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Tag:Portland Trail Blazers
Posted on: February 18, 2012 9:23 pm
 

LaMarcus Aldridge (ankle sprain) set to return

Posted by Ben Golliver 

Portland Trail Blazers All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge is set to return on Saturday night after missing two games with a sprained left ankle.

Aldridge suffered the sprain during the first quarter of a Tuesday night loss to the Washington Wizards at the Rose Garden. He missed a Wednesday night win over the Golden State Warriors in Oracle Arena and a Thursday night loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at the Rose Garden. The Blazers host the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.

Aldridge, 26, was named to his first All-Star game last week and is in the midst of a career year. He is averaging 22.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game this season. Prior to spraining his ankle, Aldridge had missed just six games due to injury since the beginning of the 2008-2009 season.

Portland enters Saturday night with a record of 16-15.
Posted on: February 17, 2012 3:48 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 4:22 pm
 

Blazers G Felton: McMillan doesn't believe in me

Raymon Felton said he isn't feeling his coach's trust. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

An ugly performance in an ugly game got even uglier when it came time for the post-game explanation.

The Portland Trail Blazers lost to the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night, 74-71, in the definition of a "lockout game," and Blazers guard Raymond Felton was the worst of the worst. He shot 0-for-7 and committed five turnovers, playing just 24 minutes as coach Nate McMillan opted to sit him during the final stretches of the game.

It was arguably the low point of what has been a putrid first season in Portland for Felton, and his growing dissatisfaction came to the surface after the loss, according to CSNNW.com.
“I know I'm struggling, but it's hard to perform the way you know how when you know they don't have confidence in you,” Felton told CSNNW.com. “Never in my days playing basketball, have I felt like a coach wasn't confident in my abilities. It's hard to play knowing that. Coming in and out of games is throwing my rhythm off, but it's something that I'll get through."

“Tonight was one of those nights where it was hard to get into the game knowing every mistake I made would be magnified,” Felton said. “It's to the point where the only person I could turn to was my mom."
These aren't the first words reflecting a developing rift between point guard and coach. In statements made to the Portland Tribune earlier this week, Felton compared McMillan to New York Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni, pointing out that players seem to perform better in D'Antoni's system. Felton, of course, played some of his best basketball in New York prior to the Carmelo Anthony blockbuster trade last season that landed him in Denver, who eventually traded him on to the Blazers on the night of the 2011 NBA Draft. The underlying implication from those comments, it seemed, was that McMillan's system was not as suited to producing success for Felton.

The real cause for Felton's frustration and isolation isn't complicated: by virtually every important measure he's having a terrible season. He's averaging a career-low 9.9 points per game, he's shooting a career-low 36.0 percent from the field, he's shooting a career-low 20.6 percent from beyond the arc, he's averaging 6.3 assists (the fewest since his rookie season). According to HoopData.com, his turnover rate is a career-worst 19.46 and, according to Basketball-Reference, he's attempted the most shots from 26 feet and out without making a single one (17) in the NBA this season.

Put it all together and you have one of the league's least effective players who actually gets big minutes. Felton has started every game so far for the Blazers this season, averaging 32.8 minutes per game. Felton's PER is 10.06, which places him as the No. 52 overall point guard in the league. Los Angeles Lakers point guard Derek Fisher is the only starting point guard with a lower PER than Felton, and he plays seven fewer minutes per game.

Taking this a step further, there isn't a single other NBA player averaging more than 30 minutes per game with a PER lower than Felton's. Indeed, he's one of just three players -- along with New York Knicks rookie guard Iman Shumpert and Detroit Pistons rookie guard Brandon Knight -- to average at least 30 minutes per game while producing a PER of less than 11.

If math isn't you're thing, the takeaway point here is this: through Portland's first 31 games, nearly half the season, Felton is playing at the absolute bottom of the barrel. And, the related point: he's had plenty of opportunities. Citing a coach's lack of confidence after that stretch of play -- and that much playing time -- is just about the most obvious buck-passing imaginable.

