Tag:Wesley Matthews
Posted on: February 5, 2011 10:03 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2011 12:14 am
 

Cavaliers set NBA record with 24th straight loss

The Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night, marking their 24th straight loss, setting a new NBAcavs-blazers record. Posted by Ben Golliver.

They played with fight, but the Cleveland Cavaliers lost anyway, setting a single-season NBA record by losing their 24th consecutive game on Saturday night, a 111-105 home loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. On Friday night, The Cavaliers tied that record with a 112-105 road loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Cavaliers surpassed the Vancouver Grizzlies -- who lost 23 straight games in the 1995-1996 season -- and tied the all-time record for consecutive losses overall, set by the Cavaliers during the 1981-1982 and 1982-1983 seasons. Their last win came on Dec. 18 against the New York Knicks. Incredibly, that was the only game the team has won during a 1-34 streak dating back to Nov. 30. The Cavaliers can set the NBA's all-time record for consecutive losses (regardless of whether it stretched over multiple seasons) during a Monday night game against the Mavericks in Dallas.

On paper, the Blazers looked like a fairly appealing opponent for the Cavaliers, as they started an undersized starting lineup, have struggled to generate offense lately and are short-handed due to multiple injuries. If ever there was a team ripe for the taking, it would have seemed to be Portland, who had lost four of five games coming into Saturday night, are playing without starting center Marcus Camby, who is out due to a recent knee surgery, and had failed to score more than 100 points since Jan. 20.

Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, who have arguably the least-talented roster in the NBA, they came out of the gates with a slow start, getting down by as many as seven points in the first quarter. Six second-quarter Cleveland three-pointers got things going, however, and the Cavaliers held a 57-55 halftime lead. Blazers forward Dante Cunningham sustained a blow to the head during the second quarter (he would not return to the game), and Cleveland exploited his absence nicely, attacking Portland’s paint on their way to 54.8% first-half shooting.

The Blazers have been dogged by terrible outside shooting in recent weeks, but that finally came to an end on Saturday night, especially in the second half, as Portland shot a season-best 12-19 as a team from deep, with guard Wesley Matthews (5-7) and forward Nicolas Batum (5-6) leading the way.

In the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers collapsed just like they did against the Grizzlies, giving up a game-changing 9-0 run in the middle of the quarter that made life easier for the Blazers down the stretch.

Matthews led the Blazers with 31 points. Antawn Jamison led the Cavaliers with 17 points. 

With the win, the Blazers avoided going o-fer on a three-game road trip which also included games at Denver and Indiana, improving to 27-24. The loss dropped Cleveland to 8-43 on the year. 

After a tough game against the Mavericks on Monday, the Cavaliers will have another good shot to break the streak. They host the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night, beginning a home-stand that will also include games against the Los Angeles Clippers and Washington Wizards, who are both below .500.

Posted on: February 3, 2011 2:36 am
Edited on: February 3, 2011 2:40 am
 

Andre Miller doesn't care if Blazers trade him

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Andre Miller says he doesn't really care if he's traded prior to the NBA trade deadline. Posted by Ben Golliver. andre-miller

The Portland Trail Blazers had their season self-combust due to injuries, and any hope of entering a championship window -- building around Brandon Roy, Greg Oden and LaMarcus Aldridge -- has disappeared entirely. As such, it's crossroads time for new Blazers GM Rich Cho: to rebuild or to stay the course?

Rebuilding is the likely play, but that would require going young and shedding some of the team's older players with big-dollar deals in the name of flexibility. One of those players could be veteran point guard Andre Miller, who had his name floated in trade rumors last year and earlier this season as well.

