Toronto Raptors

Chris Boucher, 2x NBA Champ has a nice ring(s) to it

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Chris Boucher, 2x NBA Champ has a nice ring(s) to it

The 6’10” 200 pound former Oregon Ducks forward now proudly wears two NBA Championship rings on his fingers. And what a journey it has been for the “Swatterboy” Chris Boucher to get to this stage not once, but twice. 

Let’s take a look at Boucher’s timeline:

2017 - Tears ACL ahead of postseason play of his senior (and eventual final season) with the Ducks.

2017 - Goes undrafted and heads to the G-League

2018 - Signed a two-way contract with the Golden State Warriors

2018 - Wins NBA Championship with the Warriors

2018 - Waived from Warriors two weeks after the Championship

2018 - Signs two-way contract with the Toronto Raptors

2019 - G-League MVP

2019 - G-League DPOY

2019 - Wins NBA Championship with the Raptors

The adversity Boucher faced wasn’t just a gruesome knee injury in college. No, it started at a young age. Boucher was homeless, a high school drop out, and JuCo prospect before finding himself in green and yellow in Eugene, Oregon. The Canadian-native 

During his run in the G-League, Boucher averaged 27 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks per game.  He didn’t get his nickname “The Swatterboy” for nothing. He finished his career ranked second in UO blocked shots (189), behind Jordan Bell, who now plays for the Golden State Warriors.

According to spotrac.com, Chris Boucher signed a 2 year / $2,045,649 contract with the Toronto Raptors, including $457,418 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $1,022,825. In 2019-20, Boucher will earn a base salary of $1,588,231, while carrying a cap hit of $1,588,231.

A 6’10” shot-blocking defensive guy who can step back and drill a three-pointer is highly desirable in this modern NBA, and Boucher is prepared to have a long career at this level.

Scoop Journal: Who else wished they were partying it up in Jurassic Park on Thursday night?

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NBC Sports Northwest

Scoop Journal: Who else wished they were partying it up in Jurassic Park on Thursday night?

Welcome to The Scoop Journal, where every week I empty my notebook of wide ranging Trail Blazer thoughts, observations, and randomness. I hope you enjoy this light-hearted weekly blog...

June 14, 2019

Dear Scoop Journal,

This is my first journal entry since the Trail Blazers season ended and it seems fitting to write down my random Trail Blazers/NBA thoughts today since the season came to an end last night with the Toronto Raptors taking home the 2019 NBA Championship.

Now that I’ve had a night to sleep on it, with all the injuries for the Warriors, and the celebrations in Toronto, here are my latest Blazers and NBA thoughts:

*Everyone I talk to today, I want to ask them this question: How bad did you wish you were partying it up in Jurassic Park on Thursday night in Toronto? (Toronto knows how to celebrate a championship!)

*First off, Congrats to Toronto and the Raptors fans on earning their first NBA Championship! I know I’m not alone in thinking Blazers fans are happy for their fellow northern neighbors.

*It’s so hard not to think about what it would be like here in Portland for the Blazers to win a title in the modern NBA era. Rip City will go absolutely crazy when the next championship happens here. This is something I think about often. Obviously, I can’t wait for that day!   

*There were so emotions for Golden State fans on Thursday night. It was the last game played at Oracle Arena, the Warriors had just lost Kevin Durant to a ruptured Achilles a couple days before Game 6, and then Klay Thompson goes out with what we all later learned was a torn ACL.

*Injuries are the worst part of the game. You hate to see players go down with these horrific injuries.  

*And not to mention, Thompson and Durant will both become free agents this offseason. This summer is going to be very interesting and next season could now be wide open.  

*I saw a Blazer fan tweet this out on Thursday night and I think this is how every non-Warrior fan was feeling:

*For now, NBA fans wish for a speedy recovery to all the players who went down with major injuries this season.

*Let’s now shift our focus to the NBA Draft. Thursday evening can’t come soon enough. Who will the Blazers pick at No. 25? Or will Portland trade the pick in a package deal? We’re about to find out!

Trail Blazers react to the World Champion Toronto Raptors

Trail Blazers react to the World Champion Toronto Raptors

The 2018-2019 NBA season has come to and end. The Toronto Raptors have dethroned the dynasty that is the Golden State Warriors defeated the Dubs in six games. 

This is the first NBA Championship for the Raptors and "Jurassic Park". 

Several players of the Portland Trail Blazers took to social media following the game to congradulate the World Champs:

The end of this NBA season can only mean that the NBA Draft and the NBA Summer League are just weeks away.