The Blazers must now decide whether to turn over the starting point guard duties to reserve guard Jamal Crawford, a score-first two guard by nature, or simply continue to limit Felton's minutes even further. With the All-Star break less than a week away and the trade deadline not far beyond that, there's no question they have to be fully exploring other options, even if that means over-paying for a stopgap solution. Playing in the NBA's toughest division, the Northwest, the Blazers are going to battle night in and night out with the Division's ninth best point guard as their starter. That's not a formula for a fringe playoff team that considered itself a contender earlier this season and wants badly to make a push.

The worst part of this situation is that there is no full-time GM to step in and smooth this one out. The Blazers continue to operate with a front office that includes president Larry Miller and Acting GM Chad Buchanan, after owner Paul Allen abruptly fired former GM Rich Cho last May. There's no full-time GM to back Felton in public. There's no full-time GM to act as intermediary between Felton and McMillan. There's no full-time GM to make the big-picture decision of how and when it's the right time to move on. There's not even a full-time GM to credibly explain the team's stance on McMillan, who is hearing some hot seat talk percolating with his team going 2-5 over their last seven games.

For everyone involved, the All-Star break can't come soon enough.
Posted on: February 17, 2012 2:57 am
Edited on: February 17, 2012 4:07 am
 

Paul's pretty 4th quarter saves ugly night

Posted by Ben Golliver

Chris Paul shot the Clippers past the Blazers in a strong fourth quarter performance. (Getty Images)

PORTLAND, Ore. -- An anticipated four quarter battle for power forward supremacy was replaced by one quarter of point guard brilliance.  

The Los Angeles Clippers faced the Portland Trail Blazers for the third time this season, the teams having split the first two match-ups. Instead of the latest installment of LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Blake Griffin -- All-Star vs. All-Star -- the Rose Garden crowd was treated one of the ugliest "lockout" games of the season, as Aldridge was forced to sit for the second straight game with a sprained left ankle he suffered on Tuesday night.

The Clippers pulled it out, 74-71, with the flat, ugly game being broken open in the fourth by Chris Paul, who managed to find a way to turn a manure night into gold down the stretch. 

Through three quarters, Paul was 0-for-7 with three turnovers. An 85 percent career free throw shooter, he even missed a technical foul during the first minute of the second half. In the final quarter, though, Paul shot 5-for-8 to finish with 13 points. He had two of his four steals in the fourth, nailed a three-pointer with roughly three minutes remaning and then sank a jumper with just over a minute left to send large swaths of the crowd th the exits early.

"It's just a matter of time before Chris starts taking over the game," said Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro. "When it gets close he wants the ball in his hands, not only to score but to make the easy plays… Having Chris out there to control things is a great weapon."

"All the shots I missed are shots I can make with my eyes closed," Paul said. "I pride myself on the last two or three minutes of the game. If we're up two, or down one, I pride myself on managing situations, [forcing] turnovers, getting good shots. I'm used to it."

Turnovers were in abundance and good shots were not fort both sides. The Blazers scored more than 17 points in just one of the four quarters: 27 in the first. The Clippers never broke 22 in a quarter. The teams combined for 34 turnovers, the Clippers shot 2-for-17 from deep and the Blazers, not including Nicolas Batum, combined to shoot 19-for-55 (34.5 percent). Griffin worked hard for 21 points and 14 rebounds, dealing with all sorts of defensive looks along the way, but no one else, not even Paul, left this game with a complete night.

Blazers guard Raymond Felton probably captured the flavor of the evening better than anyone, failing to make a basket in seven attempts while throwing a ball into the stands, stepping on the sideline, and chucking a pass off of Kurt Thomas's ankles while he was standing 25 feet from the basket. He wound up sitting during crunch time, as fellow guard Jamal Crawford was only able to do slightly better.

"We didn't execute, of course, down the stretch," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "We basically got stagnant and it became a one on one basketball game."

The extenuating circumstances that led to that type of game were clear. Portland was on the third night of a back-to-back-to-back, made worse by the middle game being at Golden State. The Clippers were on the second night of a back-to-back themselves. L.A. managed to have the legs when it mattered, taking the final quarter, 22-11, to win their first game in Portland since Dec. 11, 2008.

