Nassir Little

Nassir Little pays up on bet with Rodney Hood after Duke-UNC game

Nassir Little pays up on bet with Rodney Hood after Duke-UNC game

The Duke-UNC rivalry is probably the most known rivalry in all of basketball. It's a rivalry that dates back to Jan. 24, 1920 and the two schools are separated by a mere 10 miles along Tobacco Road.

UNC leads the series all-time, 133-105.

The rivalry has infiltrated the Portland Trail Blazers this season with Nassir Little (UNC, 2018-19), Rodney Hood (Duke, 2013-14) and Gary Trent Jr. (Duke, 2017-18). The three never played one another in college and even though they are teammates in the NBA, that doesn't stop the betting or the rivalry.

If you caught the game over the weekend, it was nothing short of what a rivalry should be: an overtime thriller.

Unfortunately for Nassir Little, his team lost which means he had to pay up, and not with money.

On Monday, Little posted a photo of himself in a Duke University sweatshirt with the caption "I always thought Duke blue was better! #gthc"

Damian Lillard even commented "Lmao" in the comments on the post.

Turns out it was actually Hood that placed the bet with Little, and not Trent Jr. But that didn't stop him from getting in the photo and teasing his Blazer teammate.

Little played at UNC for one season (2018-2019) and was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers with the No. 25 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Trent Jr. played at Duke for also one season (2017-2018) and was drafted by the Sacramento Kings with the No. 37 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft before the Blazers traded for him that same night.

Duke and UNC will play again in the final week of ACC conference play on Saturday, March 7 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

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

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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.

Nassir Little gives update on left ankle sprain

Nassir Little gives update on left ankle sprain

DENVER – On a night where the Denver Nuggets biggest lead was 34 points, the Trail Blazers lost another frontcourt player to an injury with less than 40 seconds remaining on the clock.  

The Trail Blazers training staff and teammate Jusuf Nurkic helped Little off the court. He was not able to put any weight on his left leg initially, and was helped to the locker room.

The Blazers are calling it a left ankle sprain.

The good news: X-rays on Little’s ankle came back negative.

After the game, Little explained what happened on the play:

“I was just trying to contest a shot and [Vlatko Cancar’s] leg kicked back and I just stepped on it, and I twisted it.”

The Blazers rookie also added that he tweaked his ankle at shootaround in the morning. But, he didn’t think it was that bad, so he decided to play despite his ankle not being 100 percent.

“Probably going to put some compression on it, and go to the gym tomorrow, do some rehab and try to work it out," Little said.

Before suffering the injury, Little played 19 minutes while scoring six points and pulling down five rebounds in the Blazers’ blowout loss to the Nuggets.

Little feels like the injury could've been a lot worse.

“It’s not that bad, I’m able to walk on it, so we’re going to see what’s up tomorrow,” Little said.

In 38 games played, Little has averaged 3.8 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. 

Little is hopeful to play Thursday against the Spurs after getting treatment on Wednesday. 

Nassir Little suffers left ankle injury in Trail Blazers loss to Nuggets

Nassir Little suffers left ankle injury in Trail Blazers loss to Nuggets

The Portland Trail Blazers loss to the Denver Nuggets just got a little worse.

Portland forward Nassir Little went down with a left ankle injury while trying to block a shot from Nuggets forward Vlatko Cancar with 37.9 seconds left in the Trail Blazers 127-99 loss in Denver.

The Trail Blazers training staff, as well as teammate Jusuf Nurkic and others, attended to Little on the court. He was not able to put any weight on his left leg and was helped off the court to the Trail Blazers locker room.

In 38 games, Little has averaged 3.8 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. 

Jamie Hudson is on the ground in Denver and will have an injury update on Little following the game. Stay locked into NBC Sports Northwest for the latest on Little.

The growth of Damian Lillard: From passing out of double teams to not passing on his family

The growth of Damian Lillard: From passing out of double teams to not passing on his family

Let’s take a little time to reflect.

Trail Blazers fans have been treated to absolute greatness while witnessing Damian Lillard’s current tear over the last couple of weeks.

Lillard has been putting a MVP-like numbers with ease and with no inclination of slowing down anytime soon.