We are about to head into the crazy that is the NBA offseason with so many major players up in free agency. To the Raptors, Kawhi Leonard. For the Warriors, injuries to All-Stars Kevin Durant and now Klay Thompson (ACL tear in game six) will be something to watch next season and what Golden State will do.

CJ McCollum recognized Thompson's heart, coming back into the game and shooting two free throws on a torn ACL.

We the Northwest...but who to root for in the NBA Finals?

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We the Northwest...but who to root for in the NBA Finals?

The Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors are tied in the 2019 NBA finals, 1-1. The defending champions got punched in the mouth at Scotiabank Arena in Game 1, and Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson to responded in Game 2.

Game 1 of the Finals was certainly different than how the Warriors cruised through their Western Conference Finals matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers. Despite a strong showing in the first two rounds, the Blazers finally ran out of gas and Golden State was able to sweep their conference foes.

With the weather starting to turn sunny in Rip City, but with the town still interested in NBA basketball, the question has become which of these two remaining teams should Blazers fans root for?

It's been suggested that Golden State is the obvious choice. Not only are the Warriors a Western Conference team, but they’re the squad that knocked the Blazers out of the playoffs. In a true college football, conference bowl game-y way, the logic is that the better Golden State plays, the stronger Portland looks in retrospect.

But there’s no preseason rankings in the NBA, and no SOS factor heading into next season. So really, I’m not sure anyone thinks Portland looks stronger if the Warriors play better.

There's also been a suggestion that fans should root for Golden State as a means to drive Kevin Durant away. The superstar wing has been out with an injury since the second round, and it's unclear if he will return in this series.

Should the Warriors be able to beat Toronto without Durant, it could signal to both sides that it's time for the former Oklahoma City Thunder star to head to greener pastures. Then again, the logic is if Durant is unable to play and the Raptors are victorious, it could induce Durant to stay with Golden State, tipping the scales in the Warriors’ favor for the rest of his contract.

This is truly some galaxy brain level thinking, but with the sun shining and no Blazers basketball to be watched, this kind of circuitous scheming is to be expected here in the Willamette Valley.

The case for the Raptor is his clear. First, cheering an Eastern Conference team to beating the dynasty from the Bay feels natural in and of itself. The Warriors have beat Portland three of the last four years in the postseason. Portland fans don't necessarily think of Golden State as a direct rival, but “the enemy of my enemy” and all that.

Toronto is also a team more in the mold of Portland, both in this current Trail Blazers roster and in the ethos of the franchise itself. Up until this moment, Toronto has been a loser of epic proportions in the playoffs this decade. Where Blazers fans are haunted by the memories of blown-out knees, Raptors fans have had Kyle Lowry’s playoff performances.

Thanks to Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Danny Green, and even Lowry, when the Raptors are playing at their peak they also resemble this Blazers team. That is, Toronto is a unit with one superstar and several crucial players that must contribute lest they get blasted the way they did in their first couple games against the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals.

I can see why the issue is so difficult for Blazers fans. To root for a team simply because they are in the Western Conference has too much of a college football-y vibe. But so too is hoping the Warriors’ result will influence the future makeup of their roster and thus affect Portland's chances to go deeper in future postseasons.

But in this town, we root for the underdog. We root for uncanny performances from average participants. We root with unrelenting optimism because, just like Toronto, Portland wants to prove to the rest of the world just how great it really is; about why people choose to live here; about what basketball really means to this city.

That's why, even though it's June, you can still root for the team in black and red. Kevin Durant be damned: Go Raptors. We the Northwest.

Warriors vs Raptors: Who you taking in the NBA Finals?

Warriors vs Raptors: Who you taking in the NBA Finals?

One team is looking to three-peat while the other team is appearing in its first NBA Finals ever. So who you got, the Warriors or the Raptors?

Our Blazers Outsiders took a time to give us their picks:

Jake McGrady: Heart says Raptors, mind says Warriors. The Raptors are intriguing. Kawhi Leonard is a complete force of nature, a beast in his own right. He's been to the NBA Finals with the Spurs, but he's never been the sole leader and heart of a franchise going into the finals. I think something interesting is going to happen and at the least, the series will go farther than people are predicting. 

