Crawford on converting 4-point plays

Crawford on converting 4-point plays

By Chris Haynes, Trail Blazer Insider (@ChrisBHaynes)

Its no secret that the Portland Trail Blazers guard, JamalCrawford, has the NBA record for the most 4-point plays converted with 34. Thesurprising aspect about that achievement is that hes tallied that amountwithout using any trickery or gimmicks.

Crawford surpassed Reggie Miller -- who held the record with23 -- and was known for sticking his leg out when he saw defenders closingout on him and deceived the refs into blowing the whistle.

To his credit, Crawford uses no manipulation to get a call and says he gets the whistle due to the way in which he shoots the ball.

Guys just havent figured out my release, Crawford When I get ready to shoot, guys react late to it and they end upclosing out and bumping me while Im already in my shooting motion. I get fouled a lot justshooting, period.

Crawford does have a two-step hitch in his jump shot andapparently, its extremely difficult for opposing defenses to get their timingdown while contesting. Crawford said hes learned how to focus on nailing thejumper despite knowing when a defender is going to make contact.

When Im shooting, Im zoned in even when I know I'm going to get hit, Crawford said. I gotabout 3 or 4 of those 4-pointers left in me this season. Its not somethingthat I go out and try to do, it just happens from time to time.

Scoring in bunches is what Crawford brings to the Blazerbench. If he can add some more of those 4-point plays to his all-time careerleading total, the Blazers will be in great position to shock the league.

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

ASU will get after Oregon QB Justin Herbert

ASU will get after Oregon QB Justin Herbert

Next test for Oregon freshman quarterback Justin Herbert: Operating in the face of relentless pressure.

That's what Arizona State will throw at Herbert when the Sun Devils (5-3, 2-3 Pac-12) face the Ducks (2-5, 0-4) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Autzen Stadium.

ASU, which ranks second in the conference with 23 sacks, presents a new challenge for Herbert, who through two games has certainly flashed signs of brilliance. But he has yet to face a team that will bring such a wide variety of pressures as ASU.  

"They're a fast, athletic team and they are going to bring a lot of pressure," Herbert said. 

And then some. 

ASU tallied seven sacks against Washington State and quarterback Luke Falk on Saturday.  

"Some of those sacks were just their (linebackers) beating the offensive tackle," Oregon offensive coordinator Matt Lubick said. 

ASU junior linebacker Koron Crump leads the Pac-12 with eight sacks. He had three against WSU. Junior linebacker D.J. Calhoun ranks tied for seventh with 4 1/2, two coming against the Cougars.

On the flip side, when WSU quarterback Luke Falk wasn't on his back he was racking up 398 yards passing with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. And, by the way, WSU won the game, 37-32 in Tempe, Ariz. 

Oregon hopes to borrow that recipe. While ASU likes to use its dancing linebackers to bring pressure, that also can open the door for big plays. 

"The key is to keep playing, play the next play and then good things can happen," Lubick said. 

That played out during Oregon's 61-55, triple-overtime win last season at ASU. The Ducks had some hiccups on offense but they didn't prevent quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. from throwing for 315 yards and four touchdowns. 

Oregon's running game struggled a bit against ASU's aggressive defensive scheme, but Royce Freeman popped a run for 64 yards and Kani Benoit had a 62-yard run. That made up 126 of the Ducks' 181 net yards rushing on 28 carries. 

Herbert threw for six touchdowns last week during a 52-49 double-overtime loss at California. The Golden Bears have one of the worst defenses in the nation and ranks 11th in the conference (ahead of Oregon's). ASU's defense is nearly just as bad at 10th.

So, Herbert should have some opportunities to make plays as long as a young offensive line can give him some time and he doesn't get rattled. The fact that he stood up strong against Washington in his first start and rallied against Cal, bodes well for what Oregon should expect from its young signal caller this Saturday. 

"Justin is doing a lot of good things but one of the things that's giving him an opportunity to play for us is his composure and making plays under duress," Lubick said. "He's showed us every indication that he can play against any type of defense....His decision making process is pretty special for a freshman."

Herbert's evolution will continue to play out it what looks to be a lost season. The Ducks must win four of their final five games to become bowl eligible.

If they are to get there, Herbert will have to carry the Ducks given how bad the offense is. It's a lot to ask from a freshman who says he is feeling more and more confident each day.  

"I think comfortability with the offense and knowing where to go with the ball has increased," Herbert said. 

