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The Portland Trail Blazers (24-34) wrap up its three-game road trip in Detroit on Tuesday to face the 28-31 Detroit Pistons.
Portland is looking to bounce back after Sunday’s 112-106 loss to the Toronto Raptors. Damian Lillard shot 10-of-20 from the field to score 28 points in the loss. The Blazers allowed the Raptors to shoot 53.8% from the field for the game.
Al-Farouq Aminu (left knee) returned to game action vs. Toronto. In 29 minutes of play, Aminu had 13 points and pulled down eight rebounds. The Blazers small forward continues to come off the bench for now.
After Sunday’s game, the Trail Blazers announced that Jussuf Nurkic had sustained two dislodged crowns vs. the Raptors and that night the teeth had been subsequently repaired.
Detroit also played on Sunday, hosting the Boston Celtics. Boston beat Detroit, 104-98. As a team, the Pistons shot 43.2% for the game, but Detroit also committed a total of 17 turnovers.
Pistons small forward Tobias Harris leads the way in scoring for Detroit, averaging 16.3 points.
The last time the Blazers and Pistons met, it was a double-overtime thriller on January 8th with the Pistons winning, 125-125.
The Pistons are now 18-12 at home this season.
Portland currently sits in the 10th spot in the Western Conference Standings; 1.5 games back of Denver for the final playoff spot out West.
You can catch an all-new Rip City Live starting at 3:30pm on CSN as we set the stage for Tuesday’s game between the Trail Blazers and Pistons.
And if you can’t get to a TV, you can check out The Scoop Pregame Show streaming live on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer at 4:30pm at Facebook.com/CSNNW.
Where: The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills MI
Television: CSN, 4:30pm
CSN Programming: Rip City Live (3:30pm), Talkin' Ball (Immediately after the Blazers postgame show)
Live streaming: The Scoop Pregame Show streams at 3:30pm at Facebook.com/CSNNW. The Scoop Postgame Show will stream immediately after the game at Facebook.com/CSNNW
Radio: Rip City Radio 620
Oregon junior forward Dillon Brooks received his third Pac-12 Player of the Week award of the season today. Next week he should receive the conference's individual award that matters the most.
The Pac-12's coaches should overlook raw statistical numbers and award Brooks conference player of the year in the days following the Ducks' final regular season game Saturday at Oregon State (5-25, 1-16). It's not a slam-dunk by any stretch, but the case for Brooks will be difficult for anyone to ignore.
A national player of the year candidate, Brooks is the best player on the conference's best team. No. 6 Oregon (26-4, 15-2) is a win away from clinching at least a share of the Pac-12 regular season championship with No. 7 Arizona (26-4, 15-2). The Ducks hold the head-to-head tiebreaker thanks to an 85-58 win over Arizona at home on Feb. 4.
Last week Brooks averaged 18 points on 52 percent shooting while leading the Ducks to a sweep of California and Stanford in two games that were much closer than they should have been.
During the team's 68-65 win Wednesday at California, Brooks had a team-high 22 points, including a game-winning three pointer with two-tenths of a second remaining. He scored seven of his points in the final three minutes of the game.
Brooks scored 14 points with four assists during UO's 75-73 win at Stanford (14-14, 6-10), on Saturday.
The Ducks, a No. 1 seed in last year's NCAA Tournament after claiming both the regular season and tournament championships, have a chance to do the same this year, and that's thanks mostly to the play of Brooks, who overcame two foot injuries to get UO into this position.
Statistically, his numbers don't jump off of the stats sheets as much as his play. Brooks' 15.6 points per game ranks 10th in the conference. He is shooting 51.7 percent from the field (15th) and 42.3 percent from three-point range (6th). His 2.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game, however, certainly aren't impressive.
Last year, Utah forward/center Jakob Poeltl, now in the NBA with the Toronto Raptors, received the Pac-12 player of the year award over Brooks after averaging 17.5 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Poeltl's numbers overshadowed Oregon's team success with Brooks as the lead player averaging 16.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists.
