Ok with Perry Jones III patterning game after Kevin Durant?

Ok with Perry Jones III patterning game after Kevin Durant?

ChrisHaynes, CSNNW.com Trail Blazers Insider (@ChrisBHaynes)

PerryJones III out of the University of Baylor is an intriguing prospect beingthat he could be a lottery player or someone who falls in themid-20s.

This6-11, 220 pound, forward has unlimited potential to be a specialplayer in this league, but he might be focusing his potential in thewrong areas.

Knownfor his athleticism and his ability to finish around the basket,Jones tells CSNNW.com he thinks his game is similar to one of the bestperimeter players in the league.

Ipattern my game after Kevin Durant, Jones said. I'm someone wholikes to face-up and take my opponent off the dribble and I can shootthe outside shot, too. That's someone I pattern my game after.

Jonescan shoot the ball pretty good for someone his size. However, aDurant type of game might be a stretch considering Jones doesn't havethe ball-handling skills to play out on the perimeter against elitedefenders such as a LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, or Tony Allen.

Whenasked what he thought his position was at the next level, he includeda perimeter position.

Naturally,it's either a face-up four or three, Jones said. I pretty muchlike to have the ball in my hands. Especially in the mid-range area.

Jonessaid he's hearing he could land anywhere between the 9-12 pick.

Wouldyou mind if the Portland Trail Blazers selected Jones at No. 11? Ifso, could Jones and LaMarcus Aldridge coexist together on the courtif both of them are players who like to roam on the outside?

Despite the challenge that could bring if Jones landed in Portland, Jones would love to play with Aldridge.

"To be honest, I would love to play beside him (Aldridge) and he's a good Christian guy," Jones said. "He's somebody I would love to have on my team. Somebody that's a good dude, somebody that can probably be a mentor to me that can help me as I go through this process."

Joneswill be an exceptional player if he continues to expand his insidegame and he will bulk up over time. However, if he continues toconcentrate on being a guard, that might make a team think twiceabout selecting this near 7-footer.

Jonesis young and hopefully someone gets to him early on and explain tohim the opportunity he has presented to himself if he chooses tothrive at being one of the better power forwards in the game.

DirkNowitzki is the exception to the rule and guess what, there isn'tanyone else like him.

It’s time to put a bow on the preseason: Blazers at Warriors on CSN

It’s time to put a bow on the preseason: Blazers at Warriors on CSN

Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors

The Trail Blazers (4-2) finish the preseason with a final game on the road to face the Golden Sate Warriors (5-1) on Friday night.  Golden State is coming off a 123-112 win over the Lakers on Wednesday night.  Steph Curry led the way with 32 points in the victory.  As for the Blazers, Portland also got a win on Wednesday night.  The Blazer beat the Jazz in Utah, 88-84.  Damian Lillard finished the night with 27 points to lead the way for the Blazers.    

Of course, the big news this offseason was the free agent move of Kevin Durrant heading to Golden State.   During this preseason, Durrant is averaging just under 20 points per game and nearly five rebounds per game.

Here’s a quick look at the other offseason moves for the Warriors-

Other new additions beside KD: C Damian Jones (pick No. 30), SG Patrick McCaw (pick No. 38), SF Kevin Durant (signed a two year, $54 million deal), PF David West (signed a one year, $1.5 million deal), C Zaza Pachulia (signed a one year, $3 million deal)

Who left the bay: PF Marreese Speights (signed with the Clippers), SF Harrison Barnes (signed with the Mavericks), SG Brandon Rush (signed with the Timberwolves), C Festus Ezeli (signed with the Blazers), SG Leandro Barbosa (signed with the Suns), C Andrew Bogut (traded to the Mavericks)

Resigned with the Warriors: C Anderson Varejao (signed a one year, $1.5 million deal), SG Ian Clark (signed a one year, $1 million deal), PF James Michael McAdoo (signed a one year, $1 million deal)


You can catch all the action between the Blazers and Warriors live on CSN.  We will set the stage for Friday’s game with Rip City Live on CSN and The Scoop Pregame Show streaming live at 6:30pm on Facebook.com/CSNNW.



