VIDEO: Dwight Jaynes Interviews Neil Olshey

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
2 years ago

Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey hasn’t talked to the media much this season, as he’s preferred to work behind-the-scenes rather than in full view. But he did recently grant a two-part interview to Dwight Jaynes of CSNNW to discuss Portland’s success this season.

Some highlights from part one

Olshey on Portland’s improved record this season …

“It’s a testimony to these guys and Terry what they were able to accomplish. A 10-game jump would’ve been really impressive, and now we’re heading to what might be a 20-game jump. I don’t think anybody foresaw that.”

On the play of Robin Lopez …

“I think everyone forgets that there was a time not long ago when Robin was drafted where there was a question mark about who got the better player in that draft, whether it was New Jersey — and [Brook Lopez] has gone on to have an incredible career, and he’s an All-Star, but I think Robin, because of a couple of injuries, because of depth on the teams he was on, just hadn’t been given an opportunity that we were able to give him. Which was, being a day-one starter, not look over your shoulder, and play next to the best power forward in the game.”

And some highlights from Part Two

On LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard potentially courting free agents …

I think it’s a window into what type of people LaMarcus and Damian are. I think, probably even more important than whether or not they can deliver on that promise, is the fact that they’re willing to try. It’s an endorsement of our culture. It’s an endorsement of the things we’re trying to do here. It’s a belief in our mission.”

On not having a pick in the 2014 NBA Draft

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“Anyone who has met Paul Allen knows there is no area of our business he is more concerned with than the draft. There’s young talent, and we’ve talked about this before – when you don’t have a lot of assets when you take over, you have to generate assets and you have to be opportunistic. The draft is a time for opportunism. You just never know what kind of deal will include a pick. You don’t know when you can convey a pick or a future first because there’s an opportunity.”

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Trail Blazers Ignore The Notion Of Inevitability Going Into Game Six

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
7 hours ago

When the Western Conference first round series between the Trail Blazers and Clippers started, many assumed it would be a quick affair, with the Clippers eventually moving on to face the Golden State Warriors in the second round. And after Warriors point guard Stephen Curry suffered a knee injury that will keep the reigning MVP sidelined for the start of the second round, much of the conversation revolved around how that would improve the Clippers’ chances of beating the defending champs in the Western Conference semifinals. The fact that the Clippers still had to beat the Trail Blazers two more times didn’t seem to make much of a difference.

A few days later, that narrative has flipped. Leading the series 3-2 with a chance to clinch in Game Six tonight at the Moda Center (tipoff scheduled for 7:30 pm on KGW, ESPN and 620 AM), the Trail Blazers are now Golden State’s presumptive opponent, as injuries to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have all but ended the Clippers’ playoff run.

But just as the Clippers still had to win four games to advance, so too do the Trail Blazers, which is a good reminder that there are no such thing as inevitability when it comes to sports. “That’s why the play the game,” might be trite, but it’s still as true as it ever was, something the Trail Blazers know as well as any team still alive in the postseason.

“We just go out there and play, we don’t really pay attention to what’s being said,” said CJ McCollum. “You can’t read into that too much. First we were supposed to get swept, first we were just happy to win a game, so you just go play. You don’t really worry about the other stuff, you just control what you can control, keep your mindset the same, understand that nothing is inevitable. You’ve got to go out there and play.”

Though the Trail Blazers were able to beat the Clippers 108-98 at Staples Center in Game Five sans Paul and Blake, a team led by JJ Redick, DeAndre Jordan and Austin Rivers still managed to take a five-point lead into the half and had the game tied at 71-71 going into the fourth quarter, so it’s not as if any team, including Portland, can just roll the ball out in a playoff game and expect to emerge with the victory. After all, if that were the case, the Clippers would already be in Oakland preparing for the Western Conference semifinals.

“We understand that they’re a good team,” said McCollum “Regardless of what’s happened, regardless of what injuries they’ve gone through, they’re still a good team and we’ve still got to go play the game.”

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Podcast: Rip City Report, Game Five Edition

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
1 day ago

And we’re back. After the Trail Blazers defeated a shorthanded Clippers team 109-98 in Game Five at Staples Center to take a 3-2 lead in the first round series, Joe Freeman, he of The Oregonian/OregonLive.com, and I, Casey Holdahl of ForwardCenter.net/TrailBlazers.com, hit the Moda Center studios once again to deliver another playoff edition of the Rip City Report podcast. Please consider listening…

On this episode, Joe and I discuss the Trail Blazers being on the verge of winning just their second playoff series in the last 16 years, what we’re expecting to see during Game Six Friday in Portland, make our picks for the Trail Blazers’ MVP and most surprising during the first five games, how the injuries to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin change the narrative surrounding the series and answer some of your Twitter-submitted questions regarding Chris Kaman’s birthday, non-Moda Center places to watch Game Six, player playoff bonuses and give a few binge watching suggestions, not that you’d ever need to watch TV again with all these fine podcasts we’re providing for you.

You can find the Rip City Report on SoundcloudiTunes and Stitcher. And since we recently surpassed 100 reviews on iTunes, I’ll refrain from asking for reviews for at least the new few days.

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VIDEO: Barkley Says Lillard and McCollum Are The Second-Best Backcourt In The NBA

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
1 day ago

After struggling in the first few games of their first round playoff series, the play of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in Games Three, Four and Five has been one of the main reasons the Trail Blazers hold a 3-2 advantage versus the Clippers. Mason Plumlee has arguably been Portland’s most valuable player, and both Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless have delivered game-changing performances at times during the series, but the attention Lillard and McCollum draw from the Clippers’ defense has allowed for their teammates to have a chance to shine in the postseason. And despite L.A.’s defensive gameplan focusing almost exclusively on stopping Portland’s starting backcourt, Lillard and McCollum are combining to average just over 40 points a game during the 2016 playoffs.

Given that, and the fact that they even made the playoffs, let alone are a game away from winning Portland’s second playoff series in the last 15 years, TNT analyst Charles Barkley declared on last night’s edition of “Inside The NBA” that Portland’s backcourt is second only to Golden State’s, the team the Trail Blazers would face should they advance to the next round.

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