That shouldn't happen again even though there is some tough competition.
The two leading scorers in the conference are Washington freshman Markelle Fultz (23.2) and Arizona State senior Torian Graham (18.3). But their teams are under .500, so they shouldn't receive much consideration. Brooks would put up similar, if not better numbers on their teams.
Stanford forward Travis Reid has probably the best all-around numbers, averaging 17.7 points (third) and 8.8 rebounds (5th). But the Cardinal weren't a threat this season.
UCLA freshman forward T.J. Leaf (16.8 points and 8.7 rebounds) has been impressive but he will surely be overshadowed by UCLA freshman guard Lonzo Ball (15.8 points, conference-leading 7.6 assists and 6.2 rebounds).
In fact, the flashy and talented Ball, a sure high lottery pick should he decided to turn professional this summer, is the likely favorite. The No. 3 Bruins (26-3, 13-3) are a national title contender and Ball, two-time player of the week, is their leader. His all-around numbers, which includes 1.9 steals per game (second in the conference) can't be ignored.
That said, Brooks' impact can't be solely judged by statistics. He clearly has the ability to do more in all areas but hasn't needed to on a Ducks team that spreads the wealth around.
Plus, the injury factor can't be overlooked. Brooks, who missed his team's first three games before returning on a minutes restriction that lasted another eight games, has averaged just 23.2 minutes per contest while playing 25 minutes or less in 14 outings. Give him another 10 minutes of action per game and his scoring, based on shots per minute, would jump to around 20 points per night.
Ball, by comparison, has averaged 35 minutes per game.
The boost Brooks could need to overcome his statistical inferiority to other contenders could come from his two dramatic game-winning shots, the one at Cal and the three-point basket he made to defeat Ball and the Bruins, 89-87 at home on Dec. 28.
Without those two moments, the Ducks would not be one win away from earning at least a co-championship.
That fact, and Brooks' overcoming injuries to lead his team to a likely conference co-championship, make him the conference's player of the year.
We will find out next week if the conference's coaches agree.
TORONTO -- I think, on the whole, the Portland Trail Blazers were in a little over their heads Sunday night against the Toronto Raptors -- even though Toronto's all-star guard, Kyle Lowry, sat this one out with an injury.
And a little more than a week ago, with Lowry out, I'm not sure I would have said that. But the Raptors added Serge Ibaka at the trade deadline and he was a game-changer in the Raps' 112-106 win over Portland.
Ibaka scored 18 points, hitting 8 of his 15 shots, and added 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals. And, of course, he did his usual outstanding job at the defensive end. He scored nine points in a key time from the 6:02 mark to 3:28 to play, acting like a go-to offensive player.
"He's a great addition to their team," said Portland guard Damian Lillard, who led the Trail Blazers with 28 points. "He's a great addition on both ends of the floor -- protecting the paint, being able to show and being active on pick and rolls. Offensively, he can shoot the ball. You saw tonight he was able to get on the block and score, shooting fadeaways and jump hooks. He's a really good fit on their team."
No kidding. And you have to give Ibaka credit. As a 20-year-old rookie in the league in 2009 he ran from shots -- a timid offensive player who averaged only five attempts per game. But he steadily worked on his offense from the outside in, first becoming a good three-point shooter and now adding a medium and short-range game to his arsenal. He's packing an effective field goal percentage of .625 this season.
He's going to be a big asset in the playoffs, when the Raptors just might have a legitimate shot at the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Portland jumped to a 12-point lead in the first quarter but it slipped away rapidly. The Blazers led by three after the first period and trailed by one at the half. Still, they were down by just a bucket heading into the final quarter. And this is in spite of allowing a bewildering 21-2 Toronto run from the end of the first half to the first minute and a half of the third quarter.
"Teams are going to make runs but I thought we could have done a better job of stemming the tide a bit," said Portland Coach Terry Stotts. "It's disappointing to lose a game but I thought we competed well."
