Top plays that changed Game 4 of Trail Blazers vs. Timberwolves 2000 First Round series

Top plays that changed Game 4 of Trail Blazers vs. Timberwolves 2000 First Round series

Rip City isn’t eager to talk about the 2000 NBA playoffs.

Understandable. 

For all the young Trail Blazers fans out there, go ahead look up the results.  

But, let’s talk about the Trail Blazers First Round matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Tempers flared in Minnesota on May 2, 2000 as the Timberwolves faced elimination.  

The typically calm and collected Trail Blazers shooting guard Steve Smith was hit with a technical foul midway through the fourth quarter.

It was obvious that Smith's frustrations were boiling over in the final period when there were multiple calls that he thought the officials had missed, to which he let the refs know his feelings. 

Smith was then hit with the tech after getting tangled up with Anthony Peeler and challenging the no call. Smith thought he was fouled by Peeler. The two players exchanged words. Double technical fouls were assessed.  

With the worry that Smith was going to be charged with a second technical foul, Scottie Pippen subbed in for Smith. 

But, as technical fouls often do, the situation can both fire up a team and help the momentum shift in their favor OR it can backfire.

This particular play ignited Smith and the Blazers.

Portland’s starting shooting guard made the Timberwolves pay when he quickly returned to the court due to Detlef Schrempf getting blood on his uniform.

Smith hit a big-time 3-pointer at the top of the key after a nice drive and dish from Scottie Pippen just minutes after being charged with a technical.  

The tech and the three, helped change the momentum in Portland’s favor.

Portland was able to overcome poor free throw shooting, foul trouble, and struggles on the glass.

The Blazers started the final period on a 13-2 run, which was also key in Game 4 as Portland eliminated Minnesota with an 85-77 victory sending Minnesota home in the First Round of the Playoffs for the fourth straight year.

Before Smith's three-pointer, Portland trailed 75-74 with 3:45 remaining in the game. The Blazers led from that point on to finish off the series.

Smith notched 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting, while Scottie Pippen added 11.

Rasheed Wallace and Arvydas Sabonis led the Blazers in scoring with 15 points apiece.

Wallace sealed the deal with a bank shot at the top of the key to put Portland up 81-77 with 32.4 seconds remaining in the game. 

And, we can all probably agree that any play that involved Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett was a significant one.

The battles between KG and Sheed was must-see TV in this First Round series.

Plus, Game 4 was another entertaining installment of Rasheed versus NBA referee Steve Javie.

The jawing at officials that only Sheed can do is always welcomed, until he gets ejected, but in Game 4 he didn’t even get hit with a technical.

In the losing effort, Garnett nearly recorded his third triple-double of the series. He finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

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

How to watch: Steve Smith and Trail Blazers take it to Minnesota in 2000 to advance to West Semis

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How to watch: Steve Smith and Trail Blazers take it to Minnesota in 2000 to advance to West Semis

Tempers flared in Minnesota!

Trail Blazers shooting guard Steve Smith was hit with a technical foul midway through the fourth quarter, but then he made the Timberwolves pay as the Trail Blazers took the best-of-five series 3-1 and advanced to the West Semis.

Smith hit a big-time 3-pointer just minutes after drawing the tech for getting tangled up with Anthony Peeler.  

The Trail Blazers went on to eliminate the Timberwolves with an 85-77 victory back on May 2, 2000 sending Minnesota home in the First Round of the Playoffs for the fourth straight year.

Portland trailed 75-74 before Smith's 3-pointer with 3:45 remaining in the game. The Blazers led from that point on to finish off the series.

Smith finished with 14 points, while Scottie Pippen added 11.

Rasheed Wallace and Arvydas Sabonis led the Blazers scoring, both finishing with 15 points apiece.

There’s no dispute that the late 1990s/early 2000s Trail Blazers team had a very talented and deep roster.

