The fourth quarter wasn’t pretty, but the final result was for the Blazers. The Blazers couldn't buy a bucket for the first half of the final quarter. When they finally added points to the scoreboard, it was just enough to keep the Knicks at bay. With the win in New York the Blazers are coming home with a 4-1 record on their five game trip. Not bad. Not bad at all.
While the basketball fans of New York wait for either the Knicks or Carmelo Anthony to blink, the Portland Trail Blazers are still holding out hope.
Will Anthony, at some point, waive that no-trade to include more teams? Would the Trail Blazers be one of those teams?
At this point, nobody knows. But I will tell you this, if that door ever opens, I expect Portland to make every effort to charge through it.
But it won’t be easy. In fact, it’s going to be a very big job, considering the finances involved.
The Blazers will have to come up with a trade with the Knicks that is better than anyone else’s and yet doesn't’t completely decimate the Portland roster.
And that will be a huge challenge. The Trail Blazers are going to need to stack a lot of salaries on top of each other to come up to the dollar amount needed to make the deal permissible under league rules.
And the trick is to not give up so much that Anthony’s presence can’t make up for the loss of the departed players..
Portland's side of the trade must come within 125 percent of $34 million to make the thing work. That dollar figure is based on Anthony’s 2017-18 salary of roughly $26.2 million PLUS his trade kicker, which will amount to another $8 million, given that the final year of his contract is a player option.
And you need to match that amount without ending up with your cupboard bare.
Here are the Portland contracts for next season –- feel free to play the home version of “Let’s Make A Deal” to add them up to a workable total while not giving away so much that the team is mortally wounded.
As you see, it’s going to get very tricky. But I expect the Trail Blazers to come up with a viable offer and by sheer volume it may be better than any other team is willing to give for a player who will probably play just one season for it.
I would figure the refreshed New York front office to play this thing out, hoping Anthony will loosen his no-trade a bit as training camp nears. And I expect Anthony to hold tight for as long as he can to a Houston-only demand.
But at some point, one side will budge.
And so we wait.
Adrian Wojnarowski at ESPN.com is reporting that the Trail Blazers are not all interested in being a third team in a deal that would facilitate a trade of Carmelo Anthony to Houston.
And that they're actually interested in going after Anthony:
One of the teams that New York and Houston had hoped would facilitate a multi-team trade for Anthony -- the Portland Trail Blazers -- only plans to participate in a deal for Anthony if he decides to expand his no-trade clause to include the Trail Blazers, league sources told ESPN.
Outside of Golden State, Portland believes the addition of a player such as Anthony would furnish it with talent and depth comparable to those of the top Western Conference contenders, league sources said. Because of that, the Blazers have little, if any, inclination to facilitate an Anthony deal that would land him with a Western Conference rival such as Houston, league sources said.
A deal for Anthony is much different than adding Ryan Anderson -- the rumored trade piece in the proposed three-team deal. Yes, Anthony has struggled in New York -- but who wouldn't? That franchise is a hot mess.
But I always liked the Melo who was one of the most reliable and unselfish players on the U.S. national team. I believe that with a stable franchise, with a coach who gives his players freedom the way Terry Stotts does, with teammates the caliber of the ones he'd have here, Carmelo Anthony would be a terrific piece on a contending team. And along with Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic, that's a pretty formidable foundation for a solid team.
The Trail Blazers would immediately thrust themselves into that cluster of teams right behind the Warriors. I'd make that deal in a New York minute.
Problem is, there may be no deal to make. Anthony has a no-trade clause and he's willing to waive it for Houston or Cleveland. Could he be talked into including Portland on his list of approved destinations? I would doubt it. It simply has to be a long shot.
But I'd be all in on the effort. This is a move worth making.
It wasn’t as easy as they would have liked, but the Trail Blazers took care of business Thursday against short-handed New York with a 110-95 win in which they never trailed.
Playing a woeful Knicks team that was without injured starters Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose, the Blazers bolted to a 15-point lead in the first quarter and a 21-point lead at halftime. The Knicks got as close as 98-88 with four minutes left in the fourth quarter before Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum shut the door and locked Portland’s ninth win in the last 12 games.
The Blazers (33-38), who moved within one game of Denver for the eighth and final playoff spot with 11 games remaining. Denver (34-37) next plays at Indiana (36-35) on Friday.
Lillard had 30 points, the eighth consecutive game he has scored 25 or more, tying him for the third longest streak in franchise history with Geoff Petrie (1970-1971) and McCollum (this season). He scored seven points in a two minute span to lead a 10-0 Blazers run after New York cut the lead to 10. It was the ninth time in 15 games since the All-Star Break that Lillard has scored 30 or more points.
McCollum added 20 points, Jusuf Nurkic 16 points and 10 rebounds and Noah Vonleh grabbed 11 rebounds.
