Chris Haynes joins CSN for next three seasons


Chris Haynes joins CSN for next three seasons


Portland,OR (June 8, 2012) ComcastSportsNet Northwest, home for Northwest sports, today announced the addition ofTrail Blazer and NBA Insider, Chris Haynes, with the signing of a three-yearcontract. Haynes, entering his second season with Comcast SportsNet, willcontinue to expand the role he began during the 2011-2012 Trail Blazers seasonon the network and on breaking news and providing reliable insideinformation alongside CSNNW.coms senior editor Dwight Jaynes. His contract iseffective as of Sunday, July 1st.

Duringthe 2011-12 season, Haynes was the only member of Portland media to attend allTrail Blazers games, home and away. He will continue to be present at everygame, at practices, at shoot-arounds, at press conferences and at major NBAevents bringing exclusive videos, interviews and information to, Haynes will continue his popular Insider Blog on and hewill be a regular on Comcast SportsNet programs Rip City Live and TalkinBall.

Lastseason, Haynes broke many stories that were continuously picked up by nationaloutlets such as Yahoo, ESPN, Sports Illustrated and HoopsHype. Those storiesincluded Greg Odens issues with blood clots in his ankle, Batums intent tosign his first offer this summer, Jamal Crawfords decision to opt out andSteve Kerr turning down the GM position.

Priorto joining Comcast SportsNet, Haynes wrote for SLAM Magazine and worked for Fox Sports Radio in Fresno, CA. Haynes hascovered a variety of major sports that include the NBA Finals, the World Seriesand the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament. He is a member of the Pro BasketballWriters Association and the National Association of Black Journalists.

Weare thrilled to have Chris Haynes join our team here at Comcast SportsNet,providing year round coverage of the Trail Blazers for the TV network, said Director of Digital Media Kevin Berry. Senior Digital Editorand TV Host Dwight Jaynes said, We believe that Chris tireless work ethic andconnections throughout the NBA with players, coaches, agents and generalmanagers, combined with my decades of experience in covering the league willreinforce the fact that Comcast SportsNet and are the premieredestinations in the Northwest for fans to find breaking news, unbiased analysisand year-round coverage of the Trail Blazers and NBA.

ReadChris blog at and follow him on Twitter @ChrisBHaynes.

No excuses for Ducks against Arizona State

No excuses for Ducks against Arizona State

If Oregon is ever going to win another game this season, Friday's meeting with Arizona State is the one. 

The Ducks (2-5, 0-4 Pac-12) still search for their first conference victory while ASU (5-3, 2-3) is trying to avoid slipping closer toward .500 after getting out to a 5-1 start.

The Ducks have had many problems contribute to their five-game losing streak. But nothing is more glaring than the poor play of the defense, which ranks 128th (last) in the nation in yards allowed per game (538.6) and 126th in scoring defense (43.3 points per game). 

Had Oregon's defense simply been bad (like last season) and not putrid, the Ducks could be 4-3 right now, if not 5-2.

The good news this week is that Oregon is moving away from playing offensive powers. Oregon's last three losses have come against the top three scoring teams in the conference, Washington, California and Washington State. Those three teams scored a combined 173 points on Oregon in three contests for a whopping 57.9 points per game. 

Wait! That can't be right...

(Reaches the calculator. Punches in the numbers, and equals...Yikes).

Sorry, 57.7. 

Anyway, ASU will offer somewhat of a reprieve. The Sun Devils are averaging 35.8 points per game. However, they averaged 48 points per game in three non-conference contests. In conference, ASU has averaged 28.4 points per game. 

Factor in Oregon's poor defense and let's say the Sun Devils, who did win 61-51 over Cal, puts up 35 to 40 on Oregon. Can the Ducks get 41 or more to win?

For sure. 

Other than the 70-21 debacle against Washington, which has one of the top defenses in the nation, Oregon has averaged 38 points per game in its four other losses. 

That should be enough points for any team to have a winning record. Oregon's defense simply couldn't do its part. On Saturday, the Ducks' defense has a chance to deliver in a victory. 

ASU is averaging just 157.9 yards rushing per game on 3.9 yards per carry. That average per game included 301 against Texas Tech, 205 against Texas San Antonio and 276 against NAU. Take those 782 rushing yards off of the season's ledger and ASU is left averaging just 96.2 yards rushing per game in conference.

ASU's passing offense isn't much better. The Sun Devils have eight touchdown passes on the season with seven interceptions.

Quarterback Manny Wilkins, is doubtful with a leg injury, hasn't been very effective this season. 