NBA Fanhouse reports that Miller is indifferent to the trade talk.
"I don't really care, really,'' Miller said when asked in a FanHouse interview Wednesday whether his hope now is to remain in Portland rather than be traded. "You know what I'm saying? I would like to stay put, but it's a business and anything can happen.''
When asked if he believes there's a decent chance he'll be moved by the Feb. 24 trade deadline, Miller said, "Yeah. Yeah.''
"There's a chance,'' Miller said. "A lot of guys can get moved. Where? I don't know. At this point, hopefully it's not a team that's rebuilding. I wouldn't want to go back to like a Philly situation.''
Miller is a straight-talking, matter-of-fact speaker, so his blunt honesty shouldn't catch anyone by surprise. While Miller is still productive and a key piece of the Blazers team this season -- averaging 13.1 points, 7.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds -- as the team's only starting-quality point guard, his theoretical usefulness for the Blazers has come and gone. 

When Miller was signed in the summer of 2009, it was with the idea that he would help provide veteran leadership to a young team that was looking to take the next step in the playoffs. With Roy and Oden out of the picture indefinitely, the Blazers are now looking to build around Aldridge, wing Nicolas Batum and guard Wesley Matthews, a much less formidable trio. While Miller was supposed to guide the ship, that ship has sailed off in a totally different direction, replaced by a much less imposing dinghy. 

Miller is on the books for $7.3 million this season and a team option $7.8 million for next season, so a team that traded for him could simply let him walk this summer without any future financial obligation. He therefore would have appeal both to contenders looking to increase their depth without compromising their long-term flexibility and to rebuilding teams that are simply looking to dump a longer-term contract.

It also shouldn't be a huge surprise that Miller isn't as emotionally tied to Portland as he might have been in the past. He came to Portland with the goal of advancing out of the first round of the playoffs, to put a stamp on a long, successful NBA career. He hasn't accomplished that goal and he has no real ties to the area. If a contender was interested, who would blame him for reciprocating that interest and chasing playoff success somewhere else? 

Miller, with his on-the-ground game and savvy play, has plenty of NBA miles left. But he's nearing the end of his run as a game-changing starter. Whether he is moved prior to the deadline, during draft season or next year as an expiring contract remains an open question. The problem for Portland, of course, is the same one they have dealt with for a decade: Who can they find that is better?
Posted on: February 2, 2011 11:27 am
Edited on: February 2, 2011 11:29 am
 

Game Changer: LMA drops 40

The Rockets keep bugging the Lakers, DMC gets into it with KG, and LaMarcus Aldridge has the game of his life, all in today's Game Changer. 
Posted by Matt Moore

THE BIG ONE: LMA TAKES OVER TO KEEP PORTLAND ALIVE

LaMarcus Aldridge has become a complete player this season, and has gone from good player to star. No further proof is needed beyond the performance Aldridge gave Tuesday night in the Blazers' 99-86 win over the Western-Conference-leading San Antonio Spurs. Aldridge dropped 40 on the Spurs, with a barrage of inside layups, dunks, and perimeter mid-range jumpers. See for yourself, in the shot chart from our GameTracker: 



7-13 on jumpers? That'll do, LMA. That'll do. Aldridge made a strong case for All-Star reserve in front of the coach for the Western team, not only with his shooting display to go along with 11 rebounds.  Aldridge has become the focal point of the Blazers, and he's the reason they're hanging onto the 8th spot in the West. That Aldridge has become the focal point after so often being passed over by Blazers management and fans is equally notable. First it was Brandon Roy, then Greg Oden, then Andre Miller, and most recently sophomore Wesley Matthews. But with Roy and Oden on the shelf, Miller marginalized by age, and Matthews still learning consistency, it's fallen upon Aldridge to shoulder the team. And he's risen to that challenge. 

Patty Mills at one point lobbed a dangerous, ill-advised pass into traffic for Aldridge. Mills knew it was a poor pass, but trusted in Aldridge to make a play. Aldridge nabbed the pass and nearly threw it down, drawing a foul. That's trust in your star, and the Blazers have it. That Aldridge has had to wait so long to reach this level must make it all the more worth it. Always the consolation prize, with the Blazers hopes for a title run with their young core vanished into a mist of lost opportunities, Aldridge is now the Blazers' best hope moving forward. He's a legitimate star to build around. 

