The Portland Trail Blazers recently completed a renovation of their practice facility in Tualatin, making upgrades and additions to various elements of the building. Originally constructed in 1998, the facility serves primarily as the team’s practice and training facility and is the home of the basketball operations staff.
“Look, it’s become an arm’s race around the league,” said Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey. “This used to be a unique building. It was one of the first in the league that had its own practice facility and now it’s common place. Now you have guys coming from college situations where they have $25, $30 million practice facilities.Hey, right down the road there’s one for $65 million. When they set that as the bar for how they’re treated and what they have access to in college, then you’ve got to have the same resources in the NBA.”
The new additions, which include a new video editing suite, new viewing theatre for players and coaches, massage room, additional weight room space in the weight room, a barber shop and a new dining room, bring the size of the facility to 38,618 square feet.
“We began construction in April to a lot of the interior spaces in the building, and in July, started the additions,” said Chris Oxley, the vice president and general manager of the Rose Quarter and Moda Center. “So it’s a combination of interior work as well as additions to the space.”
Upgrades to existing spaces at the facility include renovated locker rooms and pool/spa accommodations.
Some specifics on a few of the more interesting renovations.
The team had four goals in redesigning the locker room at the practice facility, which takes up 805 square feet: to make it more durable, more usable, more significant and more unique to the Blazers. These goals were accomplished by repainting the room to “brighten and open up the space” and by using team branding, such as the pinwheel logo, to “give the space definition as the Blazers’ own.” Built-in space for laundry and equipment were also added to reduce clutter.
Spa Therapy Area
The practice facility already had a pool area used primarily for injury rehabilitation, but when contemplating the remodel, the team set a goal of turning the area into “a players spa retreat” to create a space that “fosters relaxation and tranquility and space where players can unwind.”
To accomplish this, the cinder block wall was replaced in the 1,350 square foot space with white tile and accents with Blazers’ branding were added to “provide a sophisticated connection for the players.” Stone countertops and modern lighting were also installed and shower stalls were enlarged to “provide for a more private showering experience.”
The Trail Blazers spend plenty hours over the last few years on the training tables receiving physical therapy. So when it was time to remodel, the team wanted the area to feel “clean, medical and clinical, yet still needing to be warm, inviting and current.”
To achieve these goals, the remodel relocated the office and exam spaces to create a more open useful space in which to work, dded office space so all staff had a private space to meet and talk with players and integrated warm, natural toned finishes that are durable, easily cleaned and highly functional.
The remodeled practice facility no longer has a players lounge, per se, as the team realized that, aside from having a place to eat, the players didn’t really “lounge” there. So that space was converted into a space that “would be used by the players; as space where they feel comfortable hanging out and socializing, as well as eating well-balanced, nutritious meals.” The result is the new dining area that could be mistaken for a “home dining room, a neighborhood cafe, a local sports bar or a luxury hotel sitting room, all rolled into one.”
The new design features a full height wall of windows that looks outside, a “grab-and-go” station stocked with healthy snacks, large big screen TVs, custom made tables and chairs, a fireplace and a buffet counter and omelet station.
“This has really become the showpiece,” said Olshey of the dining area. “I think this probably has a bigger impact on our roster — players and coaches and relationships and chemistry and bonding — than any other area in the building because every morning you come in guys are sitting together like a family, they’re eating breakfast together, they’re sharing time together. After practice guys are lingering, they’re hanging around longer, whether they’re getting treatment, they wonder in here and there are always games on. The lounge concept, which we couldn’t accomplish with actually having a lounge, we’ve actually been accomplishing by having a dining room.”
The players have been getting haircuts and massages at the practice facility for years, but before the remodel, those functions were taking place in whatever area could be carved out of existing space. Now, there are dedicated rooms for a “barber shop” and massage.
The barber area is complete with a ac hair, mirrors, a television and wall graphics that feature iconography specific to Portland. The barber was installed after the team asked the players what amenities they would like to see included in the remodel.
