Talkin' Ball - Taking your questions!

Talkin' Ball - Taking your questions!

We're on LIVE now with the Talkin' Ball crew over on Comcast SportsNet. Got questions? NBA? Ducks? Beavers? NFL? Post them in the comments!

Trail Blazers look to end Grizzlies’ winning streak: Portland at Memphis on CSN at 5pm

Trail Blazers look to end Grizzlies’ winning streak: Portland at Memphis on CSN at 5pm

Trail Blazers vs. Grizzlies

The Portland Trail Blazers (12-11) will look to bounce back after losing to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, 115-107.  Portland now faces the Memphis Grizzlies (15-8) in the second night of a back-to-back.

In the loss to the Bucks, Damian Lillard scored 30 points, pulled down seven rebounds, and dished out six assists.  The Blazers did not take very good care of the ball in the second half and ended up committed 15 turnovers and allowed Milwaukee to shoot 51.9%.

Memphis on the other hand, is riding a four-game winning streak.  The Grizzlies’ latest victory came on Tuesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.  Memphis won, 96-91 behind Marc Gasol’s 26 points and Zach Randolph’s 14 rebounds.

In the first meeting between the Blazers and Grizzlies, Portland won, 100-94.  That victory for the Trail Blazers was back on November 6th.   CJ McCollum led all scorers with 37 points.  Gasol led the way for Memphis with 21 points.   

We will set the stage for the Trail Blazers and Grizzlies contest with The Scoop Pregame Show streaming live at 4:00pm on Facebook.com/CSNNW on your computer, tablet, or phone.  Also, you can check out an all-new Rip City Live on CSN starting at 4:00pm.

 

Quick Links:

Sloppy Blazers throw away game at Milwaukee

A victory inside Blazers loss: Lillard, Stotts coax rare free throw violation from Bucks star

 

Video:  Lillard: I was counting at refs during FT attempt

Video:  Crabbe: Put ourselves in position, just didn’t go our way

Video:  Jason Quick: Blazers didn’t get follow the game plan well enough

Video:  Stotts: Have to credit the Bucks’ defense

 

Game Details:

Where:  FedExForum, Memphis TN

Television: CSN, 5:00pm

CSN Programming:  Rip City Live (4:00pm), Talkin' Ball  (Immediately after the Blazers postgame show)

Live streaming: The Scoop Pregame Show streams at 4:00pm at Facebook.com/CSNNW. The Scoop Postgame Show will stream immediately after the game at Facebook.com/CSNNW

Radio: Rip City Radio 620

A victory inside Blazers loss: Lillard, Stotts coax rare free throw violation from Bucks star

A victory inside Blazers loss: Lillard, Stotts coax rare free throw violation from Bucks star

MILWAUKEE – Damian Lillard and Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts played a role in coaxing a rare violation Wednesday against Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo.

With 10:49 left in the third quarter, Antetokounmpo was called for a 10-second violation by referee Gary Zielinski before shooting the second of two free throws.

“The first (free throw), I was like counting, because it was taking so long,’’ Lillard said.

He turned to Zielinski, a veteran referee in his 17th NBA season, and voiced his concern.

“And he looked at me like, ‘Nobody calls that,’’’ Lillard said.

Zielinski was stationed in front of the Blazers’ bench, and before the second free throw, Lillard and Stotts started counting aloud once Antetokounmpo was handed the ball.

“And we got up to like 13 before he called it,’’ Lillard said. “I think he didn’t want to call it just because we were saying something. But once we got to 13 … it was like, we were right. He made the right call.’’

It looked like a crucial call at the time as the Bucks were trailing 60-54. But it turned out to be about the only thing that didn’t go right for Milwaukee and Antetokounmpo in the third quarter.

The Bucks outscored Portland 34-18 in the third quarter and Antetokounmpo recorded 15 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists and four blocks -- his second triple double this season and seventh of his career.

A victory inside Blazers loss: Lillard, Stotts coax rare free throw violation from Bucks star

A victory inside Blazers loss: Lillard, Stotts coax rare free throw violation from Bucks star

MILWAUKEE – Damian Lillard and Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts played a role in coaxing a rare violation Wednesday against Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo.

With 10:49 left in the third quarter, Antetokounmpo was called for a 10-second violation by referee Gary Zielinski before shooting the second of two free throws.

“The first (free throw), I was like counting, because it was taking so long,’’ Lillard said.

He turned to Zielinski, a veteran referee in his 17th NBA season, and voiced his concern.

“And he looked at me like, ‘Nobody calls that,’’’ Lillard said.

Zielinski was stationed in front of the Blazers’ bench, and before the second free throw, Lillard and Stotts started counting aloud once Antetokounmpo was handed the ball.

