Transcript: Terry Stotts Talks Game 1, ‘Hack-A-Howard’ On The Jim Rome Show

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
2 years ago

Evidently it’s radio interview transcript day here at ForwardCenter.net. First there was LaMarcus Aldridge’s great interview on the Dan Patrick Show this morning and now we’ve got Terry Stotts on the Jim Rome Show, also from this morning.

In the interview, Stotts is asked about winning Game 1 in Houston, the performances of LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard, Mo Williams charging up Nicolas Batum, whether there are lessons to be taken from Monday night’s wins by the Clippers and Grizzlies and the reasons why he doesn’t think the “Hack-A-Howard” is bad for the NBA.

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Jim Rome: I’m joined right now by the head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers. He led them to a 21-win improvement over last season, most in franchise history. I thought they were unbelievable in beating back Houston in overtime on Sunday night. Game 2 of that series, Portland at Houston, tomorrow night at 9:30 PM Eastern. I’m joined by Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. Terry good to have you back. How are you?

Terry Stotts: I’m doing great. How are you doing?

Jim Rome: Good Terry. After the regular season finale Terry, you said “Now the fun starts.” Exactly how much fun did you have Sunday night in Houston?

Terry Stotts: (Laughs) It was a really fun game. It was intense and I certainly had more fun once the final buzzer sounded. It was a great playoff game and I was proud of the way our team played and when you can pull out a game like that on the road, it is fun.

Jim Rome: The team was on the ropes multiple times in that game and simply refused to lose, refused to give in. How pleased were you then, not just with the win, but how your guys won that game?

Terry Stotts: Probably more so about how we competed. We got down double digits in the first half, we got down double digits late in the fourth quarter, we got down early in the overtime and we just kept finding ways to come back, whether it was with defensive plays or making big shots. As a coach, that’s what you want from your team is (going) out there competing every night and trying to find ways to win and that’s what we did.

Jim Rome: Terry Stotts joining us. LaMarcus Aldridge was a monster. He said after the game “This is one of those games where I could show my team that I wanted to lead.” What did he show you from a leadership standpoint?

Terry Stotts: A lot of things that he’s been doing all season. He’s been much more of a vocal leader this year. He’s been more vocal in the locker room, vocal in timeouts, vocal on the court. I think his leadership has shown all season. But in the game against Houston he probably showed as much leadership as I’ve seen in the timeouts when he wasn’t even in the game. The guys who were playing, he kept them engaged during timeouts, was animated on the bench and his performance on the court obviously spoke for itself.

Jim Rome: Portland head coach Terry Stotts visiting with us. As good as he was, what did you make of the performance you got from Damian Lillard in his first ever playoff game?

Terry Stotts: You know, I’ve been asked about him for two season now and the thing about Damian is that any time a question comes up, whether going back to summer league, going to exhibition season, whether he’s going to hit a rookie wall or not, he answers the bell ever time. He’s got a drive inside of him and a will to play well. He wants to be great and he wants to win. The fact he had such a terrific game in his first playoff outing really didn’t surprise me because that’s what Dame is all about.

Jim Rome: You know this guy. You live with him, you work with him, you work with him, but at the same time, I saw absolutely no fear. I saw a guy — and you can’t say this for everybody, right? — I saw a guy that wanted to be there in the moment. You’ve got your two bigs on the bench, he knew it was on him. He craved that, didn’t he? He needed that, he wanted that.

Terry Stotts: Yeah he does. I tell you, at the end of a game, he does relish the opportunity to make big plays at the end of the game or in overtime. He has a lot of confidence in himself and I think the statistics bear it out. He’s one of the best clutch performers in the league the last two years.

Jim Rome: Now Terry, there’s something that may or may not show up on the stat sheet. Let me just kind of lay this out. Chandler Parsons got off to a really, really good start and them Mo Williams apparently had a word with Nic Batum at halftime. Williams said later “I just kind of saw it in the first half that he wasn’t being aggressive. I thought Chandler Parsons was eating him for lunch. I just had to let him know at halftime because I know he’s better than that.” I’m guessing that’s not the first time that Mo Williams has done something like that for you and the team. What’s it like to have a vet like that on your roster.

Terry Stotts: Well the leadership — he’s been on 60-win teams in Cleveland. He was with the Clippers when they were good. He’s been in good situations and in tough situations and he knows the potential that this team has and the opportunities that don’t always come around throughout your career. He wants to seize the moment, not only for himself but especially for the team. We all know how important Nic is to the team and I think the best teams, I don’t want to use the word “police,” they look out for each other, they expect a lot of out each other. I think that’s an example of his leadership there.