"I've been in this situation time and time again," Paul said, amid shrieks of laughter from his teammates in the showers. "When you're in games like this it comes down to certain plays, teams tighten up. It all comes down to who makes the big plays."

The Blazers certainly tightened up, giving away an 18-point third quarter lead and dropped to 2-10 in games decided by five points or less. Portland has handled late-game situations uneasily even with Aldridge, their No. 1 scorer. Without him their possessions often amounted to hopeless prayers. 

"I'll call it a self-destruction," McMillan said. 

That self-destruction included Felton's follies and an inability to engage Batum, who scored 15 first quarter points but finished with 19, missing his only fourth quarter attempt. With Portland coming up empty play after play, the door opened wide for Paul.

"I don't now if he was playing possum or if he found the energy in the fourth quarter to keep going, but he definitely took over the game," Crawford said.

"It's the fourth quarter, it's one of those things where nothing else really matters," Paul explained. "When you're a team trying to build something like us, you've got to win ugly games like this sometimes."

Posted on: February 17, 2012 1:23 am
Edited on: February 17, 2012 1:25 am
 

Report Card: Boozer blasts the Celtics

Posted by Royce Young

So Boozer might've blown this layup, but he made a lot more against the Celtics. (Getty Images)

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

Carlos Boozer
I'm not so sure that wasn't Boozer's best game as a Chicago Bull. 23 points on 11-of-15 shooting, 15 rebounds, five assists and a win over the Celtics. Other than blowing a wide open layup, Boozer was on point the entire night, scoring on the block and in the pick-and-roll with C.J. Watson. Boozer has been inconsistent in Chicago, but that type of performance is something that terrifies Eastern teams, especially when you think about it happening without Derrick Rose.
Luol Deng Somebody has to pick up for Rose while he's out and lately, it's been All-Star Luol Deng. Against Boston he finished with 23 points and 10 assists, with 13 points coming in the fourth quarter. It was a game where points came at a premium so every little bit that Deng gave was of big time value. The Bulls scored 89 points and Deng had a part in half of those. That's a big time performance.
 Chris Paul It was a bad three quarters for CP3. He didn't score, didn't assist much and was a part of the Clippers digging themselves into an 18-point hold. But all of that is forgotten because of a terrific fourth. Paul scored all 13 of his points in the fourth and completely owned the last couple minutes hitting a big 3 and two other jumpers to seal a nice Clipper comeback win in Portland. 
Chicago shooters From 3, 10-21 (47.6 percent). From 2, 20-55 (36.3 percent).
Attractive basketball
Just because a game is low scoring doesn't mean it can't be great. There are plenty of games played in the 80s that were well executed. The two national TV games were not. In both games there were just ugly stretches of offense, bad shooting and anything even resembling much flair or flash. Both games were competitive and close, but disgusting. An example from the Bulls-Celtics game: On back-to-back possessions, Carlos Boozer and Kevin Garnett missed wide open layups. It was a missed layup kind of night.
Raymond Felton
F is for Felton. Against the Clips he went 0-7 from the floor, had five turnovers and just two assists. And worse, he was benched by Nate McMillan the last three minutes. Felton's time not just in the starting five might be in trouble, but his place getting real rotation minutes.
Paul Pierce Pierce is being put in spots he's not entirely comfortable with. He's not the type of offensive player that wants to carry a team on his back for 48 minutes. But with as bad as the Boston offense can be, he almost needs to. A 6-16, 14-point effort against the Bulls just isn't cutting it.

