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Meyers Leonard & wife Elle have started a podcast and you're going to want to listen

Meyers Leonard & wife Elle have started a podcast and you're going to want to listen

During this time of quarantine and social distancing, there is a lot more free time throughout the day to read books, catch up on shows, listen to podcasts, etc.

If you are looking for a new podcast to subscribe to, we cannot recommend this one enough.

Former Portland Trail Blazers Meyers Leonard and his wife Elle have started their own podcast called Pivot Point. The two share thoughts and stories about what matters most.

Currently, the duo have dropped three episodes so far.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].

Episode 01: The Importance Of Being More Than One Thing

In their first episode of The Pivot Point, Meyers and Elle discuss the importance of “never being just one thing.” They reveal how they have discovered and embraced each of their individual hyphens. The episode concludes with the inspiration and meaning behind the name of this podcast, The Pivot Point. 

Pivot Point represents a fundamental shift in a narrative. We have as individuals and as a couple taken time in our story to stop and say ‘is this the direction we need to continue’ and alter that direction which were key insights in our lives and some of the most valuable experiences we’ve ever had. — Elle Leonard

Episode 02: The Power of Choice

Living in a very usual time with COVID-19 sweeping the nation, Meyers and Elle Leonard discuss the “Power of Choice” and how making conscious decisions to daily activities completely shifts one’s perspective. The episode concludes with a never-before-told story about a time when Meyers disappeared for 24 hours. 

It’s this shift in perspective. We are choosing to individually be away from our routine and our people to make us all collectively better. And when you have the decision to change, grow, be challenged, that’s when you feel empowered. That’s when you can take ownership in whatever situation you’re thrown into. — Elle Leonard

Meyers and Elle also recommend a book that the two couldn’t put down.

‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ is a self-help book by Robin Sharma, a writer and motivational speaker.

Episode 03: 2020 Vision & Actions Towards Equality

In preparation for the new year, we heard a lot of talk about the “20/20 Vision” that this year would bring. While it is safe to say that 2020 hasn’t been what we expected, Meyers and Elle question if it has, in fact, fulfilled exactly what we intended. Has this year given us clarity on what is most important? Has it forced us to step back and see our typical actions different? Meyers and Elle discuss the major events of 2020 such as Kobe’s death, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Black Lives Matter movement. The podcast ends with a candid conversation about how important it is to take action in our nation’s fight against systemic racism.

The two also share a TED Talk from Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff: How We Can Male Racism a Solvable Problem - And Improve Policing

Click here to subscribe and listen to more on the Pivot Point podcast.

Hassan Whiteside isn't one of the league's best defenders, according to NBA coaches

Hassan Whiteside isn't one of the league's best defenders, according to NBA coaches

The Trail Blazers defense has struggled at times this season, but one person has been a standout from day one: Hassan Whiteside. 

Whiteside, who came over in an offseason trade with the Miami Heat, has done an incredible job filling in for the injured Jusuf Nurkic all season.

His very first night as a Blazer was a 16 point, 19 rebound performance against the Denver Nuggets on opening night. 

From there, he just kept climbing. 

Whitside is statistically having one of the best seasons of his career, averaging 16.3 points and career-highs of 14.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.

Whiteside is the league's second-leading rebounder, trailing only Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons (15.2 rpg).

But where he is most untouchable is defensively at the rim. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon]

Whiteside leads the entire league in blocks per game at 3.1. That is nearly a full block more than the two players tied for second, Anthony Davis and Brook Lopez (2.5 bpg). 

Whiteside has 187 blocks on the season, compared to 147 for Lopez and 138 for Davis. Both Lopez and Whiteside have played 61 games, while Davis has played 55. 

Regardless, you think the league's second-leading rebounder and leading shot-blocker would be recognized for their defensive prowess, right? You'd be wrong. 

Jon Krawczynski and Josh Robbins of The Athletic anonymously polled 33 NBA coaches, some head coaches, some assistant coaches, to get their expert opinions. 

The coaches had to vote for the first-team and second-team all-league defensive teams, while 23 of the coaches also voted on Defensive Player of the Year. 

The only rule was they had to vote for two guards, two forwards, and one center for the all-league teams. 

So, where did Whiteside fall?

He fell all the way out of the coaches consciousness. 

Whiteside did not earn first of second-team All-League Defense, he also was not named Defensive Player of Year. 