Jim Rome: Terry Stotts joining us for another moment. Golden State won Game 1 against the Clippers on their home court, then they got beat by 40 last night. There may be a tendency for that to happen when the road team guarantees themselves a split after the first game. How do you guard against that?

Terry Stotts: You know, last night, and I told this to our team, it was two good examples of the way Houston is going to play tomorrow night. You look at how the Clippers responded after losing Game 1 and you look at how Memphis responded after losing Game 1. So those are great examples of how the previous game really sets the tone for the next game, particularly for the team that lost.

Jim Rome: Terry, let me ask you about the Hack-A-Howard strategy. I mean, that paid off big-time for you. And there seems to be a school of thought — and because I’m posing the question does not mean I subscribe to this — a school of thought that it’s just not good for the game. Where do you come out on that conversation?

Terry Stotts: You know, I’ve given that a lot of thought. And the way I look at it, the NBA played over 1,200 games this year and you can count how many times it was used in over 1,200 games. So to say it’s a bad thing for a thing that happens so infrequently, I think it’s much ado about nothing.

The second thing is — someone brought this up — it’s much like an intentional walk in baseball. You’re preventing a great hitter (from) hitting the ball, so we’re preventing a great player (from) getting close shots at the basket. But the payoff in baseball, you’re putting a runner on base. In basketball, you’re putting a guys at the free throw line. It’s up to however it pans out from that.

The other thing is, I don’t think it’s necessarily bad for the game because the drama in the arena. When Dwight Howard hit those two free throws, the place erupted. They were cheering. There was a lot of energy in the building. The drama of whether to use it or not and if you use it, will he make or miss the free throws, I think it adds drama and adds interest and it’s not like it’s something that’s used very often to begin with.

Jim Rome: Terry Stotts joining us. Game 2 tomorrow night, Portland at Houston. Once again, 9:30 PM Eastern time. Terry, it’s good to visit with you. Thank you very much. Good to have you back on.

Terry Stotts: Jim, it’s always a pleasure.

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VIDEO: Phantom Cam Recap And All 12 Of Lillard's Game 4 Field Goals

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
9 months ago

The Trail Blazers have arrived in Memphis for tomorrow’s Game 5 at FedExForum (tipoff scheduled for 6:30 pm on KGW, TNT and 620 AM), wherein they will try to extend their postseason by getting their first road win of the series.

But before we completely turn the page on Game 4, let’s look back at some of the highlights, if for no other reason than it was the first time during this series that the Trail Blazers turned in a performance worthy of repeated viewing.

First, there’s the phantom cam highlights, which recaps Game 4 in super slo-mo. Damian Lillard’s spin move past Tony Allen and Beno Udrih, which he followed up by finishing with a reverse layup while absorbing contact from Marc Gasol at the 50 second mark has to be one of the best plays of Portland’s 2015 postseason.

Here’s the Vine of that Lillard spin move finish for easier repeated viewing…

And on the topic of Lillard, he scored a career playoff-high 32 points on 12-of-23 shooting in Game 4, which prompted the NBA to put together a package of all of his field goals Monday night. They also tossed in two of his game-high seven assists for good measure.

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VIDEO: Phantom Cam Recap And All 12 Of Lillard’s Game 4 Field Goals

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
9 months ago

The Trail Blazers have arrived in Memphis for tomorrow’s Game 5 at FedExForum (tipoff scheduled for 6:30 pm on KGW, TNT and 620 AM), wherein they will try to extend their postseason by getting their first road win of the series.

But before we completely turn the page on Game 4, let’s look back at some of the highlights, if for no other reason than it was the first time during this series that the Trail Blazers turned in a performance worthy of repeated viewing.

First, there’s the phantom cam highlights, which recaps Game 4 in super slo-mo. Damian Lillard’s spin move past Tony Allen and Beno Udrih, which he followed up by finishing with a reverse layup while absorbing contact from Marc Gasol at the 50 second mark has to be one of the best plays of Portland’s 2015 postseason.

Here’s the Vine of that Lillard spin move finish for easier repeated viewing…

And on the topic of Lillard, he scored a career playoff-high 32 points on 12-of-23 shooting in Game 4, which prompted the NBA to put together a package of all of his field goals Monday night. They also tossed in two of his game-high seven assists for good measure.