The back-to-back winner of the Western Conference Player of the Week knew his team would begin to turn things around, because to put it simply -- they have been able to stick together.  

“I think things are just coming back in our favor,” Lillard said after Monday’s practice. “We had a lot of reasons and a lot of things come up that could’ve caused us to go our separate ways, put our heads down and pretty much fold, and we haven’t. And, I think still showing up to work, staying together, still having a good time in that process, is just coming back to us now.”

Portland is riding a four-game winning streak in which Lillard has averaging 48.8 points, 10.2 assists and 7.2 during that span.

It’s not just his scoring that has been impressive, which is crazy to think about. 

Lillard is averaging a double-double despite team’s putting even more emphasis on blitzing him. Teams are even throwing two defenders at him right as he crosses half court -- Blazers fans aren’t the only ones who know about the magic of Logo Lillard and his insanely deep threes.

It’s apparent that despite having so much defensive attention put on him, Lillard has been able to find his teammates with such ease recently.

But just because he makes it look effortless at times, don’t be fooled by that. 

It’s not easy at all. I think it’s just accepting it, and being aggressive against it. I think usually when you see two people come at you, or a team defending you aggressively, you’re kind of like on your heels and you’re trying to find a way out… When it’s coming at me, I start attacking. I put pressure on it to where they’ve got to actually stop me. If I see that I can get around one guy, I’m going to attack them and make the rest of the defense have to react and it’s going to expose who the open man is. Then it makes it easier to make that play, or get the ball out and sometimes I might be able to turn the corner and get around ‘em, and the other guys might be hugging somebody and I might be able to get to the rim, so I’ve just been trying to be as aggressive as they are with the ball trying to stop me. -- Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts has been reiterating this very thing: Lillard’s passes have been a big part of Portland’s success. 

“I’ve said this multiple times, his passes when they give him more attention -- he’s been making good passes, and the guys have been taking advantage of it and making good reads after he passes it,” Stotts said.

Over his eight year career, Lillard has proved time and time again that he can carry his team into the playoffs. His mentality of never back down while always believing that his team has a chance in a game or has a chance to make the playoffs, has shined bright throughout the years.

Lillard has also said in the past he wants to go down as the best Trail Blazer in franchise history.

This current stretch he is on not only is helping him get closer to achieve that daunting feat, but at the moment, it’s truly showing that great players are never satisfied with their game.

Lillard explained Monday that he has grown as a player even from last year to this year.

“I have felt this locked in and I just think I’m better player than I was the last time that I was maybe this sharp, but it’s part of growth and the process, and how your career unfolds, I guess,” Lillard said. 

Greatness is unfolding right now.

It’s special.

And for the Trail Blazers team captain, he believes his growth as a player has been in big part to how he approaches his life away from the court.

I’ve been here mentally before and as far as preparation, I probably stepped that stuff up another level, because I’ve learned, I got another year under my belt. Mentors and people just kind of throwing things out there to me that I could use to improve. And, I just think I’ve come back this year a better player. So, it looks different when it’s happening this time.  – Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard

Taking his mind off basketball and spending more time with his family is what Lillard has pointed to as a key to his recent play.

Lillard discussed how he has been able to create a true on and off court balance this season.

“Obviously, this is a game that we love to play, but it’s a game, and there was a day before we played in this league, and there’s going to come a day where we don’t play in this league again. And, our family is always gonna be there,” Lillard said.  

Lillard continued, “When you come back to basketball, you’re able to function better and do things with a clearer mind and you just feel better about it.”

Coach Stotts used the phrase, ‘good control’ when discussing how Lillard has been able to elevate his play to a status that not only has Rip City chanting MVP, but CJ McCollum dancing to those Lillard MVP chants.

“He’s always been a confident player, but he looks like he has not only confidence, but a good control of what’s going on, on the court. And, he’s in a shooting groove, which kind of opens up things for not only him, but for other people,” Stotts said.

Those other teammates, who have benefited most from Lillard’s passing include: Hassan Whiteside, Trevor Ariza, and Nassir Little

Hello, lob city vs. the Jazz!

