Russell Westbrook

"It's about time!" Damian Lillard grabs elusive 10th rebound for triple-double

"It's about time!" Damian Lillard grabs elusive 10th rebound for triple-double

“One more rebound, one more rebound!”

That chant was heard echoing from Trail Blazers fans in the 300 levels at Moda Center at the 2:48 mark of the fourth quarter Wednesday night.

Blazers fans were encouraging their All-Star point guard to complete something he had yet to accomplish: A triple-double.

He had yet to do until Wednesday night. 

Following the Blazers 125-112 victory over the Rockets, Carmelo Anthony strolled past Damian Lillard’s locker with a big smile on his face postgame while yelling, "DAME!!"

Portland not only handled Houston, but both Lillard and Anthony reached personal milestones.

Lillard notched his first career triple-double, while Anthony climbed to No. 16 on the all-time scoring list.    

That is not a typo.

Wednesday marked Lillard’s first triple-double in 594 games played.

He finished with 36 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds.

Fans and new teammates alike both shared their confusion that Lillard had never reached this milestone before.

Lillard felt the same.

It’s about time. It took eight years.

I think it’s been plenty of times where I could have just kind of hunted it – I’ve been two rebounds or one assist away, but it’s just something about I never wanted to go out there and just chase it. Just growing up, my dad would just always be on my case about playing the game the right way and letting it play out how it’s supposed to play out. So that’s kind of been my approach with the triple doubles and tonight, I was close but a lot of times where I was like—‘alright, tonight I can’t walk off the court stuck at nine with all this time. – Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard

The Blazers team captain snagged his ninth rebound with 4:38 remaining in the game.

But, it wasn’t until there was just 57.3 seconds left on the clock, when Lillard missed a tip shot to snag and offensive rebound to record that elusive 10th board.

And then the standing ovation occurred. 

That tip-in attempt had his teammates smiling after the game, though.

“I told him please go get the rebound, go get it,” Melo said with a big grin. “This time, tell me to get out of the way.”

CJ McCollum joked, “I didn’t even know. I was wondering why he jumped so high for that rebound.”

And, just like that it happened.

“Everybody was like, ‘Get one rebound, get one rebound.’ Lillard said. “So I was like, ‘Imma crash the offensive glass, get in position to defensive rebound’ and the last shot came off and I just jumped first and I got my hand on it and I tried to tip it in, boom.”

Boom, indeed.

Lillard has been within reach of this impressive feat 10 times in his career. He was either two rebounds or one assist shy of grasping that almighty accomplishment.

At the end of the third quarter Wednesday night, the triple-double watch started.

Lillard had 30 points, eight assists, and 7 rebounds through three quarters.

Wednesday’s achievement meant more to Lillard because it came in a win against a good team.

Not because it was against Russell Westbrook.

But man, isn’t that extremely storybook for Lillard to notch his first triple-double against Westbrook?

Yeah, it totally is; there’s no denying that.

“I was just playing the game. I was just making the plays that I saw, making the right passes and guys made shots,” Lillard said.

So what about it coming against Westbrook? Is there anything extra to it because of that?

 “I mean, not really,” Lillard said with an inexpressive face. “It was my first career triple double, it didn’t really matter who it was against. I’m just happy that it came in a win like you said, and just that it was a performance where it was needed. It wasn’t like we just came out here and blew a team out and I just benefited from it by just getting a stat line. I think it was a kind of team effort where it was a real game and it led to a win too.”

Lillard also set a new franchise record scoring 30+ points for the sixth straight game.

Plus, he really surprised his new teammates.

Trevor Ariza, who is already fitting in nicely after playing in just three games with the Blazers, was in disbelief that Lillard hadn’t recorded a triple-double before Wednesday night.

But, he was definitely happy for his new point guard.

“Yeah, I looked up and saw that he needed one rebound and it was exciting. I didn’t know it was his first one, I just thought it was another one he was going to rack up. It’s great, we had two historical nights, Melo moved up (on the scoring list), Dame got his first triple double, it’s exciting,” Ariza said.

