Preview: Heat vs Blazers

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Preview: Heat vs Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers are hot, winning 11 of their last 14 games and conquering eight straight at home. Tonight, will be a good test to see how hot they really are when they take on some heat of their own, as in the Miami Heat at the Rose Garden. It should be a good game, Damian Lillard said. They are one of the best teams if not the best team in the league. So I'm excited to go up against them.Tonight's game is the first of a back-to-back for the Trail Blazers. They travel to Oakland to take on the Golden State Warriors tomorrow night.

The defending champion Heat (23-10) are in the midst of their second game of a six-game road trip having lost 87-77 to the Indiana Pacers Tuesday night in Indianapolis. That 77 points scored by the Heat was a season-low and they were out-rebounded 55-36. Dwyane Wade led the team with 30 points, five rebounds and three assist. LeBron James contributed 22 points, 10 rebounds and four assist.Chris Bosh had 14 points and five rebounds. James loves to put on a show when he arrives in Portland. In 17 career games in the Rose City, James is averaging 30.1 points, his second-highest average against any NBA team (Utah 30.4). James also grabs 9.7 rebounds a game when he steps foot inside the Rose Garden,his highest average of any NBA team. Rookie of the Year favorite Lillard says growing up, James was his favorite player in the association. LeBron was my favorite player in the league up until two years ago when I was in college shooting for the NBA myself, Lillard said. He can do it all and that's why I liked him.

The Heat are not the same team outside of Miami. Even though they claim the best record in the Eastern Conference, they are 7-7 on the road.However, the road team in this series has won the last five games. That's where Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts comes in at. He has been a magician when it comes to making sure his team is prepared at home ,and being able to pull out close games. In games decided by six or fewer points, the Trail Blazers (19-15) are 10-2. Not to mention Stotts has the Trail Blazers 5-0 in overtime periods this season. Stotts (sick) was not at practice yesterday. He stayed home to rest and assistant Jay Triano took over at the helm. Stotts is expected to coach tonight, however.

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.

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

Trail Blazers change defense after big men suggest change

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USA Today Sports Images

Trail Blazers change defense after big men suggest change

CHICAGO – When the Trail Blazers’ big men talked recently, the coaching staff listened.

And as a result, Portland on Monday unveiled a new defensive wrinkle that helped them beat the Chicago Bulls.

Lost in the shuffle of Monday’s stirring 11-0 fourth-quarter run that keyed the Trail Blazers’ 112-110 victory over the Bulls was a not-so-subtle shift from the team’s defensive philosophy.

The Blazers’ big men – in particular center Mason Plumlee and power forward Ed Davis – last week voiced to the coaching staff a desire to “blitz” pick-and-rolls instead of hanging back and inviting mid-range jumpers, and on Monday coach Terry Stotts relented, implementing the tactic against the Bulls when the pick and rolls involved Dwyane Wade or Jimmy Butler.

“Mason and Ed can be good at that,’’ Stotts said. “It was good we had a game like that and had success so we can use it if we need to.’’

The shift in philosophy came after a Friday film session at practice, before Saturday’s Miami game. The suggestion was made by the players in order to better utilize their strengths – footwork and athleticism – and better cover for their lack of bulk.

“We told the coaches we wanted to be more aggressive on the ball and they listened,’’ Plumlee said. “I thought it was a good look for us.’’

Added Davis: “We said how we felt about things. The bigs said we wanted to be more aggressive, wanted to be able to play more to our strength. And that’s the great thing about this coaching staff, they don’t take anything personal, this is all for the better of the team, that’s why the chemistry is good.’’

Stotts and the players acknowledged that the tactic will only be used in certain circumstances, usually when the opponent features pick-and-roll players who are not three-point shooting threats, like Wade and Butler.

The Blazers (12-10) still own the NBA’s worst defensive rating, although it has gone from 113.8 to 109.6 over the last three games, and one of their defensive problems has been stopping the pick-and-roll. For the past four seasons, Stotts has employed a conservative defensive approach to pick-and-rolls, keeping his big men back in order to invite the ball handler to shoot a mid-range shot.

But the Blazers' bigs, who are more athletic and mobile than imposing rim protectors, were often getting beat at the rim, either by blow-by drives from guards or by finishes from big men.