"I thought we played a really good first half on both ends of the floor,'' Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "I was disappointed with the fact that New York cut it to 10. Some of that is obviously New York playing better ... but they outworked us. We finished it off, so that was a positive.''
The Knicks (27-45) started three rookies – Willy Hernangomez, Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Ron Baker – and they were overmatched in every facet of the game as they trailed by as many as 23 in the second half.
If Nurkic wasn’t powering over Hernangomez for dunks, Lillard was blowing past Baker for layins. New York’s lone remaining star – Kristaps Porzingis –finished with 18 points and nine rebounds on 8-of-21 shooting.
The rout started early as Portland jumped to a 37-23 lead in the first quarter behind 15 points from Lillard and some dreadful play by the Knicks. New York shot 28.6 percent in the quarter while Portland made 14-of-23 shots (60.9 percent). Lillard scored 15 in the first quarter.
"I thought the way Damian got off in the first quarter really set the tone for the rest of the first half,'' Stotts said.
The Knicks, who beat Portland earlier in the season, lost for the fourth consecutive time and seventh time in eight games.
Evan Turner, who tried his third protective apparatus on his right hand, had his best game since returning from his broken third metacarpal, recording 10 points and six rebounds on 3-of-5 shooting.
"Evan looked much more comfortable out there,'' Stotts said.
Next up: Minnesota at Blazers, 7 p.m. Saturday (CSN).
NEW YORK -- When it came time to make a winning play in a back and forth game Tuesday, the Trail Blazers couldn't and the Knicks did.
Derrick Rose hit a short jumper with 6.8 seconds left, which came after a Carmelo Anthony offenisve rebound, putting the finishing touches on New York's 107-103 victory over the Blazers at Madison Square Garden.
Rose's game-clinching shot came after Damian Lillard and Evan Turner couldn't connect on a pass that went out of bounds with 53.1 seconds left with a chance to tie or take the lead.
Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis led all scorers with 31 points and nine rebounds and Rose finished with 18 points and five assists. Anthony finished with 17 points but struggled to 7-of-22 shooting.
The Blazers (8-8) looked like it was preparing to run away down the stretch after Maurice Harkless hit a mid-range jumper to give Portland a 101-98 lead with 3:59 left. But Portland would miss its final six shots and muster only two Lillard free throws the rest of the way, wasting two defensive stops that came off an Ed Davis block and a Harkless block of Anthony.
The game-changing play came when Rose scored on an acrobatic reverse layin with 3:16 left, which came after he beat Lillard on a drive, and when Harkless didn't help in time, Rose reached the rim and scored. New York improved to 7-7.
Lillard led the Blazers with 22 points and six assists and CJ McCollum added 16 points on 6-of-17 shooting. Davis had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Harkless had 15 points and eight rebounds.
The Blazers entered the fourth tied at 81 after New York's Mindaugas Kuzminskas hit a three-pointer with 4.6 seconds left. It was a back-and-forth quarter with neither team able to open more than a three point lead.
The same defensive problems surfaced for the Blazers in the first half, particularly in the second quarter, when the Knicks scored 32 points on 14-of-23 shooting to take a 60-58 halftime lead. Most of the damage was done off Blazers turnovers, which translated into fast-break opportunities. The Knicks converted all five of their fast break opportunities for 13 points in the first half.
Davis, who started his third consecutive game at power forward, was the Blazers' best offensive player in the first half, scoring 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Two of his baskets were on offensive rebound tip-ins, and the others on pick-and-roll finishes at the rim.
Next up: Blazers at Cleveland, 4 p.m. Wednesday (CSN)
NEW YORK – Sometimes, stories take on a life of their own. Just ask Evan Turner about his supposed rivalry with Derrick Rose.
“Blown out of proportion,’’ Turner says.
It stems from 2007, when Turner and Rose were 18 and standout prep basketball players in Chicago. They played two high-profile games – one in front of 7,689 fans at Northwestern University -- during which things were said during and after the game.
Since then, both players have been in the NBA, and some are quick to bring up their comments from the spring of 2007 as evidence that the two don’t like each other.
“I’ve never known him personally. If I heard him on the phone, I wouldn’t know it was him,’’ Turner said. “We don’t speak, we don’t know each other, but it’s not like I’ve ever had any ill will toward him.’’
On Tuesday in New York, the two will meet again – Turner with the Portland Trail Blazers and Rose with the New York Knicks – and Turner chuckles at the story that just won’t die.
“Back then, we were 18 year old kids making statements,’’ Turner said. “I don’t think much of it. People are putting bigger hype into it.’’
So what was the “it” that so many won’t let die? The “it” that keeps coming up every time something happens when their NBA paths cross?
It started from a quote from Turner, in front of a row of press members covering Rose’s No. 1-ranked Simeon Wolverines against Turner’s No. 2-ranked St. Joseph’s Chargers on Feb. 17, 2007:
“Derrick Rose ain’t sh#$@.”