Quick Links:

Damian Lillard’s excellent preseason continues for Trail Blazers

Evan Turner takes advice from Lillard, has most effective preseason game

Mason Plumlee and the pursuit of a tripe-double: Question of when, not if it happens


Video: McCollum: “We’ve shown we’re ready”

Video: Lillard’s advice to Turner, bold prediction about Plumlee

Video: Harkless steals the show in Plumlee’s postgame interview



Game Details:

Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland CA

Television: CSN, 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 Facebook.com/CSNNW. The Scoop Postgame Show will stream immediately after the game at Facebook.com/CSNNW

Radio: Rip City Radio 620

Podcast: Dwight Jaynes with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum


Podcast: Dwight Jaynes with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum

This week's podcasts features the Trail Blazers backcourt duo. It's a great listen.

Be sure to check back every week for a new podcast. Past episodes have included guests such as Kevin Calabro, Mike Parker, Festus Ezeli, Darwin Barney, and more.

You can subscribe on iTunes right here: itun.es/us/1QFHeb.c

Damian Lillard's excellent preseason continues for Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard's excellent preseason continues for Trail Blazers

SALT LAKE CITY – If anything can be said with confidence after this Trail Blazers preseason, it is this: Damian Lillard is headed for another standout season.

The latest assurance came Wednesday in Salt Lake City when Lillard put on a show during the Blazers’ 88-84 victory over Utah.

Amid oohs and aahs from the Vivint Arena crowd, Lillard had 27 points in 28 minutes while making 11-of-16 shots. If he wasn’t aggressively driving for layins, he was stroking from the outside. All the while, he seemed to be surgically picking apart the vaunted Jazz defense with an overall vision of the court and precision passing on pick-and-rolls with Mason Plumlee.

“Tonight he had 27 points, but it was Chris Paul-esque the way he controlled the game,’’ said Blazers assistant David Vanterpool, who works extensively with Lillard. “The game happened the way he wanted it to happen. It’s been a process in getting him to have that kind of vision, but he has it.’’

Lillard this preseason is averaging 19 points in 25 minutes while shooting 48.7 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from three-point range.

Throughout the preseason, Lillard has remarked how the game has slowed down for him, allowing him to both anticipate and identify defenses. Combined with his ramped up shooting routine, which he continues to exercise after practices and before games, Lillard is playing with an even greater confidence than his previous four seasons.

But perhaps most important, Lillard says, is his feet are pain free after enduring a nagging bout with plantar fasciitis last season. The foot injury, which originated in his left heel, surfaced in December, forcing him to miss seven games and play the rest of the season hindered.

“My feet haven’t been healthy since December,’’ Lillard said Wednesday in explaining his explosion off the dribble and rise with his jumper. “I feel good. I couldn’t even run full speed and jump in the playoffs. Now that I finally have my feet under me and it’s pain free, it makes a difference. I can blow by people any time, and I can go full speed and raise up and shoot a jumper. Those are things that were taken away from me.’’

Earlier this preseason, Lillard said he wants to win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award this season. It has always been a goal of his, but he says this season, with this team, he feels he has a legitimate shot.

If the preseason is any indication, he might very well be a candidate.

“The way he has played this preseason has really set the tone for our mentality and how we are approaching this season,’’ center Mason Plumlee said.

Evan Turner takes advice from Lillard, has most effective preseason game

Evan Turner takes advice from Lillard, has most effective preseason game

SALT LAKE CITY – The final statistics Wednesday showed Damian Lillard had two assists in 28 minutes, but pardon the official scorer for missing his most important assist: a bit of advice that helped free Evan Turner from the struggle of this preseason.

After Turner scuffled his way through Sunday’s preseason game against Denver, Lillard pulled aside the Blazers’ big offseason acquisition and told him to stop worrying about pleasing everyone. Stop worrying about fitting in. Just play basketball.

It seemed to work on Wednesday, when Turner played his best game since joining the Blazers, finishing with 15 points, seven rebounds and two assists in 24 minutes in the Blazers’ 88-84 exhibition win over Utah.

Afterward, Turner exhaled at his locker, muttering “It’s about g*$ damn time” before acknowledging his talk with Lillard on Sunday.