“And we got up to like 13 before he called it,’’ Lillard said. “I think he didn’t want to call it just because we were saying something. But once we got to 13 … it was like, we were right. He made the right call.’’

It looked like a crucial call at the time as the Bucks were trailing 60-54. But it turned out to be about the only thing that didn’t go right for Milwaukee and Antetokounmpo in the third quarter.

The Bucks outscored Portland 34-18 in the third quarter and Antetokounmpo recorded 15 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists and four blocks -- his second triple double this season and seventh of his career.

Sloppy Blazers throw away game at Milwaukee

Sloppy Blazers throw away game at Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE -- The Trail Blazers literally threw away a chance to win their fourth straight on Wednesday, as a turnover-filled fourth quarter doomed Portland to a 115-107 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. 

Portland (12-11) committed nine of their 16 turnovers in the fourth quarter, including miscues on their first three possessions of the final quarter, when they entered facing an 85-76 deficit. The Blazers had a nine point lead in the first quarter and a seven point halftime advantage, but fell apart in the third, when Milwaukee outscored them 34-18. 

The Blazers rallied late, cutting an 11-point deficit to 101-99 with 4:17 left when Allen Crabbe capped a string of three-pointers on three straight Portland possessions. But Matthew Dellavedova hit three floaters in the key and Jabari Parker dunked off an inbounds pass to seal the Bucks' win. 

Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded his second triple-double of the season, finishing 15 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. Parker scored 13 of his 27 points in the first quarter and Dellavedova finished with 17 for Milwaukee (11-9), which won for the fifth time in six games. 

Damian Lillard led Portland with 30 points, 22 of them in the first half, and CJ McCollum added 23. Crabbe got hot late and finished with 14, nine of them in the fourth.

Milwaukee took control in the third quarter as Portland sputtered offensively to 18 points while the Bucks made five three-pointers. 

The Blazers took a 58-51 lead after closing the first half on a 12-2 run that was fueled by some hot shooting from Lillard. He hit four three-pointers in the final 4:23 of the second quarter and fed McCollum for another three with 6.9 seconds left in the half. This was the first time in 11 games the Blazers lost after leading at halftime.

Notes: Mason Plumlee, who had 10 points and 10 rebounds, became the fastest Trail Blazers player to have 150 rebounds and 100 assists (23 games) since Scottie Pippen did it in 22 games in the 1999-2000 season.

Next up: Blazers at Memphis, 5 p.m. Thursday (CSN).

 

Blazers battling against the Bucks, Portland up 58-51 at the break

Blazers battling against the Bucks, Portland up 58-51 at the break

The Portland Trail Blazers started its game against the Milwaukee Bucks going four-for-four from the field on Wednesday night.

Al-Farouq Aminu continued to come off the bench in just his second game back from his left calf strain injury.  Ed Davis stayed put in the starting lineup.  Aminu entered the game with 3:28 to go in the first quarter.

At the end of the first, the Blazers and Bucks were all knotted up at 23.  The Blazers shot 43.5% as a team in the first quarter.  The Bucks shot 57.1% from the field.

Jabari Parker led the way for the Bucks in the first quarter with 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting.

The Blazers ended the first half shooting 43.2% from the field and 52.4% from three.  The Bucks as a team shot 50% from the floor and shot 30% from long distance to end the half.

At the break, the Blazers are up, 58-51.
 

Top performers of the first half:

Trail Blazers

Points:  Damian Lillard, 22

Rebounds:  Five players tied with 3 rebounds 

Assist:  Damian Lillard and Mason Plumlee, 4
 

 

Bucks

Points:  Jabari Parker, 15

Rebounds: Giannis Antetokounmpo, 7

Assist:  Giannis Antetokounmpo, 4

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

Oregon rolls the dice and they come up Taggart

Oregon rolls the dice and they come up Taggart

Oregon stepped up to the craps table on Wednesday, grabbed the dice and let them fly with the hiring of Willie Taggart as the next head football coach. 

How this roll plays out won't be determined for a few of years. Oregon could hit its number with the hiring of the South Florida coach who comes with a modest 40-45 record but has rebuilt two programs, or the Ducks could roll snake eyes. 

Right now, many fans and boosters are freaking out a bit. How, they ask, could UO athletic director Rob Mullens fire former coach Mark Helfrich (37-16) after one losing season (4-8) just two years removed from appearing in the national championship game only to hire a successor not from a Power Five conference and someone armed with arguably a weaker résumé ?

Fair questions, to be sure. But to surely be fair, Taggart must be given a chance. Said one current UO player about the firing of Helfrich and the hiring of Taggart: "Yeah, kinda surprising, but there's nothing to be done about it now. Hopefully they come in and do a great job."

That's all anyone could hope for. The problem is measuring what "do a great job" entails. 