This is Oregon's best chance for a conference win next to maybe the Civil War. If the Ducks mess this one up, they could be looking at a 3-9 season. If they pull out the win on Saturday, Oregon at least would enter the following week's game at USC with some feint hope of becoming bowl eligible. 

A quick look at ASU:

When: 2 p.m., Autzen Stadium, Eugene. 

T.V.: Pac-12 Network. 

Betting line: Oregon by 7 1/2.

Records: Oregon (2-5, 0-3 Pac-12), ASU (5-3, 2-3). 

Coaches: Oregon's Mark Helfrich (35-13); ASU's Todd Graham (39-22 at ASU, 88-51 overall). 

Last week: Oregon lost 52-49 in double overtime at California (4-3, 2-2). ASU lost 37-32 at home against Washington State (5-2, 4-0). 

Sun Devils' impact players: Wilkins have thrown for 1,421 yards and six touchdowns with five interceptions.

Running back Demario Richard has gained 532 rushing yards with three touchdowns, while Kalen Ballege has 406 with 10 touchdowns. He rushed for seven touchdowns against Texas Tech. 

ASU junior linebacker Koron Crump leads the Pac-12 with eight sacks. Junior linebacker D.J. Calhoun ranks tied for seventh with 4 1/2.

Fear factor (five-point scale): 4. ASU certainly could do everything better on offense against Oregon than it has against the rest of the Pac-12 (other than Cal), and the Sun Devils' pressure defense could make life difficult for UO freshman quarterback Justin Herbert.

But Herbert, who threw for six touchdowns passes at Cal, shouldn't be impacted by ASU's antics on defense and the Ducks' running game should pop some big plays, at least enough to win this game.  

Prediction: Oregon 42, Arizona State 30.  Oregon is due. The Ducks have lost three games by three points and in each failed to close out a win in the final minute. This time they get it done in what should be a relatively close game until the Ducks pull away in the end. 

Rough homestand for Winterhawks


Rough homestand for Winterhawks


Following an impressive road swing that saw the Portland Winterhawks win 6 of 8 games in a 15-day period, returning home and playing three games in week in their own time zone, one would hope for strong results. Unfortunately for the Hawks, the Pacific time zone wasn’t so rewarding. The Hawks played two games against a recharged Tri-City Americans team that had fallen heavily to the Hawks at the start of the season and a Seattle Thunderbirds team that was missing just one key player in their lineup.

Despite having a bit of bus legs, the Hawks started out strong against the Americans in the first game, building a 3-1 lead and headed for the victory column. Someone should have told the Americans as they piled in three unanswered goals to take a 4-3 win in Portland. Not having time to rest on the defeat, the Hawks headed to Seattle and recalled their thrashing of the Thunderbirds, first at home and then on TV to start their road swing. The Thunderbirds team though, would have none of it and handed the Hawks a 3-1 loss in a game where the Hawks just couldn’t get on track. With the Americans making their second trip to the Rose City in a week, they elected to throw their latest acquisition, goaltender Ryan Parenteau, whom they had traded a player and draft pick with Prince Albert Riders . Tri-City took leads throughout the game, before the Hawks leveled the playing field with a pair of goals late in the second and early in the third period and seemed to be taking over some of the play. Tri-City would end up with another 4-3 win midway through the third period as the Hawks couldn’t contain the Tri-City offense. Despite some flurry of activity towards the end of the game, the Hawks were handed their third straight loss, a situation most Hawks fans are not accustomed to under a Mike Johnston coached team.

The loss put the Hawks in third place in the US Division with 16 points, just 4 back of the division leading Everett Silvertips and 2 behind Tri-City. Portland has played 2 more games than the Spokane Chiefs who sit in fourth with 10 points and 5 more than the Seattle Thunderbirds who sit at the bottom with 7 points after 9 games.

The next games up for the Portland Winterhawks will be this weekend in a back to back series with the Kelowna Rockets who struggled early in the season, but have picked up three straight wins of recent date. The Hawks also announced this Saturday’s game which is “Pink the Rink” night benefiting breast cancer, will be the last with pink ice. Future games will feature theme jerseys, pink tape and other items to show their support for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Compass Oncology.

The Portland Winterhawks announced the reassignment of forward Brett Clayton to the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Clayton, who was suspended for six games, including the first two regular season games this season, for a checking major that injured a prospect player, didn’t figure into many games as he dressed for just three thus far this season. Brett will join his brother Kyle on the Bandits team.