“I know Wesley (Matthews) wanted a barber shop,” said Olshey. “It’s another thing that makes their life more convenient and it’s something they don’t have to worry about handling off site. So I know when were were talking about doing the renovation, that was some of the feedback that Wesley had an interest in. I think that’s worked out great because, again, it’s one more thing they can take off their plate that we can handle here for them.”
The massage area has two tables and a privacy curtain, which allows for players to enjoy their massage without feeling as though they’re laying out in the open.
Maybe the most impressive addition to the practice facility is the 1,298 square foot, 30-seat theater. Before, the team would
wheel out a television onto the court for film review. Now, the team has a dedicated theater which features a 90-inch flat-screen display and two 72 inch flat-screen display, a drop-down projector and projection screen, a full wall of whiteboard space, programmed lighting, sound and theater equipment, oversized seats
with custom Blazers embroidery that have direct access to power and data connections.
“A theater is a big thing right now because of the amount of film (review) that you have,” said Olshey.
The team also moved the video workroom to keep it within close proximity to the theater space. The remodeled space features four flatscreen televisions for multi-display viewing and multiple racks to house video and data equipment.
The Trail Blazers obviously had a weight room in the first iteration of the practice facility, but over time it was decided that the space needed for those activities needed to be expanded. After the remodel, 1,307 square feet of space was added to the existing 2,609 square foot weight room which served to give the “weight room the space it needed, create a separate space for the cardio equipment, and establish a new Stretch/Flex space that is better suited for plyometric training.” Other additions include flat panel televisions, a state-of-the-art sound system, a cinder block wall used for training with medicine balls and a compressed air system for use in state-of-the-art pneumatic resistance training equipment.
Installing multi-use, flat panel TV displays that can be used for TV viewing, as well as reader board information and training instructions;
Providing a state-of-the-art sound system throughout both the existing and the new addition spaces, with a user-friendly interface to allow players the opportunity to customize the music they listen to; Creating a solid CMU rebound training wall that can be used for medicine ball and upper body training routines; Hanging a custom, stainless steel ladder from the ceiling to allow for a variety of TRX routines to be used; and Installing a compressed air system with piping to new, state-of-the-art pneumatic resistance training equipment.
Of all the adjectives one could use to describe the 2015-16 Portland Trail Blazers, “resilient” might be the most applicable. Despite being the third-youngest team in the NBA this season, the Trail Blazers have been remarkably adept at bouncing back. Whether it was replacing four of five starters from the season before, enduring two losing streaks of at least five games or finishing the season by going 33-18 after starting the year 11-20 to make the postseason and finish fifth in the Western Conference, the Trail Blazers, under Terry Stotts’ steady hand, have shown a level of maturity with regard to the way they’ve dealt with disappointment that belies their relative youth and inexperience.
Which is good, because they’re going to need every last bit of fortitude they can muster to get over their fourth-quarter performance at Oracle Arena in their 110-99 loss to the Warriors in Game Two of the Western Conference semifinals. Despite leading by as much as 17 in the game and 11 in the fourth quarter, the Trail Blazers were outscored 34-12 in the final 12 minutes, resulting in an 11-point loss and a 2-0 series deficit.
“They’re not a young team, they’ve got a lot of guys that have been around, they’re very smart,” said Damian Lillard of the Warriors. “They see slippage and they go after it. If they see something that they can take advantage of, they take advantage of it. In that last five minutes (of Game Two), we just let our foot off the gas a little bit. I don’t know if it was fatigue mentally but we had some mental mistakes. One or two plays got them going, they got into it and the better they played offensively, they just got sharper defensively. That hurt us.”