Helfrich went 9-4 in 2015 and that was viewed by many as a down season, even though it's tied for the 11th most victories in the history of the program. The bar has been set so high that even the coach of arguably the greatest season ever (2014) didn't survive one losing season in 2016. Taggart, most certainly, will be given at least three seasons to prove himself before his job would be in danger. But what will constitute success? Must he get to 10 wins inside of those three years? Must he have won a Pac-12 championship?

If so, Taggart, who will be introduced during an 11 a.m. press conference on Thursday, could be in big trouble. The Pac-12 is deeper than it's ever been and is loaded with quality proven coaches from Washington's Chris Petersen to Stanford's David Shaw to even Oregon State's Gary Andersen, who is clearly rebuilding the Beavers.

Oregon should certainly be in the thick of the Pac-12 race in most seasons, but is also not immune to the occasional down year. Oregon's run of dominance from 2009 through 2014 (the first four seasons under Chip Kelly) was largely done within an inferior conference that where it stands now. 

What Taggart certainly brings to the table is offensive firepower.  No. 25 South Florida this season ranks 10th in the nation in total offense (515 yards per game) and seventh in scoring (43.6). With Oregon's returning talent, led by a promising offensive line and quarterback Justin Herbert, the Ducks' offense should remain formidable.

The questions come on defense. USF, 10-2 this season, this season ranks 120th in total defense (482.1 yards per game) and 86th in scoring defense (31.0). Taggart must make a strong hire at defensive coordinator to assure improvement for an Oregon defense that ranks 126th in the nation but does return 10 starters.

Taggart is considered to be a strong recruiter. But check yourself if you think he is going to start a flood of Florida's rich talent base to Oregon. First off, Taggart mostly recruited to USF the talent left over after Florida State, Florida and Miami (and major out-of-state programs) got through combing over the area. USF's 2017 recruiting ranks 54th in the nation, according to Rivals.com. The 2016 class ranked 72nd, and the 2015 class, 57th. 

The truth is that Oregon would never be after most of the commits Taggart recruited to USF. However, that doesn't mean that he couldn't entice some higher-ranked players to turn down the local bigger programs and get them to Eugene. 

Speaking of Eugene: It will still be a tough sell to get Florida kids to travel to the small city in the much colder and wetter Northwest to play football when there are plenty of options in sunny Florida, including Central Florida, coached by former Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost. The city of Eugene is not easy to get to. Travelling to home games can be a burden for some families who would prefer that their children remain closer to home. 

So while Taggart has recruited well to USF, there's zero guarantee he will recruit well enough to the Ducks to return the program to glory. 

One aspect of Taggart that will help him is that he reportedly possesses a strong personality. He's reportedly a very positive person who runs a tight ship. Oregon's players became at least somewhat lackadaisical in the area of discipline over the past couple of seasons. Taggart could establish some order with a fresh voice and approach.

Taggart, the running backs coach at Stanford from 2007-2009, comes highly recommended from former Cardinal and current Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, as well as from former NFL coach, Tony Dungy. Harbaugh's coaching tree also produced Shaw, who worked alongside Taggart at Stanford. 

None of that, however, has stopped some of the naysayers from barking.

Said one mid-level booster: "I'm officially out of the donor program. Mullens should be fired immediately."

Said another: "I'm disgusted by how the firing of Helfrich was handled, but I'm willing to give Taggart a chance."

In the end, that's all Taggart could ask for. How this roll of the dice plays out will be fascinating to watch.

Place your bets!

 

"Everything you see in the Jim Harbaugh way of doing things is echoed in Willie Taggart"

"Everything you see in the Jim Harbaugh way of doing things is echoed in Willie Taggart"

Rick Neuheisel was a guest Wednesday morning on the Dan Patrick Show and the host wasted no time asking the former head coach at Washington, Colorado and UCLA about new Oregon football coach Willie Taggart.

"He's a Harbaugh guy," Taggart said.  "He was the running-back coach at Stanford for Jim and he played for Jim's dad, Jack Harbaugh, at Western Kentucky. So he believes in the power, he's going to run downhill. Everything you see in the Jim Harbaugh way of doing things is echoed in Willie Taggart."

Actually, Taggart has shown himself to be very flexible with his offense. He has relied on the Harbaugh power game when he can, but at South Florida he opened his offense up and used west-coast offense principles and some spread offense.

Neuheisel had some opinions on where the Ducks have gone wrong in recruiting.

"I was surprised that they made the move on Mark Helfrich," Neuheisel said. "Now certainly the performance this year probably merited a change, but the problem was 'Who are you going to get?'

"As I looked around the landscape, what Willie Taggart will have to do and do quickly is: Stanford is a completely different recruiting animal, which is his experience on the west coast. He is going to have to get a staff that understands California.