Ice Chips: Portland Winterhawks Booster Club President Stuart Kemp will be a guest on Monday, October 31st for “Hawkey Talk” which airs Monday nights from 6-7pm on KPAM 860am. Portland Winterhawks players and coaching staff gathered for the annual Christmas Ornament Decorating Event, which will see their wares up for auction during the month of November and concluding at the last home game before the Christmas break. The Hawks players will also take part in the annual Booster Club funded “Shop With A Hawk” on November 15th at the Hollywood Fred Meyer. This event will assist 25 local area underprivileged children.

Time for a perfect week: Breaking Vegas - NFL Week 8


Time for a perfect week: Breaking Vegas - NFL Week 8


Another winning week last week and I am inching closer to 50% on the season. I set my goal at 60% after achieving 53% last season, so I’ve got some work to do. Time for a 5-0 week?

Coming into the season, the NFC East was the laughing stock of the league. Last year, the Redskins won the Division with Kirk Cousins under center. Coming into this season the Eagles were starting a rookie, the Cowboys were forced to start a 4th round pick rookie after Tony Romo’s injury, and the Giants spent a ton of money on defense but nothing on their offensive line.

As we approach the midway point of the season, the surprise of the league is the dominance of the league.

NFC East through 7 weeks:

That is a total record of 17-9. The next best record for a division in the NFC is the NFC North with a record of 14-12.

If this trend continues, it is not inconceivable for the NFC East to put 3 teams into the Playoffs. That would be an amazing feat for a division that was thought to be in the cellar after a couple down years. Time will only tell how this division can keep things going.

This week, however, the NFC East will give us a matchup Sunday night that could be one to remember. Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles take on Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys in AT&T Stadium on Sunday Night Football, a game that is surely going to be much better than last week’s Sunday Night Football snoozefest.

Who wins, Cowboys or Eagles? Keep reading for that and the rest of my picks!


New York Jets -3 @ Cleveland Browns

The Jets are 30th in the league in points per game vs. the Browns who are 27th in the league in points per game. The Jets are 26th in the league in points against per game vs. the Browns who are 31st in the league in points against per game.

Moral of the story, this game is going to suck. Both teams are bad. Who knows who Cleveland’s quarterback is going to be? Who cares? This team seems destined to be the 1st pick in the draft. Which QB will they draft into quarterback purgatory?

Jets 17 – Browns 12

San Diego Chargers +5 @ Denver Broncos

Two weeks ago the Broncos and Chargers met on Thusday night for one of the most exciting Thursday Night matchups we have had this season. In that contest the Chargers came out on top with a 21-13 victory. That victory changed a lot for that team and their perception around the league. This past week they beat the high flying Falcons. The Chargers are legit and have an offense that is clicking despite injuries at seemingly every skill position.

The Broncos are a good team that still has to figure some things out. Their identity as a defensive team hasn’t changed but the offense is a still a moving target. CJ Anderson looks to be headed to the IR after a knee injury on Monday night and rookie Devontae Booker will take the reins for the rest of the season. This offense needs a boost and with a young quarterback like Trevor Simien, that’s unlikely. Chargers beat the defending champs for the second time in three weeks.

Chargers 21 – Broncos 18

Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys -4.5

This is the matchup of the week. The Cowboys are coming off their bye and look to defend their division leading 5-1 record. The Eagles come to town with momentum after beating the undefeated Minnesota Vikings last week. This game will boil down to which team can control the ball and capitalize in the red zone.

One of the baffling stats about the Eagles is that they are 9th in points per game but only 28th in yards per game. This can be contributed to a defense and special teams unit that have scored 3 combined touchdowns. The Eagles have forced 12 turnovers in 6 games. The Cowboys have only given up 5 turnovers in 6 games, second lowest in the league. This will be something to keep an eye on, strength vs. strength.

Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot have the Cowboys right where we all thought they would be, right? Ok, maybe not. Did you predict that Cole Beasley would lead the team in receiving with 390 yards through six games? No matter how out of no-where this season seems for the Cowboys, I think it is fairly simple to say that this team is legit.

The Dallas defense has shown what it is capable of. The most points they have given up in a game is back in week 2 when they gave up 23 to Washington, a game that Dallas won. They held an Andy Dalton led Bengals team to 14 points, and an Aaron Rodgers led Packers team to 16 points. Now they face a rookie in Carson Wentz. Not taking anything away from Wentz, but he is no Rodgers.

This game will be close and will be physical, but Dallas’ offensive line and running game is the best in the league and will continue to roll their opponents. Look for Elliot to be fresh coming out of the bye and score twice.