The really surprising part, however, is that Whiteside didn't even receive a single vote for any of the lists. 

How can the league's leading blocker not even receive a vote for All-League defense? 

According to the coaches' vote, Rudy Gobert was the Center on the first-team, and Bam Adebayo was the Center on the second team. Other centers receiving votes included Brook Lopez, Joel Embiid, Myles Turner, Tristan Thompson, Steven Adams, Andre Drummond, Jarrett Allen, and Domantas Sabonis. 

[READ THE ENTIRE LIST HERE]

As for the Defensive Player of the Year, the coaches picked Rudy Gobert, with Brook Lopez and Bam Adebayo being the only other centers to receive votes. 

Here is how Whiteside compares to those three centers:

HASSAN WHITESIDE: 16.3 ppg, 14.2 rpg (10.2 drpg), 3.1 bpg

RUDY GOBERT: 15.1 ppg, 13.7 rpg (10.3 drpg), 2.0  bpg

BAM ADEBAYO: 16.2 ppg, 10.5 rpg (8.0 drpg), 1.3  bpg

BROOK LOPEZ: 11.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg (3.8 drpg), 2.4  bpg

Whiteside averages more points (though that doesn't matter for defense), rebounds, and blocks than the three centers that made the list. The only category any of those centers beat Whiteside in is defensive rebounds, where Gobert averages 0.1 more per game... 0.1! 

When averaged out to a per 36, Whiteside leads in all categories.

HASSAN WHITESIDE PER 36: 18.7 ppg, 16.4 rpg (11.8 drpg), 3.5 bpg

RUDY GOBERT PER 36: 17.9 ppg, 14.5 rpg (10.2 drpg), 2.6 bpg

BAM ADEBAYO PER 36: 17.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg (8.3 drpg), 1.4 bpg

BROOK LOPEZ PER 36: 14.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg (5.1 drpg), 3.3 bpg

However, Whiteside lags behind all three of those players in overall defensive rating: Lopez (99.1), Gobert (106.8), Adebayo(107.7), Whiteside (112.2)

More telling is that his individual defense hasn't led to overall improvements in team defense.

The Bucks lead the league in defensive efficiency (101.6), Utah is 11th (108.8), and Miami is 14th (109.2). The Blazers fall near the bottom, ranked 27th (113.6).

While the Blazers' struggles on defense aren't Whiteside's fault, the numbers show he isn't necessarily helping either.

As for the coaches, they value how a player impacts and changes the team defense over a player's individual numbers. Based on individual numbers alone, Whiteside should be in the conversation with those other centers, not an afterthought.

Again, how does the league's leading shot-blocker not even receive a vote for all-league defense? 

Luckily for Whiteside, the Blazers have at least eight more games for him to put on a defensive show.

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.

Meyers Leonard reaches COVID-19 fundraising goal, dyes hair pink & blue

Meyers Leonard reaches COVID-19 fundraising goal, dyes hair pink & blue

Former Portland Trail Blazers and now Miami Heat big man Meyers Leonard announced earlier this month that he had initially raised $70,000 during his 24-hour live-stream session on Twitch.

Fans have continued to donate in efforts to help those struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Being an avid gamer and NBA player makes for a great following on the most popular live-streaming platform for gamers.

Leonard has been using Twitch to not only entertain his fellow gamers, but to also help people in need during the pandemic.

[RELATED]: Meyers Leonard gets Sharpie tattoo of Joe Exotic while raising money for charity 

Before his 24-hour gaming stream began on Sunday April 5th, Leonard revealed he was raising money to reach a goal of feeding one million people throughout the month of April through Feeding America and Feeding South Florida.

On that following Monday, the 7-footer announced the stream had generated $70,000 of the $175,000 goal, while tweeting out, "WOW. THANK YOU" to those who participated to help support the relief efforts.

Less than three weeks later, Leonard announced that he would dye his hair as promised after reaching the goal of $175,000.

The decision was made for Meyers to dye his hair a bright pink and blue after fans voted on the new 'do.

No pastels.

This hair was meant to make a statement -- A statement of reaching a goal to feed one million people in the month of April.

Kevin Wasielewski of ORIGIN PC, a company that provides high-performance PCs for gamers & professionals, shared his gratitude on Twitter. He was happy to see the NBA and Gaming world collide to raise so much money during these troubling times.  

Now the question is: Will there be a new goal with a new hairdo? 

Jimmy Butler has $140,000 worth of his favorite wine stored up while social distancing

Jimmy Butler has $140,000 worth of his favorite wine stored up while social distancing

Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum has dropped his knowledge of his favorite Pinot Noir wines over the years, saying many times that living in Oregon we are lucky to have such great wines.  

Now we are about to get more wine recommendations and learn more about fine wines with the show ‘What’s In Your Glass’ hosted by Camelo Anthony. ‘What’s In Your Glass’ is a weekly live stream between Melo, a special guest, and wine lovers all over the world streaming on Melo’s Instagram Live and then later posted to his youtube page.

This week, Miami Heat guard Jimmy Butler joined the Trail Blazers veteran to talk wine and hoops.

Butler’s go-to wine on any given night is Sassicaia, which is red blends from Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy.

“I’ve got more Sassicaia 2010 than I have of any other type of wine in my collection and I’m not over exaggerating when I say, I probably have anywhere between 500 and 600 bottles of just Sassicaia 2010,” Butler said.

A bottle of Sassicaia 2010 is the first wine that Butler drank once he turned 21 years old. He added that he knows he is biased because that was the first bottle of wine he was introduced to.

“I was introduced to one of the best wines in the world and I can’t turn back from that,” Butler said with a smile.

Butler’s wine of choice is even more special to him because he had Sassicaia 2010 with Mark Wahlberg in Chicago back in 2013. 

“It’s like, damn, I got to have wine with Mark Wahlberg… It’s his fault that I’m into this,” Butler joked.

The Miami Heat guard also went to visit the Sassicaia winery two summers ago where he learned all about how it’s made and he says he has been reading up on his favorite wine.

Butler poked fun at Melo though, saying if he was going out with him to dinner, he would have to go with Château Pétrus wine because Melo is “boujee.”

Butler’s Sassicaia 2010 runs for around $230 on most wine websites, while Château Pétrus can go anywhere from nearly $4,000 to over $8,000.

Now I’m no wine expert, but man, I’d be totally fine with tasting that Château Pétrus.  

Check out the full show of ‘What’s In Your Glass’ with Melo and Buttler right here:

Right now, just about the only way to stop Damian Lillard is goaltending

Right now, just about the only way to stop Damian Lillard is goaltending

It doesn’t seem to matter what anybody tries to do in order to stop Damian Lillard right now, it’s not working. Double-teams, triple-teams, small guys, big guys -- whatever.

Lillard went for 33 points Sunday night along with eight assists, four rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot as his Trail Blazers won their seventh out of their last 10 games, a 115-109 triumph over Miami.

During those 10 games, Lillard has scored more than 60 points once, 50 or more points twice, 40 or more points six times and 30 or more points eight times.

He has scored 30 or more in 25 games this season, fourth most in the NBA.

“We did about as good of a job as you can on Lillard,” Miami Coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We got the ball out of his hands, which is very hard to do, and then it ended up in Gary Trent’s hards and he made those shots.”

Trent is becoming a big (and sometimes only) Portland weapon off the bench. He hit five of his seven three-pointers and scored 22 points. The other three Trail Blazer players who came on in a reserve role did not score at all.

The 6-2, 195-pound Lillard found himself defended by 6-6, 235-pound Jae Crowder and 6-6, 215-pound Andre Iguodala at times Sunday and they weren’t gentle with him.

But lately, goaltending seems to be the only way to deny Lillard.

Are bigger, stronger defenders who can bump him around more becoming a common practice?

“I think it’s been that way for a while now,” Lillard said. “It’s more obvious on a team like that because they just look bigger and they’ve got so many like-sized guys, it stands out more.

“But I think it’s pretty much been that way for a while now. Small, tall, strong -- I’m a scorer I know how to play, so I’m going to figure out a way to do what I need to do.”

Lillard’s minutes have grown as his scoring has gone up and he’s playing about 39 minutes a game over his last 10. Is that wearing on him?

“I feel good,” he said.

Coach Terry Stotts talked about his team’s toughness -- “both mental and physical” -- and said “I’m proud of our team right now.”

And he’s running out of superlatives for Lillard.

“Dame’s been playing great,” Stotts said. “He does whatever it takes. It’s obvious to everyone what a competitor he is and how important winning and making the playoffs is, and he’s doing whatever it takes.”

Another Blazers game, another call that triggered a pool report

Another Blazers game, another call that triggered a pool report

Following Friday’s emotional loss to the Utah Jazz, the Trail Blazers took care of business against the Heat Sunday night without a real big controversial play or no-call.

Portland beat Miami, 115-109 which was good for the Blazers fifth consecutive victory at Moda Center; extending their longest winning streak at home this season.  

Was there any carryover from Friday’s game?

Potentially.

But, if there was it was all positive for Damian Lillard, who finished with 33 points and eight assists. He has now scored at least 20 points in 19 straight games. That matches the longest streak of NBA career.

Lillard was also discussed in the NBA Pool Report with Sunday night’s officials, yet again.

Friday night in Salt Lake City, NBA Crew Chief Josh Tiven was asked about the non-goaltending call that occurred with 13.5 seconds remaining in the game.

To which Tiven replied:

“The call needs to be made for a goaltending to be reviewable. We’ve since looked at it, via postgame video review, and unfortunately saw that we missed the play, and a goaltending violation should have been called.” 

Sunday night it was a third quarter play that was asked about involving Lillard.

Pool Reporter ESPN.com’s Kevin Pelton wanted to get clarification on Blazers head coach Terry Stotts’ challenge at the 0.9 mark of the third.

The question was aimed at the coach's challenge and why Goran Dragic’s leg kick on his three-point attempt was a loose ball foul instead of an offensive foul.   

Question: Why was Terry Stotts’ challenge of the shooting foul on Damian Lillard at the 0:00.9 mark of the third quarter successful?

NBA Crew Chief Ed Malloy’s response: “After replay review, we saw that Damian Lillard got to the basketball – it was a legal block. While Lillard was going to jump to the side of Goran Dragic, Dragic extended his right leg, initiating the contact with Lillard. That is why it was successful.”

Second Question: Why was the play ruled a loose-ball foul rather than an offensive foul?

Malloy: “By rule, when the defense deflects the ball the status of the ball becomes loose. After the clean block by Lillard, the ball was loose. Then, Dragic extended his right leg, causing the illegal contact with Lillard. Therefore, it was a loose-ball foul.”

The coach's challenge was somewhat controversial in its implementation, and this is the first time this season the Blazers have been involved in a situation where officials were forced to explain their rationale on a play where a coach's challenge was initiated.

Overall, it was a successful challenge for Lillard and the Blazers.

It turned out to be a six-point swing, which was also the difference in the game.

 

Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers apparently can take the Heat

Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers apparently can take the Heat

Sunday was a battle between two injury-riddled teams.

Portland was without Anfernee Simons (concussion) and Nassir Little (left ankle sprain) for Sunday's game and then lost Mario Hezonja to a left ankle sprain early in the second quarter. He did not return to action.

The Trail Blazers did, however, get starting center Hassan Whiteside back from a one game absence due to a left leg contusion. 

As for the Heat, Miami was without Jimmy Butler (right shoulder strain), Tyler Herro (right ankle soreness), Meyers Leonard (left ankle sprain) and Kyle Alexander (right knee hyperextension & PCL sprain).

Portland started out the game shooting 6-of-8 from the field, but whenever it looked as though the Blazers were going to take command of the game, the Heat would charge back. Portland’s biggest lead in the first half was 11 points. Yet at halftime, Portland held just a three-point lead. 

After such high-scoring first and third quarters for the Blazers, Portland had a tough time scoring in the final period, but were able to get just enough stops in crunch time.

FINAL BOX SCORE: TRAIL BLAZERS 115, HEAT 109 

Here are three quick takeaways from the win from our NBC Sports team at the game:

Mike Richman, Reporter

The Blazers did it with balance against the Heat on Sunday night. Six guys scored in double figures, and while Damian Lillard (31 points) was excellent but he didn't have to carry the entire load. Trevor Ariza (21 points) was hot early, Gary Trent Jr. (22 points) made some timely shots late and Hassan Whiteside owned the glass (16 rebounds). Blazers are 7-3 in their last 10 games, and are playing their best basketball of the season heading into the All-Star break.

Jamie Hudson, Reporter

Damian Lillard and Trevor Ariza had a strong two-man game going, especially early on, with Lillard finding Ariza cutting to the hoop on a number of occasions. Ariza was getting the job done on both ends all night. With Portland forced to go deep into its bench, the Blazers still shot the ball well and continued to get production from Gary Trent Jr. The Blazers ball movement was also on full display in the third quarter. Wing players on both teams found a lot of success from behind the arc, which really helped the Heat stay in the game with their timely threes.  

Chris Burkhardt, Producer

What more can be said about Gary Trent Jr.? He has been on an absolute tear in recent weeks, and had another huge impact on Sunday. The second year guard scored 22 points and was once again all over the place on defense. Trent is a self proclaimed “dog” on the court, and that’s just the type of mentality the Blazers need if they hope to get back in the playoff race.

Up Next: The Trail Blazers will play in a road back-to-back starting with a game in New Orleans on Tuesday night. The Blazers and Pelicans will tip-off at 5:00pm.

Be sure to check back throughout the night and tomorrow morning for analysis, articles, and videos from the players!

Mario Hezonja in a walking boot after spraining left ankle

Mario Hezonja in a walking boot after spraining left ankle

The depth of the Trail Blazers second unit was already thin heading into Sunday’s game against the Miami Heat with no Anfernee Simons (concussion) or Nassir Little (left ankle sprain) available. 

Then at the 11:14 mark of the second quarter, forward Mario Hezonja left the game with an apparent left ankle injury.

It looked as though Hezonja rolled his ankle under the basket as he was defending Kendrick Nunn.

Hezonja played through the pain for a full trip up and down the court before being subbed out and heading straight to the locker room.

Blazers guard Gary Trent Jr., who picked up three quick fouls in the first quarter, entered the game for Hezonja.

The Trail Blazers announced near the end of the second quarter that Hezonja has suffered a left ankle sprain and would not return. 

After the game, Terry Stotts did not have an update on Hezonja's health status. 

Once in the locker room, reporters observed Hezonja in a walking boot. 

He did not speak with the media. 

The Trail Blazers travel to New Orleans on Tuesday to face the Pelicans and Memphis Wednesday before the All-Star Break. No word on if Hezonja will be on the trip, though it appears unlikely. 

 

Trail Blazers Pregame Notebook: Injury Updates on Whiteside, Simons, & Nurkic

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USA Toady Images

Trail Blazers Pregame Notebook: Injury Updates on Whiteside, Simons, & Nurkic

Before the Trail Blazers and Heat tip-off at 6:00p.m. tonight on NBC Sports Northwest and on the 'MyTeams' App, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts gave injury updates on Hassan Whiteside and (left leg contusion), Anfernee Simons (concussion), and Jusuf Nurkic (lower left leg).

“Hassan will play [tonight]. Anfernee will not play... [Simons] is doing much better, but he’s still under the concussion protocol,” Coach Stotts said.

Stotts also said the team has “moved past” the loss in Utah, but said they are "still disappointed."

“The good thing is that we did have a day to recover both physically and mentally.”

When asked about how much closer Nurkic is to returning to the court, Stotts offered up this update:

“There’s no timeline on Nurk when he’s gonna come back. He had a little set back. He had a mild strain in his right calf. So, the last week or 10 days, he really hasn’t been able to do much, so that’s kind of set back any kind of comeback.”

HEAR FROM COACH STOTTS HERE:

 

BLAZERS INJURY REPORT:

Hassan Whiteside (left leg contusion) is available. Anfernee Simons (concussion) and Nassir Little (left ankle sprain) are out for Sunday's game vs. Miami.

HEAT INJURY REPORT:

Jimmy Butler (right shoulder strain), Tyler Herro (right ankle soreness), Meyers Leonard (left ankle sprain) and Kyle Alexander (right knee hyperextension & PCL sprain) are out.

STANDOUT GAME NOTES:

-- Sunday’s game will be the second of two matchups between the Trail Blazers and the Heat during the 2019-20 season. Miami leads the season series, 1-0.

-- LAST MEETING: The Heat defeated the Trail Blazers, 122-111, on Jan. 5 in Miami. Damian Lillard paced Portland with 34 points (11-22 FG, 6-12 3-PT, 6-7 FT), 12 assists and three steals, while Goran Dragic led Miami with a season-high 29 points (11-17 FG, 7-10 3-PT), three rebounds and a season-high 13 assists.

-- Miami and Portland both rank in the top five in the NBA in three-point shooting. The Heat are second on the season at 37.8% while Portland ranks fifth at 37.0%.

-- Damian Lillard is averaging 30.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 9.5 assists in his last four games against Miami, reaching at least 30 points in three of those contests.