E FOR EFFORT
Danny Granger (32 points on 10-for-20 shooting and five rebounds in a win over the Nets)
Kris Humphries (24 points, 11-for-14 shooting, 10 rebounds and three blocks in a loss to the Pacers)
Joakim Noah (15 points and 16 rebounds in a win over Boston)
Blake Griffin (21 points on 9-of-15 shooting and 14 rebounds in a road win over Portland)

Posted on: February 16, 2012 1:46 am
Edited on: February 16, 2012 2:41 am
 

Report Card: 'Linsanity' pulls Knicks to .500

Posted by Ben Golliver 

Everything came easy against the Sacramento Kings for Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks . (Getty Images)

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

Jeremy Lin No late-game heroics from the Knicks guard this time around, but he did dish out a career-high 13 assists, getting into the lane at will against Sacramento's perimeter defense. New York cruised to a 100-85 victory in front of the home crowd, and Lin's ball distribution helped New York land seven players in double figures. All five Knicks starters finished +18 or better. Dominant. Seven straight wins for the Knicks, who pulled back to .500 for the first time in a month.
Kevin Love The Timberwolves are flirting with .500, so they should handle a team as bad as the Bobcats at home with ease. But this is still the first season on the upswing for Minnesota and a good solid thumping can't always be assumed. Kevin Love put up an absurd 30 points, 18 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal night on 11-21 shooting. That's how you pound a poor team into submission. Don't look now, but Charlotte has now lost 16 straight; the next longest streak in the league is 7.
Portland Trail Blazers Portland might have needed a win as badly as any team in the league, given its recent poor play and the loss of forward LaMarcus Aldridge to injury. Winning in the Bay Area and winning close games have both been bugaboos for the Blazers, but they pulled out a late win over the Warriors thanks to solid team rebounding and a late 3-pointer by Jamal Crawford. Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby were key energy providers and the Crawford three helped make up for Portland's top-3 guards combining to shoot 13-for-40 on the night.
Nate Robinson Nate Robinson gives and Nate Robinson taketh away. With star guard Monta Ellis pinned to the bench late in the game, apparently due to illness, Warriors coach Mark Jackson effectively turned the game over to Robinson, who finished with 21 points in 21 minutes. Unfortunately, 4 turnovers and some poor shot selection on key possessions down the stretch contributed to the Warriors scoring just 37 second-half points, and Robinson bumbled the ball on the game's final possession. Endless excitement but ultimately unfulfilling. Story of his NBA career.
Washington Wizards One night after torching Portland from absolutely everywhere, shooting an unconscious 60 percent for the game as a team, the Wizards fell back to Earth against the Clippers, shooting just 5-for-22 from deep while getting killed on the glass. All five L.A. starters hit double figures, as did Mo Williams, and this one ended in an 18-point rout.
Oklahoma City Thunder The West's top team can't be happy with the slowest of slow starts, as they scored just 13 points in the first quarter at Houston, digging themselves a 16-point hole in the first frame. The Thunder charged back hard and probably should have won this one, but neither Kevin Durant (33 points) or Russell Westbrook (26 points) really found their strokes from deep. Unusual late-game shortcomings from both All-Stars added salt to the wound.



E FOR EFFORT
Tony Parker (34 points, 14 assists, 11-for-23 shooting, 12-for-12 free throws, 1 steal in a road win over the Toronto Raptors)
Gerald Wallace (24 points, 6-for-13 shooting, 4-4 from 3s, 8-8 free throws, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block in a road win over the Golden State Warriors)
Greg Monroe (22 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block in a road win over the Boston Celtics)
Ryan Anderson (27 points, 2 rebounds, 9-for-12 shooting, 7-for-10 from deep in a home win over the Philadelphia 76ers, plus a selection for the 3-point shooting contest)
Posted on: February 15, 2012 2:48 am
 

LaMarcus Aldridge (ankle sprain) to miss time

Posted by Ben Golliver 

Portland Trail Blazers All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge suffered a left ankle sprain during the first quarter of a Tuesday night loss to the Washington Wizards at the Rose Garden and will miss an undetermined amount of time.

The team announced that X-rays of the ankle were negative but that he will not travel with the team to Oakland for its Wednesday night game against the Golden State Warriors. His availability after that is not known. Blazers coach Nate McMillan said only that Aldridge told him at halftime of the game that the ankle was "pretty sore."

Aldridge was injured less than two minutes into the game when he came down on the foot of Wizards forward Trevor Booker after attempting a jump shot. Aldridge immediately went to the court in pain and was able to walk off the court under his own power. Without their No. 1 scorer and captain, the Blazers went on to lose to the Wizards, 124-109.