Cowboys 31 – Eagles 24

Seattle Seahawks -2.5 @ New Orleans Saints

This one was tough for me. If this game was in Seattle, it would be a no-brainer. However, with this game being played in New Orleans it gave me pause. When it boils down I think this game will be decided by the pride of Russell Wilson.

Last Sunday night was one of the worst professional football games I have ever watched. The Seattle and Arizona offenses were completely inept. Wilson was hobbled and had no mobility at all. The Seattle offensive line was terrible the entire 75 minutes of game time. The defense was the only bright spot.

Wilson is going to come out and get the offense going, especially against the pourous New Orleans defense. The Saints’ defense is 28th in the league in points allowed per game. This will be a break out game for Christine Michael and Doug Baldwin.

The Seattle offense will be able to score basically at will, but that will force the defense on the field a lot, wearing them down. Drew Brees, the future first ballot hall of famer, will be able to score but will get picked off late as Seattle picks up their 5th win.

Seahawks 35 – Saints 31

Upset Special of the Week:

Kansas City Chiefs @ Indianapolis Colts +2.5

Donte Moncrief is going to be making his return for the Colts after missing every game since week 2. The addition of Moncrief will be huge for the Colts. Marcus Peters will be locked up on T.Y. Hilton. Moncrief and Jack Doyle will be able to find soft spots in the Chiefs’ zone.

Andrew Luck is one of the best quarterbacks in the league when he is upright. The Colt’s offensive line has been terrible and Luck has been sacked a league-high 25 times. The good news for the Colts is that the Chiefs have sacked the opposing quarterback a league-worst 8 times. That is barely over one sack per game.

Luck stays upright and the Colts take care of the Chiefs at home.

Colts 27 – Chiefs 21


*All betting lines provided by Bovada.LV on the Thursday preceding particular NFL week.

Seahawks He Said/She Said: Splitting picks against New Orleans


Seahawks He Said/She Said: Splitting picks against New Orleans

Oregon Sports News writers Julian Rogers and Jessica Ridpath discuss and predict the week eight matchup between the Seattle Seahawks (4–1–1) and the New Orleans Saints (2–4).

When: 10 a.m. PT Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA.

Rogers: With all the discussion lately about the NFL being in a death spiral of declining TV ratings due to a bevy of bummers, the last thing the league needed was a dud of a primetime showcase game between two supposed playoff contenders, the Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals. But boy, was that game ever a snooze fest.

Unless you stuck with it until the end. Where the inept, sizzle-less performances on both sides that ended in a regulation tie of 3–3 gave way to an even more improbable 6–6 tie that excitingly(ish) concluded with two almost impossibly shanked missed chip shot field goals by both Stephen Hauschka and Chandler Catanzaro.

And so, we were left with a tie. Which, in all honesty, I very nearly thought about making my prediction for the game, but I dismissed that notion as far too likely to be wrong. So I had a feeling and went against it. I feel like I lost twice, which is probably akin to the feeling the Seahawks and Cardinals have over Sunday night’s sister kisser.

If you have a punting fetish, this game was ecstasy for you.

For the rest of us, we’re left to ponder two things about the Seayawns: Is Sunday’s offensive output of 11 total first downs through five quarters of play and 3/14 on third-down conversions the new Seahawks’ offensive brand? NFL teams often get figured out at this point in the season — did the Seahawks get figured out?

Or is this game just an aberration? Jess, what do you think?

Ridpath: I think we’re seeing the consequences of Russell Wilson’s lack of mobility. The Seahawks’ offensive line is not performing quite as poorly as they did last year. But Seattle’s offensive numbers are vastly different this season compared to last.

In 2015, the blue birds were ranked fourth in total offense and converted 47% of their third downs. Right now, their offense is ranked 22nd and is only 36% on third-down conversions.

We can’t blame this steep decline on the passing game. In the air, Wilson is keeping pace with last year’s average yards per game (259.8 in 2016 versus 251.1 in 2015). And he’s throwing fewer interceptions to boot (0.5% versus 1.7%). But his rushing stats tell a completely different story: 5.5 yards per carry and 34.6 yards per game in 2015, compared to a scant 1.5 yards per carry and 5.5 yards per game so far this season.

With Wilson looking “about as nimble as an aging Joe Namath on two bum knees,” the Seahawks have lost much of the magic he brought to the table: that amazing ability to scramble away from the defense and keep drives alive. That’s giving opposing defenses a lot less to worry about.