Just take it from Justin Wulf’s tweet; this Trail Blazers squad was one of the best rosters not to win it all.

In the losing effort of Game 4, Kevin Garnett nearly recorded his third triple-double of the series. KG finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

Minnesota led 40-36 at halftime after holding a 13-point lead in the second quarter, which was the largest of the series for either team.

But, Minnesota's poor shooting, especially early on, was a deciding factor. 

Starters for Game 4 of the Trail Blazers First Round playoff series against Minnesota in 2000  

MINNESOTA

Kevin Garnett

Malik Sealy

Terrell Brandon

Rasho Nesterovic 

Wally Szczerbiak

PORTLAND

Rasheed Wallace

Steve Smith

Scottie Pippen

Damon Stoudamire

Arvydas Sabonis

HOW TO WATCH: May 2, 2000, First Round playoff series -- Trail Blazers at Timberwolves

WHEN: Tuesday, May 19 at 6:30pm 

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

CHANNEL FINDER

Stream the game here.  

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

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

 

Karl-Anthony Towns' mom, Jacqueline Towns, passes away due to COVID-19

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Karl-Anthony Towns' mom, Jacqueline Towns, passes away due to COVID-19

The NBA family is in mourning. 

The Minnesota Timberwolves announced on Monday that Jacqueline Towns, the mother of All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns, has passed away due to complications related to COVID-19.

On March 24, Towns posted a video on his Instagram channel, announcing to the world that his mom was battling the illness. 

Anyone who watches and loves the NBA knows the league is one giant family. Upon hearing the news, that family reached out via social media to show love and supports for the Towns family. 

Our thoughts and prayers are with Karl-Anthony Towns, his family, and anyone who knew and loved Jacqueline. 

How trades in the Western Conference affect Trail Blazers playoff chances

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How trades in the Western Conference affect Trail Blazers playoff chances

Now that the NBA trade deadline has come and gone, let’s assess the West.

There was plenty of movement in the Western Conference in the last two days.

With the Trail Blazers making a deal with the Atalanta Hawks that sent big man Skal Labbisiere to Atlanta, the Hawks will be saving the Trail Blazers $2.8 million in luxury tax. 

In the deal, the Trail Blazers will also receive a protected second round pick in 2024 from Atlanta and a $2.4M trade exception. 

Heading into Thursday's trade deadline, the Trail Blazers were $11.3 million over the cap, with a tax luxury payment of close to $20 million. 

But, after Thursday's deal with Atlanta and the January 18th move that sent Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver for Trevor Ariza, Caleb Swanigan and Wenyan Gabriel from Sacramento, Portland now sits just over $4 million over the cap, with a luxury tax bill of $5.9 million.

But, how do the rest of the West’s deals affect Portland?

Here’s a quick breakdown…

Since the San Antonio Spurs are currently one of the teams, just like Portland, on the verge of making the playoffs, could it mean that they are not looking to make the postseason since they didn’t make a move?

Possibly. 

The Spurs and Thunder are two teams out West that did not make any moves by the deadline, which is surprising considering San Antonio sits in the 10th spot and OKC is barely holding onto the sixth spot. The Thunder were rumored to be sellers at the trade deadline and eventually fall out of the playoff picture. They reportedly tried to get a multi-team deal done with the Heat that included Danilo Gallinari, but things fell through. 

Now, Portland must contend with an OKC Thunder team that stayed pat at the deadline. 

Portland is three games back of the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies.

 

The bad news for the Blazers? The Grizzlies were making moves. A lot of them. Memphis was involved in a three-team trade where they received Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters and Gorgui Dieng.

Winslow has been dealing with various injuries, but can definitely help the young Memphis roster that has already proven to be better than most expected. At least this soon anyway. Winslow is averaging 11.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists.

They're not expected to keep Dion Waiters, who has been a consistent disruption in the locker room. 