The idea with blitzing is to bring the big man up in coverage, along with the guard, to pressure the ball handler and stop the pick-and-roll.

“Nobody likes the blitz, nobody likes pressure,’’ Evan Turner said. “I’m glad we went to that in the fourth quarter. It helped.’’

Although Wade finished with 34 points, he went 1-for-6 in the fourth quarter. Butler, meanwhile, went 1-for-4 in the fourth, his lone field goal an uncontested and meaningless three-pointer at the buzzer.

All because the bigs spoke up in a positional meeting.

“I like it,’’ Maurice Harkless said. “It speeds the other team up for one, and with our bigs we are able to do it because they are so mobile. I don’t think its something we will do all the time but it will be something we do occasionally, because it will keep teams off guard. I think we caught them off guard tonight.’’

Fourth quarter surge leads Blazers past Bulls

Fourth quarter surge leads Blazers past Bulls

CHICAGO -- A fourth quarter surge keyed by the offense of Evan Turner and Damian Lillard and the defense of Ed Davis carried the Trail Blazers to a 112-110 win over the Chicago Bulls on Monday. 

Turner scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth and Lillard had 11 of his 30 points down the stretch as the Blazers pulled away with an 11-0 run midway through the quarter, a run that was sparked by two blocks from Davis. The push gave the Blazers a 103-93 lead with 5:55 left and the Blazers hung on for dear life down the stretch as they scored only five points over the next 5:30 before sealing the game with free throws. The final score looked closer than it was after Jimmy Butler hit an uncontested three-pointer as time expired.

Portland (12-10) kick-started a five game trip and avenged a 113-88 loss to the Bulls on Nov. 15, when Chicago bolted to a 35-14 lead after one quarter. Chicago (11-9) lost its second straight despite 34 points from Dwyane Wade. 

The fourth quarter spurt was special for Turner, who went to high school in Chicago and was cheered on by family members sitting behind the Blazers bench. Turner hit five-of-six shots, including three in a row in the fourth quarter, and finished with 10 points, four assists and two rebounds. CJ McCollum added 24 points and Allen Crabbe had his second consecutive strong game off the bench with 17 points. 

Chicago entered the fourth leading 87-86, taking control in the third quarter with a 12-1 start to the second half. Portland trailed by as many as six in the third but closed within one when McCollum hit a three-pointer with 0.3 seconds left. 

The Blazers held a 65-57 halftime lead, thanks in part to a 12-2 run late in the second quarter that was fueled by the strong bench play of Crabbe, who scored 11 of his 15 first-half points in the second quarter. 

The Blazers welcomed the return of Al-Farouq Aminu, who missed 13 games with a left calf strain, during which the team went 6-7. Coach Terry Stotts pregame said Aminu would be limited to between 16 and 20 minutes on Monday, while bringing him off the bench. 

Aminu entered with 3:23 left in the first quarter and the Blazers leading 23-20 and almost instantly recorded an assist with a pass inside to Mason Plumlee. He played seven minutes in the first half, during which he showed some rust (0-for-2), but also some of the top-level defense the Blazers had been lacking with a nice block of a Wade jumper.

Aminu finished with three points, three rebounds and two assists in 16 minutes.

Next up: Blazers at Milwaukee, 5 p.m. Wednesday (CSN).

 

Portland shooting 54.7% as a team vs. Chicago, Blazers up 8 at half

Portland shooting 54.7% as a team vs. Chicago, Blazers up 8 at half

The Portland Trail Blazers tipped off from the United Center at 5:00pm on Monday to facing the Chicago Bulls.

The Trail Blazers went on a 12-14 run to take an 18-14 lead, midway through the first quarter.

Bulls held a 32-29 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Blazers had some help offensively from Allen Crabbe off the bench in the first half.  Crabbe finished the half with 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting.

To end the half, Portland shot 54.7% as a team, while Chicago shot 53.7%.

At the break, the Blazers are up 65-57.

 

Top performers of the first half:

Trail Blazers

Points:  Damian Lillard, 17

Rebounds: Maurice Harkless, 5

Assist:  Damian Lillard, 5

 

Bulls

Points:  Dwyane Wade, 23

Rebounds:  Jimmy Butler, 6

Assist:  Jimmy Butler, 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.