To be fair, it’s not just Wilson’s mobility that’s dragging Seattle’s offense down: It’s their entire ground game. With only 3.1 yards per carry and 82.7 yards per game (ranked 27thin the league overall), it seems the Seahawks have kissed their elite rushing status goodbye.

And when that walked out the door, so it seems did their ability to score points. They’ve scored a mere 111 total points in six games and are tied for last in the league in points scored (alongside Chicago). With numbers like that, you’d expect to see far fewer tallies in Seattle’s win column. The difference-maker has, of course, been their formidable defense.

Julian, without a solid rushing attack, are the Seahawks relying too much on the defense to continually save their asses? And if so, how can they bring their ground game back to life?

Rogers: I don’t think Christine Michael is the problem. I believe he’s part of the solution. My eyeballs tell me Michael is still low-to-the-ground, slithery fast. The holes just aren’t there. Worse, defenses know Wilson is no threat to keep it on the read-option, so they can focus on crashing down on every play that appears to be a run down. Second-level defenders are free to get on Michael fast.

Wilson has to make defenses pay through the air. He’s become a reluctant pocket passer, which is foreign territory for the Seahawks offense. The good news: It will almost certainly pay off later in the season. The bad news: For now, the Seahawks aren’t one-dimensional, they’re no-dimensional, if the last game is any guide.

It comes down to the offensive line, which is the weakest link by far on the 2016 team. A situation made worse now that George Fant is going to have to take over for Bradley Sowell at left tackle. Penalties have also been a factor. Expecting a miraculous leap toward offensive line play excellence is highly unlikely. The Seahawks are going to have to mix and match, throwing short to Jimmy Graham and the elusive Doug Baldwin and let them create yards after the catch.

The Seahawks are going to have to throw to loosen things up for the run game — the antithesis of Seahawks football.

Which is not great when you’re opposite the NFL’s No. 1 passing offense. Both teams offer bottom-third rushing offenses: Seattle is ranked 27th; New Orleans is ranked 28th. But the Saints sport no less than four receivers averaging better than 12 yards per reception: Brandin Cooks (15.2), Willie Snead (13.7), tight end Coby Fleener (13.4) and rookie sensation Michael Thomas (12.1). The surprise good news: So do the Seahawks. Graham (15.1), Paul Richardson (13.8), Tyler Lockett (12.7) and Baldwin (12.6). The bad news: The Saints’ top four receivers managed their average over 107 receptions, while the Seahawks’ top four impact receivers managed their average over a more pedestrian (yes, I said it) 80.

The difference is more about what defense each offense will go up against. The Seahawks’ offense gets to play against the 29th ranked unit. The Seahawks (6th) will be the best defense the Saints have faced so far in 2016. Jess, how do you think the Legion of Boom will handle the Saints’ explosive passing game?

Ridpath: If you had asked me that question before last Sunday’s game, I would have had few concerns. But after watching the Seahawks’ defenders work their butts off for more than 46 minutes in Phoenix (becoming just the third defense to spend that much time on the field since 2000), I’m worried about how well they’ll hold up for their second road game in a row.

Richard Sherman couldn’t even walk without assistance after giving his all to holdLarry Fitzgerald to just 70 yards last week. Even world-class athletes have limits, and Seattle’s lackluster offense seems to be pushing their invaluable defensive backs to the brink. I hate to say it, but if this trend continues, overwork-induced injuries won’t be far behind. With Kam Chancellor still nursing a groin injury, the Seahawks can’t afford to lose any more star defenders.

Seattle’s offense needs to step up and give their defense (and especially their secondary) a break. I have no doubt that the Seahawks’ defenders have the talent and the will to continue to carry this team. But they shouldn’t have to.

Julian, I absolutely agree that it all comes down to the offensive line — and that a giant leap forward is unlikely. However, facing the Saints’ soft defense may provide the perfect opportunity to take some modest steps in the right direction. If they succeed, they’ll give Wilson and Michael a chance to resurrect the Seahawks’ offense. I have no doubt that both players are poised to capitalize on any openings the o-line can give them. Prediction: Seattle 24, New Orleans 17.

Rogers: I’ve gone back and forth on who I think will win this one. The talk in ‘Nawlins is the return of Jimmy Graham. I think he’ll have a significant day, but I think the Saints’ passing offense will keep humming too. My wild guess prediction is that a significant penalty by the Seahawks is going to decide this one late. Prediction: New Orleans 23, Seattle 21.


Owning up
Here’s what we were right and wrong about last week.