Alex Haigh: I don't have a good feeling about the Raptors... I'm with Jake. It's like heart says Raptors, mind says Warriors. But my mind really says Warriors, especially if KD comes back. It's the Raptors' first trip to the finals and I don't know if they have it in them

Chris Burkhardt: Until they are dethroned it's hard to go against the defending champs. We saw first hand what they did to the Blazers, and that was without Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins. And before you say "well, the Blazers were trash..." No. No, they weren't. We can argue about Portland's roster deficiencies all day long, but the fact of the matter is that roster was good enough to get them to Western Conference Finals. Then, a team that was just that much better than everyone else destroyed them. The Warriors are that good. Now, with the way the Raptors are playing, I think the Warriors are going to get the biggest test they have had in these playoffs. I even think the Raptors have what it takes to pull off a series upset if the cards fall right. But if I'm walking up to window in Las Vegas right now, I'm putting my money on Golden State. 

 

Sen. Ron Wyden pens letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to guarantee Enes Kanter's protection

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Sen. Ron Wyden pens letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to guarantee Enes Kanter's protection

The NBA and the Canadian government may have an Enes Kanter problem on their hands. 

With the Portland Trail Blazers just four wins away from their first NBA Finals appearance in 27 years, it's a real possibility the Blazers could dethrone the Warriors as best in the West and face off against either Toronto or Milwaukee in the finals. 

Enter Enes Kanter: Portland’s Turkish center who has been a vocal critic of his homeland’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. According to Kanter, the Turkish government requested an INTERPOL “Red Notice” for the NBA star in January and the 26-year-old is scared to leave the USA due to safety fears.

[RELATED: Enes Kanter remains in USA on "Red Notice"... but what does that mean? ]

Should Portland make it to NBA Finals and play Toronto, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden wants to make sure Kanter feels safe.

In a letter penned to Canadian Prime Minister, Wyden asked the country to take special precautions to ensure Kanter's safety. 

Here’s a look at the full letter:

This isn't the first time Kanter has stayed in the U.S. due to safety concerns. When the Trail Blazers traveled to Toronto in early March for a regular-season meeting with the Raptors, Kanter remained in the U.S. due to issues with his immigration status and the threat of the red notice. As a member of the New York Knicks, Kanter chose to forgo a trip to London, citing concerns he would be assassinated. 

"Sadly, I'm not going because of that freaking lunatic, the Turkish president," Kanter told ESPN. "There's a chance that I can get killed out there."

The Trail Blazers and Warriors will meet in the Western Conference Finals beginning Tuesday, while the Raptors face off with the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals. If the Blazers and Raptors were to indeed meet, Toronto would have home court advantage for the first two meetings. 

Trail Blazers make 16-point comeback but fall to Kawhi Leonard at the end

Trail Blazers make 16-point comeback but fall to Kawhi Leonard at the end

TORONTO – The Trail Blazers had a lot of things go against them Friday night against the Raptors.

The Blazers left their backup center behind in Boston and their starting center got in almost immediate foul trouble. They didn’t shoot three-point field goals well in the first half and found themselves trailing by 16 points in the third quarter.

But, as has been their habit lately, they just kept their heads down, kept working and continued to battle. But in the end, it was Kawhi Leonard’s 12-foot jump shot with a second and a half to play that gave Toronto a 119-117 win over Portland.

Jusuf Nurkic drew his second foul just 3:11 into the first quarter and sat the rest of the period. Then he played only 2:11 of the second quarter before getting tagged with another one. He was on the floor for just 5:22 of the first half and didn’t take a shot and had only one rebound.

“I was disappointed at how I played in the first half,” he said. “It looked like I couldn’t stay on the floor for a second. They took full advantage of it.

“I hurt my team tonight – which is not good. But I’m proud of how we fought and still had a chance to win the game.

“You can tell we are a really good team when we play our way, as a team. We find a way to compete and stay in a game. That was a great example of how we play.”

Meyers Leonard and Zach Collins filled in admirably for Kanter, who didn’t make the trip north of the border due to his problems with the government in his native country of Turkey. And CJ McCollum kept Portland in the game with his offense until help arrived in the second half.

Down the stretch of the game, Nurkic hit a pair of difficult shots and Damian Lillard scored his team’s final seven points, including three free throws that tied the game with 13.8 seconds to play.

With two timeouts in the bank, the Raptors chose not to use one and pushed the ball up the floor and forced the Blazers to switch a screen and got Lillard on Leonard, with Harkless switching off onto Kyle Lowry.

“Lowry sets the screen and you try to get the smaller guy so you can vault up over and shoot it,” said Toronto Coach Nick Nurse.

“I knew (Leonard) was going to try to get to his right hand and get to a pull-up,” Lillard said. “I saw him going into the move and I was going to sell out and try to contest it high – going to try to make him make a really, really tough shot but with just a few seconds left I didn’t want him to get me in the air and send him to the line with just a few seconds left.