For the Spurs, this game serves as a warning. The Spurs had no one to extend their perimeter defense against Aldridge with.  DeJuan Blair is not mobile enough and Duncan is unable to cover the distance and recover. As a result, Aldridge dropped the array of mid-range top-of-the-key shots you see above.  It's his sweet spot, just as Dirk's is the corner elbow, and David West's is the 16-foot baseline. All give the Spurs problems. Stretch fours are a problem for the Spurs, and they're going to be seeing a lot of them in the playoffs. Meanwhile, their offense sputtered and their defense wasn't able to hit the gear they're going to need in the playoffs.

Not the way they wanted to start the rodeo road trip. 


GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:

Aldridge, obviously.

Runners-Up:

Kobe Bryant: 32 points, 6 rebounds, 11 assists

Luis Scola: 24 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists

AN UGLY COIN FLIP

The Celtics and Kings engaged in a pretty brutal standoff with the officials Tuesday night. The Celtics played their usual brand of brutal, physical, abrasive style, swiping, clubbing, shouldering, and creating so much contact the officials couldn't call everything. And when they did call something, the Celtics reacted with their usual outpouring of incredulity. What the Celtics weren't expecting was for the Kings to attempt the same approach. The Kings sped the pace up, which the Celtics hate, and then got aggressive down low, repeatedly blocking Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, and Glen Davis. That helped the Kings to a three-possession lead, which of course the Kings blew down the stretch when their entire offense came unglued as the Celtics buckled down. 

The most interesting part of the game was the interaction between DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Garnett. Garnett did his usual "Look at me, I'm so crazy" act, hitting himself and mumbling obscenities. Cousins, for the most part, seemed off-put by Garnett's defense of him in the post, which involved a lot of slapping at the ball, missing, and hitting Cousins, then predictably getting the call because it's Kevin Garnett versus a rookie.  Cousins did mouth off to Garnett once, prompting Rajon Rondo to try and ease him back with his hand, which caused Cousins to slap the hand away, ending in Rondo shoving him and drawing a technical. It was a weird mirror image to Garnett's own behavior, if obviously less mature. 

Cousins was brilliant on offense, hitting everything from tap-backs and fadeaways to three-pointers.  But on defense, he too often lazed around getting back, didn't commit off-ball, and wound up in poor position. Imagine if the kid had a work ethic. 

LAKERS FINALLY FIGURE OUT THEY'RE TALL

The Lakers needed a win, and an injured, short-handed, small, poor defensively Rockets team was the perfect cure for what ails them.  Of course, for 48 minutes, the Lakers refused to take their medicine, and the Rockets used crack perimeter shooting and savvy ball movement to outwit the Lakers on their way to overtime. The Lakers would make a run by being tall and very good at basketball, the Rockets would call timeout, and then the Lakers would completely go away from everything that worked previously. Sure, the Lakers were missing Andrew Bynum. But the Rockets were missing Yao Ming, obviously, so it's not like they were full strength.

Meanwhile Pau Gasol drifted and drifted until overtime. Kobe Bryant dished seven assists before he scored 7 points in the first quarter, then started to take over offensively again.  Guess when the Rockets came back?  Meanwhile, he went back to distributing and finding Lamar Odom late, which allowed the Lakers to close the deficit and force overtime. In the extra period, it was simple physics.  The Lakers are tall and long, the Rockets are short.  The end. 

It wasn't a great win for the Lakers, but it's a win, and it's a start for their way back.
Posted on: February 1, 2011 6:33 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2011 7:11 pm
 

NBA announces Rookie / Sophomore All-Star rosters

The NBA has announced the rosters for it's annual rookie vs. sophomore challenge game during All-Star weekend. Posted by Ben Golliver. griffin-evans

It seems like we say this every year, but, on paper, the Sophomores are going to absolutely destroy the Rookies in this year's Rookie Challenge. The NBA released the rosters for the two teams on Tuesday, and the Sophomores tout reigning Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans, along with his stiff competition for that award: Brandon Jenning and Stephen Curry

The Rookies pair up the lock for 2011 Rookie of the Year, Blake Griffin, and John Wall, which is a match made in highlight heaven. Past those two, and perhaps DeMarcus Cousins and glue guy Landry Fields, the talent level tails off pretty hard, pretty fast. 