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts mentioned how he is still surprised that this was Lillard’s first triple-double as well.  

“I’m happy for him,” Stotts said. “He’s been playing great, I’m glad they gave him that last tip as a rebound. To be honest, I’m surprised he hasn’t had one before now. He plays an all-around game, but to get your first triple-double, on national TV against a really good team, it’s pretty cool.”

Not only is it storybook that this happened on a night against Westbrook, but it comes on the heels of Lillard earning Western Conference Player of the Week after averaging over 52 points per game.

“He’s been locked in, playing at an elite level, this is his best basketball he’s played in his career. We needed every basket, every assist, and every rebound,” McCollum said.

The Lillard takeover continues. 

Westbrook vs Lillard: The feud rages on

Westbrook vs Lillard: The feud rages on

The on the court rivalry between Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook has written many chapters to the story over the years. 

From Russ kicking the ball out of Dame's hands, Russ constantly rocking the baby, to Dame waving bye to OKC last April. You can always expect fireworks when these two take the court against one another. 

The two did not disappoint on Wednesday. Westbrook started the game by rocking the baby, prompting Trail Blazers play-by-play announcer Kevin Calabro to drop a "He cradled the baby, but the baby burped off the window" when Westbrook missed a layup later in the game. 

This battle between Lillard and Westbrook came to a head early in the fourth quarter. Lillard picked up a foul while guarding Westbrook, sending the Rockets guard to the line. 

While at the line Westbrook could be heard on the broadcast yelling at Lillard, "You can't guard me." Lillard had some choice words to say back, and the two kept going at it until they were handed double technicals. 

Fortunately for Blazers fans, Lillard got the last laugh on this night with his team picking up the 117-107 win, with Lillard igniting the team down the stretch. If you love a good drama, you better mark your calendars. Westbrook and the Rockets will be at Moda Center on January 29th to surely write another chapter of this story. 

Just like all the matchups that have proceeded it, this one will be electric.

Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers tip-off road trip with win in Houston

Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers tip-off road trip with win in Houston

HOUSTON -- Wednesday night’s game between the Trail Blazers and Rockets tipped off after 8:30pm local time.

The late start seemed to favor the Trail Blazers, especially to start the game. Portland jumped out to a 22-18 lead midway through the first quarter.

The Blazers brought the energy and made sure to exhaust a Rockets team that had lost on the road the night before.

Once the Rockets converted from three in the fourth quarter, the Blazers weren't able to keep their double digit lead midway through the period.

However, Portland’s hot field goal percentage accompanied by the Blazers crashing the boards early and often, Portland was able to steal a win on the road.
FINAL BOX SCORE: TRAIL BLAZERS 117, ROCKETS 107

Here are three quick takeaways from Wednesday’s win:

1.  Blazers slow down Rockets

During his pregame interview, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts discussed how the Rockets are a much faster-paced team with Russell Westbrook; however, Wednesday night the Blazers seemed to slow down Houston. At the break, the Rockets had zero fastbreak points on six opportunities.

Portland has had its fair share of issues on the defensive end this season, but the Blazers were able to come together on that end of the floor on Wednesday. The Trail Blazers were communicating and rotating fairly quickly on the perimeter. Houston was still able to get a handful of wide-open threes, yet they were having a hard time hitting from deep all night.  

The Blazers limited James Harden to just 12 attempts on the night thanks in part to Kent Bazemore's pesky defense. Harden finished with 13 points.  Westbrook still got his shots though. He went 11-for-22 from the field to finish with 31.

2.  Melo’s return to Houston

With Carmelo Anthony's time in Houston a total of 10 games last season, he was still greeted with cheers from Rockets fans during pregame introductions. However, the cheers were not nearly as loud as many other arenas Melo has visited this season.

The 35-year-old did give Blazers fans plenty to cheer about though. Melo exploited the mismatches down low. The 17-year veteran finished with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds.

