Aldridge, Lillard Leave All-Star Weekend Ready For Stretch Run

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
2 years ago

LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard became the first Trail Blazers since 1994 to play alongside each other as Western Conference All-Stars, though they ended up on the losing side of a 163-155 result Saturday night at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.

“Just another opportunity to rub elbows with the elite players in the league, have a chance to get to know these guys better,” said Aldridge of the experiance. “Having Dame here, watching him do every event, I’m pretty sure he’s going to sleep well tomorrow.”

Aldridge was the first Trail Blazer to get in the game, checking in for Blake Griffin at the 1:12 mark of the first quarter. Aldridge would go on to play 13 minutes, finishing with four points on two of nine shooting and five rebounds, numbers which were better than either of two previous all-star appearances.

“It was fun,” said Aldridge. “I definitely had my opportunity to score. Didn’t make any shots but I think I played more minutes … Fourteen minutes, I think that’s an All-Star Game high for me. It was fun. The whole weekend was fun. I had fun with the activities and the things for the fans. A good weekend.”

Lillard got the typical first time All-Star treatment, playing just nine minutes, the second-fewest of any player on either roster. But considering he became the first player in NBA history to compete in five events at All-Star Weekend, playing limited minutes, especially in what could be the first of many All-Star appearances, hardly mattered.

“I understand it’s a seniority thing,” said Lillard. “You’ve got guys that are producing at the same level that I am for my team and they’ve been here five times already. They’re going to be on the floor. That’s a respect thing and that’s the way it should be. If I’m ever a five-time All-Star, four-time All-Star and a first-time All-Star comes in and plays more minutes than me or is finishing the game over me,

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I’m not going to like that. I respect it.”

Lillard finished with nine points in the losing effort, all of which came on three-point shots to become the first Trail Blazer to make three three-pointers in an All-Star game.

“The weekend was a great experience for me,” said Lillard. “It was a lot, obviously. I had a lot of appearances and media and fans and pictures and autographs, but it was all worth it. It was what I signed up for, it was a great experience for me. I thought playing in this game today, that’s the ultimate goal, to be in the All-Star Game and playing with LeBron James and Kevin Durant and Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. I enjoyed myself.”

Lillard noted that playing alongside the best in the NBA was a boost to his confidence, one he hopes with have a positive effect on his play when the Trail Blazers return to the court on Wednesday.

“Just being around these guys, I’m already feeling more confident,” said Lillard. “My confidence was high before and now I’m taking more confidence from this just because now I feel like I’m one of them, I’m one of those guys. Can’t wait to take that attitude back to my team.”

Aldridge and Lillard now return to Portland to prepare for the stretch run of the season, which begins with a schedule that features eight of the next nine games at home.

“Now is the sprint to the end,” said Aldridge. “We’ve taken care of business early as far as putting ourselves in a really good position. Now we have to finish it off.”

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VIDEO: Lillard Cuts Through Crowded Street Market In New Adidas Ad

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
11 hours ago

It’s summer time in Portland (or at least, it’s supposed to be), which means there’s no lack of street fairs, farmers markets, beerfests and art walks to attend. Anyone who frequents such events knows how hard it can be to get from Point A to Point B when there’s thousands of people in between.

But Damian Lillard has you covered. In a new adidas short entitled “Creating Clutch,” the 6-3 point guard out of Weber State traverses a busy street market in China (wearing the “PDX Carpet” colorway of the D Lillard 2, if I’m not mistaken) using an array of moves that you can incorporate into your own crowd-surfing…

Here’s what the folks at adidas have to say about the spot…

In “Creating Clutch,” Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard shows us there is no such thing as downtime if you want to be one of the best clutch players in the NBA. A crowded street market in China during his recent Summer tour became his court, the ultimate opportunity to test his creativity and put his skills to the test.

The spot is one of three released by adidas as a part of the “Here To Create” series, which includes football players chasing rabbits through the Everglades and some kind of soccer/motocross amalgam.

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Podcast: Rip City Report, Post Free Agency Edition

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
12 hours ago

With Portland’s foray into free agency now complete, Joe Freeman, he of The Oregonian/OregonLive.com, and I, Casey Holdahl of ForwardCenter.net/TrailBlazers.com, hit the Moda Center studio to record another edition of the Rip City Report podcast, which you can listen to below…

In this almost all Twitter-submitted questions edition, we discuss the signings of Evan Turner, Festus Ezeli and Meyers Leonard, the decision to match the offer the Brooklyn Nets extended to Allen Crabbe, how the additions and returns could change lineups going forward and the notion that the Trail Blazers need to make a trade. There’s also some hot Pokemon Go and “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” talk to start the show, so you might want prepare yourself to fast-forward through the first few minutes.

You can find the Rip City Report on SoundcloudiTunes and Stitcher. And a reminder that the offseason is a great time to leave a review on iTunes!

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Trail Blazers Match Four-Year Offer For Allen Crabbe

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
3 days ago

UPDATE: The team has officially announced that they have matched the Nets’ offer sheet to Allen Crabbe, though a “formal announcement” and Crabbe actually signing the contract will not occur until later in the week.

ORIGINAL POST

After finishing up their pursuit of new free agents, the Trail Blazers have wasted little time in turning their attention to the free agents on their own roster. After reportedly signing restricted free agent power forward Meyers Leonard to a four-year deal, the Trail Blazers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, have matched the four-year, $75 million offer sheet the Brooklyn Nets tendered to third-year guard/forward Allen Crabbe, ensuring that the former Cal Bear will be back in Portland next season…


As is often the case when it comes to restricted free agents, the Nets offer to Crabbe, who has averaged 7.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game through three season, was considerably larger than many assumed the 6-6 wing would receive in an effort to discourage the Trail Blazers from matching. And after the Trail Blazers signed free agent guard/forward Evan Turner to a four-year deal, some assumed that combined with the size of the Nets offer might result in Trail Blazers letting Crabbe walk.

But that would not be the case. Crabbe has been a favorite of the front office and coaching staff since the team acquired former Pac-12 Player of the Year via trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2012 Draft. And though he played sparingly in his first two seasons, he saw his minutes increase dramatically in 2015-16, as he appeared in 81 games and responded with averages of 10.8 points on 44 percent shooting and 39 percent shooting from three, 2.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists while serving as one of the team’s best perimeter defenders.

There were rumors that outside of the money and years, Crabbe, who has typically come off the bench for the Trail Blazers, was intrigued by the opportunity to start and play a larger role with the Nets. But for his part, Crabbe seemed more than satisfied that he would be returning to Portland…

With Crabbe now signed, forward Maurice Harkless is the last Blazer still available on the free agent market. Like Crabbe, Harkless is a restricted free agent, which gives the Trail Blazers the right to match any offer he receives from another team. It is also possible for the Trail Blazers to sign Harkless even if he doesn’t receive an offer sheet from another team, as they have reportedly did Sunday with restricted free agent power forward Meyers Leonard.

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