Here's the full list of names, via the NBA. 
Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans, the reigning T-Mobile  Rookie of the Year, and Los Angeles Clippers rookie forward Blake Griffin, the only  player  in  the  NBA  averaging at least 20 points, 12 rebounds and three assists, lead a list of 18 players selected for the 2011 T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam to be held on Friday, Feb. 18, in Los Angeles during NBA All-Star 2011.
The participants in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam were selected by the NBA’s assistant coaches, with each team submitting one ballot. 

Joining  Evans  on  the Sophomore team are: San Antonio Spurs center DeJuan Blair, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson, Philadelphia 76ers guard Jrue Holiday, Oklahoma City Thunder forward/center Serge Ibaka, Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings, and Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews.

Washington Wizards guard John Wall, the top selection in the 2010 NBA Draft, joins Griffin on the Rookie team, which also includes: Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe, Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, New Jersey Nets forward Derrick Favors, New York Knicks guard Landry Fields, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Wesley Johnson, Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe, and San Antonio Spurs guard Gary Neal.
While this is barely worth noting because we're talking about an exhibition game, Blair, Gibson, Ibaka and Matthews all boast post-season experience and combine to possess a fair bit of basketball intelligence. And by that I mean: they'll play harder than most, but when Blake Griffin is about to make one of his posters they'll be savvy enough to get out of the way. 

One other footnote: DeRozan, Ibaka and Griffin will all be in the Slam Dunk contest as well. 

I can't wait for this game. There's a distinct possibility that Wall could throw Griffin an alley-oop from the far baseline, setting a Guiness record in the process.
Posted on: January 24, 2011 4:17 pm
 

Will Deron Williams be the next Carmelo Anthony?

Utah Jazz point guard Deron Williams expresses some reservations about the team's future. Posted by Ben Golliver. deron-williams

The Carmelo Anthony trade talks are in a bit of a lull, so to help fill the space let's take a crack at which NBA superstar will be the next to hijack the league's media coverage with his desire to change teams. The top early candidates, obviously, are Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul, but NBA.com reports that we shouldn't count out Utah Jazz point guard Deron Williams.
"It should be happening by now," Williams said last week. "We've just got to figure it out. We can't just come out and expect teams to give us games."
The "it" in Williams' mind is the maddening inconsistency of the Jazz, culminating in Utah's 0-fer road trip, including bad losses at  Washington and  New Jersey.
The Jazz have lost four straight, dropped to second place in the Northwest Division and are just 4-6 in their last 10 games. Things could be a lot worse, no doubt, but 2011 conventional wisdom says that NBA superstars aren't content to count their blessings, instead intent on finding greener pastures.

NBA.com also notes that Williams was frustrated with all of the roster turnover this summer, which included guard Wesley Matthews being signed by the Portland Trail Blazers, and Kyle Korver and Carlos Boozer departing to the Chicago Bulls.
"We lost Wes, we lost Kyle, we lost Booze, and it was like, 'What are we going to do?' And we bounced back and we added some good guys. We added Al, we added Earl, we picked up Gordon (Hayward) and Jeremy (Evans) in the Draft, and they've been two bright additions to the team. And I was pleased. We got Raj."
But is Utah as good defensively as it used to be? And does this team have the luxury of working all those new players in?
"Not really," Williams said. "My contract's up in two years. It's a now or never situation. I don't know what I'm going to do after this one."
Guh. That's a tough load to take for Utah fans, as Williams' words read like a soft ultimatum. Essentially: Get me help, or else.