“The ball hit every part of the rim. Home cooking. It took more time off. We didn’t have any timeouts left and it would have almost been better if it would have gone straight in. Maybe we would have had like three seconds.”

Lillard gave the Raptors credit but was proud of his own squad.

“They really disrupted us defensively,” he said. “They made it hard for us at the offensive end. We just stayed with it. We were physical, defensively – just a great effort. We stuck with it. It came down to one shot and he made a tough shot.”

Portland got a solid game from Jake Layman off the bench and Coach Terry Stotts chose to go with him down the stretch up front with Maurice Harkless.

“I liked Jake on the floor,” Stotts said. “I debated putting Mo or Chief back in. They were both having the same type of game, offensively and defensively.

“I wanted to keep Jake in the game. He was doing some good things out there for us.”

Layman finished with 13 points, Harkless 11 and Aminu 10.

“That’s a good team over there,” Harkless said. “They made it tough on us. But the way we stayed with it showed what type of team we are. It was a rough night most of the night but we kept fighting to where we had a chance to win or take it to overtime.”
The Raptors have lost just six home games all season and are 46-17 overall, having won nine of their last 10.

The Blazers had a five-game win streak snapped but are 4-1 on their seven-game road trip with games at Charlotte (Sunday) and Memphis (Tuesday).

Dunk or No Dunk? Seth Curry gets "up" for first career slam

Dunk or No Dunk? Seth Curry gets "up" for first career slam

Was it a dunk?

Was it not a dunk?

Upon further review... IT WAS A DUNK.

Trail Blazers backup guard Seth Curry had been 1 of 11 active players this season that has played in at least 100 NBA games and had yet to record a dunk. So when it happened... or didn't happen...social media went crazy! 

And so did Kevin and Lamar on the broadcast. The debate began immediately. Kevin called it a lay-up. Lamar insisted it was a dunk. It was initially ruled in the box score as a one-foot shot.

Curry trotted to the Blazers bench after a Toronto timeout smiling ear to ear. But was it a "I just dunked for the first time," smile? Or a "Coach Stotts is going to give me a hard time for not dunking again," smile...?

Even after review, there wasn't a clear consensus. 

"I told him it’s good we’re counting that one,” Lamar Hurd said on the broadcast. “I’ve been giving him a hard time."

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘a dunk’ is “to throw a basketball into the basket from above the rim.”

Seth's brother, Steph, seemed to think it was...

After the tweet was sent out the NBA official box score changed the Curry bucket to a 1-foot dunk.

Hey maybe Steph has a little clout.

Still, we had to wait until after Kawhi Leonard hit a 12-foot jumper with seconds remaining to give the Raptors a 119-117 win to get to the bottom of it.

“You gotta count it. I touched the rim," Curry said postgame. "I got up a little bit up so, first official career NBA dunk. It felt good."

Curry initially seemed to fight it. During the timeout following the potential dunk in question, Curry joked with the Blazers broadcast team and was coy about whether it was or not.

“I was going and about halfway I was going up this is one of my few chances I’ve gotta do it," he said. "So, I didn’t go full out, but I got up just enough."

You be the judge. Is this a dunk or a lay-up at the 8:39 mark in the second quarter?

Teammate Al-Farouq Aminu isn't buying it. 

“That was a lay-up, man. I’m not counting it,” Aminu said with a smile.

Sorry Seth.

CJ McCollum fought it a little, but in the end said, "I'm happy he got his first dunk."

And, of course, it has to be in the eyes of the beholder. And if Curry says it happened, it happened. 

After 173 games, 1561 minutes and 3676 points, Seth Curry finally got that bunny and grabbed the rim for the first time in his NBA career.

He probably won't catch Giannis Antetokounmpo, who leads the NBA with 221 dunks so far this season. But, everyone has to start somewhere. 

Either way, maybe we’ll see more Seth jams as the Blazers look to close out this seven-game trip strong with two more games left on the slate.  

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers loss to the Toronto Raptors

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers loss to the Toronto Raptors

The Portland Trail Blazers entered Friday’s game looking to improve to 5-0 on this current seven-game East Coast trip. It was the toughest test yet for Portland as the Blazers visited the formidable Toronto Raptors.

The Raptors finished February with an 8-1 record and currently sit in second place out East and with the way the Blazers have been playing everyone knew this was a going to be an entertaining game.

It did not disappoint. In the end, the Raptors got the best of the Blazers, 119-117, after both teams shot the ball well throughout.