What he got right: The wife and I bought a new car together without losing our sanity or threatening divorce. That’s got to count.

What he got wrong: The game winner, because there was none. Nobody’s a winner when that many players are going around kissing their sisters. I’m 3–3 on the season.

What she got right: With neither Wilson nor Carson Palmer at full strength, I expected a defensive battle. (Did either offense even play last week? I can’t remember…)

What she got wrong: The game winner, bringing me to 3–3 on the season. I was only off by 40 points in predicting the combined final score. That’s about as close as Hauschka was on his failed field goal attempt.

The Clippers gave the Trail Blazers a lesson Thursday night

The Clippers gave the Trail Blazers a lesson Thursday night

It was a fun game Thursday night in Moda Center. The LA Clippers are a unique team, capable of playing at a high level -- and aggravating at a high level, too. It's a shame that this game was their only appearance in Portland all season because Blazer-Clipper games always seem to have an edge to them.

The Clippers were too much for the Trail Blazers this time. I'm not saying Portland can't play at the Clippers' level, we know that's possible. But there isn't a big margin for error -- particularly when the Blazers lose their composure in the face of the usual flopping, whining and posturing by the Clips. But underneath all the histrionics, there are lessons to be learned from that game.

Yes, the Blazers can give LA a battle and even win sometimes. But it's going to take a lot better performance by Portland. For one thing, it's going to require much more consistent shooting, particularly from long range, to come out on top against the more talented and more physical teams in the league. The Trail Blazers open games with a small lineup and often get smaller as the game goes along. That comes with a price.

It's fine against run-of-the-mill teams but when you play against size and muscle, you better make three-point field goals because if it becomes a game of two-pointers the size and strength become much more of a factor. The Trail Blazers were 4-for-18 from three-point range in this game and that's just not going to cut it against the premier teams, which also happen to be among the most physical teams.

And I'm not necessarily talking about height, I'm talking about bulk, too. Mason Plumlee (255 pounds) and Al-Farouq Aminu (220) aren't necessarily short compared to Blake Griffin (251) and DeAndre Jordan (listed at 265 but come on, he's a grand piano heavier than Plumlee) -- but they're in a much different weight class.

Portland can play a bigger, more physical lineup but chose not to do it. Meyers Leonard -- whose outside shooting and physical defense on Jordan might have made a difference -- did not play. He's been beaten out, apparently, by Noah Vonleh for that rotation spot up front, at least temporarily. The Trail Blazer bench was annihilated by the LA reserves 45-20 and that was unexpected. But Portland's only three-point shooter off the bench, Allen Crabbe, missed his only two attempts from that distance. The Blazer reserves went 0-for-4 from long range and were outhustled.

Portland depth should be a a plus most nights but the lack of offense off the bench was a glaring weakness against LA. So was defense.

The Clippers manhandled Portland for much of the game -- which is what you'd expect, given their size advantage. You can say the officials had an off-night but the truism in basketball at every level is that the aggressive teams will get the calls. And the Trail Blazers' aggression usually comes from their ball movement and in-your-face three-point shooting, not from pushing people around. Again, when that shooting is not there, it's going to be an uphill battle.

For right now, the ball movement isn't as crisp as it's been in the past and Evan Turner, expected to be a key reserve, has not yet found his way in the Trail Blazer motion offense. In fact, at this point, he seems a bit mechanical, still a little tight with his new team and unable to relax and just play his game. But it's early and he'll probably figure it all out soon.

The Clippers can be so frustrating to play against and I'm pretty sure they get under the skin of every team they play. Coach Doc Rivers NEVER stops working the officials and I cannot understand how he gets away with the constant yapping at them, especially during timeouts when he directly approaches them. I've always thought that the opposing coach must match his level of discourse with the referees or there is the danger of Doc's team getting more calls than yours. Yes, it's nice to play Mr. Nice Guy with the refs and think that it will help, but I seldom see that approach work.

Squeaky wheels get greased.

The Trail Blazers need to keep their cool better the next time around against the Clips -- or against any other team they play. Flagrant fouls and technicals do no good. Retaliators always get caught and those who strike the first blow usually get away with it. And oh yes, better three-point shooting is a must.

Lessons learned, one would think.





This time, with Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, the Clippers beat Portland

This time, with Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, the Clippers beat Portland

It was intense, emotional and hotly contested, and in the end, it was a measure of revenge for the LA Clippers. 

Behind Blake Griffin's 27 points and 13 rebounds and another masterful court performance from Chris Paul (27 points, 5 assists), the Clippers beat the Blazers 114-106 on Thursday in a rematch of last season's first round playoff series. The two Clippers stars were injured and missed the final two games of the playoff series last season, when Portland won four straight to clinch the series in six games. 