“That definitely helped for sure,’’ Turner said of his conversation with the Blazers’ captain. “I’ve heard that a few times from Coach. My biggest thing: you come in and you want to fit in, get the lay of the land. But last game, Dame came in and said ‘Be who you are and do you. That’s why we got you.’ That’s a big deal.’’

The most noticeable difference in Turner on Wednesday was his aggression. He actively looked for his shot, usually using a crossover dribble to create space for a mid-range jumper near the free throw line. Other times he freed himself for a baseline jumper and he made his only three-point shot, a swish after Lillard penetrated and kicked to him on the wing . After a 1-for-5 start, Turner finished by making five of his next eight.

Turner came into the game shooting 33.3 percent from the field and 2-for-9 from three-point range.

“Obviously it feels 10 times better when shots go in,’’ Turner said.

Wednesday was also the best example of Turner’s play-making skills that were touted when the Blazers signed him to a four-year, $70 million free agent deal.

He made a nice bounce pass inside that resulted in a layin from CJ McCollum, and later he found Allen Crabbe underneath the basket for an easy layin. He also looked more comfortable taking the reins of the offense when he played alongside Lillard and/or McCollum, taking the initiative to bring the ball up without first looking to the Blazers’ stars.

“I think he is getting better every game,’’ coach Terry Stotts said. “He is going to find his spots and find out what works well for him in the context of our team. Tonight I think he found his shot, found his rhythm, found his spots.’’

It’s not like many were surprised. Lillard said Turner has played well in practices, but he noticed it wasn’t translating to games. That’s what spurred his talk after Sunday’s game.

“Last game I told him, ‘Don’t worry about what this person thinks, or what that person is saying. We want you to play. You are a play-maker, and you can score the ball, so when you get a rebound and you get an outlet, go attack. Go and play off your instincts. That’s what you do well, that’s what you do well in practice. We want you to do that in a game, so we can adjust to what you do and learn that way instead of you trying to get used to us the whole time. We have to get used to you, too,’’’ Lillard said.

Lillard said Turner listened to him and absorbed the message.

“He said, ‘All right’ … and tonight I could tell he kind of had his mind set on being aggressive and being himself,’’ Lillard said. “And he looked good doing it.’’

Mason Plumlee and the pursuit of a triple-double: Question of when, not if it happens

Mason Plumlee and the pursuit of a triple-double: Question of when, not if it happens

SALT LAKE CITY – The growing question among the Trail Blazers is not whether center Mason Plumlee will record a triple-double this season, but how many.

“Oh, I can see him getting a lot of them,’’ Damian Lillard said Wednesday after Plumlee had eight points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in 24 minutes in the Blazers’ 88-84 exhibition win at Utah.

Two developments have led teammates to predict the esteemed accomplishment of recording double-figures in three categories.

First, Plumlee has developed a mid-range jump shot, which this preseason has graduated from offseason experiment to a legitimate part of his arsenal.

“It’s for real,’’ coach Terry Stotts said matter-of-factly Wednesday after Plumlee hit two mid-range jumpers against the Jazz.

Second, the Blazers have added new offensive sets this season that will more often feature him in play-making positions. The new role builds off his effective playoffs, when he helped pick apart the Clippers with his athleticism, decision-making and passing.

Lillard says he sees Plumlee’s evolution in the Blazers’ offense having the potential to produce results like Draymond Green recorded last season with Golden State, when he led the league with 13 triple-doubles.

“A lot of our new sets that we’ve put in, where we are moving the ball around, a lot of times we are putting the ball in his hands to make a play,’’ Lillard said. “It’s kind of what Golden State does with Draymond Green. He gets a lot of assists getting the ball in the middle of the defense and making that decision. Mase is really good at it, so I could see him getting a bunch of them this year.’’

Last season, Plumlee rarely flirted with a triple double, in part because he scored in double figures in only 37 of the 82 games. The closest he came was in January  at Washington, when he had 10 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. The seven assists was a career high at the time, later eclipsed by a 10-assist game against the Clippers in the playoffs.

But now, with the added jump shot, and his growing role in the Blazers’ attack, Plumlee admits a triple-double is something of a goal.

