Blazers Get First Preseason Victory In Boise Against Jazz

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
3 years ago

The Portland Trail Blazers, after starting the preseason 0-2 at the Moda Center, got their first win of the preseason with a 96-86 result against the Utah Jazz in front of a sellout crowd at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, ID.

The Trail Blazers were led by exemplary and efficient performances by Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge. Lillard finished the night with 23 points on eight-of-15 shooting, five assists and a rebound in 29 minutes. He also held Jazz rookie Trey Burke to seven points on three-of-ten shooting to easily win the point guard matchup for the Trail Blazers, who were the designated home team.

“I felt like, playing against (Burke), I had to set the tone,” said Lillard. “First point guard taken and he’s kind of in a similar situation to what I was coming in, gonna play a lot of minutes and being the starting point guard on an NBA team. When I came in there was guys that was feeling like they needed to show me something and set the tone on me when they played against me because it was my first year and I was the summer league MVP and there was all this hype. Same goes for him. And the next season, the same will go for whoever the next guy is.”

As dominant as Lillard was, Aldridge might have been better. The two-time All-Star had his way with Utah’s bigs, scoring 20 points on eight-of-nine shooting while pulling down eight rebounds in just 18 minutes.

“It was just one of those night where I was in a really good rhythm,” said Aldridge. “I had a really good warmup today and I know I was going to (play) limited minutes, so got really loose pregame. It just carried over. I think every guy on the team is working hard right now. I think our rhythm is going to come by playing together more.”

Aldridge made a point of praising second-year power forward Joel Freeland, saying Freeland’s improvement defensively in the post has made his job much easier.

“I’m not even worried about my game; I’m excited about what Joel Freeland did tonight, all of those blocks and all of those contests at the rim,” said Aldridge. “That’s big-time for me. I feel like if he can continue to do that all year, he’s going to make our team better. I keep telling him about it. It’s really, really good for us. I think he had at least four or five of those where he went up and either blocked it or made the guy miss and I think that’s big because last year, we were really bad at that.”

Wesley Matthews and Will Barton, starting in place of Nicolas Batum (concussion), finished with eight points apiece. Robin Lopez added seven points and nine rebounds. Mo Williams pitched in with 11 points and seven assists off the bench.

Portland held Utah to 38 percent shooting from the field and outscored the Jazz in the paint 38-22. Turnovers were once again an issue for the Blazers with 23 giveaways on the night, but 10 blocks and winning the rebounding battle 49-38 more than made up for the rash of miscues.

Next up, the Trail Blazers travel to Salt Lake for a rubber match at Energy Solutions Arena on Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 PM on 620 AM.

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

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
4 days 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
4 days 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
7 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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