Utah has historically been one of the best run franchises in the league, however it's a difficult destination to land a high-profile free agent. Ownership has expressed a desire to be financially prudent, which makes it difficult to compete with the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics of the world given the size of the Salt Lake City market.

The best case scenario for Utah fans: a new collective bargaining agreement that includes a franchise tag that would help keep Williams in a Jazz uniform. 

The worst case scenario? Just look across the Rocky Mountains.
Posted on: January 12, 2011 11:02 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2011 11:12 pm
 

Brandon Roy considers arthroscopic knee procedure

Portland Trail Blazers All-Star guard Brandon Roy is reportedly considering an arthroscopic knee procedure. Posted by Ben Golliver. brandon-roy

The Portland Trail Blazers announced in December that All-Star guard Brandon Roy would be sidelined indefinitely with pain in both of his surgically repaired knees. Last week, we noted a report that Roy was considering meniscus transplant surgery, a rare procedure not usually performed on professional athletes during their active career.

The Portland Tribune reports on Wednesday that transplant surgery is apparently no longer an option, and that Roy is now considering an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee.
Roy and team officials flew to the Bay Area last Thursday to meet with Dr. Brian Cole, the team doctor of the Chicago Bulls and one of the world’s foremost experts on articular cartilage repair.
Cole is of the opinion that meniscus transplant surgery on Roy, who has had a pair of lateral meniscus operations and is at the bone-on-bone stage with the left knee, is not an option. Cole offered the possibility that an arthroscopic procedure, however, might relieve some of the pain.
Arthroscopic surgery is a relatively simple procedure and generally does not require an athlete to be sidelined for an extended period of time. Roy underwent an arthroscopic surgery during last year's playoffs and returned to the court eight days after the procedure.

The Tribune notes that Roy could potentially return to the court this season if he decides to undergo an arthroscopic surgery. 

The Blazers have played surprisingly well in Roy's absence, but guards Wesley Matthews and Rudy Fernandez have struggled at times to provide the scoring consistency that made Roy a three-time All-Star in his first four seasons in the NBA.

IN theory, this would represent an ideal situation for Roy, as his goal is to return to the court and play effectively as quickly as possible. Questions remain, though, about whether a procedure of this kind would relieve the persistent swelling and soreness he has experienced this season and allow Roy to play with greater mobility. It was assumed this fall that the conditions of Roy's knee had deteriorated to the point that a surgery of this type either wouldn't be possible or wouldn't have a meaningful impact. 
Posted on: January 12, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: January 12, 2011 10:22 am
 

Shootaround 1.12.11: Anthony keeps denying

Is Avery the man? Did Amar'e tamper? Has Nash had enough? We ask these questions and more in today's Shootaround. 
Posted by Matt Moore
  • Is Avery Johnson the man for the job in New Jersey? One of the biggest concerns has to be the regression of Brook Lopez. Mono or no mono, Lopez has taken a huge step back under Johnson, and as he's the cornerstone of the franchise, that's a giant red flag. Johnson was a solid pick for a playoff team, but he's not shown he has the ability to develop a young roster like one the Nets have. 
  • Amar'e Stoudemire may have contacted Melo by text to try and clear him off  accepting the Nets' offer. If so that's at least dancing with tampering, and if it keeps up, the commissioner's office is going to step in, no matter, or perhaps due to how off-hands his office was with the Miami ordeal. 
  • Carmelo Anthony and Rip Hamilton teach you English. 
Posted on: December 30, 2010 4:13 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:56 pm
 

Should the Blazers shut down Brandon Roy?