Maurice Harkless, who took a pass on talking to the media after the game, scored 18 points, hitting seven of nine shots. But at times the Trail Blazers had a lot of trouble finding another scorer. CJ McCollum hit just six of his 19 shots and Allen Crabbe two of six. Al-Farouq Aminu, back in action again, played 29:21 and had 13 points and eight rebounds.
"I thought we played hard, but we had that run in the second quarter where we went up double digits and let them go on a run," McCollum said. "At the start of the third quarter they went on another mini-run and I thought that was the difference in the game.
"We've just got to continue to stick with it."
Portland's new center, Jusuf Nurkic, had a rough night. He made just three of nine shots and got worked over pretty well by Toronto's Jonas Valanciunas, who made seven of eight shots. Worse than that, Nurkic took a shot in the mouth in the fourth quarter that resulted in something being dislodged in his mouth. At first it appeared he might have lost a couple of teeth but word came later that he had two crowns dislodged and subsequently repaired. He was not available for comment after the game.
DeMar DeRozan led all scorers with 33 points -- 15 of them at the foul line, where he seems to live. This man gets calls the way Jordan used to get them -- whether they are actually fouls or not.
The Trail Blazers moved on to Detroit, where they conclude the road trip with a Tuesday game against the Pistons.
TORONTO -- The Portland Trail Blazers led by as many as 12 points in the second quarter and stayed close most of the way Sunday night but the Toronto Raptors pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 112-106 win.
Portland got 28 points from Damian Lillard and 18 from Maurice Harkless but got little help from others in this game. Harkless made seven of his nine shots and Lillard hit 10 of 20 but couldn't find any scoring from anyone else.
The Raptors rattled off a 15-2 run to end the first half and then scored the first six points of the third quarter but Portland fought back in the third and trailed by only two heading into the final period.
Portland center Jusuf Nurkic appeared to lose a couple of teeth, or a bridge, in a collision near the basket during the fourth quarter but he continued to play.
DeMar DeRozan scored 33 to lead Toronto. Al-Farouq Aminu returned to action for Portland, playing 30 minutes and scoring 13 points.
Portland moves on to Detroit to end this three-game road trip with a Tuesday-night game against the Pistons.
The Portland Trail Blazers continue its three-game road trip with game number two on Sunday in Toronto.
Al-Farouq Aminu (left knee) made is return to the court, but Blazers head coach Terry Stotts decided to keep Aminu in a reserve role.
Midway through the first quarter, the Blazers were down 16-15.
To end the first quarter, the Trail Blazers held a 28-25 lead behind Maurice Harkless’ nine points after Harkless went 3-of-3 from the floor. As a team, Portland shot 47.4% in the first quarter, while Toronto ended up shooting 45% from the field.
In the first half of his return, Aminu played 16 minutes and scored 11 points. Aminu also pulled down six rebounds in the first half.
The Ratpors ended the first half on 15-2 run to get back in the game.
At the break, Toronto is up 53-52. The Blazers shot 43.2% from the floor. The Raptors shot 52.6% for the half.
Top performers of the first half:
Points: Al-Farouq Aminu, 11
Rebounds: Al-Farouq Aminu, 6
Assist: Damian Lillard, 4
Points: DeMar Derozan, 16
Rebounds: Serge Ibaka, 4
Assist: Cory Joseph, 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.
The Portland Trail Blazers (24-22) and Toronto Raptors (34-24) tip-off at 3:00pm on Sunday afternoon and you can catch all the action between Portland and Toronto on CSN.
The Trail Blazers are coming off a 112-103 comeback win over the Orlando Magic on Thursday night. In the win, Damian Lillard scored 17 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.
As for the Raptors, Toronto beat the Boston Celtics on Friday night, 107-97. The Raptors shot 49.4% from the field for the game. Toronto’s point guard Kyle Lowry has been dealing with a wrist injury and did miss Friday’s game.
In the first meeting between the Blazers and Raptors, Toronto won, 95-91 back on December 26th. In the loss for Portland, CJ McCollum scored 29 points and had seven assists. Lillard did not play in the last meeting vs. the Raptors because of an ankle injury.