After the game, Turner kept talking.
Rose led his favored Wolverines to a 74-66 win, finishing with 29 points, seven assists and four steals. Turner had 29 points and 11 rebounds and during one stretch scored 20 consecutive points.
“I was better than him,’’ Turner told the Chicago Sun-Times. “With me guarding him, he didn’t do much. He knows that, and I know that.’’
Rose was told of the quotes after the game and responded: “We both know who is better. He’s just doing this to get a little bit of publicity. We’ll see who does more on the next level.’’
From then on, Turner and Rose and their “rivalry” has been a story.
Two of the more notable attempts to retrace the story:
Before the 2012 playoffs, when Turner was with the Philadelphia 76ers, he said his team would probably rather face Chicago than Miami.
“It means we are dodging the tougher team,’’ Turner was quoted by one newspaper.
“They really tried to rekindle that little flame there,’’ Turner said.
Last season, when he was with the Boston Celtics and Rose with the Bulls, Turner stripped Rose and went in for an uncontested dunk. But it wasn’t just any dunk, it was a 360-degree dunk.
Some took Turner’s decision to unveil a flashy dunk as a salvo aimed at Rose and their high-school history.
“Oh, was that a big deal?’’ Turner said, unaware of the stories that followed his Boston dunk. “I was doing it for the sake of taking advantage of an opportunity. It was fun. Big game. On TV … ‘’
In between those two stories, Turner says he has heard about this growing legend of how the two go at each other. How Turner gets up on Rose on defense. How he bangs Rose while posting him up. And how hard he played against Rose in Chicago.
“I’m all up in him, because if you don’t … ‘’ Turner says, unable to finish because he’s laughing so hard at the thought of not playing pressure defense on a player of Rose’s caliber. “And when I come home to Chicago, I want to play well, so yeah. And I hear people say we were ‘going back and forth’ when I was posting him … I post any (smaller) guy.’’
He shakes his head. He’s curious to hear what other stories have been spawned out of something said so long ago.
“I mean, I’m not stupid, I get it,’’ Turner said. “I comprehend certain things that were said and certain things that occurred. But we were 18 then. We are 28 now.’’
Truth is, Turner says he holds Rose in the highest regard, and always has.
“I always knew the kid to be great, unreal,’’ he said. “I heard about him in the 8th grade. He was a big deal. I remember the first time I saw him – sophomore year in the Super Sophomore Showcase. He was obviously the best kid in the state, and I was an unknown sophomore. I left that camp a Top 10 player, but Derrick was unreal.’’
They are from the same city, but they might as well be a world apart. Rose went to school at Simeon Career Academy in the Chatham neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. Turner went to Saint Joseph’s on the west side of Chicago.
Turner said it would probably take him 90 minutes to two hours to get to the south side, not that he ever desired.
“There are a lot of outliers that play a difference in the situation in why you don’t go to the south side,’’ Turner said.
By the time they were seniors, Rose was more than just a big recruit.
“He was a Chicago legend,’’ Turner said.
So when he made the quotes about Rose after their first meeting, to many it was blasphemy.
“They asked me questions about him, and I answered what I felt honestly,’’ Turner said. “And me, as a young kid not knowing regardless of how I felt or what I said, it was going to be taken a certain sort of way because the guy you were kind of going at was the God Son of Chicago.’’
Turner says first meeting between St. Joseph’s and Simeon in front of nearly 7,700 fans is still talked about today. In Boston, Turner said a Patriots player told him he was at that game. And Turner remembers Charlotte forward Frank Kaminsky telling him how Spencer Hawes would always talk about the stories from that game.
“A lot of people still remember it. It was as crazy game,’’ Turner said. “Lot of trash talk.’’
Talk that today has turned into admiration.
“I’ve always been a fan of his, admired what he has done for the city and him standing up and always holding it down from age 13 and then going on and winning MVP in Chicago,’’ Turner said. “That’s huge for Chicago basketball. Huge for the basketball scene there. Because a lot of people there will tell you memories of watching him in this moment, or that moment. That’s the kind of impact he had.’’
Turner said when Rose suffered his knee injuries, he felt it as deeply as anybody.
“Because he was a 22-year-old MVP with so much more to do,’’ Turner said. “As super happy as I was for his success, I was super sad for his injuries, because he was just unreal. He did so many things for Chicago.’’
Now, Rose is with the Knicks. And Turner with the Blazers. And tonight, they will likely find themselves guarding each other in Madison Square Garden. And for Turner, at least, it won’t be with ulterior motives.
“It was a fun story in high school – all competition, all loving – and when you add tons of people outside of it trying to build a rivalry … it’s just never been a rivalry. I've always been a fan for him, just being from Chicago. He’s a high-class player, and I’ve always thought that.''