Memphis also made another move Thursday, acquiring former Oregon Ducks Jordan Bell from the Rockets in exchange for Bruno Caboclo.

With their moves, the Grizzlies get some help at the forward spot as they continue to solidify their playoff position.

As for the Golden State Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves trade, this will affect the Blazers more so next season.

Since it seems these two teams are looking to the future and not worried about this season, the Warriors get some much needed frontcourt help and the Timberwolves get some much needed backcourt help. Golden State trading D'Angelo Russell to Minnesota for a deal that includes Andrew Wiggins, a 2021 protected first-round pick and a 2022 second-round pick, makes complete sense considering each teams needs with their current roster makeup.

So, as Portland worked to cut down it’s luxury tax, they will continue to push for that playoff spot with their current roster. But lest we forget, Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins are both set to return before the postseason.

And, the Trail Blazers have looked like a team that has found a groove with their current roster of adding Trevor Ariza and Caleb Swanigan into the mix, minus Tuesday’ loss at Denver.

For now, it’s about trying to beat out the Grizzlies and Spurs or any other team on the fringe in the West. With the trade deadline now behind us, it will be interesting to see if any of the bubble playoff teams in the Western Conference decide to go a different direction and not make a final push for the postseason.

Because, as long Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are playing, there is no doubt they will do everything in their power to get to the postseason.   

Trail Blazers on the mend after long road trip, hard falls

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Trail Blazers on the mend after long road trip, hard falls

The Trail Blazers fell to 16-23 on the season and 8-14 on the road as the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are behind the Blazers in the standings, snagged a 116-102 victory Thursday night.  

They finished a brutal five-game road trip 2-3 and finally got a chance to sleep in their own beds. 

Despite already being short-handed to injuries, things appeared as if they were only to get worse.

Here’s the list of players who found themselves laying on their back for several seconds Thursday night: 

  • Hassan Whiteside.
  • Damian Lillard.
  • Mario Hezonja. 
  • Anthony Tolliver.

And then there was Anfernee Simons taking a blow to the face, which he received four stitches for after getting cut on his cheek at the end of the third quarter.  

The worst of the spills that resulted in an injury came early on.

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts told our Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes, “Obviously, Mario took a hard spill, and Anthony took a tough spill… I don’t know, things like that happen I guess. You’re right we had guys on the floor.”

Hezonja got caught in the air when he was fouled as he took it hard to the basket at the 3:55 mark of the first quarter. 

Blazers PR announced during the game that Hezonja suffered a low back contusion on the play.

Despite four different players laying on the court at various points in time Thursday, Hezonja was the only one to miss considerable time in the game.

As for Lillard, who fell hard at the 5:38 mark of the second quarter, it was his elbow that took a beating.

Timberwolves backup big man Naz Reid fell directly on top of Lillard’s outstretched elbow.

The Blazers team captain discussed how his elbow was feeling after the loss.

“When I went to the ground my arms was out and he fell on top of my arm and it was at a weird angle, so it just hyperextended a little bit. So, I just had to make sure it was fine, and it ended up being fine, just sore,” Lillard told reporters.

And as if coming down with a nasty cold wasn’t bad enough for Whiteside, he too stayed down on the court for an extended period of time after falling hard.

Whiteside went up for the block and then came crashing down and stayed on the ground before his teammates helped him up at the 11:21 of the third quarter.

The Blazers starting center continued to get up and down the court even though he was seen coughing into his jersey throughout the night.  Whiteside didn’t let his cold hold him back though. He finished the night with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting to go along with 14 rebounds and two blocks in 30 minutes of play.

But, perhaps one of the scariest falls happened in the final period.

Tolliver came barreling down the paint to fight for the rebound with 7:39 remaining in the game, but then he quickly found himself on his back under the hoop after falling hard and taking an elbow to the head.

The 34-year-old didn’t seem phased by the play, which was impressive.