Toronto is now 20-10 at home this season.
The Trail Blazers have listed Al-Farouq Aminu (left knee) has probable for Sunday’s game.
We will set the stage for Sunday’s game between the Trail Blazers and Raptors with an all-new Rip City Live starting at 2:00pm.
And if you can’t get to a TV, you can check out The Scoop Pregame Show streaming live on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer at 3:00pm at Facebook.com/CSNNW.
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto Canada
Television: CSN, 3:00pm
CSN Programming: Rip City Live (2:00pm), Talkin' Ball (Immediately after the Blazers postgame show)
Live streaming: The Scoop Pregame Show streams at 2:00pm at Facebook.com/CSNNW. The Scoop Postgame Show will stream immediately after the game at Facebook.com/CSNNW
Radio: Rip City Radio 620
How Oregon won: It wasn't pretty, and UO has some work to do, but No. 6 Oregon (26-4, 15-2 Pac-12) escaped Stanford (14-14, 6-10 Pac-12) with a 75-73 win Saturday afternoon.
For just the second time since 1976, the Ducks swept the Bay Area schools (California and Stanford).
First off, the good: Four of Oregon's starters finished in double digits. Freshman guard Payton Pritchard finished with 13 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Sophomore guard Tyler Dorsey, who got off to a hot start but a quiet second half, finished with 15 points and a critical five-for-six from the free-throw line. Junior forward Dillon Brooks finished with 14 points and led the Ducks with four assists. Junior forward Jordan Bell finished with 13 points and the tip-in that gave the Ducks a 75-73 lead with just nine seconds left.
The Ducks won the turnover battle eight to 15 but more impressively they capitalized on those 15 Cardinal turnovers with 19 points.
The Bad: Oregon lost the rebounding battle, badly. Stanford finished with 35 team rebounds, 14 alone from forward Reid Travis. Of those team rebounds, 15 were offensive and 22 were defensive rebounds. Tavis got excellent position down low by using his 6-foot-8, 245-pound body to his advantage. UO senior forward Chris Boucher and Bell got caught several times in the air on Travis' pump-fakes. The move drew a foul on Boucher who was forced to head to the bench early with three fouls in the first half.
The Ugly: The Ducks struggled from the free throw line going 10 of 20. Both teams were in foul trouble early which lead to lots of trips to the free throw line. Brooks went zero-for-two, Boucher went 2 of 6, and Pritchard 1 of 3.
What it means: The Ducks broke the Bay Area curse by sweeping the Bay Area schools for just the second time since 1976. Oregon had to face two good home teams, whom they struggled against historically, and had to face the emotional highs of senior night as well. On the plus side, facing and beating two tough road teams at the tail end of their season can only benefit the Ducks moving forward.
Key sequence: Oregon went with its starters down the stretch: Pritchard, Ennis, Dorsey, Brooks, and Bell. Bell came up clutch in the final last possession of the game grabbing a defensive rebound to reset the shot clock and cause more time to come off the game clock. With the shot clock winding down, Ennis shot a three-pointer that was tipped, but Pritchard was there to throw it back up desperately trying to just hit the rim, which it idd. Bell was there to then clean it up, frantically, and got a lucky tip in to put the Ducks up 75-73 with nine seconds remaining.
Of course, on Stanford's next possession everyone knew the ball would find Travis at the top of the key. Travis drove to his left but ran into good defense from Bell and Brooks helping down low off his player. Travis lost control and the ball as time expired for a Ducks win.
High flying Ducks: Dorsey found his stroke early and finished the first half leading Oregon with 13 points. He got quiet in the second half and finished the game with just 15 points on four-of-eight shooting.
Fowl play: Boucher struggled against a stronger Reid Travis and picked up three fouls in the first half. He finished with four. Brooks finished with three fouls along with junior guard Casey Benson.
Up next: Oregon comes home but hit the road 45 minutes north to face the Oregon State Beavers (5-25, 1-16 Pac-12) in the second chapter of the Civil War this season on Saturday.