In true Lillard fashion, he gave credit to his teammates after Monday’s practice, giving props to the young guys improving, like Caleb Swanigan, Gary Trent Jr., Anfernee Simons, and Little.  

“I think Trevor, and Biggie, and GT stepping up, Ant, Nas -- all those guys are improving in the middle of the season, learning on the job and I think all of those things, just coming together and we just hitting our stride, playing much better basketball,” Lillard said. 

Coach Stotts couldn’t agree more with his point guard.

“Obviously bringing Trevor in, Trevor has been part of this run as well, and Gary Trent’s playing with a lot of confidence. He’s shooting the ball well. Caleb in his spot minutes has brought a lot of energy… I think… Nassir has come in, made some shots and given us good energy. Last game he got a couple of lob-dunks. I think they’ve kind of picked their spots to play well, and they mesh well with whatever starters are out there,” Stotts said.

Whether it’s a lob, a kick out to the three-point line, an attack the rim and then dish down low to a teammate, or any other type of pass Lillard can muster up, he’s been able to get the job done even with teams’ blitzing him.

So, what’s next?

Will teams throw three guys at him?

They might have to.

One thing doesn’t seem to be in question anymore: Lillard has turned a corner on being able to turn the corner and find the open man.

And, his teammates are delivering.

That, my friends, is something that was not happening against the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2018 playoffs.

That has been some serious growth from Lillard. 

Passing on the Christmas spirit to the Trail Blazers' little ones

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@24Baze

Passing on the Christmas spirit to the Trail Blazers' little ones

There was a common theme among the Trail Blazer players with children:

They are all trying to teach their kids the meaning of being extremely grateful over the holidays.

Hassan Whiteside, whose son, Jayden was born last December has this message for his son during Christmas.

I just want to teach him it’s not about what you get. I think it’s more so… As a kid, I loved Christmas and as I got older, I had the finances to just buy what I want and I realize that I really just love Christmas. I love everything about it -- the decorations, I love Christmas music, I love how everybody all is, I just love the time of year, it’s always been my favorite holiday. -- Center Trail Blazers Hassan Whiteside

Whiteside could also pass down his love for Mariah Carey’s Christmas music to his son.

Whiteside showed of his pipes, as only he can, singing, “all I want for Christmas is youuuuu.”   

With Kent Bazemore’s seven-month-old son, Jet, he and his wife have been watching more Christmas movies this year.

Bazemore mentioned that his family grew watching ‘Home Alone’ and ‘The Grinch.’

But Bazemore wants to show the importance of spending time together to his son.

With basketball it’s so tough because you could be home one year, and then for two years you’re on the road. So, this year our Christmas is a little bit earlier because I’m leaving [on Christmas Day to Salt Lake City]… Now it’s just all about embracing the moments and just being grateful for the time that you have. -- Trail Blazers forward Kent Bazemore

The Trail Blazers starting small forward made sure to find enough time to take Jet to see Santa though.

“We took him to see Santa Claus at Washington Square and that was awesome. He was kind of perplexed, like, ‘who is this guy?’ He didn’t cry. He’s a curious guy,” Bazemore said with a smile.

“Now it’s about starting to build memories.”

Bazemore would like to pass on the tradition of :

“Being grateful of the time because you never know where you’re going to be around Christmas or everyone is busy nowadays. Everyone has their own thing going, so when you’re with people just really embrace the time and make every second count.”      

Veteran Anthony Tolliver echoed the same sentiments of what he’s hoping to pass down to his son and daughter.

Gratefulness. Just realizing how fortunate we are to even have a Christmas and be able to afford nice things. Ever since I’ve been in the NBA, pretty much I’ve been trying to give back and provide Christmas to families that can’t afford it. Our kids participate in that. -- Trail Blazers forward Anthony Tolliver

AT said since he has had kids, he and his wife adopt families to give Christmas gifts to the families and the Tollivers also donate a bunch of their toys before Christmas.

“It’s our way of trying to instill some gratefulness and thankfulness… Just trying to put together some good traditions for our kids and make sure they’re grateful for what they get.”

Trail Blazers' Christmas Traditions

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Trail Blazers' Christmas Traditions

We've all got them... Christmas traditions. 