In the locker room after the game, Tolliver was seen icing his right elbow. He told his teammates postgame that he "hit his elbow hard on the fall."

A night of hard spills seemed to symbolize the overall feel of Thursday night for Portland.

The Blazers got outplayed in the second quarter when Minnesota outscored Portland 31-13, but as Lillard described it, they didn’t have the effort they needed to get the job done.

This team also didn’t have its health at the moment.

However, the Blazers aren’t using it as an excuse with both Whiteside and CJ McCollum now on the mend of a nasty chest cold.

“Our immune system is failing us on this trip with some guys. It will be good to get home tonight, sleep in our own beds, get some rest tonight, and be in front of our home crowd… on Saturday,” Lillard said.

Portland has not released their injury report for Saturday's game vs. Milwaukee, but hopefully some real good home cooking with the top team in the NBA will help them mend quicker. 

One thing is certain: The Blazers need to take as much pain and flu medication as possible between now and Saturday night.

They can't afford to be down any more people. 

Morning After: Everything you may have missed from the Blazers loss to Minnesota

Morning After: Everything you may have missed from the Blazers loss to Minnesota

Well, that's not how you want to end a road trip...

The Trail Blazers ended their 10-day, five-game journey with a stop in Minnesota, hoping to come back home with a winning record. Instead, they limped out of Minnesota broken, beat, and scarred. 

Portland looks good in the first quarter, grabbing the 34-28 lead, but the game never looked the same once the second quarter started. Minnesota outscored the Blazers 72-40 over the next two quarters and put this one on ice. 

Portland couldn't match the Timberwolves offense, and couldn't stop it either. 

To make matters worse, Portland had to deal with a bunch of injury scares. Mario Hezonja, Anthony Tolliver, and Hassan Whiteside all took scary falls, while Damian Lillard was landed on while diving for a loose ball and slight hyperextended his elbow. The worst of them all was Anfernee Simons. Simons was hit in the face on a dunk attempt, no foul was called, but he ended up with a laceration on his cheek and four stitches for this trouble.

Bruised and beaten, the Blazers limp back to Portland going 2-3 on the trip.

Final Score: Minnesota 116 - Portland 102.

QUOTABLES:

Anfernee Simons on his stitches:

I’m gonna look tough now. No more baby face.

Coach Stotts on what happened after the first quarter:

The first quarter, we scored the ball well... They had nine second-chance points that kept them in the game in the first quarter. In the second quarter, our offense was pretty poor. We didn’t have an assist in the quarter. Didn’t make shots, didn’t pass the ball well. They were able to get out in transition, and it made their offense that much better.

Damian Lillard on the loss:

You know, that edge and that energy just wasn’t there. It just felt like, overall, we were a little bit tired. We’ve been on the road a long time and we just didn’t have the kind of energy that we needed tonight. Not a great effort by our team.

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Sick and tired, battered and bruised, Trail Blazers end trip with loss

Sick and tired, battered and bruised, Trail Blazers end trip with loss

MINNESOTA – Battered, bruised, sick and tired in their locker room after the game, the Portland Trail Blazers looked as if they’d been in a cage fight – and the cage won.

The Minnesota Timberwolves put a physical 116-102 whipping on them Thursday night, the final bout of a five-game, 10-day road trip that appeared to have gone one game and two days too long for the Trail Blazers.

Mario Hezonja was nursing a sore back from a nasty fall. Anthony Tolliver was icing a sore elbow as a result of another bad fall. Damian Lillard was still working the kinks out of a hyper-extended arm. Anfernee Simons had four stitches taken under his right eye. Hassan Whiteside was taking an IV for an upper-respiratory problem that had already weakened CJ McCollum. And I probably missed someone else… it was that kind of night.

Portland led by as many as eight in the first quarter but then just got clobbered in the second and third quarters. The Wolves won the second quarter 31-13 and the third 41-27.

