Portland closes out road trip with a tough test vs. Boston at 2:00pm on CSN

Portland closes out road trip with a tough test vs. Boston at 2:00pm on CSN

It was a heartbreaking loss on Friday night for the Portland Trail Blazers (18-27).  The Trail Blazers lost in the final seconds to the Philadelphia 76ers with a final score of 93-92 at the Wells Fargo Center.

And now, Portland will try to get its first win of this four-game road trip in a very tough test vs. the Boston Celtics (26-13) on Saturday with the Blazers playing in their second night of a back-to-back.

Coming into Saturday’s matchup the Celtics are sitting in the third spot in the Eastern Conference standings, just 1.5 games back of the Toronto Raptors.

Avery Bradley will not play on Saturday against the Blazers.  The 26 year-old guard has been dealing with an Achilles injury.  Bradley has missed six games in the last seven Celtics’ contests.  He is the second leading scorer on the team this season averaging 17.7 points per game.  Bradley also leads the team in rebounding at 6.9 per contest. 

It is point guard Isaiah Thomas who the Cs have been leaning on this season.  Thomas leads the way with 28.7 points per game, which up from last season’s 22.2 points.

The Celtics are coming off a 117-106 loss to the Knicks on Wednesday.   Thomas went 12-of-25 from the field to score 39 points, but it was not enough to get past New York on Wednesday.  Just two other Celtic players scored in double figures.  Jae Crowder added 21 and Amir Johnson scored 10 points.

Boston is now 13-7 at home this season.

We have you covered for all the action between the Trail Blazers and Celtics live on CSN and we have covered leading up to the game with The Scoop Pregame Show streaming live at 1:00pm on Facebook.com/CSNNW on your computer, tablet, or phone. 

Plus on CSN, you can check out an all-new Rip City Live tipping off at 1:00pm.




Quick Links:

Lillard scores 30, but Trail Blazers stunned at the buzzer in Philadelphia

 

Video:   Highlight: Poor third quarter does Blazers in vs. 76ers

Video:   Jason Quick: Blazers playing with pressure, not handling it well

Video:   Talkin’ Ball: What to make of Stotts’ lineup changes

Video:   Talkin’ Ball: Blazers started well, but fizzled out in the second half
 

 

Game Details:

Where:  TD Garden, Boston MA

Television: CSN, 2:00pm

CSN Programming:  Rip City Live (1:00pm), Talkin' Ball  (Immediately after the Blazers postgame show)

Live streaming: The Scoop Pregame Show streams at 1:00pm at Facebook.com/CSNNW. The Scoop Postgame Show will stream immediately after the game at Facebook.com/CSNNW

Radio: Rip City Radio 620

Lillard scores 30, but Trail Blazers stunned at the buzzer in Philadelphia

Lillard scores 30, but Trail Blazers stunned at the buzzer in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA -- A snakebit season just became more venomous for the Trail Blazers after a heartbreaking 93-92 loss in the final seconds to the Philadelphia 76ers at The Center. 

Robert Covington hit a three-pointer with 4.5 seconds left to give Philadelphia the lead and Mason Plumlee missed a close-range shot in the final seconds to send the upstart 76ers to their third straight win and eighth in past 10 games. 

Portland (18-27) lost for the fourth straight time and fell a season-low nine games under .500 and 7-18 on the road, despite 30 points from Damian Lillard. 

It was Lillard's missed free throw with 14.7 seconds that kept the Blazers lead at 92-90, setting up Covington's big shot. After Plumlee's miss, the Philadelphia players stormed the court and celebrated as the Blazers stood stunned.

"This one is on me,'' Lillard said.

Before the game, Blazers coach Terry Stotts said he was considering making some adjustments, but he declined to say whether it would be to his starting lineup, the rotation or tactical. 

It turned out to be to his starting lineup.

Initially, the 76ers released the starting lineups revealing the Blazers usual five -- Lillard, CJ McCollum, Maurice Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu and Mason Plumlee. But just before player introductions, Noah Vonleh and Evan Turner were announced as starters in place of Harkless and Aminu. 

"You have to look at things different in hopes of stirring it up a bit,'' Stotts said before the game. 

It worked early as Lillard came out torching the nets by hitting seven of his first eight shots, and his 20 points in the first half helped the Blazer built a 13-point halftime lead. 

But behind rookie sensation Joel Embiid (18 points and 10 rebounds) and the sharp-shooting of Covington (22 points), the 76ers battled back, taking advantage of poor shooting from Portland (37 percent), which included 5-for-18 from McCollum and 2-for-10 from Turner.

Before the game, Stotts remarked that the Blazers have been "snakebit" this season by big shots or by players who normally don't shoot well hitting big shots. 

Little did he know, that storyline would repeat itself three hours later.

Next up: Blazers at Boston, 2 p.m. Saturday (CSN).

 

Stotts changes up starting lineup vs. 76ers, Blazers lead 56-43 at half

Stotts changes up starting lineup vs. 76ers, Blazers lead 56-43 at half

It was time for a change for the Portland Trail Blazers and that’s what Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts did before the Blazers tipped of against the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Stotts decided to switch up his starting lineup.  Evan Turner and Noah Vonleh replaced Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless in the starting roles on Friday.

Damian Lillard and the Blazers jumped out to a 15-10 lead midway through the first quarter.  Lillard started the game red-hot after going 7-for-8 from the floor to score 16 points in the first quarter.

To end the first, the Blazers ended up shooting 52.2% from the field, while the 76ers shot 34.6% as a team.

Portland went on a 16-5 run to close out the quarter and take a 33-22 lead after one.

The Trail Blazers' offense continued to flow in the second quarter.  As a team Portland shot 45.8% for the half.  The Sixers ended the half shooting 35.7%.

At halftime, the Trail Blazers are up 56-43.

 


Top performers of the first half:

Trail Blazers

Points:
  Damian Lillard, 20

Rebounds:  Mason Plumlee, 5

Assist:   Evan Turner, 4

 


Sixers

Points:  Ersan Ilyasova, 13

Rebounds:   Joel Embiid, 6

Assist:  Joel Embiid, 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.

Gerald Henderson remembers 'hungry' group of Blazers from last season

Gerald Henderson remembers 'hungry' group of Blazers from last season

PHILADELPHIA – Former Trail Blazers wing Gerald Henderson said he hasn’t watched Portland play much this season, but from what little he has seen, he can’t put his finger on why the Blazers are struggling so much.

“Just watching them, they run the same plays,’’ said Henderson, who is averaging 24.6 minutes a game in Philadelphia. “They have some different faces there, and they have some talented guys … it just hasn’t clicked for them yet chemistry wise, or whatever it might be, on either end.’’

Henderson last season was a key cog in what made the Blazers click, as his mid-season resurgence coincided with Portland’s January surge that eventually resulted in 44 wins and a playoff berth.

What made the Blazers work last season?

“We had a hungry group, a hungry group,’’ Henderson said. “A lot of guys up for contracts, a lot of guys trying to prove themselves in the league. At a certain point, that all came together for us and it ended up being a good year.’’

Henderson was one of those players up for a contract and he parlayed his 8.7 points and 2.9 rebounds into a two-year, $18 million deal with Philadelphia. With the Sixers, he is averaging 9.5 points and 2.6 rebounds while shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from three-point range.

Knowing much of the Blazers’ personnel and coaching staff, Henderson said he doesn’t expect Portland to continue its struggles.

“They have a good staff over there, they do things the right way,’’ Henderson said. “And they have some really good players, so I would bet they would start doing better at some point.’’

Next up: Blazers at Philadelphia, 4 p.m. Friday (CSN).

Trail Blazers face an emerging 76ers team in Philly at 4:00pm on CSN

Trail Blazers face an emerging 76ers team in Philly at 4:00pm on CSN

Trail Blazers vs. 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers (14-26) are 6-2 in the month of January and this red-hot and rolling 76ers team is the next opponent for the Portland Trial Blazers (18-26).

Philadelphia and Portland will tip-off at 4:00pm on Friday from the Wells Fargo Center.

The Blazers dropped to 7-17 on the road after Wednesday’s, 107-85, blowout loss to the Charlotte Hornets.  It is Portland’s third straight loss as the Blazers fell to 0-2 on their current four-game East Coast trip.  In the loss on Wednesday, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum were the only Trail Blazers to score in double digits.  Lillard scored 21 points on 7-of-18 shooting. McCollum added 18 points after going 7-fo-18 from the floor as well.    

It was a different result on Wednesday night for Philadelphia.  The 76ers pulled a big upset over the Toronto Raptors, with a 94-89 win.   As a team, Philadelphia shot 44.3% for the game.

Sixers center Joel Embiid has missed 11 games this season to rest, but at least he is playing.  Embiid missed the first two seasons of his career with foot trouble.  The 22 year-old is averaging 19.9 points and 7.8 rebounds on the season.

Philadelphia has won seven of its last eight games in which Embiid has seen the court.  In that span he is averaging 23 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 27.3 minutes of action.

Philadelphia is 9-14 at home this season.

We have you covered for the Trail Blazers and 76ers contest and we have covered leading up to the game with The Scoop Pregame Show streaming live at 3:00pm on Facebook.com/CSNNW on your computer, tablet, or phone. 