Final Box Score: Raptors 119, Trail Blazers 117

Here are some quick thoughts from the Blazers first loss of their current seven-game trip:

1.  Nurk gets in early foul trouble, changes the dynamic of the game

The Trail Blazers have been using a very effective pick and roll through Jusuf Nurkic this season and particular on this road trip. In Toronto that was limited do to foul trouble. 

Nurk played the first three minutes before picking up two quick fouls. Meyers Leonard got the opportunity with backup center Enes Kanter (immigration issues) not traveling to Canada.

In the first half, Nurkic played just five minutes. He picked up his third foul early in second quarter.

Portland has been deep at center since acquiring Kanter. However, Meyers Leonard plays a different style of game and the Blazers had to adjust.

Obviously, Leonard was able to draw the defender out of the paint with his three-point threat, but on the other end Marc Gasol took advantage of no Nurkic down low.

2. A game of big runs

The Trail Blazers got out to an 11-2 start in the second quarter. Seth Curry got a steal and “lay-in/dunk” that had social media buzzing. It was Curry’s first career dunk, even if he won't admit it. He gave a big smile after getting up, though tried to fight it with Kevin and LaMar on the broadcast.

That Curry bucket got the Blazers going, but the Raptors closed out the second quarter strong.

As is many games, this was a game of runs. Back-and-forth the two teams went. Portland rallied back from 16 down to tie it and take a lead. The two teams traded leads all the way to the end. It made for an even more exciting game.

The Trail Blazers went on a 20-5 run in the fourth quarter to quiet the Toronto crowd. In the final seconds, it was the Raptors and Kawhi Leonard who had the last laugh.    

3. The CJ McCollum factor

With Nurkic out due to foul trouble, CJ McCollum took it upon himself to help even a litte more than usual in the scoring department. Heading to third quarter, McCollum had 31 points on 10-of-15 scoring after hitting 7-of-9 three-pointers through three quarters.

This is McCollum’s 13th game with 30+ points.

It’s always good to see McCollum bounce back from having a rough shooting night in Boston, especially from three.

Here's Dwight Jaynes from Toronto

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NEXT UP: The Trail Blazers visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night with a 4:30pm PT start time. Our pregame coverage tips off at 3:30pm on NBC Sports Northwest.

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Everything you need to know from pregame as Trail Blazers prep for the Toronto Raptors

Everything you need to know from pregame as Trail Blazers prep for the Toronto Raptors

Two of the hottest teams in the NBA will face off inside Scotiabank Arena on Friday, as the Toronto Raptors (45-17) play host to the Portland Trail Blazers (38-23).  The Blazers are 4-0 in this road trip, and have won five in a row overall. The Raptors, on the other hand, have won eight of their last 10.

Tonight's game marks the second meeting of the season between these two teams. Portland won the first game back on Dec 14th, 128-122. The Blazers bench scored 58 points in the matchup, and eight different players scored in double figures.

As for tonight's game, the Raptors will be without backup guard Fred VanVleet as he continues to recover from a left thumb injury. The Blazers, well, they will be without Evan Turner who will miss his fourth game in a row after injuring his knee against the nets. 

But perhaps the biggest missing piece for Portland will be newly acquired Enes Kanter. Kanter, who was signed off waivers on Febraury 13th, did not travel with the team due to visa issues. 

In early January the Turkish Government, having labeled Kanter a terrorist, reportedly filed a request for the extradition of the NBA Star, asking for an Interpol "red notice." Later that month, while a member of the Knicks, Kanter did not travel out of the country to play a game in London. While some of this decision came from fear of extradition, so also came from fearing for his life. Kanter said to the media at the time, "There’s a chance that I can get killed out there. So that’s why I talked to the front office. I’m not going.”

With Kanter out, coach Stotts will likely return to the lineup the got him through the first three-quarters of the season, meaning fans could see a healthy dose of Zach Collins and Meyers Leonard on Friday, both of whom have fallen out of the normal rotation with the addition of Kanter. 

"There's minutes to be had at the five spot, so Meyers and Zach need to be ready to play. Goes back to the way we were playing two weeks ago" Stotts said at shootaround.

During his availability prior to the game, coach Stotts also had some thoughts on the situation Kanter is facing.
"What Enes is going through... sometimes it's hard for us to even understand that, you know?  Not to be able to leave a country for fear of being arrested or whatever. Having your home country kind of disown you, that's certainly a bigger issue than basketball.

Hear from coach Stotts right here: