Blazers skid to another painful loss

Blazers skid to another painful loss

INDIANAPOLIS -- One game after perhaps their most stunning loss of the season, the Trail Blazers absorbed another gut punch Saturday in Indiana when they lost a 20 point lead and eventually disintegrated in the fourth quarter of a 118-111 loss to the Pacers. 

The Blazers (12-13) were a comedy of errors and miscues in the fourth quarter, which included two air balls, a shot that only hit backboard, two passes to no one that ended up in the stands and a five-second inbounding violation. The Blazers at one point went more than 5:30 without a field goal and they started the quarter by missing their first five shots. All told, the Blazers scored 13 points in the fourth, while allowing 28 to Indiana. 

It was the third straight loss for Portland, and this one came even though Damian Lillard (33 points) and CJ McCollum (34 points) were at the top of their offensive games. Indiana, which trailed by eight entering the fourth quarter, sealed the game when Paul George grabbed his own miss from a scrum of players and rose between Lillard and McCollum and dunked, giving Indiana a 114-109 lead with 31.4 seconds left. Indiana improved to 12-12 while avenging a 131-109 loss to Portland earlier this month.

George led the Pacers with 37 points and Thaddeus Young added 24 points and nine rebounds. Indiana made 15-of-29 three-pointers. 

After leading 58-38 in the second quarter, the Blazers led 98-90 entering the fourth, but Indiana scored the first nine points ... as Portland stumbled around. Evan Turner airballed a baseline jumper and a McCollum had a straight-on shot that drew only backboard. Meanwhile, an Allen Crabbe pass intended for Meyers Leonard sailed untouched into the scorers table, and later Lillard passed into the first row of the stands, thinking Mason Plumlee would go one way, when in reality, he went the other.  

Maurice Harkless returned to the starting lineup after missing Wednesday's game in Memphis with a sprained left ankle, and Ed Davis returned to his starting role. Harkless scored the game's first basket on a driving layin and finished with seven points and one rebounds in 31 minutes. Davis had six points and 10 rebounds in 34 minutes. Al-Farouq Aminu, who landed hard on his back late in the Memphis loss, warmed up but did not play because of a bruised back. 

Portland built leads as large as 20 in the second quarter, but Indiana fought back and trailed only 71-64 at halftime, thanks in part to the shooting of George, who had 18 points in the half after making four three pointers. The Blazers nearly matched their season high in first points, which came against Indiana in Portland, when they held a 73-58 lead.

Lillard hit his first five three pointers and scored 19 points in the first quarter to boost the Blazers to a 44-31 lead. He also added five assists, helping the Blazers amass their highest scoring first quarter of the season. 

Next up: Blazers at LA Clippers, 7:30 p.m. Monday (CSN).

Podcast:

 

Blazers shooting lights out in 1st half vs. Pacers: Portland up 71-64 at the break

Blazers shooting lights out in 1st half vs. Pacers: Portland up 71-64 at the break

The Portland Trail Blazers continued its five-game road trip on Saturday night when the Blazers tipped off against the Indiana Pacers.

The Blazers did get Maurice Hakrless (left ankle sprain) back from injury.  Coach Stotts decided to go back to the starting lineup of: Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Harkless, Mason Plumlee and Ed Davis.

Al-Farouq Aminu (back contusion) was dressed to play even though he was listed as doubtful vs. the Pacers.  Aminu did not play in the first half and is not expected to see any minutes in the second half.

Midway through the first quarter, the Blazers were up 26-11 after starting the game shooting a sizzling 71.4% as a team.

The Blazers ended the first quarter shooting 60.9% from the field, but Portland was shooting even better from three at 63.6%.  As a team, the Pacers shot 47.8% for the quarter. 

Portland held a 44-31 lead after one.

The 44 points scored in the first quarter is a season high for the Blazers.

Damian Lillard led all scorers in the first quarter with 19 points after going 5-for-6 from long distance.

At the break, Portland is up 71-64.  Indiana went on a 9-2 run to end the second quarter.

The Blazers ended the half shooting 59.1% as a team, while the Pacers shot 47.9%.
 

Top performers of the first half:

Trail Blazers

Points:  Damian Lillard, 21

Rebounds:  Ed Davis, 8 

Assist:  Damian Lillard, 5 

 

Pacers

Points:  Paul George, 18

Rebounds:  Al Jefferson, 5

Assist:  Monta Ellis, 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.

Blazers needing bounce-back win, Pacers in second night of back-to-back: POR at IND on CSN

Blazers needing bounce-back win, Pacers in second night of back-to-back: POR at IND on CSN

Trail Blazers vs. Pacers

The Portland Trail Blazers (12-12) take on the Indiana Pacers (11-12) on Saturday for the second and final meeting this season. 

The Blazers are looking to rebound from a disappointing loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night.  Portland was in control for a good majority of the game, but the Grizzlies came through in the end to get the, 88-86 win.  In the loss, Portland shot 30.5% for the game.

The Pacers will be playing in the second night of a back-to-back when Indiana hosts the Blazers.   The Pacers were on the road on Friday night in Dallas.  The Mavericks beat the Pacers, 111-103.

It was on November 30th in Portland when the Blazers took the first game of the series against the Pacers, 131-109.  Damian Lillard had 28 points and 10 assists in the victory.  The Pacers were without All-Star Paul George (ankle) in that first meeting between these two teams. 

The Trail Blazers are listing Maurice Harkless (left ankle) as probable; Al-Farouq Aminu (back contusion) as doubtful; and Festu Ezeli (left knee) is out for Saturday’s game.

We will set the stage for the Trail Blazers and Pacers game with The Scoop Pregame Show streaming live at 3:00pm 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 3:00pm.

 

Quick Links:

Blazers lose a stunner in Memphis with fourth-quarter collapse

Could that be the low point for the Trail Blazers this season?

 

Video:  Davis: “Right now it definitely hurts”

Video:  Plumlee: Gotta make more plays to win that game

Video:  Jason Quick: Going to be a lasting loss, mentally and physically

Video:  Talkin’ Ball: Breaking down the Blazers loss to the Grizzlies

 

 

Game Details:

Where:  Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis IN

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

Could that be the low point for the Trail Blazers this season?

Could that be the low point for the Trail Blazers this season?

I can't remember a more disappointing and, at the same time, surprising performance by the Trail Blazers this season. That 88-86 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies was grizzly, all right. Grim.

Let's start with the fact that Memphis was without Mike Conley, Vince Carter, James Ennis, Chandler Parsons and Brandan Wright. The Grizzlies were basically Marc Gasol and Tony Allen against the world. The Trail Blazers dominated the Grizzlies nearly the whole game but could never put them away.

The Portland lead was 77-64 with 7:13 to play in this very slow-paced game and 79-68 wth 5:11 left. But Gasol got wide open for a three-point field goal and Troy Daniels drilled one that was officially called a 30-footer with 1:35 to play that gave Memphis a one-point lead. Then Toney Douglas, signed off his couch at home Dec. 5, hammered home a jumper and two free throws for another one-point lead. After Mason Plumlee tied the game for the final time with a free-throw, Douglas hit two more foul shots to win it for the Grizzlies.

You can talk about the foul call on Damian Lillard that sent Douglas to the line, but in a game like this it's absurd to bring the officiating into the conversation. Officials had nothing to do with the outcome of this contest. With the game on the line, Portland made just four of 19 shots in the fourth quarter, 21.1 percent. For the game, the Trail Blazers shot just 30.5 percent from the field -- their worst in a decade! -- and only 25 percent from three-point range.

This game was a total mess, as ugly as you'll ever see the NBA get. If you want to look at individual Portland shooting totals you can find the official league box score here -- but be ready to cover your eyes. Yes, Memphis shot poorly, too. But mostly that was players who normally wouldn't be on the floor at key times of an NBA game. Gasol was the one player Portland needed to defend and that never got done.

The Trail Blazers missed plenty of shots in the paint and too many from three-point range. I had a thought at one point about the team's three-point shooting that I should pass along, too.

Perhaps the reason that players shoot better from three in Portland than in other places is that they get open ones with the Trail Blazers that they didn't get elsewhere. The system is tried and true for three-point shooters. And, too, players are encouraged to shoot them here like they were nowhere else. Over and over, we've heard about Coach Terry Stotts chastising his players for passing up open shots -- not for gunning them up. Certainly, showing confidence in players is a key part of getting them to play their best.

But. BUT. When a player is going through a tough time making threes -- and isn't really a great three-point shooter in the first place -- I think it's important to have that shooter be a little more judicious with his shots. And I'm talking about Al-Farouq Aminu.

He's shooting 20.5 percent from three-point range and most of the time, he's not even close. Sure,  I know all about shooters shooting their way out of slumps. I'm just not sure he's much of a shooter in the first place, in spite of his relative success last season. And at least for now, in the midst of tight games, I think he should be restrained a bit.

But that's just a nitpick right now. While the defense seems to be better, the offense now has gotten inconsistent.

There's a positive sign after that game at Memphis, though: There is nowhere to go but up.

 

Blazers lose a stunner in Memphis with fourth-quarter collapse

Blazers lose a stunner in Memphis with fourth-quarter collapse

MEMPHIS -- There was heart break in Memphis for the Trail Blazers on Thursday. 

Leading by as many as 13 in the fourth quarter and by 11 with 5:25 left, the Blazers lost 88-86 after Toney Douglas hit two free throws with 0.5 seconds left after being fouled by Damian Lillard. Lillard argued the call after the final buzzer, seeking out referee Josh Tiven at midcourt to plead his case.

Memphis(16-8)  improved to 12-0 in games decided by three-points or less this season, and they are 12-3 while a bulk of their roster -- including star Mike Conley -- is out injured. The Blazers (12-12) lost for the second straight night. 

The Blazers played without Maurice Harkless (sprained ankle) and endured terrible shooting nights from Mason Plumlee (1-for-9), Al-Farouq Aminu (2-for-9), Allen Crabbe (2-for-9) and Jake Layman (0-for-5) yet still led for much of the game. CJ McCollum was brilliant early and had 24 points through three quarters, but he didn't score in the fourth. Damian Lillard finished with 19 points, but scored only four points in the second half. 

Memphis was fueled by center Marc Gasol, who had 36 points and nine rebounds and Tony Allen, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds. JaMychal Green added 18 rebounds.

Blazers' coach Terry Stotts ushered out a radically different starting lineup with Evan Turner at small forward and Meyers Leonard at power forward after starting small forward Maurice Harkless determined before the game that his sprained left ankle was unfit to play. Harkless suffered the injury on Wednesday in Milwaukee with about 1:30 left after he rolled his foot chasing a missed free throw. With noticeable swelling, particularly on the outside of the ankle, Harkless tried to warm up about an hour before tipoff but determined he wouldn't be able to play.

Ed Davis, who went back to a bench role with the new starting lineup, was huge for the Blazers in the fourth quarter on both ends of the court. He finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. Turner had 15 points and 10 rebounds in his first start with Portland.

The Blazers held a 50-43 halftime lead in a wild, offensively-challenged first half that included several blown layins and constant complaining from both sides about the officiating. It reached a hilt in the final minute of the half, and then extended into the break, when Memphis coach David Fizdale was given a technical for confronting the officiating crew near midcourt. During a half when both teams struggled with their shot, McCollum was smooth, hitting all give of his shots, including both three-pointers, one of which was deep.

The Blazers led 22-14 after the first quarter despite shooting 6-for-22 from the field (27.3 percent), mostly because Memphis managed to shoot even worse (5-for-21, 23.8 percent). The Blazers started 1-for-9 from the field and were kept in it early by Lillard, who scored 10 points. 

Notes: Harkless said he is aiming to play in Saturday's game in Indiana, saying the improvement he felt from Wednesday to Thursday gave him hope there would be enough improvement by Saturday.

Next up: Blazers at Indiana, 4 p.m. Saturday (CSN).

Slow start, but Portland up 50-43 over Memphis at half

Slow start, but Portland up 50-43 over Memphis at half

The Portland Trail Blazers got off to a cold start against the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night.

Portland is playing are in the second night of a back-to-back and it showed.  The Blazers went 1-for-9 to start the game.

The Trail Blazers are without without Maurice Harkless (left ankle sprain) in Memphis.  Blazers head coach Terry Stotts decided to change up his starters with Harkless out. 

Here’s what the starting lineup looks like for Portland vs. Memphis: Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Mason Plumlee, Meyers Leonard, and Evan Turner. This is Turner’s first start of the season.

Midway through the first quarter, the Grizzlies led 12-10.

To end the first quarter, the Blazers held a 22-14 lead after ending the quarter shooting 23.8% as a team, while the Grizzlies shot 25%.

Portland ends the second quarter on a 10-4 run.  In the first half, the Blazers ended up shooting 37.2% from the floor.  Memphis ended the half shooting 35.7%.

At the break, Portland is up 50-43.
 

Top performers of the first half:

Trail Blazers

Points:  Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, 15

Rebounds:  Meyers Leonard, 6

Assist:  Mason Plumlee, 2
 

 

Grizzlies

Points:  Marc Gasol, 19

Rebounds:  Marc Gasol and Jamychal Green, 6

Assist:  Andrew Harrison, 3

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.

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.