Plus, you can check out an all-new Rip City Live on CSN starting at 3:00pm.




Quick Links:

Trail Blazers’ spiral continues as Charlotte breezes to easy win

Inside the Trail Blazers: A look at what is ailing the team

 

Video:   Does Coach Stotts still have the locker room’s ear?

Video:   Plumlee: Uncomfortable being on losing team, have to want it

Video:   Jason Quick: Blazers at a critical part of their season

Video:   Talkin’ Ball: Road trip may now serve as a crossroads
 

 

Game Details:

Where:  Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia PA

Television: CSN, 4:00pm

CSN Programming:  Rip City Live (3:00pm), Talkin' Ball  (Immediately after the Blazers postgame show)

Live streaming: The Scoop Pregame Show streams at 3:00pm at Facebook.com/CSNNW. The Scoop Postgame Show will stream immediately after the game at Facebook.com/CSNNW

Radio: Rip City Radio 620

Inside the Trail Blazers: A look at what is ailing the team

Inside the Trail Blazers: A look at what is ailing the team

CHARLOTTE – Something is wrong with the Trail Blazers and everybody knows it, but no one has a simple explanation, let alone a plausible theory.

So perhaps it wasn’t surprising Wednesday that star point guard Damian Lillard flipped the roles after another loss Wednesday, this time by 22 points in Charlotte, and asked the questions.

After he finished answering questions for nearly seven minutes – which included questions about the team’s sometimes morose energy levels and whether coach Terry Stotts is still reaching the players, Lillard turned his Iphone to two local reporters as if he was a media member asking a question.  

“What you all think the problem is?’’ Lillard asked.

Much like his teammates during this confusing 18-26 start, we shrugged.

From one locker stall over, Lillard’s close friend and offensive cohort CJ McCollum chimed in.

“If we knew, don’t you think we’d fix it by now,’’ McCollum said.

As much as fans would like there to be an unearthing of sexy storylines like locker room discontent, or dislike for the coach, or players unhappy with roles, it doesn’t appear those disruptive forces are in play with these Blazers.

But with each passing practice, and each postgame letdown, more and more is being revealed about this Portland team, with Wednesday’s postgame in Charlotte offering perhaps our greatest window into the inner struggle of this young group.

Mason Plumlee was the most pointed, calling out not the team’s effort, but its energy level, which is an important distinction. Never has it appeared this team is dogging it on the court this season, but it has become almost palatable how lifeless and dull the game has become for the team.

They are playing, but not with energy. They are trying, but they are not having fun.

“I don’t think our energy is good, man, honestly,’’ Plumlee said. “It is in spurts. We will rally sometimes but it’s not sustained. That has to change.’’

How does that change?

“I couldn’t tell you,’’ Plumlee said. “You just have to want it. You have to want it.’’

Lillard, the unquestioned leader of the team, was not more than three feet away when Plumlee made the pointed remarks and later he echoed the same sentiment.

“I think our energy has to be much better, more consistently,’’ Lillard said. “When things go well, you get energy … (and) I don’t think we are giving ourselves enough situations to feel good about what we are doing, often enough. Our energy drops because of that, and teams take advantage.’’

Lillard pointed to Wednesday’s game, during which the Blazers closed a 14-point deficit to 79-72 at the end of the third quarter. The push was punctuated by a Noah Vonleh rebound basket in the final seconds of the quarter. Vonleh is one of the most well-liked players on the team, a guy everyone is pulling for, a guy whose success almost always elicits some of the more animated reactions across the team.

But when the Blazers gathered at the end of the quarter, there was little if any reaction.

“We cut that lead to seven. You know, we’ve got a ballgame. We should feel good about, excited about, the way the game is going,’’ Lillard said. “Our energy – we should be excited about that – and when we come to the bench, it should be loud, we should be ready to come go out there and get after it in the fourth quarter.’’

Instead, the Blazers trudged out for the fourth with the enthusiasm of a TSA agent checking IDs. The result: Charlotte scored the first nine points of the fourth and within two minutes, it was a 16-point deficit.

“It wasn’t there, the way it should be,’’ LIllard said of the energy. “That’s because we didn’t have enough plays to feel good about to pick ourselves up as far as our energy. That’s not going to get it done. That’s not good enough.’’

Sometimes when a team looks like the Blazers – lifeless and clearly not having fun -- it signals a disconnect between the players and coaching staff. That doesn’t appear to be the case here, as Lillard staunchly defended coach Terry Stotts and his staff.