The game featured two technicals and two flagrant fouls and was tied heading into the fourth quarter before the Clippers pulled away with a 14-1 run midway through the quarter that extended a 90-89 lead to 104-90.

Damian Lillard had 29 points and 10 rebounds, and Maurice Harkless had 23 points and eight rebounds, the most points he's had since joining Portland last season.

The game was tied at 82 headed into the fourth quarter after the Blazers outscored the Clippers 33-24 in the third, thanks in part to a 10-0 start to the second half that was ignited by blocks from Mason Plumlee and Al-Farouq Aminu. But the Clippers countered by scoring the first six points of the fourth, then took control when Portland was called for flagrant fouls on Plumlee and CJ McCollum. 

Plumlee finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists and McCollum had 16 points. Meanwhile, new acquistion Evan Turner struggled with his shot (2-for-8) and had two unforced turnovers and was never a factor in the game. He is 3-for-15 on the season.

In a spirited first half, the Clippers built leads as large as 12 before settling for a 58-49 lead, thanks to the play of their two biggest stars - Paul and Griffin. The guard and forward played a two-man game for much of the half, with Griffin mixing jumpers and rebound dunks to the tune of 16 points and six rebounds while Paul had 12 points and three assists.

Lillard was sharp early, scoring 10 of Portland's first 24 points as the Blazers opened a 24-19 lead. But when he left with 1:39 left in the first quarter and Portland up 27-21, the offense went into hibernation and the Clippers went on a 16-0 run to take a 37-27 lead.

A big factor in the first half was foul trouble for the Blazers. Forward Al-Farouq Aminu, one of the Blazers' best defenders who was assigned to guard Blake Griffin, picked up two fouls and had to leave the game with 8:44 left in the first quarter. When he returned in the second quarter, he lasted only 2:37 before picking up his third foul.  Harkless and reserve center Ed Davis also picked up three fouls and had to go to the bench early. 

Next up: Blazers at Denver, 6 p.m. Saturday (CSN)

Another intense battle between the Blazers and Clippers, LA up 9 at half

Another intense battle between the Blazers and Clippers, LA up 9 at half

The Trail Blazers and Clippers tipped off from the Moda Center with the Moda Center crowd chanting “Beat LA.”

Midway through the first quarter, the Blazers held a 13-10 lead.  Mason Plumlee had a quick four points in the first quarter after picking up the first foul issued of the game.

Portland ended the first quarter shooting 50% as a team, while LA shot 47.8%.  The Clippers led 28-27 at the end of the first.  Damian Lillard scored 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting in the first.

The Clippers started off hot in the second quarter.  LA won the second quarter, 30-22.

At halftime, the Clippers are up 58-49. 



Top performers of the first half:

Trail Blazers

Points: Damian Lillard and Moe Harkless, 12

Rebounds: Mason Plumlee, 5

Assist: Mason Plumlee, 4



Points: Blake Griffin, 16

Rebounds: DeAndre Jordan, 7

Assist: Chris Paul, 3

Following tonight’s game, you can check out Talkin’ Ball live on CSN.  And if you can’t get to a TV, catch The Scoop Postgame show presented by Toyota of Portland on Broadway streaming live at on your phone, tablet, or computer.

Week 8 Preview: Seattle at New Orleans

Week 8 Preview: Seattle at New Orleans

“We have the cure for what ails you.”

There may as well be a sign hanging in the visitors’ locker room this Sunday - with that prophetic avowal - when the Seahawks enter the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Seattle’s offense, which has been bobbing-and-weaving between efficient and non-existent, is coming off one of its worst performances ever, in which they compiled a paltry 257 yards on only 57 plays through regulation and most of overtime.

The cure? The New Orleans Saints’ defense.

Although they fall, statistically, in the median of the league, they are hemorrhaging yards and points at an alarming rate this season. They’re dead last in points against (32.5) and are 28th in total yards allowed (403.8).

The problem has stemmed, primarily, from their secondary. In last week’s loss to Kansas City, the run defense – anchored by Nick Fairley (yes, he’s still in the league) and Tyeler Davison – kept the normally potent running game of the Chiefs at bay. The same cannot be said of the aerial assault put forth by Alex Smith.

(That’s tongue-in-cheek, but it goes to show you how susceptible the Saints are when Smith can have a big game.)

