended James Harden in Wednesday’s win over the Rockets.

“They’re different players. I don’t know if the same tactics against him would be as successful against him versus Harden,” Stotts said.

Coach Stotts also added that this is a Dallas team who really spaces the floor well, but also crashes the boards hard adding, “one thing that gets overlooked is their offensive rebounding.”  

As for Damian Lillard (upper respiratory illness), who was listed as questionable this afternoon, said he will play tonight in Dallas. 

HEAR FROM COACH STOTTS HERE:

 

BLAZERS INJURY REPORT:

Damian Lillard (upper respiratory illness) and Mario Hezonja (lower back contusion) are available for tonight's game.

 

MAVERICKS INJURY REPORT:

Kristaps Porzingis (right knee soreness) and Ryan Broekhoff (left fibula fracture) are out.

STANDOUT GAME NOTES:

-- Friday’s game is the second of four meetings between the Trail Blazers and the Mavericks this season. Portland leads the season series, 1-0.

-- LAST MEETING: The Trail Blazers beat the Mavericks in Dallas on Oct. 27, 121-119. CJ McCollum led the Trail Blazers with 35 points (13- 26 FG, 1-4 3-PT, 8-8 FT) to go with six rebounds, four assists and two steals while Kristaps Porzingis paced the Mavericks with 32 points (11-23 FG, 3-10 3-PT, 7-10 FT), nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks.

-- Portland has shot at least 45.0% from the field in nine of their last 10 games against the Mavericks. The Trail Blazers shot 51.7% from the field and 40.9% from the three-point line at Dallas on Oct. 27.

-- Damian Lillard had 28 points (10-20 FG, 1-7 3-PT, 7-9 FT), three rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block at Dallas on Oct. 27. Lillard has scored at least 28 points in each of his last nine games against Dallas.

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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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.”