While every loss stings, Portland’s loss in Game Two seemed to be more painful than most, for multiple reasons. First, the Warriors have lost at Oracle Arena just twice during the regular season, setting the NBA record for most consecutive home victories in the process, making the unfulfilled opportunity of beating the defending champs on their home court, and in a playoff game no less, a rather bitter pill to swallow, especially after leading for all but the last five minutes of the game. The Trail Blazers will have to beat the Warriors at least once at Oracle to move on to the Western Conference Finals, and one could argue that they won’t get a better chance to do so than they had Tuesday night.
“After that game, I was pretty hot about that one,” said Lillard. “Just because not only was it a great opportunity, but we had it. It was right there, all we had to do was four and a half, five minutes where we just got to be as sharp as possible. That was the challenge for us, just lock in even more, take it to a new level. Instead of that, we went a little bit downhill and they picked it up the way we needed to pick it up. We just wasn’t able to finish it. It sucked man. I was pretty hot about that one.”
And then there’s the matter of soon-to-be two-time MVP Stephen Curry, who has sat out the last two games with a sprained MCL in his right knee. While the Trail Blazers are in no way rooting for Curry to remain sidelined, the simple fact is they have a much better chance of beating the Warriors when the best player in the NBA is in street clothes. Golden State head coach Steve Kerr said the Curry would probably sit out Game Three as well, though it seems very unlikely he misses another game this series at Oracle, which, once again, makes the loss in Game Two that much more disappointing.
“I can’t speak on behalf of (the rest of the team), I don’t know how they feel personally, but it’s a game we should have won,” said CJ McCollum. “It’s unfortunate that we let it slip away. That’s what good teams do, they hang around and they finish off games at home. We’ve got to be better than that and I think we will be better. Got to move forward now and take advantage of Game Three.”
Luckily, the Trail Blazers have a bit of extra time to put Game Two behind them. While they have shown an ability to learn from their mistakes and move on this season, some players admitted that Game Two going down the way it did was lingering a bit. And in those situations, sometimes the best solution is playing another game as soon as possible, though that might not be the case this time around.
“Yesterday, I didn’t even want to see a basketball,” said Lillard. “I wasn’t even going to watch the playoff game yesterday until I heard Cleveland was hitting a bunch of threes, so I wanted to see for myself. But I didn’t even want to have nothing to do with basketball yesterday after that game.”
But after a day away from the game, Lillard and the rest of the Trail Blazers returned to their facility in Tualatin to prepare for Game Three at the Moda Center. If they’re able to make the improvements and adjustments necessary to get their first victory of the series Saturday night in Portland, they might truly be able to move on from what happened Tuesday night in Oakland.
“Ain’t nothing I can do about it now. In my mind, it’s over,” said McCollum. “It’s unfortunate that it had to happen but we can learn from it. We can’t sulk and moan and act like it’s the end of the world. We’re down 0-2 against a very good team. Now we’re at home, now we have a very good opportunity to take advantage of two home games and learn from mistakes in the first two games.”
Now back in Portland for games Three and Four of the second round series versus the Golden State Warriors, Joe Freeman, he of The Oregonian/OregonLive.com, and I, Casey Holdahl of ForwardCenter.net/TrailBlazers.com, hit the Moda Center studio to record a Game Two recap edition of the Rip City Report podcast, which you can listen to below…
On this latest edition we discuss Portland’s collapse in the fourth quarter of Game Two that turned what looked like a rare road win at Oracle Arena into an 11-point loss, how the Trail Blazers go about putting that game behind them before Game Three at the Moda Center, the reports of Stephen Curry sitting out Game Three, Maurice Harkless’ defense on Klay Thompson, the overall quality of the defending champs and answer a few questions about Game Three adjustments, Portland’s locker room, Draymond Green, how far we can run at this point in our lives and a few more random things that I’ve already since forgotten.
OAKLAND — For the first three quarters, it looked as though the Portland Trail Blazers might actually beat the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena, something that only two teams have managed to do in the last seven months.
But unfortunately for the Trail Blazers, NBA games last four quarters. And Tuesday night in Oakland, the Warriors outscored the Trail Blazers 34-12 in the final 12 minutes to come away with a 110-99 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 19,596 in Game Two of the Western Conference semifinals.