Aldridge, 26, was named to his first All-Star game last week and is in the midst of a career year. He is averaging 23.3 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game this season and had appeared in every game for Portland this season. He has missed just six games due to injury since the beginning of the 2008-2009 season.

The timing of the injury couldn't be worse for Portland. The Blazers have lost four of their last five games and are in the midst of a back-to-back-to-back against the Wizards, Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers. Portland will also face the Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs in advance of the All-Star break next week.

Here's a video replay of the injury.


Posted on: February 7, 2012 4:45 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 4:58 pm
 

NBA admits referee blew late goaltending call

Posted by Ben Golliver

Oops, we did it again.

The NBA has publicly admitted once again that one of its officials made an incorrect call on a game-deciding possession.

In a statement posted to NBA.com/official on Tuesday, the NBA acknowledged that referee Scott Foster made an "incorrect call" when he whistled Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge for a goaltending violation with six seconds remaining in regulation of a Monday night game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Rose Garden. Aldridge, who was defending Thunder All-Star forward Kevin Durant, blocked the shot into the backboard, but was still whistled for a violation, as Foster apparently thought he had pinned the ball on the glass.

Here's the league's statement.

With six seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the Blazers' LaMarcus Aldridge was called for goaltending on a shot attempted by the Thunder's Kevin Durant (shown below). With the benefit of slow motion replay following the game, it has been determined that Aldridge made contact with the ball just before the ball hit the backboard. Therefore, this should have been ruled a good block and goaltending was the incorrect call. (As determined by the NBA's Competition Committee, referees may not use instant replay on goaltending calls.)

The basket pulled Oklahoma City even in regulation and the Thunder went on to win in overtime, 111-107.

Following the game, Blazers coach Nate McMillan disputed the call and told the media that he would send video of the play to the league office for review. 

Aldridge disputed the call and was upset that the referees did not offer him an explanation.

"They act kind of sensitive sometimes," Aldridge said when asked if the referees had given him any explanation of their call. "He just told me the call was done and walked away... I timed it perfect, I put it on the glass, it didn't hit the glass first. I figured it was a clean block. The ref who called it was the furthest one from the basket so that's pretty interesting."

Back on Jan. 21, the NBA admitted its referees blew a no-call on a fourth-quarter kick ball by Pacers guard George Hill, which helped push Indiana to a late win. The NBA also admitted this season that their referees blew a late no-call on a traveling violation by Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James.

Here's a video replay of the blown goaltending call during a game between the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder.


Posted on: February 3, 2012 2:15 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 6:43 pm
 

Blazers C Greg Oden underwent knee surgery

Posted by Ben Golliver
Greg Oden will undergo yet another knee surgery. (Getty Images)

The Portland Trail Blazers announced on Friday that oft-injured center Greg Oden has gone under the knife again.

Oden underwent a succcessful arthroscopic procedure on his right knee on Friday in Vail, CO. He underwent microfracture knee surgery on his right knee in Sept. 2007.

Blazers Acting GM Chad Buchanan told CBSSports.com that a similar procedure could be required on his left knee as well.

"There's a chance that he may go undergo a similar procedure on his left knee in the coming days," Buchanan said. "That is to be determined. The doctors felt like after looking at the latest MRI in both knees, they wanted to take a closer look at both things."

Oden fractured his left patella in Dec. 2009 and underwent microfracture surgery in Nov. 2010. He has not had a firm recovery timeline since the most recent procedure and has not appeared in a game since December 2009.

"He's still considered out indefinitely," Buchanan said.

In addition to these procedures, Buchanan wouldn't rule out the need for further surgeries.

"It's hard to eliminate anything at this point," he admitted.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Oden said he would continue his rehabilitation after the procedure.

"I'm sure you've all heard the news by now that I'm having a scope on my knee today," the statement read. "Unfortunately after months of intense rehab and training, the doctors discovered that a scope is necessary at this time. Thankfully this should be a quick recovery and I'll be back to training soon. I'm committed as ever to doing everything and anything to get back on the court and be a part of the team's success."

Oden, 24, has played in 82 games since being selected as the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. Oden's career averages: 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com