3.  Lillard on the attack

Early on, Damian Lillard and Hassan Whiteside had a good two-man game going. As the game went on Lillard attacked the rim more. In turn, he got to the free throw line. Heading into the fourth quarter, Lillard was a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity stripe.

Up Next: The Trail Blazers continue their three-game road trip Friday night against the Dallas Mavericks. The Blazers and Mavs will tip-off at 6:30pm PT 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

Trail Blazers Pregame Notebook: How to defend the 'two dimensions' of the Rockets

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Trail Blazers Pregame Notebook: How to defend the 'two dimensions' of the Rockets

HOUSTON -- It’s the first of the next three games on the road as the Trail Blazers get set to for the Houston Rockets tonight.

The Rockets are coming off a road loss to the Grizzlies last night.

Before Portland and Houston tip-off at 6:30p.m. PT tonight on NBC Sports Northwest and on the 'MyTeams' App, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts discussed how Russell Westbrook brings a different dynamic to the Rockets and how they play at a much faster pace this season.

Coach Stotts also explained how they need to defend the two-man game between James Harden and Clint Capela, saying, “It starts on the ball. Obviously it’s difficult because they have a lot of success in their two-man game, but trying to keep Harden a little off guard, not letting Capela roll behind… Harden puts a pressure on the big man.”

HEAR FROM COACH STOTTS HERE:

BLAZERS INJURY REPORT:

Mario Hezonja (low back contusion) is OUT for tonight's game.

ROCKETS INJURY REPORT:

P.J. Tucker (right shoulder stinger) is available; Gerald Green (left cuneiform fracture) and Nene Hilario (left adductor strain) are out.

STANDOUT GAME NOTES:

-- Wednesday’s game marks the second of four meetings between the Trail Blazers and Rockets during the 2019-20 season. Houston leads the season series, 1-0.

-- LAST MEETING: The Rockets defeated the Trail Blazers in Houston on Nov. 18, 132-108. CJ McCollum scored a team-high 25 points (10-19 FG, 5-12 3-PT) to go with five rebounds, three assists and two steals for Portland while James Harden led the Rockets with 36 points (11-19 FG, 5-10 3-PT, 9-10 FT), six rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block.

-- Portland and Houston are 2-2 in their last four matchups with Portland winning the 2018-19 season series, 2-1.

-- Seven Trail Blazers players scored in double figures against the Rockets on Nov. 18.

Instant Analysis: Rockets prove to be too much against Blazers

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Instant Analysis: Rockets prove to be too much against Blazers

HOUSTON – Both the Trail Blazers and Rockets got out and ran early and often on Monday night. Early in the game, it was all about who was more successful on the fastbreak and who could get to the free-throw line more.

The Rockets blew the game wide open in the third quarter.

Monday in Houston marked the first night of a back-to-back for the Blazers. Portland’s head coach Terry Stotts pulled his starters with 3:49 to go in the game. Houston led 120-99 at the point before the Rockets continued to roll to their 11th overall victory.

FINAL BOX SCORE: Rockets 132, Trail Blazers 108

Here are three quick takeaways from Monday’s loss:

1.  So much attention on Lillard opened up opportunities for others

The Rockets, as they do, switched on nearly all screens against the Blazers and with so much of their focus on Damian Lillard, the lane opened up for Nassir Little and Hassan Whiteside early in the game, but the Blazers had a hard time converting in the second half.  

2. Harden doing what Harden does

Whether it was drawing fouls, especially on the young Blazer defenders, finishing at the rim, or knocking down threes, James Harden was putting up MVP-type numbers and leading his team to a victory.

Harden also took advantage of his matchup against Blazers rookie Nassir Little. Harden went to his bag of tricks to bait Little into fouling him from deep. Little racked up four fouls in the first half.

The connection between Harden and Clint Capela was also on full display. That’s what makes Harden so difficult to defend, he’ll get his buckets, but he’ll also find his teammates for the lob or hand-off down low.