Whether it be a particular movie on a certain night, a fun food to make and eat together... each family is different.

The magazine Country Living put together a list of the best Christmas Traditions.

The top 25 traditions on this list to get families in the holiday spirit include:

-- Make homemade hot chocolate

-- Participate in an annual toy drive

-- Have a Secret Santa gift exchange

-- Make a gingerbread house

But, what about the Trail Blazers’ Christmas traditions?

A handful of Trail Blazers shared their Christmas rituals.

The Bazmore Family

When Trail Blazers forward Kent Bazemore was very young, he spent a lot of time with his dad’s side of the family. Bazemore’s father has five brothers and six sisters.

It was a big family event.

“It was a three or four day thing,” Bazemore said. “People would come in, we’d have dinner, people would hang out, stay up all night with my cousins.”

When Bazemore was in high school, the Bazemore family still got together, but basketball was prominent.

“The day after Christmas… We would have a Christmas basketball tournament. Some people would stay and watch me play.”

One thing is certain: Bazmore always enjoyed his time with his family, and as a family they would watch Christmas movies together including:

-Home Alone (obviously)

-The Grinch

The Whiteside Family

For Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside’s family, Christmas early morning was the main event.

“We might get to open up on gift early… Sometimes… When it struck midnight you got to open up one gift,” Whiteside said with a smile. 

The Whitesides also enjoyed the family dinner.

“We eat a lot of food on Christmas, it’s kind of like Thanksgiving-type-style.  It’s a whole lot of food. We do that on Christmas Eve or Christmas day, it depends.  And then on Christmas morning we opened up gifts.”

But, Whiteside also added that Christmas is his favorite time of year because he gets to spend time with family.

The Little Family

Trail Blazers rookie Nassir Little’s family is big on looking back on home videos when his family gets together over the holidays. 

“We went big on Christmas Eve. We open one small gift early; we watch old videos of when we was babies and stuff like that.  We play a whole bunch of games.”

The 19-year-old has his family in Portland with him for this Christmas. He said he’s looking forward to spending time with them and added, “I might watch those little Claymation cartoons.”

Little shared that ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ is one of his favorite Christmas movies, saying, “That’s my stuff right there.”

The Tolliver Family

Growing up, Trail Blazers veteran Anthony Tolliver and his family were all about that Christmas morning life.

The Tolliver family also has a delicious tradition.

“We’d always wake up and have cinnamon rolls. That’s our thing, every Christmas morning we’d have cinnamon rolls,” Tolliver reminisced.

“We’d open up presents first, of course, and then cinnamon rolls,” Tolliver joked.

The Tolliver family also enjoyed watching NBA games all day and “playing with the new toys” was also high on their list.

“And take a nap.” Tolliver laughed.

Yes, a Christmas nap is always essential.

Sending you and your family holiday cheer!

How to watch, stream Trail Blazers vs. Warriors tonight at 7:00pm

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How to watch, stream Trail Blazers vs. Warriors tonight at 7:00pm

The Portland Trail Blazers (11-16) are set to tip-off a four-game homestand beginning Wednesday night when Portland hosts the Golden State Warriors (5-23).

Tuesday, the Blazers found out they have been granted their requested disabled player exception for Rodney Hood, meaning they can use half of Hood's salary to sign a replacement player. Hood is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. The DPE will be worth $2.859 million and must be used by March 10 or it will go away.  

Portland has listed Nassir Little (back spasms) as probable and Mario Hezonja (back spasms) as questionable for Wednesday's game.

As for Golden State, the Warriors have listed Eric Paschall (Left hip; soreness) as questionable.

You can watch all the action between the Blazers and Warriors game on NBC Sports Northwest, the Official Network of the Portland Trail Blazers and you can stream the game on our website or by downloading the MyTeams app!

And, have you heard about Blazers Pass?

You can get 15 live Trail Blazers games, pre and postgame shows, and on-demand full-game replays with Blazers Pass! (Only available to fans located in Blazers Territory, pursuant to NBA rules and agreements. No TV provider required. Subscription Period: November 4, 2019 - April 16, 2020. Subscription auto-renews prior to start of next season.)