“I would love to have triple doubles because that just means you are playing a complete game, getting everyone involved,’’ Plumlee said Wednesday. “A lot of it is guys hitting shots, four of the five assists in first half were guys hitting threes … so it means guys are shooting the ball well.’’

The last Blazers player to record a triple double is Nicolas Batum, who had 14 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists against Orlando in January of 2014, a drought that players believe Plumlee will end this season.

“He will definitely get some triple doubles this year, for sure,’’ CJ McCollum said. “He is good at everything – pass, rebound, obviously scoring -- you can see the jump shot coming along. He has really good basketball IQ, and as the season comes along we are going to put him in positions to where he is going to be utilized heavily and take great advantage of it.’’


Week 7 Preview: Seahawks look to put clamp on division agains Cardinals

Week 7 Preview: Seahawks look to put clamp on division agains Cardinals

Cam Newton. Brock Osweiler. Aaron Rodgers. Viewers. The entire Cleveland Browns organization.

There have been many disappointments to start the NFL season, many of them (except Cleveland) stemming from failed expectations. It’s early, but six weeks in, we’re starting to realize that some things we thought were givens simply won’t be the case.

Perhaps no story was more baffling than the start the Arizona Cardinals got off to. An opening night loss to the Patriots would be excusable if it weren’t for the fact it was Jimmy Garoppolo, not Tom Brady, taking the snaps for New England.

The low point in their start was undoubtedly a 17-13 loss at home to the Rams, which dropped them to 1-3 and had pundits scratching their heads. For a team like Arizona, which many believed to the favorites in the NFC West, questions began to swirl about where their season was headed.

But, as Bruce Arians-led teams are known to do, the Cardinals suddenly find themselves back in the thick of things.

After back-to-back wins – the latest a 28-3 beat down of the New York Jets – Arizona is 3-3, healthy, and feeling like they're one big win away from reabsorbing the title of favorites in the West.

Enter, Seattle.

The Seahawks, fresh off their somewhat controversial win over Atlanta, will head to Arizona with two missions in mind: lock in their first road win of the year against a formidable for, and put a stranglehold on the division. At 4-1, Seattle is hitting their stride after a Week 2 loss to the Rams, and seem to have the inside track; assuming, of course, that they can stay healthy and not lose mental focus.

Because at this point, that may be their biggest challenge: complacency. After Sunday’s matchup against the Cardinals, only a November 10th trip to Foxboro stands in their way of being favorites in all of their remaining games.

After the Seahawks’ win over Atlanta, where the secondary was unpardonably mistake-laden, Seattle faces their second straight high octane offense. While the Cardinals have been inconsistent, they still have Larry Fitzgerald, David Johnson, and Carson Palmer. Now in his 13th season, Palmer – who is 23rd in the NFL in total QBR, far below his usual ranking – has had an incredulously up and down season. In a Week 3 loss to the Bills, he threw four picks with no touchdowns. His 60.4% completion percentage is his lowest since 2008 when he was with the Bengals.

Arizona’s offense, in general, has found some life in David Johnson; they possess the 10th best offense in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. Defensively, Chandler Jones – formerly of the Patriots – has been a revelation. In Sunday’s win over the Jets, Jones posted the highest defensive rating in the game; New York simply had no way of stopping him.

If Arizona has any dreams of winning the NFC West, Sunday is a must win. Falling three games behind the Seahawks will all but close the door on that, especially with Seattle looking at, ostensibly, a 10-1 or 11-0 finish. With two matchups against the ‘hawks left, Arizona must get both to have a chance.

Both teams enter Sunday riding a wave of confidence, but from different stratospheres. Seattle has figured their offense out; their defense is stout as ever.

Arizona survived their early season struggles, and are hoping their AARP-led offensive stars, Fitzgerald and Palmer, can stay healthy to put together a win.



Seattle 21 Arizona 17



It’s official: Seattle finally knows how to use their tight end. It’s not a one or two game thing; Jimmy Graham is once again a bona fide weapon. In his last three game – all wins, coincidentally – he has amassed 302 yards. Or, put another way, 85% of his total yards this season. Another way to look at it? He’s already at 58% of his total yards from all of last season.