I usually pay very little attention to Kevin Garnett's bewildering segments during TNT's Thursday night NBA broadcasts. It's usually just a couple of washed-up players sitting there telling each other how good they used to be. It's a waste of time that I can't believe TNT finds them more entertaining than a couple of minutes of Charles Barkley talking about anything.
But I recently saw a clip of Garnett and Rasheed Wallace talking about the 2000 Trail Blazers-Lakers Western Conference finals Game 7 and the "Jail Blazers" Era. And for those who weren't around at that time, I can't help but attempt to set the record straight about a few things they discussed:
And let me say I agree with Wallace that Portland should have won that series and advanced to an NBA Finals berth against overmatched Indiana. It was a mystifying fourth quarter collapse in the seventh game by Portland that changed the course of the franchise in a big way.
But Wallace, whose image in Portland seems to improve with every year he's retired, misstated a few things about that final game.
The first thing is, he blamed Coach Mike Dunleavy for calling a timeout that he believes stopped his team's momentum and allowed the Lakers to make a comeback. I would say, though, the Trail Blazer players -- and Wallace in particular -- had much more to do with Portland's loss than did the coach. The Blazers had a 73-58 lead in the fourth quarter before being outscored 31-11 to end the game with a four-point loss.
Down the stretch of a magnificent upset of a loaded Laker team that featured Kobe and Shaq, the Trail Blazer players choked. They tightened up to the point they couldn't seem to get their shots to the rim. Wallace himself was awful in the fourth quarter, which wasn't surprising. The talented power forward could be spectacular for much of a game and then run from key shots in fourth quarters. He eventually found a home in Detroit, where there were other players more than willing to take the pressure shots.
And the other thing that happened in this game is that Portland could not buy a call from the referees once the Lakers got their machine revved up. This game has become one of those controversial events that people point to as possible "fixed" games down through the years in the NBA. Scottie Pippen and Arvydas Sabonis fouled out of this one, with Sabonis continually getting blocking calls when he had solid position on Shaq as the latter bulled his way to the basket.
A check of the box score shows Los Angeles getting 21 more free throws than Portland and the fouls put a lot of pressure on Portland in the fourth quarter.
But that was a loss and it will always be that way. What I found in the video clip more disturbing was Wallace downplaying the whole Jail Blazers thing, insinuating that the players were being pilloried by the media for little things like parking in handicapped spots or speeding and that the local media was just out to make a name for itself in a small market.
That's a steaming pile of stink, Rasheed.
I'm not going to go into the full list of transgressions by the players on this team but here are just a few I remember off hand:
- Ruben Patterson -- a registered sex offender who was arrested for felony domestic abuse against his wife.
- Zach Randolph -- Once punched Patterson's eye socket out in practice, had a DUI and was the leader of the infamous "hoops family" that was under suspicion for all kinds of local mischief,
- Qyntel Woods -- Arrested for speeding and tried to use his basketball card as ID. A marijuana charge and an arrest for animal abuse because of his involvement with a dog-fighting group.
- Shawn Kemp -- Departed the team to enter drug rehab during a season.
- Bonzi Wells -- A couple of episodes of spitting on opposing players and a stated disregard for the team's fans.
- Rasheed Wallace -- World records for technical fouls, throwing a towel in anger at Arvydas Sabonis in front of a packed house in the Rose Garden and once threatened referee Tim Donaghy in a loading dock incident after a game.
- JR Rider -- Threatened media many times, couldn't get along with his coaches and once insinuated that people of color were being hanged from trees just a few miles outside of town.
- Damon Stoudamire -- A couple of marijuana charges, one of them famously at an airport metal detector with weed wrapped in foil.
Wallace, of course, laughed it all off with Garnett. "There were some mishaps in there," he admitted. "We were the only show in town. The only professional sports show in town. The only professional sports show between Seattle, at the time, and LA."
Hmmm. I guess he must have forgotten about all those "professional sports shows" in San Francisco and Oakland. But this Wallace remark was a classic:
"The only thing that could blow up and make local writers big was to go ahead and report everything, like if you had a speeding ticket or parked in a handicapped spot..."