The Portland Trail Blazers are reportedly considering shutting down Brandon Roy. Should they? Posted by Ben Golliverbrandon-roy

The 2010 version of Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy is a far cry from the 2008 and 2009 versions, and it's throwing Roy, his franchise and the Portland fanbase for a loop. Expectations have been re-calibrated, dreams have been deferred and apprehension has mounted. With word coming from CBSSports.com's Ken Berger on Wednesday that all options are on the table for Roy -- including potentially shutting down his 2010-2011 NBA season before the All-Star break -- what's the right course of action here? There are a number of factors weighing on, and complicating, this decision. Let's look at what's best for all parties. The Team Roy has been ineffective and inefficient on offense, and a total liability on defense this season. His game has always been of the ball-stopping variety: when he's playing, the offense slows down, the Blazers run more isolation plays and Roy takes a ton of shots. Given his decreased quickness off the dribble, Roy is settling for tougher shots and making less of them this season. That fact has dragged Portland's offensive efficiency down in a meaningful way and has forced Blazers coach Nate McMillan to re-think Roy's role when he is out there.  In Roy's absence over the last two weeks, power forward LaMarcus Aldridge has seen an increase in touches and has delivered well. Guard Wesley Matthews, Roy's replacement in the starting lineup, has also seen his numbers spike up, and reserve guard Rudy Fernandez has flourished, to a degree, now that he's been given the playing time he's long desired. The Blazers as a whole have played more energetically and less passively in Roy's absence, as the team's younger players tended to defer to Roy and stand around watching and waiting for him to make something happen. Still, the Blazers would be better off with Roy than without Roy, but the nature of his role as a starting two guard and primary scorer simply isn't sustainable, unless he has made significant progress in terms of his mobility during his weeks off. If Roy was available to play in short spurts and was comfortable playing off the ball, his shot-making and play-making abilities are of value. He could still be a positive this season, even in a limited capacity. Brandon Roy Despite concerns surrounding his health, Roy no doubt wants to play. He's a fierce competitor and has grown accustomed to being treated as the 3-time All-Star that he is. Shutting down the rest of this season, combined with a potential lockout, could mean years away from the game during what was theoretically supposed to be the beginning of his prime. That's no easy decision for a player to swallow. Sorting through the mental demons of playing in a limited state is going to be easier for Roy if he's able to play than if he simply steps away from the game. Shutting it down would really be Roy's last resort, the product of a medical diagnosis that he simply couldn't avoid. The Organization The Blazers have officially fallen short of their goal of competing for a title with Roy, Aldridge and center Greg Oden as their primary nucleus, and are reportedly deciding whether they should enter a rebuilding phase. The team's ceiling this season is the No. 8 seed and virtual certain elimination in the first round of the playoffs; their basement is the No. 10 or No. 11 seed and a trip to the draft lottery. Roy is essentially untradeable given his health and the fact that he's in the the first year of a 5-year $80+ million contract, so the Blazers are stuck with him for the time being. If Roy is able to contribute meaningfully, the Blazers would love to have him on the court for his superstar appeal and ability to sell tickets. He hasn't been able to do that this season, however, and his absence has allowed new general manager Rich Cho additional time and space to assess the rest of his roster's pieces.  Young players with untapped potential, such as Matthews and Nicolas Batum, can certainly use the extra playing time created by Roy's absence. If a rebuild is in the cards, the team could do a lot worse than making Aldridge, Matthews and Batum their temporary centerpieces, at least until a clearer picture of Oden and Roy's future effectiveness emerges. More minute and touches for the younger guys now means more confidence and reliable production down the road. The organization would like a productive Roy, but shouldn't let an unproductive Roy stand in the way of the development of younger, potential future core pieces. Conclusion Shutting down Roy isn't nearly as catastrophic an option as it might appear at first glance, given the team's record, the state of the organization and Roy's on-court ineffectiveness. The 2010-2011 Blazers are almost certainly going to be hovering around average, whether Roy plays down the stretch or not.  Given that fact, there's really no reason to rush a decision, unless medical opinion has swayed hard against Roy's ability to play through his ongoing knee pain. If no definitive conclusion has been reached about Roy's knees, there's nothing wrong with continuing to monitor and re-evaluate Roy on a week-to-week basis, assuming he is on board with that.  Treading carefully is of utmost importance here, given that a decision to shut down Roy will have major implications on and off the court for years to come.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com