Arizona’s defense, 6th in the NFL in overall rating, possesses one of the best secondaries in the NFL with Tyrann Mathieu, Patrick Peterson, and Co. But they’ll have their hands full with the likes of Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, and Jermaine Kearse. With attention being paid to them deep, look for Graham to again exploit the underneath and middle of the field.

And guess what? Russell Wilson now knows where to find him.


Trail Blazers look in regular-season form in victory over Utah

Trail Blazers look in regular-season form in victory over Utah

SALT LAKE CITY -- If there was ever any worries about the Trail Blazers during this preseason, they should be put to rest after Wednesday's exhibition game at Utah. 

With a silky shooting display from Damian Lillard, an all-around game from Mason Plumlee and an encouraging performance from Evan Turner, the Blazers looked as polished and ready as they have all preseason during an 88-84 victory over the Jazz. The Blazers open the regular season against the Jazz on Oct. 25 in Portland.

For the first three quarters, coach Terry Stotts used nine players -- the starting lineup of Lillard, CJ McCollum, Maurice Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Plumlee -- along with Allen Crabbe, Turner, Ed Davis and Noah Vonleh as the Blazers took a 72-60 lead. It is expected to be the starting lineup and similar to the regular season rotation, although Meyers Leonard (back) and Festus Ezeli (knee) were not available Wednesday.

Although the Jazz came back against many of the players at the end of the Blazers' bench, it was a night when the Blazers' regulars could boast they are ready for the regular season to start. 

Lillard was electric, scoring 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting, which included hitting 4-of-6 three pointers. At times, he had the Vivint Arena crowd oohing and aahing with his combination of hard drives and smooth jumpers. 

Plumlee, meanwhile, was seemingly in the middle of everything. He had eight points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, and displayed his main offseason addition - a mid-range jumper, which he made twice while Jazz center Rudy Gobert sagged off him in the lane. 

But perhaps the most encouraging sign Wednesday was the play of Turner, the Blazers' big offseason addition who has struggled with plays and his confidence as he acclimates to his new team. On Wednesday, Turner was assertive in looking for his shot, often using quick crossover dribbles to create space for a mid-range jumper, and he was confident in initiating the offense, at one point threading a pretty bounce pass in the lane to McCollum for a layin. He also hit his only three-point attempt off a penetrate-and-kick pass from Lillard.  Although he still struggled with some ball-handling turnovers, it was Turner's best game since joining the team. He finished with 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting while adding seven rebounds and two assists. 

Vonleh was also a bright spot, even though his four points and five rebounds don't jump off the statistic sheet. He twice scored inside on post ups, one with his left hand the other with the right, and used a between-the-legs dribble to set up his inside position for one of the shots. He also blocked a layin attempt and looked like he belonged as he played with the front line unit. 

The Jazz (3-3), who played without Derrick Favors (knee bruise), Gordon Hayward (broken finger) and Alec Burks (knee rehab), got 16 points from new point guard George Hill and 15 points, 5 rebounds and three blocks from Gobert. 

Despite early shooting woes, Blazers up 8 at the half

Despite early shooting woes, Blazers up 8 at the half

The Portland Trail Blazers started off its second to last preseason game going 3-11 from the field against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.  

To end the first quarter, the Blazers and Jazz were all tied up at 16 apiece. Portland shot 35% as a team in the first, while Utah shot 31.8% from the field.

The shooting struggles continued into the second quarter for both teams.  Three minutes into the second quarter both teams shot a combined 18-of-58.   Portland went 19-for-44 from the field to finish the half.  Utah went 15-for-43.  

At the break, the Blazers are up 47-39. 


Top performers of the first half:

Trail Blazers

Points: Damian Lillard, 17

Rebounds: Mason Plumlee, 7

Assist: Mason Plumlee, 5


Points:  Rudy Gobert and George Hill, 11

Rebounds: George Hill, 6

Assist:  Boris Diaw, 4

Following tonight’s game, you can check out The Scoop Postgame show streaming live at Facebook.com/CSNNW.

