Turnovers Hurt Trail Blazers In Loss To Wizards

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
2 years ago

The Portland Trail Blazers started a four-game road trip off with a 100-90 loss to the Washington Wizards Monday night at the Verizon Center.

Portland has now lost their last four road games.

“We played great on the road early in the season,” said Damian Lillard. “We played great at home also, but now teams have done their scouting, they’re playing us a little bit harder because of our success so far. We’ve just got to stick with it. We’ve got confidence in ourselves and we know what makes us successful. We’ve just got to stay with it and understand that rough patches are a part of this league.”

Things started out well enough for the road team. Even though they finished the first quarter trailing 32-29, they shot 62 percent from the field, had nine assists on 13 made baskets, scored 16 points in the paint and turned the ball over just three times.

It was more of the same in the second quarter, with both teams answering opponent runs with runs of their own. Portland went on a 12-0 run to take a 48-43 lead with 4:24 to play in the first half, the Wizards countered with a 9-0 run to end the half and take a 56-55 lead into the halftime intermission. Portland shot 60 percent in the quarter and outrebounded the Wizards 13-6.

But the third quarter would once again be Portland’s undoing, as was the case in recent losses to the Grizzlies and Wizards.

“It was two different halves,” said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. “Both teams had the offensive going in the first half. Second half, defenses tightened up. Our turnovers in the third quarter obviously hurt us, gave them momentum.”

The Trail Blazers shot just 35 percent and turned the ball over seven times in the third after doing a nice job in both categories in the first half.

“We didn’t make a lot of shots in the second half and they did a great job offensively getting to things they wanted to get to,” said Lillard. “But I think it came down to us not making shots. When you aren’t having a great night defensively you’ve got to find a way to at least make shots. When you are making shots, you’ve got to find a way to get it done defensively, especially on the road.”

Missing shots alone might not have been enough to sink the Trail Blazers, but the Wizards turning the ball over just once in the third while grabbing four offensive rebounds, all of which were converted to points, was too much to overcome. The Trail Blazers would shoot 35 percent in the third quarter and trailed 82-69, all but sealing their fate on the road.

“We’re getting good looks, we just haven’t been shooting the ball as well as we were early in the season,” said Lillard. “We’re confident that we’ll get back to it but in those third quarters before we were coming out hot and making shots. Now we’re missing some shots and the other teams are making shots, so that makes it tougher, especially when, like tonight, we had all those turnovers and they turned it over six times. That makes everything that much harder.”

Portland would eventually cut the lead to six with 1:12 to play, but never really threatened the Wizards, who turned 16 turnovers into 17 points.

“We aren’t a team that forces a lot of turnovers to begin with, but if they’re going to have six turnovers when we can’t turn it over as many times as we did,” said Lillard. “That really allowed them to get out and get some fastbreak points, kind of get themselves energized and get the crowd into it. When they have six turnovers we can’t have however many we had.”

The Trail Blazers were led by Lillard, who shot eight of 19 from the field to finish with 25 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

LaMarcus Aldridge handed out a season-high six assists to go along with 20 points and ten rebounds.

Nicolas Batum had 18 points, four rebounds and three assists in the losing effort, but turned the ball over a game-high five times. Robin Lopez finished one rebound short of a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds in 35 minutes.

The Wizards were led by John Wall with 22 points, five assists and five rebounds. Trevor Ariza went four of seven from the three-point line and finished with 20 points in 39 minutes.

Washington got a boost off the bench from Kevin Seraphin, who scored 19 points on 10 shots in just 23 minutes.

“The x-factor was Seraphin,” said Stotts. “Seraphin had a terrific game. He did a little bit of everything; he made jump shots, he made postups, he drew fouls. That kind of put us in a bind for a while.”

Seraphin’s scoring outburst was particularly tough to overcome with Portland’s bench scoring just six points combined on three of 14 shooting.

“The bench, they need to take advantage of the opportunities that are there, but it’s a team thing,” said Stotts. When their shots are there, hopefully they’ll contribute. We don’t have go-to guys coming off the bench, they’ve got to just take advantage of the opportunities while they’re there. ”

The Blazers are now 5-5 in their last ten games, though they still sit in third place in the Western Conference standing.

“It’s been up and down,” said Aldridge. “We’ve definitely got to be more consistent offensively and defensively. I thought tonight we had moments where we were good on both sides of the ball, and then we had moments where we just played bad.”

Next up, the Trail Blazers have a day off before facing the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:30 PM.

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Podcast: The Rip City Report, Finalized Roster Edition

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
1 day ago

Greetings podcast enthusiasts. Between CJ McCollum getting an extension and Moe Harkless signing a new deal, Portland’s roster for the start of the 2016-17 regular season is all but finalized. So it seemed like a good time to hit the studio with Joe Freeman of The Oregonian/OregonLive.com to record yet another edition of the Rip City Report podcast, which you can listen to below…

On this edition, we discuss the near-max extension for McCollum and the four-year, roughly $40 million contract for Harkless, which directions Terry Stotts might go in terms of starting lineups and minutes allocations, the news that both Al-Farouq Aminu and Festus Ezeli will forego playing for Nigeria at the 2016 Summer Olympics, give a quick rundown of the preseason schedule and answer your Twitter-submitted questions.