If true, ASU could be in trouble if it sells out too much to get after Herbert. 

Damian Lillard's 'secret' coach: Meet former Central Catholic standout Brian Barkdoll

Damian Lillard's 'secret' coach: Meet former Central Catholic standout Brian Barkdoll

After Damian Lillard scored 39 points Tuesday in the Trail Blazers’ season-opening win over Utah, he noted that summer workouts with a special, mystery coach played a role in his performance.

A large part of Lillard’s success Tuesday involved attacking the rim, and 7-foot-1 Utah center Rudy Gobert, who is among the NBA’s premier shot blockers.

Lillard went 7-for-8 at the rim, and he said some of his effectiveness could be traced back to his summer workouts, when the Blazers stationed what Lillard called a “huge” player/coach underneath the basket with the sole intention of blocking his shots.

“That’s my special secret,’’ Lillard said Tuesday night when pressed for the name and background of the coach. “I will tell you guys at a later date.’’

Turns out, the mystery coach might not be much of a mystery to Portlanders.

His name is Brian Barkdoll, a 27-year-old video assistant for the Blazers, who graduated from Central Catholic in 2007 after being named the MVP of the Mt. Hood Conference.

The Blazers would not make Barkdoll available to the media on Wednesday, even as he was among the last to the leave the practice courts after a session with Meyers Leonard.

Barkdoll is 6-foot-10 and about 260 pounds and played for Blazers assistants Dale Osbourne and Nate Tibbetts for the Tulsa 66ers in the NBA Development League during the 2011-2012 season.

Barkdoll, who after Wednesday's practice had a sweat-soaked shirt, was unexpectedly if not mysteriously put into the spotlight Tuesday when Lillard was asked about his aggression in attacking Gobert during his 39-point performance.

“Over the summer, we got a guy working out with me every morning. He is huge,’’ Lillard said, adding that he estimated he was at 6-foot-8 or 6-foot-9. “He blocked some of my shots. But the whole summer, I was finishing (at the rim) around him.’’

Over his career, Lillard has never struggled with beating his man off the dribble and getting to the rim. Finishing, however, has been an area he has worked to improve upon. This summer included.

“I walked in the gym one morning and (coaches) were about to grab the stick with the hand on it,’’ Lillard said Tuesday night.

But before they used that traditional method to simulate a big man, they looked at Barkdoll and pushed him into action.

“Me and CJ (McCollum) would do our regular workout, and he would be waiting at the rim,’’ Lillard said. “He didn’t have to guard or anything, he was just waiting there to try and block us. And there were a couple days where it wasn’t our day … he was getting it.’’

Lillard said his daily workouts with Barkdoll improved his body control and his ingenuity in creating shots off the backboard. Also, it helped his timing and how to best use angles.

“Knowing when to attack this way, and cross over the other way to turn his hips, cause when you turn the hips he can’t get off the ground as quick,’’ Lillard said. “Also, laying the ball up ‘off time’ … bigs are great at timing  your jump, so instead of me timing it perfect, I would do it off rhythm. Like when I get on the wrong leg, I would get the (ball) in the air.’’

Another skill he worked on was initiating the contact with Barkdoll. Lillard found that if he went into Barkdoll, it helps ground the big man.

All of it was on display Tuesday against one of the best in the NBA, thanks to some summer workouts with the old Central Catholic and Northwest Nazarene standout.

“You have to be crafty to get it around guys like Gobert,’’ Lillard said. “I was able to get to those spots and do it tonight.’’

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

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

Yes, it was just one game. The first of 81 to come. And you certainly don't want to overreact to just one game. But did we see anything Tuesday night in Moda Center that we can expect to continue? Maybe. Let's take stock:

  • Damian Lillard came to the rescue of the Trail Blazers in the fourth quarter. Is he going to have to do that often? Better hope not. Not that he isn't capable of it but it's a lot to ask. And if he needs to score 39 for Portland to win, it's going to be a difficult year. But he's primed for a monster season and I don't think there's any doubt about that. His ability to finish at the basket has taken a leap forward. If you can get to the basket, get to the foul line frequently and make threes, you're going to be a big-time scorer at any level. Lillard has arrived at that level.
  • The Trail Blazers had trouble with their defense through much of this game. Utah put Portland's guards in a blender in the first quarter, bouncing them off rapid-fire screens and it was effective. And the Jazz hit those mid-range jump shots Portland encourages. Early in the game, too many of those jumpers were uncontested. There is a sincere effort to improve the defense but it will take time. More shots must be contested.
  • When Portland went to small lineups, the Jazz -- to their credit, I believe -- stayed big. Center Rudy Gobert played more than 40 minutes, in fact. And more than most teams do, Utah made a real effort to post up smaller players. It will be interesting to see if other teams attempt to do that because the size did give the Trail Blazers' small lineup trouble on the boards and on defense.
  • Don't forget, by the way, that Utah played without Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors, two critical starters, and acquitted itself very well considering those absences. Make no mistake, Utah is good.
  • The Portland bench is going to be a very big regular-season factor. That unit is going to be more potent than nearly every team Portland will play and have a big impact on results. As you know, that advantage isn't nearly as impactful in the playoffs, where starters often play much longer minutes and rotations are shortened.
  • Noah Vonleh? Still not sure. There's always been talent there but I want to see if he can sustain the confidence he seems to suddenly possess. Where did this come from? How did it happen? He's gone from a nonentity to being a force. And it happened suddenly. Can he sustain it? I'll need to see more of it to promise it's for real.

Moda Center electric in home opener, Blazers up 8 at the break

Moda Center electric in home opener, Blazers up 8 at the break

The Portland Trail Blazers tipped off the regular season with a home game against the Utah Jazz.  With Blazer fans receiving light up wristbands before the game, the energy and choreographed lighting filled the Moda Center with electricity.   

To end the first quarter, the Blazers and Jazz were all tied at 26 apiece.  Portland shot 52.6% as a team in the first quarter, while Utah shot 60%.

At the break, the Blazers are up 54-46.  Portland went 7-for-8 from three-point range to end the first half.  The Blazers ended up shooting 52.6% as a team.  As for the Jazz, Utah finished the half shooting 40%.


Top performers of the first half:

Trail Blazers

Points: Damian Lillard, 16

Rebounds: Damian Lillard, 4

Assist: Evan Turner, 5


Points: Rodney Hood, 15

Rebounds: Rudy Gobert, 6

Assist:  Shelvin Mack, 3

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

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard starts his MVP campaign in style

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard starts his MVP campaign in style

Damian Lillard started his Most Valuable Player campaign in convincing fashion on Tuesday.

The Trail Blazers guard, who has said his goal this season is to win the MVP award, scored 39 points to lead the Blazers to a come-from-behind 113-104 victory over the Utah Jazz in the season opener for both teams. 

Lillard hit 13-of-20 shots and added nine rebounds and six assists and recorded the second most points by a Blazers player in a season opener.  Kiki Vandeweghe holds the franchise mark for an opener with 47 set in 1984.

The Blazers trailed 83-77 entering the fourth quarter after a disastrous third quarter when Utah scored 37 points behind the inspired play of 35-year-old veteran Joe Johnson. In his 16th NBA season, and first with the Jazz, Johnson scored 27 of his 29 points in the second half, including 15 in the third quarter.

But behind a closing unit that mostly featured Lillard, McCollum, Allen Crabbe, Al-Farouq Aminu and Ed Davis, the Blazers over the final 6:29 turned a 94-91 deficit into a win that was iced when Lillard hit a three-pointer with 1:02 left that gave Portland a 109-102 lead. 

McCollum added 25 points, Crabbe 18 and Noah Vonleh 11. 

The Blazers extended their NBA record to 16 consecutive home opening victories, which dates back to 2001. 

Utah surged in the third quarter to take an 83-77 lead heading into the fourth quarter after outscoring Portland 37-23 in the third.

The Blazers made their first seven three-pointers and led by as many as 13 in the first half before settling for a 54-46 halftime lead. The final seconds of the half put a damper on the Blazers' performance as Lillard picked up his third foul in the open court with 0.7 seconds left, then Trey Lyles took an inbound and made a three-pointer at the buzzer.

Crabbe was a spark in the first half, scoring 10 points in his first 14 minutes, which included 2-of-2 from three-point range. He entered with Evan Turner, who was effective, but in a different way. Turner missed all four of his shots, but had five assists, three rebounds, a steal and a block as the duo helped turn a 17-15 deficit into a 43-37 lead by the time they left. 

The big surprise in the first half was Noah Vonleh, who not only entered in the first quarter, but was instrumental in keeping the Blazers close. The youngest player on the Blazers hit all three of his shots -- two 18-footers and a three-pointer -- and was a plus-10 in his eight minute shift. He helped offset a torrid start by Utah, which scored on eight of its first nine possessions while hitting its first five shots. 