Ducks must fix themselves mentally to win at Cal

Ducks must fix themselves mentally to win at Cal

Oregon senior guard Cameron Hunt said today that when he called out teammates for not caring following a 70-21 loss to No. 5 Washington on Oct. 8 he meant that they weren't giving maximum effort, not that they were actually indifferent to winning or losing.

"I think during that game what I meant to say was that the effort wasn't there," Hunt said. "I don't think anyone's quit on our team. I think we have a really good squad coming together and I believe in coach [Mark] Helfrich 100 percent. I trust him. He's our leader. I'd go to war with him any day."

Problem solved. Maybe. 

Hunt wasn't the only UO player to wonder out loud about player commitment following the loss to the Huskies. Freshmen Brendan Schooler and Troy Dye also said there were players who didn't appear to have their heart into the game. 

UO coach Mark Helfrich said last week that the notion some players have quit was simply not true, and shouldn't have been stated in public. 

Maybe so, but there has certainly been something negative going on internally. Let's not forget the players-only meeting following a 41-38 loss to Colorado in which teammates called out one another for poor play and poor effort. 

As Hunt indicated, there is a difference between effort and caring.  On the other hand, doesn't caring typically lead to greater effort? Doesn't a lack of effort come from a lack of desire?

Whatever the case, the Ducks (2-4, 0-3 Pac-12) had better fix themselves mentally or their season will essentially end Friday night at California (3-3, 1-2).  

Oregon must win four of its final six games to become bowl eligible. Cal is one of the most winnable remaining games on the Ducks' schedule. A loss on Friday and it would be difficult to believe the Ducks could win four of five to reach a bowl game with road games remaining at No. 19 Utah and USC. 

"I trust in this team and we just have to be able to give our full effort and put everything together," Hunt said. 

Here is the reality: These are young men who have grown accustomed to experiencing success that have recently been slapped in the face by a sobering amount of failure. When that happens, some panic. Some blame. Some lash out. It's quite normal. 

"In times like these, certainly character is revealed and guys expose themselves for who they are," Helfrich said. "For the vast, vast, vast majority of our guys, they're doing, or at least trying to do the right things."

Front-runners can kill a team when things go south. The Ducks players hope to avoid that and readjust as a team.

"I feel like players have taken a whole new accountability and responsibility for what has happened," safety Khalil Oliver said. "We've realized that it's on us."

Oliver said the team focused a lot on team unity during the bye week. If that pays off, the team could be in business. If not... 

A quick look at California:

When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday, California Memorial Stadium. 

T.V.: ESPN. 

Betting line: California by 3.

Records: Oregon (2-4, 0-3 Pac-12), Cal (3-3, 1-2). 

Coaches: Oregon's Mark Helfrich (35-12); Cal's Sonny Dykes (17-26 at Cal, 39-41 overall). 

Last week: Oregon and Cal were both off, previous to that got run over by Oregon State, 47-44. 

Golden Bears' impact players: Cal leads the conference in total offense (530.2 yards per game) and ranks second in scoring offense (42.3) behind Washington, which dumped 70 on the Ducks two weeks ago. 

Leading Cal's offense is senior quarterback David Webb. He leads the conference in passing yards per game (360.2) and is second in touchdown passes with 22, one off of Washington quarterback Jake Browning (23), who threw for six at UO. 

On paper, all of the above spells bad news for one of the bottom five defenses in the nation. 

However, Cal's weakness is also a horrible defense. Oregon State rushed for 474 yards during its 47-44 win over Cal.

Oregon and Cal could set defensive football back about 100 years on Friday night. 

The Golden Bears' leading receiver is Chad Hansen, who leads the conference in receptions per game (9.8), receiving yards (770) and receiving touchdowns (eight). 

Fear factor (five-point scale): 5. Cal's defense is horrible, but so is Oregon's.  The Ducks can put up points. But so can Cal. The big difference here is that UO is starting a freshman quarterback. Justin Herbert's biggest challenge could be making enough plays to keep pace with Cal's offense while making his first road start. 

Preliminary pick: California 43, Oregon 40.  Ducks could win by three touchdowns if they've ironed out all of the problems from the neck up and Herbert and the UO running game can put up 45 points. But that's a big if at this point.