Don't miss any of the coverage of tonight's game:

4:30pm Blazers Game Day with Chad Doing

6:00pm Blazers Warm-Up

6:30pm Trail Blazers Pregame Show

7:00pm Trail Blazers vs. Warriors

After the game catch Blazers Outsiders with hosts Joe Simons and Dan Marang!

And, full coverage of the game from Dwight JaynesJamie Hudson and our digital team. Follow us on social throughout the night for the latest updates. 

QUOTABLE

Tonight was just a game that we had to dig deep and get this one. Early we kind of dug ourselves a hole. Those guys came out playing extremely well, shooting the ball well. I think they kind of caught us off guard with their pace early. I think once we settled down and we really got their pace under control, we was able to do some things on the defensive end that was beneficial to us, rotate, sink back… We needed to… It made the defense a lot of fun. -- Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony after Monday's win

 

Pregame Notebook: Trail Blazers looking to run Suns off three-point line

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Pregame Notebook: Trail Blazers looking to run Suns off three-point line

The Portland Trail Blazers have been preparing for the Phoenix Suns for the past three days following their road loss to the Nuggets on Thursday night.

With Phoenix dealing with various injuries, Portland is looking to get back on the winning track.

The Blazers have also been soaking up the sun, which can also provide a boost in energy. 

Before the Trail Blazers and Suns tip-off at 6:00p.m. tonight on NBC Sports Northwest and on the 'MyTeams' App, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts offered up his thoughts on tonight’s matchup.

Coach Stotts knows defending the perimeter is going to be key.

It’s a challenge because they move the ball really well. They space the court well with all three of their bigs being able to shoot threes… Pick and roll defense becomes a challenge. -- Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stott pregame

Also, according to Coach Stotts, Nassir Little (back spasms) is OUT for tonight’s game in Phoenix.

As for the Suns injury report, Cameron Johnson (left hip soreness), Dario Saric (low back soreness) and Jalen Lecque are available. Devin Booker (right forearm contusion) is OUT.

How to watch, stream Trail Blazers vs. Suns tonight at 6:00pm

How to watch, stream Trail Blazers vs. Suns tonight at 6:00pm

The Portland Trail Blazers (10-16) take on the (11-14) Phoenix Suns on Monday night.

The Blazers have been in Phoenix since Friday morning following Thursday night’s 114-99 loss to the Nuggets.

While in the desert, Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic spoke with the media after Portland wrapped up practice and Nurk finished one of his individual workouts.  He told reporters, he would put his readiness at “60 percent.”

For Monday’s contest, the Blazers have listed rookie forward Nassir Little as questionable. Little is continuing to deal with back spasms.

As for the Suns, they have listed Cameron Johnson (left hip soreness) and Dario Saric (low back soreness) as probable, while Devin Booker (right forearm contusion) is questionable, and Deandre Ayton (league suspension) is out.

You can watch the Blazers-Suns game on NBC Sports Northwest, the Official Network of the Portland Trail Blazers and you can stream the game on our website or by downloading the MyTeams app!

And, have you heard about Blazers Pass?

You can get 15 live Trail Blazers games, pre and postgame shows, and on-demand full-game replays with Blazers Pass! (Only available to fans located in Blazers Territory, pursuant to NBA rules and agreements. No TV provider required. Subscription Period: November 4, 2019 - April 16, 2020. Subscription auto-renews prior to start of next season.)

Don't miss any of the coverage of tonight's game:

3:30pm Blazers Game Day with Chad Doing

5:00pm Blazers Warm-Up

5:30pm Trail Blazers Pregame Show

6:00pm Trail Blazers vs. Suns

After the game catch Blazers Outsiders with hosts Joe Simons and Dan Marang!

Plus, we will have full coverage of the game from Dwight JaynesJamie Hudson and our digital team. Follow us on social throughout the night for the latest updates. 

Quotable

I’m not expecting myself to just do the rehab; I want to get better, so I want to get better as a player, better as a person. I see a lot of things differently from the court, from the bench, and in the locker room… I’ve been there, like a totally different person to see the different perspective and I feel like I can help even more.  -- Trail Blazer center Jusuf Nurkic