Notes: With his first assist on the night, Lillard passed Jim Paxson for sixth on the franchise list. Lillard has 2,013 assists and needs 44 to tie Geoff Petrie for fifth. Terry Porter is the franchise leader with 5,319.  

Next up: Los Angeles Clippers at Portland, 7:30 p.m. Thursday (TNT)

Clearing the rubble: Seattle's tie won't hurt

Clearing the rubble: Seattle's tie won't hurt

Yes, that really happened.

For those of you (un)fortunate enough to stick with Sunday’s arduous, sloppy, incoherent contest between the Seahawks and Cardinals, I simply say: congrats.

You survived, and you’re a better person for it today.

Like some folks out there, I went from Oklahoma-Texas Tech on Saturday night – with their combined 125 points, 1708 yards of offense, 1279 PASSING YARDS – and wondered how one sport, with increasingly blended talent levels, could contrast so hard.

For perspective, Seattle and Arizona combined for 700 yards – and they’re two of the top-10 offenses in the NFL.

But for as ugly as it was - and despite not getting the win that could have for all intents and purposes, decided the NFC West already – Seattle can take something bigger away from Sunday’s tie:


It’s safe to say (or, as a viewer, hope) that the Seahawks won’t play a worse game offensively the rest of the season. The combination of lowly accuracy from Russell Wilson, no running game to speak of, and a capable, voracious Arizona defense left Seattle literally incapable of advancing past midfield for the entire duration of regulation. Let that sink in.

By the time this ugly cocktail of porous offense and suffocating defense had come to an end, Seattle was still two games up on their closest counterpart in the division. They showcased their NFL-leading defense, verifying all claims of their resurgent dominance; they never faltered, despite intense amounts of frustration that had to have been boiling; and they did just enough to escape without a loss.

At the end of the day, that is what they need to focus on.

The parity in the NFL appears to be at an all-time high. The difference between the cream and the floor is not what it once was. As clich√© as it comes across as, on any given Sunday, any team can knock down the other. And no team, no matter how talented or even-keeled, will bring their “A” game every week. And on those nights, they have to display a level of moxie and cohesion that isn’t necessary when things are clicking.

Come playoff time, if Seattle finds itself facing a top-tier defense, or a raucous crowd, or a nasty combination of both, they can look back on Sunday night and realize they’ve been through worse. Because while they never faced a double-digit lead, or the loss of a truly impact player mid-game, they were faced with the reality that no matter what they did, no matter how they changed up concepts or schemes, nothing was going to work.

Nothing. And yet, they did just enough to escape. And sometimes, that’s all you need.

After the game, the national reaction was that of pure comedic relief. It was almost as if people had forcibly sat through the entire thing, assured that some unimaginable hijinks were going to take place. But alas, what we ended with was two teams, playing far below their talent level, scraping themselves off the grass, looking at each other and asking “Did we just do that?”

Both teams are better than what they put forth; luckily for both, historically poor performances coincided on the same night and the same field. It would not surprise me one bit to see a Seattle-Arizona rematch come playoff time. They play again later in the season, but after last night, it may take two games to wash away the stench.

But Seahawks fans, take solace in the 1 that still resides in your win-loss record. The first one, not the second one. Because keeping the Ls down to a minimum is what the NFL is all about. It’s not about style points (clearly); it’s not about margin of victory; it’s not even about your watchability. It’s having more wins, less losses.

Your team is still 4-1. You won’t play that bad again, maybe ever. 

And today, two days removed from the wreckage, you’re still in first place, with no real challengers in sight.

Oregon QB coach David Yost, the man with the hair, breaks down Herbert's rapid development


Oregon QB coach David Yost, the man with the hair, breaks down Herbert's rapid development

The Ducksquad interviews Oregon quarterbacks coach David Yost, the man with the hair, who breaks down the rapid development of freshman QB Justin Herbert as well as:
-The coaching dynamic between head coach Mark Helfrich, offensive coordinator Matt Lubick and himself. 
-If he will dress up as Shaggy from Scooby Doo for Halloween this year
-Herbert's NFL potential


Chip Kelly would not return to Oregon as a failure

Chip Kelly would not return to Oregon as a failure

Does anyone who is still pining over Chip Kelly have any pride?

He left you for a hotter, sexier option that offered more money and a chance at the true big time. 

He ditched you for the glamor of the NFL and hasn't come close to returning to the state. If he has, he sure kept a low profile.  