And to Stotts’ credit, he has searched for ways to engage and involve this team, from taking suggestions from the bigs to employ more traps and blitzes, to implementing a dodge-ball game during a practice, to encouraging the players to speak up in Tuesday’s film session in Charlotte.

Is Stotts still able to reach the team?

“That’s a given,’’ Lillard said. “We all respect the hell out of Coach Stotts, the entire coaching staff. That’s another thing that is frustrating for us as players: the amount of joy we get out of playing for our coaching staff, and how much time we know they spend in preparing us and how sharp they are … and us not executing it to the best of our ability.

“We want to go out  there and bring W’s for the effort they put out,’’ Lillard said. “They have our attention, we respect them. It’s more so us than everybody else. Coaches aren’t the ones out there shooting. They are not the ones out there turning it over. They are not out there having to play defense. I … I … don’t think that is even close to the issue.’’

So what are the issues?

Clearly, defense is at the top of the concerns. Out of 30 NBA teams, the Blazers rank 28th in defensive efficiency. As was painfully obvious in the blowout loss to Washington, elite guards such as John Wall and Bradley Beal have no problem penetrating and getting to the rim. It has been a season-long problem and one that has unfairly put the Blazers interior defenders in the spotlight as being unable to protect the rim.

Also, the expected strength of the Blazers’ second unit has been a decided weakness. Depth figured to be an asset for this team, but there have been drop-offs from last season in the play of Meyers Leonard and Ed Davis, while Allen Crabbe mixes a superb game between four or five non-descript games. Meanwhile, Evan Turner has recovered nicely from his slow start but still seems like an awkward fit to the flow and rhythm of the team.

But more than anything, the vibe of the team seems off. As Lillard noted after his brief role as reporter Wednesday, the Blazers last year just had more “fight” to them during games. They would “ugly” the game up with fouls, and would do a better job at dictating the pace and feel of the game.

Where that fight went, where the fun of playing the game went, is hard to pinpoint. This still seems like a close team, and the players still remark that they like each other and enjoy hanging around each other.

But as one key player noted, that type of chemistry – liking each other and being a bunch of nice guys – is overrated and doesn’t always translate to winning games. There is no one willing to rock the boat, no one who speaks out, no one who calls it like it is – all things which veteran Chris Kaman was so masterful at the last two seasons.

Also, much of this team’s vibe last season, and through the opening weeks of this season, were fueled by the powerful force that is Lillard and his exceptional play.

He was a player who would take over games, or establish a tone early, and the team seemed to feed off that and take on an air of invincibility.

Over the past couple months, that swagger this team felt in having one of the game’s takeover players has not been present, in part because Lillard hasn’t been that type of player lately.

That’s not to say Lillard isn’t trying. He is, in reality, probably trying harder than he ever has in his career. He has at times this season bristled that outsiders doubt him – especially following the team’s improved play while he was injured -- and he has vowed that he will carry the team, remarking that people shouldn’t underestimate the burden he can shoulder.

“We are trying, we try hard,’’ Lillard said. “Guys try hard, guys want to do the right things, want to help the team, and it’s a little bit tough when you try so hard and it goes the wrong way.’’

But for every blank face in the Blazers locker room after these losses, there is still a surprising and overriding feeling that this can turn around. And slowly but surely, it seems the issues plaguing this team are bubbling to the surface – be it through communication in the Charlotte film session to questions about the team’s energy the next night.

“When you have hard times, which is what we are having so far this season, you have to be a man,’’ Lillard said. “You have to be man enough to say we haven’t been good enough, but you also have to be strong enough mentally to keep pushing forward. That’s what we have to keep doing – pushing forward – but also understand we haven’t been good enough.’’

Next up: Blazers at Philadelphia, 4 p.m. Friday (CSN).

Trail Blazers' spiral continues as Charlotte breezes to easy win

Trail Blazers' spiral continues as Charlotte breezes to easy win

CHARLOTTE -- A team video session the day before that turned into somewhat of a team meeting had little effect in turning around the Trail Blazers on Wednesday, as the Charlotte Hornets ended their five-game losing streak by coasting past the Blazers 107-85 at the Spectrum Center. 

Eventually, the Trail Blazers will have to become a team that does its talking on the court, but as of Wednesday they remain a team that gets along, talks among themselves and say the right things publicly, only to go on the court and play like a disjointed and unmotivated group. 

The Blazers (18-26) fell a season-low eight games below .500 and if the season ended today they would be out of the Western Conference playoffs after beginning the seaosn with a goal of making it to the conference finals. 

Charlotte (21-21) didn't play particularly well, but they started the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run to extend their lead to 88-72 and they never looked back. 

Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists and CJ McCollum had 18 points, but both shot 7-of-18 from the field, which set the tone for a night when Portland would shoot 35.1 percent from the field. 

Longtime Blazers wing Nicolas Batum, who was traded to Charlotte for Gerald Henderson and Noah Vonleh in 2015, finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Kemba Walker added 23 points and center Roy Hibbert came off the bench and added 16 points and six rebounds.  

Unlike their previous two games, the Blazers weren't buried early. They had fallen behind 18-1 to Orlando and 10-0 to Washington, and were behind 7-2 in Charlotte before McCollum ignited an 11-0 run with a three-pointer and a driving layin. The Blazers eventually settled for a 26-23 lead after the first quarter, thanks to some shaky play from the Hornets, who had four turnovers and made just 8-of-22 shots (36.4 percent).

Charlotte took a 54-46 hafltime lead and quickly pushed it to 10 and played the majority of the half ahead by double figures. 

Next up: Blazers at Philadelphia, 4 p.m. Friday (CSN).

 

Blazers and Hornets battling, Charlotte up 54-46 at the break

Blazers and Hornets battling, Charlotte up 54-46 at the break

The Portland Trail Blazers looking to bounce back on Wednesday after its blowout loss to the Wizards.  The Blazers and Hornets tipped off at 4:00pm from the Spectrum Center.

Ed Davis (ankle sprain) is out for this game vs. Charlotte.

Midway through the first quarter, the Blazers held a 13-7 lead after Portland went on a 11-0 run.

Portland was up 26-23 to end the first quarter after shooting 40% as a team, while the Blazer held the Hornets to 36.4% shooting.

Mason Plumlee and the Blazers were very active on the boards in the first half. Plumlee finished the half with six rebounds.  As a team, Portland outrebounded Charlotte, 30-26.

To end the first half, the Blazers shot 36.7%, but the Hornets ended up shooting 45.8% as a team.

At halftime, Charlotte is up 54-46.

 

 


Top performers of the first half:

Trail Blazers

Points:
  CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard, 12

Rebounds:  Damian Lillard, 7

Assist:   Damian Lillard, 4

 


Hornets

Points:  Kemba Walker, 16

Rebounds:  Marvin Williams, 8

Assist:  Kemba Walker, 5


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.

Portland at Charlotte on CSN at 4:00pm: Hornets riding a five-game losing streak

Portland at Charlotte on CSN at 4:00pm: Hornets riding a five-game losing streak

Trail Blazers vs. Hornets

The Portland Trail Blazers (18-25) are looking to rebound after Monday’s, 120-101, loss to the Washington Wizards.   Next up for Portland, the Blazers are in Charlotte.  

The Charlotte Hornets (20-21) host the Blazers on Wednesday at 4:00pm on CSN.

Away from the Moda Center this season, Portland is 7-16.

The Hornets have struggled in their most recent contets; losing five games in a row after Charlotte’s 108-98 loss on the road to the Boston Celtics.  The Hornets allowed the Cs to shoot 50% from the field for the game.

Point guard Kemba Walker leads Charlotte in points per game with 23, but it is former Trail Blazer, Nicolas Batum, who leads the Hornets in rebounds (7.4) and assists (5.8) this season.

Portland and Charlotte will face each other later this month to finish their two-game series.  The Blazers will welcome in the Hornets on January 31st.

Trail Blazers PR staff announced on Tuesday that Ed Davis (left ankle sprain) is out for Wednesday’s game.

CSN will get you ready for the Trail Blazers and Hornets contest with The Scoop Pregame Show streaming live at 3:00pm on Facebook.com/CSNNW on your computer, tablet, or phone.  Plus, you can check out an all-new Rip City Live on CSN starting at 3:00pm.

 



Quick Links:

Washington uses fast start to blow out Trail Blazers

Some NBA opinions about what’s wrong with the enigmatic Trail Blazers

Tuesday’s talk: Trail Blazers meet for animated film session

 

Video:   Tuesday’s shootaround: Blazers holding themselves accountable

Video:   Tuesday’s shootaround: Blazers slow starts- What’s happened? How to fix them

Video:   Jason Quick: Blazers still don’t have that “Blazers basketball”

Video:   Highlight: Sluggish start dooms Portland

 

 

Game Details:

Where:  Spectrum Center, Charlotte NC

Television: CSN, 4:00pm

CSN Programming:  Rip City Live (3:00pm), Talkin' Ball  (Immediately after the Blazers postgame show)

Live streaming: The Scoop Pregame Show streams at 3:00pm at Facebook.com/CSNNW. The Scoop Postgame Show will stream immediately after the game at Facebook.com/CSNNW

Radio: Rip City Radio 620