As one of those writers I can tell you that we were just as sick of writing about those "mishaps" as they were sick about reading about them. But they were news and these guys were relentless with their trouble. And the amazing thing about Portland as a basketball town was as long as the team was winning, virtually nobody cared what the players did. We were constantly criticized by fans for writing "negative stuff" about their heroes, who got standing ovation after standing ovation from their adoring fans.
Until they started losing.
And let me tell you, as soon as that team started losing (Bob Whitsitt just couldn't keep his hands off the roster -- he kept tinkering until he moved Jermaine O'Neal to Indiana for Dale Davis and that was a monster mistake that probably cost him his job) the fans turned on the team very quickly. Winning is the ultimate perfume. And when this team stopped winning and continued its misbehavior, the fans revolted about the offensive aroma.
And I'm sorry, any attempt to portray that group of players as a sympathetic bunch is very misguided.
And if you were here and paid attention, you know what I'm talking about.
Coming off quite the scary win at California last Wednesday, the No. 6 Oregon Ducks (25-4, 14-2 Pac-12) will need to refocus on a Stanford Cardinal (14-13, 6-9 Pac-12) team looking for revenge at 1:05 p.m. Saturday in Stanford, CA.
In their last meeting, the Ducks rolled the Cardinal 69-52 in Eugene. However, Stanford was missing a key element to both their offense and defense: junior forward Reid Travis who was out due to a shoulder injury at the time. Travis is currently averaging 16.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. This is a different team behind Travis.
Last Friday, the Cardinal defeated the Pac-12 fourth ranked Cal Golden Bears 73-68 at home to add to their 11-4 home record. Stanford lost its first four home games but since then have protected Maples Pavilion Stadium perfectly.
The Ducks can’t rely on another comeback win lead by their junior forward leader Dillon Brooks. The Canadian-trio of Brooks, senior forward Chris Boucher, and senior guard Dylan Ennis have been electric in the last two games and will be tested once again on Saturday. The trio combined for 53 of the team’s 68 total points vs. California.
A quick look at the game:
No. 6 Oregon at Stanford
Where: Maples Pavilion, Stanford, CA
When: 1:05 p.m.
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Records: Ducks (25-4, 14-2 Pac-12), Cardinal (13-13, 6-9 Pac-12).
Last outings: Dillon Brooks saved the day for the Ducks in a comeback win capped with a game-winning three-pointer to beat Cal 68-65 in Berkeley on Wednesday. Stanford handed Oregon State another loss and defeated the Beavers 79-66 at home last Wednesday.
Coaches: UO's Dana Altman (179-68 at Oregon, 589-311 Division I). Stanford’s Jerod Haase (14-13 at Stanford, 94-66 overall).
Key Ducks: G Tyler Dorsey, 6-4, So., (12.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg), G Dylan Ennis, 6-2, Sr., (11.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg), G Payton Pritchard, 6-2, Fr., (7.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg), F Jordan Bell, 6-9, Jr., (10.7 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.1 bpg), F Dillon Brooks, 6-7, Jr., (15.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg, .432 3PT%), F Chris Boucher, 6-10, Sr., (12.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.7 bpg).
Key Cardinal: G Marcus Allen, 6-3, Sr., (10.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg), G Marcus Sheffield, 6-5, So., (6.7 ppg, 1.7 rpg), F Reid Travis, 6-8, Jr., (16.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg), G/F Dorian Pickens, 6-5, Jr., (12.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg).
Notes: Jordan Bell is the only player in the Pac-12 ranked in the top 10 in rebounds (9th), blocks (4th) and steals (8th). He is also second in the league in fi eld goal percentage (.619)…Wednesday at Cal, Dana Altman tied Steve Belko (1956-71) for fourth in UO career coaching victories at Oregon with 179. He is one win back of W.J. Reinhart (180/1923-35) for third….The Ducks lead the nation at 6.9 blocks per game, and also lead the nation in total blocks with 199.