3. Rockets overpower Blazers on the boards

Heading into the fourth quarter, Houston was outrebounding Portland, 46-32. The Rockets also had 23-second chance points after three quarters compared to the Blazers’ eight.  Houston showed off its weapons on both ends and proved once again why the Rockets were predicted to be one of the top teams to beat in the West.

Up Next: The Blazers will play in their second leg of this back-to-back when they visit New Orleans on Tuesday night. The Blazers and Pelicans tip-off at 5:00pm PT.

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

 

Shootaround Notebook: Why do Harden and Westbrook work so well together these days?

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Shootaround Notebook: Why do Harden and Westbrook work so well together these days?

HOUSTON – It’s a showdown that several people had marked on their calendar with the Blazers visiting the Rockets on Monday night.

With it being the first time since Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook have faced each other since the Trail Blazers beat Westbrook and the Thunder in the postseason, there was a question on everyone’s mind at Blazers’ shootaround this morning.

Is there any carryover for Lillard, or any extra feelings because of last postseason?

“No,” Lillard said promptly.

“We’ve played against each other for eight years,” Lillard laughed. “I mean, playoff series, I mean, that was it. Neither one of us won a championship. It’s not a huge deal. We went at each other in the playoffs and we won, and he’s on a different team now, that’s it.” 

CJ McCollum feels the same way.

“No, we’re just trying to win a game, I think that’s the biggest thing, figure out ways to execute our game plan and try to win a game. The past is the past, and everybody is kind of living in the present and working on how we can get better as a 5-8 team,” McCollum said.  

[RELATED]: How to watch, stream Trail Blazers at Rockets tonight at 5:00pm

The Trail Blazers duo both expressed how Harden and Westbrook have figured out how to work together once again, despite Harden being ‘the man’ in Houston for the past seven seasons.

“They’re both MVPs,” Lillard said. “They’re smart enough players to figure it out, they’re friends, so I think that makes it easier for them to coexist and they’ve also played together before, obviously at different stages of their career, but all those things play a factor and I think that’s why it's been working out.”

Lillard and McCollum both believe that Harden and Westbrook’s friendship is key to why the can coexist.

“If you look at the statistics, James is the man, not just on his team, but he’s averaging 40 points a game. So, he’s the man pretty much wherever he goes in terms of how he plays, how he gets to the free throw line, how he generates shots, but you’re talking about two people who were friends, so they’re able to coexist, it’s easy, they’ve known each other before basketball,” McCollum said. 

“They have a common goal of trying to win a Championship, so I think that makes things easier when you get along with somebody and you are both on the same page in terms of what you want to accomplish,” McCollum added.

That common goal is something Rip City recognizes in the duo of Lillard and McCollum.

In the Monday night battle of duos, the Blazers will be looking to hand the Rockets just their second home loss of the season. 

REPORT: 1st Lillard vs. Westbrook matchup of season set for November

REPORT: 1st Lillard vs. Westbrook matchup of season set for November

You may or may not believe that Damian Lillard waved goodbye and ended the Russelll Westbrook era in OCK with his 37-foot buzzer beater.

Even if you don't think 'the shot' had anything to do with the Thunder going in a new direction, fans all across the league have fun watching the Lillard and Westbrook matchup.

So it's time to mark your calendar.  

According to a report from Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the very first Lillard and Westbrook showdown since their postseason matchup is tentatively slated for November 17th in Houston.

With reports of Christmas Day games and various other regular season games being rumored all over twitter, NBA fans are even more eager for the 2019-20 NBA regular season schedules to be released.

The NBA should be announcing the schedules the second week of August.

For the Trail Blazers, Portland will reportedly not being play a Christmas Day Game.

Make sure to keep checking back at NBS Sports Northwest for more on the Blazers schedule has we get closer to its release.

Social media reacts: Dame didn't just call "game" or "series", he called "rebuild"

Social media reacts: Dame didn't just call "game" or "series", he called "rebuild"

Houston, we have a Brodie. The Beard and The Brodie have been reunited.