We've seen Marcus Mariota and Hroniss Grasu around Eugene. LaMichael James lives in the Portland area. So does Dennis Dixon. Kenjon Barner has attended UO practices. Jake Fisher. Tyler Johnstone. They've been spotted.

Kelly sightings? Nope. 

Yet still some fans harbor fantasies that the San Francisco 49ers coach would consider returning to the state to coach the Ducks? The idea has even been floated here and there within the media. 


Who comes up with this nonsense? 

A reporter asked Kelly on Monday if he would consider returning to Oregon. 

Kelly replied: "No. I'm the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. So, I'm not looking at anything else."

Another reporter asked Kelly if he had heard from any colleges about job offers.

"Nope," Kelly said, shaking his head. 

Of course, what's he supposed to say? During preparation for his final game at Oregon, the 2013 Fiesta Bowl, he insisted he hadn't had any contact with NFL teams. Two weeks later, he was headed to Philadelphia. 

San Francisco is 1-6 and there are already rumors that Kelly could get fired after one season. After all, the 49ers clearly have winning talent (sarcasm). 

Maybe he does get blown out after one season. But just because he once coached at Oregon and Ducks coach Mark Helfrich is on the hot seat with a 2-5 record this season, doesn't mean Kelly would return to Eugene, or that UO would even welcome him back.

Yep. Let that possibility sink in for a moment. Why do people even assume that Oregon would welcome back Kelly? 

Paul Finebaum, an SEC guru, appeared on television recently and offered up a veiled idea that Kelly could possibly return to Oregon. He clearly has never met Kelly. 

I realize fans of Oregon and those associated with the program believe the Ducks hung the moon and that anyone in their right mind would want to coach UO to glory. But let's review the scorecard that would be filled out if Kelly were to return to Oregon. It's not pretty:

  1. He left Oregon for the NFL after only four years as head coach and having been hailed as an offensive genius, only to have that idea destroyed at the next level.  
  2. He failed with the Eagles and got fired after making questionable trades and alienating players and front office personnel. 
  3. He would have failed in San Francisco by making the already horrid 49ers even worse while once again demonstrating that his no-huddle offense is no friend to a bad defense in a league where teams have close to equal talent. 
  4. He would return to Oregon a failure having to admit to the world that he couldn't hack it at the next level. 
  5. He would be doing so knowing that the Pac-12 is far better now than it was when he left it with most teams now running spread, no-huddle attacks and racking up huge points like his teams did from 2009 through 2012. 
  6. He would look north to Seattle to find a No. 4-ranked Washington team in full swing and led by a coaching equal, Chris Petersen. 
  7. He would be reminded that he can't survive off recruiting in the state of Oregon and still must recruit nationally as the coach whose star is on the decline, not on the rise. 
  8. Speaking of recruiting, sources said he hated it.
  9. He also hated sucking up to boosters. He hated alumni events. Heck, he would Skype in for his weekly address to the Portland booster club because he didn't want to make the weekly drive from Eugene as Mike Bellotti had done for decades. 
  10. He would know that if he failed at Oregon during his second tenure he would cement the idea that his prior success was based on a gimmick that flamed out in the NFL and, although potent, has been copied by many, thus rendering his version no longer unique.

Sources at Oregon laugh at the mere speculation that Kelly would ever return to the Ducks. Any fan's fascination and love for him far outweighs his affinity for Eugene. Oregon was a job to him. It might have been a special one given that it's where he got his big break after being at New Hampshire, but it was still just a job. A stepping stone. People don't climb back down unless they have to. Kelly wouldn't have to, even if he were fired by San Francisco. 

No, Kelly will hold on in the NFL as long as he can. If he is fired in San Francisco he would be done as a head coach in the NFL unless he returns to college and duplicates his success at Oregon.

But if he is faced with that quandary, he would not choose Oregon as his launching pad. He would choose a much more appetizing option with a larger stadium and far deeper recruiting base. He would choose a better job. 

Places such as USC, Texas or LSU could be coach hunting this offseason.  These programs have far more juice than Oregon. They are places where he could potentially build another winner then entice an NFL team to give him a third shot. 

There could come a day when Kelly has no choice but to take a look at Oregon. Maybe he will continue to struggle to find success no matter where he lands. By then, maybe the local fascination with Kelly will have worn off. 

But as long as he has any juice at all, he isn't going to return to Oregon unless its a last resort. And if that ends up being the case, would the program even want him back?