“Alex Smith was his typical self, as he didn’t push the ball down the field aggressively, but was able to keep the chains moving with his efficiency. On throws that traveled less than 10 yards through the air, he completed all but one of his 14 attempts. He had a perfect QB rating (158.3) against the blitz, as he completed seven of nine throws when faced with an extra rusher for 120 yards and both of his touchdowns.”

According to Pro Football Focus:

“While the Saints were generally strong on run defense, the same can’t be said about their play in coverage. In particular, CBs B.W. Webb and Ken Crawley had major struggles, as they gave up a combined seven catches on just nine targets and a touchdown.”

The lone saving grace for New Orleans may have dropped into their lap yesterday when it was announced that Russell Wilson was a limited participant in practice – the first time in his career has been in that position – with his normal knee injuries, but also, a pectoral issue.

It’s unknown the extent of the injury, or how it could effect Wilson’s ability to throw the ball; but with a dinged up lower half, he’s been reduced to a pocket passer, which is already out of his comfort zone. If he’s now limited in throwing the ball, it raises a serious question of what’s more important: his consecutive game streak, or healing up for the playoff stretch.

Pete Carroll, for his part, is trying to downplay the issue.

“He’s getting better,” he said. “He’s got out of this game—maybe for the first time he felt nothing of a carry over with his ankle or his knee, which is really good. There’s always a little bit of aftermath, (but) he didn’t feel that from what I understand.”

One area that is of no concern at all is the Seahawks’ defense, which is giving up just 14 points per game, tied for first. They already have two games this season where they’ve allowed no touchdowns. And while the Saints’ offense isn’t as vibrant as it once was, they’re still potent, even with an aging Drew Brees. They can still score (29.3 points per game) and Brees, when given time, is still one of the most accurate passers in the game. His 339 yards per game is the best in the NFL.

The ground game has been the real issue. The Saints are scraping together just 82.3 yards per game. Combine that with the Seahawks’ stout run defense (84.2), and this looks to be a wash.

Simply put, it’s Brees and his receivers against the Legion of Boom. And based on results this season, we have no reason to believe the Seahawks won’t come out on top of that battle.



Seattle 24 New Orleans 20



This may be the most difficult week of the season to pick an impact fantasy player/unit for the Seahawks. If Wilson is as limited it sounds like he could be, you can eliminate his receivers. And Brees will pile up yards, if not points, because that’s simply what they do. So Seattle’s defense may not be the wisest choice.

Your best bet is to take Christine Michael, who no doubt will see an increased role. The Saints are giving up 116.8 yards per game on the ground. This may be the true breakout game he’s been searching for.

Clippers start season vs. team that ended its season last year

Clippers start season vs. team that ended its season last year

Clippers vs. Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers (1-0) host the Los Angeles Clippers (0-0) at 7:30pm on Thursday night.  Portland opened the regular season beating the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, 113-104.  Damian Lillard started the regular season with a 39 point, 6 assist, and 9 rebound night against the Jazz.  Lillard led the team in all three of those categories on Tuesday.

As for the Clippers, LA has yet to play a regular season game.  In the preseason, the Clippers beat the Blazers, 109-108.  The Clippers went 3-3 in the exhibition season.

Many in the media have discussed how the Blazers and Clippers will be two teams battling for the third, fourth, or fifth spots in the Western Conference standings this season.  It was on April 29th, 2016 when the Blazers closed out its series against the Clippers and moved on into the Western Conference semifinals.  Portland beat LA, 106-103 in that sixth and final game of the series to take the first-round playoff series 4-2.   

We will set the stage for the Blazers and Clippers game on The Scoop Pregame Show streaming live at 6:30pm on on your computer, tablet, or phone.  Plus, you can check out a special hour-long Rip City Live on CSN starting at 6:30pm.

Quick Links:

Blazer opener: What did we see that is sustainable? And what isn’t?

Damian Lillard’s “secret” coach: Meet former Central Catholic standout Brian Barkdoll

Video:  Stotts talks matchup with LA Clippers

Video: Davis: Vonleh “more comfortable with himself”

Video: Lillard: Always a tough game against the Clippers

Video: Crabbe: “Feel like it’s a little rivalry” with Clippers



Game Details:

Where: Moda Center, Portland OR

Television: TNT, 7:30pm

CSN Programming:  Rip City Live (6:30pm), Talkin' Ball  (Immediately after the Blazers postgame show),

Live streaming: The Scoop Pregame Show streams at 6:30pm at The Scoop Postgame Show will stream immediately after the game at

Radio: Rip City Radio 620