“The first quarter, we scored the ball well,” Coach Terry Stotts said. “They had nine second-chance points that kept them in the game in the first quarter. In the second quarter, our offense was pretty poor. We didn’t have an assist in the quarter. Didn’t make shots, didn’t pass the ball well. They were able to get out in transition, and it made their offense that much better.”

Then, with a six-point lead going into the second quarter, things went sideways very fast.

“I thought some of our guys looked tired,” Stotts said. “Whether it was the road trip, the last game of the road trip or the illnesses that are going around, I don’t know. It looked like we weren’t able to sustain the energy level after the first quarter.”

But the Timberwolves’ lead was only a dozen at the half and in the NBA, that’s not a big advantage to overcome in two quarters. But the tank was empty, it seemed.

“They came out and hit three threes early,” Stotts said. “When you’re down 12 at the half, those first five minutes of the third quarter are important. You want the lead to get down to single digits instead of ballooning up. They gained the momentum right at the start of the third quarter and all of a sudden, it’s a 20-point game. And that’s pretty deflating.”

And the Trail Blazers seemed powerless to stop it.

“You know, that edge and that energy just wasn’t there,” Damian Lillard said. “It just felt like, overall, we were a little bit tired. We’ve been on the road a long time and we just didn’t have the kind of energy that we needed tonight. Not a great effort by our team.”

Lillard finished with 20, CJ McCollum and Whiteside with 15.

And the sad thing for Portland is that it gets just one day of rest, Friday, before the Milwaukee Bucks arrive Saturday night in Moda Center.

No rest for the weary in the NBA.

Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers run out of gas at end of long road trip

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Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers run out of gas at end of long road trip

The Trail Blazers had a tough time slowing down the Timberwolves Thursday night.  

Both CJ McCollum and Hassan Whiteside were locked in and in a groove, especially early, despite both Trail Blazers starters dealing with upper respiratory infections.

Minnesota was without Karl-Anthony Towns (left knee sprain) and former Trail Blazer Jake Layman (left toe sprain).

After Portland took a 34-28 at the end of the first quarter, the Blazers struggled to put points on the board in the second quarter. The Blazers also had difficulty slowing down Andrew Wiggins and company. 

It wasn't the way the Blazers wanted to end the road trip. 
FINAL BOX SCORE:, TIMBERWOLVES 116, TRAIL BLAZERS 102 

Here are three quick takeaways from Thursday’s loss:

1.  Minnesota took care of the rock, shares the love

The Timberwolves went on a 23-9 run from midway in the second quarter to early in the third. Taking out the first quarter of action, it was pretty much all Minnesota, all the time. The T-Wolves got great scoring production from both Andrew Wiggins and Robert Covington. 

And most importantly for Minnesota, the Timberwolves committed just three turnovers as a team through the midway point of the third.  

2. Hezonja suffers low back contusion

Trail Blazers forward Mario Hezonja suffered a low back contusion in the first quarter.

When the Blazers back-up forward drove hard to the rim at the 3:55 mark of the first quarter, he was fouled by Timberwolves big man Noah Vonleh. Hezonja got caught in the air and came down hard, falling on his back. 

He returned to action midway through the third quarter after being listed as “questionable to return.” However, Hezonja played just two minutes before heading back to the locker room. Rookie Jaylen Hoard entered the game for Hezonja.

We'll update you on his status as it becomes available. 

3. Blazers can’t overcome second quarter  

Eight Trail Blazer players scored in the first quarter and it looked like there was a chance Portland would roll to an easy victory Thursday night. But, Minnesota had different plans.  The Timberwolves outscored the Blazers 31-13 in the second quarter.

The struggles continued for the Blazers in the third.  

Portland was not able to slow down the T-Wolves in the third quarter as Minnesota shot over 60 percent from for the period. Heading into the fourth, the Timberwolves had scored 42 points in the paint to the Blazers’ 16 points in the paint. Six players scored in double figures for the T-Wolves.

Up Next: The Trail Blazers will now head back home to host the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday night. Portland and Milwaukee will tip-off at 7:00pm on NBC Sports Northwest and the MyTeams App.

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

Mario Hezonja suffers low back contusion

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Mario Hezonja suffers low back contusion

Per Trail Blazers PR, Blazers forward Mario Hezonja has suffered a low back contusion and is questionable to return to tonight’s game in Minnesota.

Hezonja drove hard to the rim at the 3:55 mark of the first quarter when he was fouled by Timberwolves big man Noah Vonleh. Hezonja got caught in the air and came down hard, falling on his back. 

6:40 pm PT UPDATE: Hezonja retuned to action for just two minutes midway through the third quarter before heading back to the locker room. 

Hezonja has been dealing with back spasms this season. He has played in just four of Portland’s last 10 games.

In those four games, he is averaging 6.3 points on 55.6 percent shooting.

Hezonja has looked comfortable and confident over that stretch as he continues to get healthy.

Before the injury against the Timberwolves, Hezonja scored five points to go along with four rebounds and two assists.

We will update this post when we know more on Hezonja’s injury. 

Pregame Notebook: Hassan Whiteside is available for tonight's game vs. Timberwolves

Pregame Notebook: Hassan Whiteside is available for tonight's game vs. Timberwolves

It’s the final game of the Portland Trail Blazers (16-22) five-game road trip as the Blazers look to go up 2-0 in their regular season series with the Minnesota Timberwolves (14-22).

Knowing that Skal Labissiere has suffered a left knee articular cartilage lesion and will be out for at least four more weeks, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts was asked about how the team will continue to deal with a thin frontcourt. 

When Skal went down we didn’t know the extent of it, and we kind of assumed it was -- he wasn’t going to be around for a little bit, but we didn’t know how long… The team is what it is right now and we keep moving forward. – Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts

Before the Trail Blazers and Timberwolves tip-off at 5:00 p.m. PT tonight on NBC Sports Northwest and on the 'My Teams' App, coach Stotts discussed how they are dealing with no height, especially now that Hassan Whiteside has come down with an upper respiratory infection.   

“You’ve got to do it by committee when Hassan’s not there, he can get a lot of them, but when he’s not, it’s gotta be a team thing,” Stotts told reporters during this morning’s shootaround.

THE GOOD NEWS for the Blazers: Whiteside is available for tonight's game. 

BLAZERS INJURY REPORT:

Skal Labissiere (left knee inflammation) and Jusuf Nurkic (left leg fracture) are out for tonight’s game at Minnesota.

TIMBERWOLVES INJURY REPORT:

The Timberwolves will be without Karl-Anthony Towns (left knee sprain) and former Trail Blazer Jake Layman (left toe sprain).

STANDOUT GAME NOTES:

• Thursday’s game will be the second of four matchups between the Trail Blazers and Timberwolves during the 2019-20 season. The Trail Blazers lead the season series, 1-0.

• LAST MEETING: Portland defeated Minnesota, 113-106, on Dec. 21 in Portland. Damian Lillard led Portland with 29 points (10-25 FG, 3-12 3-PT, 6-9 FT), three rebounds and seven assists. Andrew Wiggins paced the Timberwolves with 33 points (13-24 FG, 4-6 3-PT, 3-4 FT), six rebounds and a season-high three blocks.

• OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION: The Trail Blazers (112.0 ppg) and the Timberwolves (111.8 ppg) rank 11th and 12th in the NBA in scoring, respectively. • Damian Lillard has scored at least 20 points in 10 of his last 14 appearances against Minnesota.

• CJ McCollum scored 26 points (8-23 FG, 5-10 3-PT, 5-7 FT) to go with three assists and a season-high three steals against Minnesota on Dec. 21. McCollum has shot 8-of-17 (47.1%) from 3-PT range over his two most recent games opposite the Timberwolves.