In the latest of all Woj bombs to strike the NBA, Oklahoma star Russell Westbrook is packing his bags and heading 445 miles south to join the Houston Rockets.

I think you all remember, and how could you forget, that moment that Damian Lillard sent the OKC franchise into a downward spiral... Dame didn't just call "game" or "series", he called "rebuild"... and Twitter didn't forget:

https://twitter.com/CodySharrett/status/1149476850030137345 https://twitter.com/TheRenderNBA/status/1149486712755609605

 

 

Rockets get Westbrook -- Did they watch him play in the Blazer playoff series?

Rockets get Westbrook -- Did they watch him play in the Blazer playoff series?

So the Houston Rockets wanted Russell Westbrook so bad they gave up Chris Paul, two first-round picks and two first-round swaps Thursday?

To get a point guard who seems very close to being an impossible partner for James Harden.

And I really think somebody should ask the question in Houston – did you guys watch any other playoff series but your own last spring?

The Westbrook we saw in the Portland-Oklahoma City, first-round series was one who was far below the public perception of what Westbrook is supposed to be. He’s a guy who thinks he can make all the big shots late in games and doesn’t understand that the reason the Trail Blazers were sagging about eight feet off him is that they WANTED him to shoot.

Don't fall for all that triple-double hype -- this guy is more relentless about that stat than he is about winning. He's prickly with not just the media but most people he comes in contact with, doesn't know how to gear his game down when the situation calls for it and, oh yeah -- he can't shoot.

I think this deal also sets up a situation with the starting Houston guards – Westbrook and Harden – fighting over the ball and ending up resenting each other. The only way I see this working is if Westbrook defers to Harden – because Harden isn’t going to defer to Westbrook. Nor should he.

And I don’t think Westbrook will defer to ANYBODY.

I can’t wait to see this in action. And to watch some Harden eyerolls after Westbrook clanks a few jumpers off the rim in the fourth quarter. And how crazy Westbrook is going to get while Harden is pounding the ball at the top of the circle waiting to beat somebody off the dribble.

Mike D'Antoni is going to need the touch of Houdini to make this work.

And that leaves the final question – Will the Thunder buy out Paul’s contract, freeing him to move to one of the superteams? I can’t imagine him being happy in OKC for more than a minute.

But of course, I can’t imagine anyone being happy in OKC.

Russell Westbrook traded to Houston for Chris Paul... thanks a lot Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons!

Russell Westbrook traded to Houston for Chris Paul... thanks a lot Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons!

LAS VEGAS - In the middle of the madness of NBA Summer League, an introductory press conference for newly acquired big man Hassan Whiteside, and an injury to Nassir Little's shoulder, the NBA dropped another trade bomb on fans around the league. 

Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul. 

What? Yeah, not a typo. 

But really, isn't this all Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons' fault? 

Let us explain. In the final game of regular season, Terry Stotts went with a six man rotation while he rested his rotation players for the playoffs. Anfernee Simons played the entire game and dropped 37 points on Sacramento in a comeback win that nobody expected. That win coupled with other game results around the league flipped the playoff matchups, vaulted Portland to the #3 seed and slotted them in vs. Russell Westbrook and the OKC Thunder. 

Enter Damian Lillard. 

Trail Blazers fans know the story. In Game 5, Lillard hit a step back 37 footer to put in the dagger and send OKC packing. He finished it all off with 'The Wave' as the celebration ensued inside Moda Center. 

As former Blazers Edge contributor and current Washington Post reporter, Ben Golliver pointed out in a recent interview with Jamie Hudson at Summer League, that Wave may have shook up the entire NBA. If Simons doesn't go off in the regular season finale and change the playoff seeding and Lillard doesn't hit The Wave shot...does OKC still blow it all up?

Does Paul George head to the L.A. Clippers if OKC wins a playoff series? Probably not, according to Golliver. 

So, while the faces of the Western Conference have changed dramatically in the last three weeks and OKC's two stars have new homes, the NBA can thank the likes of Anfernee Simons and Damian Lillard for making it all possible.