"What Oregon did wrong in my estimation is -- and if you watched them play and saw some of the matchups athletically with their guys, when Ronald Jones came through the line of scrimmage as the running back for USC and all of a sudden a safety couldn't even lay a hand on him. It's an evaluation problem. They missed on a lot of recruits.

"If you look at their roster, they're from all over the country -- Pennsylvania, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia -- Oregon was in the air too far and should have been down in California like my old buddy Nick Aliotti was down there scouring the northern California area and getting guys like Patrick Chung and T.J. Ward, those guys who are still playing on Sundays. Those guys are missing right now for Oregon so Willie has got to just get back in the film room and make sure they are doing great evaluations because they've got a lot to recruit to there in Eugene."

 

Source: Oregon to name Willie Taggart new head football coach

Source: Oregon to name Willie Taggart new head football coach

South Florida's Willie Taggart will become Oregon's new head football coach, a source has confirmed, ending a week-long search to replace Mark Helfrich.

ESPN's Brett McMurphy first reported the news

Taggart, 40, is expected to be officially announced today.
Taggart has a 40-45 record with stints at Western Kentucky (16-20) and South Florida (20-25). But don't let his record fool you. Taggart rebuilt both programs, elevating Western Kentucky from 2-10 his first year in 2010 to 7-5 over the next two seasons. He then moved on to South Florida where he went 2-10, 4-8, 8-4 and then 10-2 this season.

Taggart, who served as Stanford's running backs coach under Jim Harbaugh from 2007-2009, is a risky hire with potentially great upside. Oregon sought to replace Helfrich (37-16 over four seasons) with a more experienced coach from a Power Five conference, but efforts fell through. 

[WATCH: Facebook Live reaction to the hiring]

Helfrich guided the Ducks to the national title game during the 2014 season, but this year saw his program fall to 4-8, resulting in his dismissal on Nov. 29. 

Taggart's South Florida offense this season ranks 10th in the nation (515 yards per game) and seventh in scoring (43.6). But his team ranks 120th in total defense (482.1 yards per game) and 86th in scoring defense (31.0).

Taggart played quarterback at Western Kentucky from 1995 through 1998. He was a finalist for the Division I-AA Walter Payton award his final two seasons. 

Trail Blazers looking for 4th straight win: Blazers at Bucks on CSN at 5pm

Trail Blazers looking for 4th straight win: Blazers at Bucks on CSN at 5pm

Trail Blazers vs. Bucks

Next up for the Portland Trail Blazers (12-10), it’s the Milwaukee Bucks (10-9) on Wednesday night.  This will be the second game in the current five-game road trip for the Blazers.

Here’s a quick look at what the Bucks did this past offseason—

Added: Matthew Dellavedova Jason Terry, Mirza Teletovic, Thon Maker, and Malcolm Brogdon

Resigned:  Miles Plumlee and Steve Novak 

Lost: Jerryd Bayless, Greivis Vasquez, Jared Cunningham, Johnny O'Bryant, Damien Inglis, and O.J. Mayo

 

The Trail Blazers head in to Wednesday night’s contest with a 5-6 road record, but Portland is looking to keep its winning streak alive and earn its fourth straight victory.  The Blazers latest win came on Monday night when Portland was able to hold on and beat the Chicago Bulls, 112-110.  Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 30 points on 11-of-24 shooting.

As for the Bucks, Milwaukee is coming off a heartbreaking loss to the San Antonio Spurs.  The Bucks lost 97-96 to the Spurs at home on Monday night.  In the loss, Jabari Parker scored 23.   Giannis Antetokounmpo added 22 points.

We will set the stage for the Trail Blazers and Bucks game with The Scoop Pregame Show streaming live at 4:00pm on Facebook.com/CSNNW on your computer, tablet, or phone.  Also, you can check out an all-new Rip City Live with host Dan Sheldon on CSN starting at 4:00pm.

 

 

Quick Links:

Fourth Quarter surge leads Blazers past Bulls

Trail Blazers change defense after big men suggest change

 

Video:  Plumlee: Keep getting better, that’s all that matters

Video:  Lillard on defense: “Just more present mentally”

Video:  Turner: Group we had on the floor in the 4th was on a roll

Video:  Jason Quick: Radical difference in Blazers’ defense

 

 

Game Details:

Where: Bradley Center, Milwaukee WI

Television: CSN, 5:00pm

CSN Programming:  Rip City Live (4:00pm), Talkin' Ball  (Immediately after the Blazers postgame show),

Live streaming: The Scoop Pregame Show streams at 4:00pm at Facebook.com/CSNNW. The Scoop Postgame Show will stream immediately after the game at Facebook.com/CSNNW

Radio: Rip City Radio 620