“We played three really good quarters, and we showed that we can compete with them, and it got away from us in the fourth quarter, obviously,” said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. “It was disappointing to lose a game that you’re competitive and you’re in a position to be in the fourth quarter. But we’ve got to close it out… It was an opportunity to get a win on the road, and we’ve got to learn from it and be ready to go get one in Game Three.”
The Warriors now lead the series 2-0.
“I think nights like tonight, they suck,” said Damian Lillard. “It hurts to go back in the locker room after you play so well for so long and you come back in there with the L. But it is a part of growth. The entire season has been growth for us. But nights like tonight, we have to close that out. We have to get that done. It was just a missed opportunity.”
The first half of Tuesday night’s game went about as well as the Trail Blazers could possible expect, with Portland taking a 17-point lead in the second quarter thanks to shooting 51 percent from the field and 50 percent from three. Though the Warriors would cut into the Trail Blazers lead thanks to an 18-3 run, Portland, as was the case for most of the night, always seemed to counter at just the right time to quiet the Oracle Arena crowd. That counter in at the end of the second quarter came courtesy of back-to-back threes from Al-Farouq Aminu and Damian Lillard to push the lead back to eight by the intermission.
Portland, thanks mostly to Lillard going 6-of-11 from the field and 4-of-5 from three in the third, extended their lead to 11 going into the fourth quarter before Golden State got white hot to finish out the game. The Warriors took their first lead of the night early in the fourth quarter and would go on to win by 11 after finishing out the game by shooting 11-of-18 in the final 12 minutes of regulation. The Trail Blazers also play right into the Warriors’ hands by turning the ball over five times while going 5-of-19 from the field.
“I think the last run, they were desperate,” said Lillard. “It got to the point where it was win or lose. There wasn’t another quarter after that. It wasn’t just stay with it. It was, ‘We’ve got to do it now.’ And they played desperate, and we just didn’t respond to it well enough to finish the game.”
The Trail Blazers were led by Lillard, who scored 17 in the third quarter before finishing with 25 points on 8-of-20 shooting from the field and 6-of-11 shooting from three, six assists and four rebounds in 40 minutes. CJ McCollum went 9-of-19 for 22 points, two rebounds and two assists in 41 minutes.
Aminu got off to a fast start, scoring 10 points in the first quarter before finishing with 14 to go along with six rebounds and two assists. Maurice Harkless would add 11 points and seven rebounds in 27 minutes with Gerald Henderson coming off the bench to add 12.
As was the case in Game One, Klay Thompson would lead the Warriors with 27 points on 7-of-20 shooting from the field and 5-of-14 shooting from three. Draymond Green, who was the driving force along with Festus Ezeli in Golden State’s pivotal fourth quarter, was just shy of another triple-double with 17 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists in 41 minutes while also blocking four shots.
“I think there came a point where me and Klay were trying to do too much,” said Green. “When we settled down and trusted everybody else, that’s when everything started to click for us. So as far as the way I’ve been playing with the exception of that one game, it’s playoff basketball. This is what we live for. You play the whole season to get to this point.”
Shaun Livingston and Harrison Barnes scored 14 and 13 points, respectively, with Andre Igoudala putting up 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting off the bench.
Next up, the series takes a three-day break before shifting to Portland for Game Three on Saturday at the Moda Center.
“We’ve been in bad positions time and time again, and we’ve never shied away,” said Lillard. “We’ve never not answered the call. I don’t see why this time it would be any different. In our last series against the Clippers, we were down 0-2. We went home, and the next two games they were pretty much full strength. They had their guys and we got it done those two games. Obviously, Golden State is a different monster, but we know the same thing can happen, and that’s what we’re going in there thinking and believing, and we’re back on our home floor. We’ve got to go out there and play a game like tonight and go finish it.”
Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 pm on ABC and 620 AM.