You can find the Rip City Report on SoundcloudiTunes and Stitcher. Thanks as always for listening.

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VIDEO: McCollum Brothers Talk Tournament, Who’s Mom’s Favorite on ESPN

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
1 day ago

Last weekend, Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum and his older brother, Errick, were guests on ESPN’s SportsCenter to discuss, amongst other things, The Basketball Tournament, which is billed as a “open application, 5-on-5, single-elimination, winner-take-all basketball tournament” in which the winning team takes home $2 million in prize money. Errick’s team, Overseas Elite, won the tournament last year and are in the finals, which airs Tuesday at 4 PM Pacific on ESPN, again this year.

But the tournament wasn’t the only topic of conversation, as any time you get two brothers together, you’re contractually obligated to ask them which is mom’s favorite. One one had, CJ still lives with his mom, so you might assume he’s the got the No. 1 son ranking sewn up, but it sounds like Errick was the much better behaved child and mom’s tend to have long memories, so it sounds like it’s a bit of a tossup.

 

“CJ, he was a good kid,” said Errick, “he just liked to get into things. He was really physical. She couldn’t take him around any other kids or he would, like, get into little altercations with them because he just played too rough.”

Sounds about right.

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Stotts Talks Super Teams And Suits On The Doug Gottlieb Show

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
4 days ago

On Thursday, Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts was a guest on The Doug Gottlieb Show on CBS Sports Radio. Over the 15 minute conversation, Stotts discusses LeBron James saying he would have been his pick for 2016 NBA Coach of the Year, Kevin Durant signing as a free agent with the Golden State Warriors, the notion of “super teams” in the NBA, having confidence in your players and his participation in the Men’s Wearhouse National Suit Drive.

You can listen to the entire interview here, though I’m transcribed a portion which you can read below…

On LeBron James saying Stotts should have been Coach of the Year:
“To be honest, it felt pretty good. I have a lot of respect obviously for LeBron, what he does and what he’s done in his career, but for him to come out and say that, it made me feel good.”

On Cleveland winning the NBA Finals after being down 3-1 to Golden State:
“Obviously it was historical. A lot of things went into it, but when a team can do that and to win two games on the road being down 3-1, it’s really remarkable. It just put an end to a historical season as it was with Golden State and what they did during the regular season, the way they came back against Oklahoma City and then for Cleveland to do that, it was just remarkable. I thought it was a remarkable season to begin with and it finished that way.”

On Kevin Durant signing with the Warriors:
“My first reaction was he earned the right to be a free agent. I know a lot of thought went into it and it wasn’t a decision that he took lightly. I know he took a lot of criticism for making that decision but I think he earned that right to make whatever decision he felt was best for him. I think it’s going to be interesting with Golden State. Obviously defending them is going to be a challenge because — we talked about versatility — they were already an extremely talented offensive team and he’s going to make them better. They’re going to be a different team than they were last year, they’re not going to have the big guys. When you lose Festus Ezeli, who is on our team now, and Andre Bogut and Maurice Speights, the look of their frontline is going to be different. But I think they could be just as good just because of what they’ll be able to do at the offensive end.”

His thoughts on “super teams” in the NBA:
“You know, I don’t know if it’s good or bad for the league. I’ve just kind of accepted that that’s the way things are. I know people have made comparisons when LeBron went to Miami and that was supposedly the first super team and they won two championships, but it’s not like there was a five year, seven year run dynasty. When you get out on the court, you still have to play the games. Obviously Golden State is going to be very good, but you’ve got to play an 82-game season, you’ve got to go through four series to win a championship. I think the league does thrive on star power, whether it’s star power within a team or having a team be a star. I don’t know, I think the league is doing extremely well, I think it’s extremely popular. I think this is just another story that people are going to be interested in.”

On having confidence in shooters like Allen Crabbe and CJ McCollum:
“I’m a big believer in confidence when shooting. It probably goes back to my freshman year in college when I didn’t know whether to shoot or (laughs) you know the phrase. But anyway, I’m a big believer in confidence and Allen and CJ are two different categories. CJ struggled with injuries his first two years and was trying to get incorporated into a roster that was winning 50 games and never really got into a rhythm. I think shooting is about rhythm and confidence. Same thing for AC, really, is that he did have opportunities to play in his first two years but he was playing behind Wes Matthews and Nic Batum and his opportunities on the court were limited. When you’re looking over your shoulder and trying not to make mistakes and putting pressure on (yourself) to make a shot, it’s difficult. I really give it to CJ and Allen, they were ready for this year and they were prepared for it, the opportunity was going to be there. But I think that a lot of players — and you know, you played — is that if the coach trusts me, I’m going to play better. Whether I trusted them or not their first two years, certainly their opportunity was there and I trusted them with the role that they were going to have.”

On his participation in the Men’s Wearhouse National Suit Drive:
“Every year what I do is I go through the closet and knowing that I’m going to get some suits in the fall, I go through and weed out the older ones. There’s certain ones that I do kind of have a special place in my heart for them, but other than that, I just take some of the older suits and the Men’s Wearhouse has a great program with the suit drive to give away suits to people who can use them. I’m kind of a bigger guy so hopefully there’s some big guys out there who are able to take advantage of them.”

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