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Trail Blazers Look To Get Damian Lillard Going

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
10 months ago

The first two games of their first round series versus the Memphis Grizzlies have been rough for the Trail Blazers, particularly for Damian Lillard. While no Blazer has played particularly well thus far, Lillard’s struggles have been the most noticeable, especially when contrasted with his performance in last year’s first round matchup against the Rockets, a series that culminated with the 6-3 guard out of Weber State hitting a now legendary Game 6 series-winning three-pointer as time expired.

While his Game 6 performance is the most enduring memory of that series, Lillard was spectacular through all six games. He averaged 25.5 points per game on 47 percent shooting from the field and a ridiculous 49 percent shooting from three while also adding 6.7 assists, 6.3 rebound and 1.3 steals in a hefty 44.7 minutes per game (you may recall that three of the six games went to overtime). The Spurs had much more success slowing him down in the second round, holding him to just 17 percent shooting from three, though he still shot 41 percent from the field and averaged almost 20 points and just over six rebounds before the Trail Blazers were eliminated by the eventual World Champions in five games.

Flash forward to today and one imagines Lillard would be happy to play as well as he did against the Spurs, let alone the Rockets, versus the Grizzlies. Shooting just 27 percent from the field and a perplexing nine percent from three, the third-year point guard lamented after practice Friday afternoon that the Grizzlies’ defense has been all but impenetrable through the first two games.

“It’s been tough,” said Lillard. “They do a really good job of clogging up the paint, keeping a lot of bodies in the paint to where it’s kind of uncomfortable being down there because they’re playing physical and they’re playing really good team defense. You’ve got to give them credit, but the good looks I do get, I’ve got to make those shots. I just haven’t made shots.”

Lillard, along with the rest of the team, has studied film in an effort to figure out way that he might get himself going heading into Game 3 Saturday night at the Moda Center. He may try to get the ball up the court quicker and look to set up his teammates more often in an effort to make the game easier for everyone involved.

“Watching film, I see a lot of times where even if they’re crowding up and there’s not a shot for me, there’s times where I can make plays for other guys,” said Lillard. “There’s always adjustments I can make. Using screens better, picking spots better, pushing the tempo. It’s really hard to score on them in the halfcourt when their defense is set, so just trying to create better opportunities, maybe make more plays so they loosen up on just trying to control me so much. Just make the game easier for myself.”

But even though there are areas in which he could better exploit what little the Grizzlies are giving him, if he’s not able to make the shots that he typically makes, be it in the playoffs last year or the regular season this year, no amount of changing up is going to make much difference.That’s why, even though you’re likely to see Terry Stotts try a few new things to get Lillard going, it’s unlikely that wholesale changes are going to be implemented. That would be impractical and also foolish, as much of what the Blazers are doing are the same things that worked well in the past, including against the Rockets in last year’s playoffs.

“We’ve done somethings, we made some adjustments between Game 1 and Game 2, different sets,” said Stotts of what he and his staff have done to try and help Lillard find his offensive rhythm. “He’s missed some good shots. A lot of the shots he’s made over the course of his career, he’s had, so you don’t want to over-analyze and do things — we’re doing a lot of the same things that have gotten him to this point. The ball is going to be in his hands, we’ve looked at different things. But ultimately, the one thing is — for everybody, not just Damian but everybody– passing the ball, finding the ball on the weakside, creating opportunities for your teammates to get easier shots. I think that lends itself to more rhythm at the offensive end.”

Portland will need that improved rhythm, and a steady dose of shot-making, if they’re to best the Grizzlies Saturday night for the first time in their last six tries. If the Trail Blazers managed to get there offensive going and still lose, they’ll know that the Grizzlies are simply a better team on both sides of the ball. But if they can somehow shake off two disappointing offensive performances to take Game 3, they’ll give themselves a chance to repeat their success against the Rockets last season rather than mimicking their failures versus the Spurs.

“We haven’t been down in a situation like this where we haven’t played well,” said Lillard. “Last year against the Spurs we lost the first three games but in that series we were making some shots, they just outplayed us. Now we’re struggling on the offensive end. It’s different but it’s a new challenge. I think we should be excited to have this opportunity because it seems like everything is going downhill. ‘Do they have a chance?’ It’s an opportunity for us to rise up again. They won the two on their court, now we’ve got to try and take it one game at a time and take care of our home court and see where it goes.”

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