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Lillard, McCollum Pour Second-Half Storm on Thunder, Blazers Win Game 4

The star backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum led the Portland Trail Blazers to a much-needed Game 3 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight, propelling the Blazers to a 3-1 series lead. Portland’s starting guards combined for an effective 51 points off of nine combined three-pointers, while playing tough defense on an assortment of Thunder players. A strong third quarter gave the team a double-digit lead, which they maintained for the remainder of the game.

Al-Farouq Aminu
Normally the unsung hero, Al-Farouq Aminu made an impact tonight. His play at the start and end of the game earned him the BioFreeze performer award as the player of the game.

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Aminu’s most important contribution was knocking down early three-pointers to stretch the Thunder defense. Instead of every defender collapsing on Lillard or McCollum,cheap nba jerseys from china
they hesitated on pinching into the lane and vacated room for the guards to attack. When OKC’s defense adjusted for Lillard and McCollum’s assault, the ball went back to Aminu.

While he failed to connect on crucial attempts in the final minutes of the game, Aminu contributed in his usual manner…on defense. He stayed tight on Paul George and communicated well with Moe Harkless to switch on screens, limiting George’s uncontested three-point attempts. Aminu also blocked Nerlens Noel in the fourth quarter and secured the loose ball to keep Portland’s lead secure.

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum Stay Hot
Lillard came out sluggish and missed all four of his shots in the first quarter. He didn’t score until the final two minutes of the half, but five late points capped off an 11-0 Portland run and gave the Blazers a 50-46 lead at halftime. As in Game 3, Lillard broke out in the third quarter. He utilized screens from Enes Kanter craftily, separating himself from George and converting three triples in four possessions, vaulting the Blazers to a significant lead.

McCollum diced up Thunder defenders all night with the silky dribble moves we’re accustomed to, but he shot with remarkable confidence too. He took the offensive torch from Lillard in the fourth quarter. Just as the Thunder were trying to make a comeback, he blocked George in transition, then ran into a pull-up three on the other end. This pushed Portland’s lead to 97-81 with 4:26 remaining, an edge that would prove insurmountable. McCollum finished with 27 points, one steal and two blocks on 10-20 shooting and five triples.

How the Trail Blazers became the hottest team in the NBA: Love, learning and losses

To understand how the Trail Blazers have become the hottest team in the NBA and the biggest surprise in the league, you have to venture to places some on the roster would just as soon forget.

The fourth quarter against Detroit, when the Blazers lost a 15 point lead while being outscored 41-11. The last-second three-point heave in Houston by Corey Brewer to force overtime . A last-second putback by Zach Randolph in Memphis. A stinging home loss to Dallas after a late Dirk Nowitzki basket. A beat down in Oklahoma City. And wins that slipped away in Milwaukee and Cleveland.

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It was a cruel, hard-luck start to the season, complete with a seven-game losing streak in November, and a five-game losing streak in December. But they were streaks laced with cheap nba jerseys
lessons, bitter as they were.

“We had to have that experience, that bad taste in our mouth,’’ Damian Lillard said of the early season hardship. “It’s that simple. Sometimes you just have to go through stuff.’’

Through those early season trials, they learned about themselves on and off the court. There were late-game issues on the court, but a developing bond off the court. And a sloppiness with the ball on the court was in stark contrast to their work ethic off the court.

Along the way, an informal credo surfaced among the team: Trust the process.

The results were not coming, but the players could feel and see progress and improvement.

Game 4 of Portland Trail Blazers vs. OKC Thunder: How and Where to Watch

Game 4 of Portland Trail Blazers vs. OKC Thunder: How and Where to Watch originally appeared on nbcsportsnorthwest.com

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your Blazers and stream the games easily on your device.

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The Blazers are locked in for Game 4, and they think Wholesale nba jerseys
it would be “big time” to win on Sunday. “It would be huge if we were able to take the game tomorrow night and go home with some momentum and try to close it out at home,” said Maurice Harkless Saturday. “I think that would be big time.”

The Portland Trail Blazers and Coffee: A Match Made in Heaven

The Portland Trail Blazers have a secret weapon in their battle against the 82-game NBA regular season marathon: coffee. Today Baxter Holmes of ESPN penned an extensive article on the team’s love affair with java, and the pressure that comes with serving the coveted beverage to some of the most demanding clientele possible.

Holmes suggests that the Blazers need their fix because of the grueling schedule, if nothing else:

[O]ver the past 10 full seasons across the four major North American pro sports, no team has traveled as far as the Trail Blazers.

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They’ve finished first or second in distance traveled in every NBA season since 2008-09. Over that span, not counting any seasons in any of the sports that were shortened Wholesale jerseys 
by a lockout, Portland has clocked 542,383 miles, some 40,000 miles more than the second-place team, the Timberwolves, and enough to circle the globe 21 times.

He also shares an anecdote about Todd Forcier and Ben Kenyon, Portland’s “sports performance specialists”, getting the business end of former Blazers center Chris Kaman’s peculiarities:

IT WAS THE fall of 2014, prior to a preseason tilt, and Forcier and Kenyon were boiling water to make coffee, as they often did — and the temperature on the electric kettle rose to 220 degrees.

The team’s new center, Chris Kaman, erupted. “No, 190!” Kaman boomed.

He was adamant: The water’s temperature needed to be precisely 190 degrees Fahrenheit — not 189, not 191, but 190 on the dot. From then on, if Forcier ground the beans for one second longer than Kaman deemed necessary, or cut the grinder off a second too early, Kaman would notice. And the beans? They had to be fair-trade, organic. And the grinder? Had to be top-shelf.

Holmes peppers the piece with plenty of quotes from Damian Lillard, Moe Harkless, and Head Coach Terry Stotts on the benefits—and acquired taste—of drinking coffee straight up. Considering Portland’s place near the epicenter of the coffee revolution, the topic couldn’t be more appropriate.

Dominant Jusuf Nurkic in middle of ‘best four games’ with Portland Trail Blazers

TUALATIN – After an historic individual performance, a run of recent dominance and a trio of notable victories, Portland Trail Blazers fans can’t help but wonder:

Are we watching the genesis of Nurkic Fever 2.0?
But ask Jusuf Nurkic about his inspiring play and the Blazers’ starting center would just as soon talk about the Portland rain. Three consecutive times Thursday, Nurkic was asked in one form or another to discuss his dominant play. And three consecutive times, he pooh-poohed the queries, directing praise instead to his teammates and/or noting he’s most happy that the Blazers are winning.

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“I think we feel good — myself and (the) team,” he said. “I’ve never been about me. Cheap Portland Trail Blazers Jerseys It’s always about (the) team and myself. I like where I am as a player, Cheap Portland Trail Blazers Jerseys but I couldn’t do anything without my teammates.”

Fair enough. But if the Blazers can count on more consistency and dominance from Nurkic, it would go a long way toward helping them mature into more than a playoff afterthought.

Nurkic recorded 24 points, a career-high 23 rebounds, seven assists, five steals and five blocks in the Blazers’ 113-108 overtime victory over the Sacramento Kings on New Year’s Day, becoming the first player in NBA history to finish a game with more than 20 points and 20 rebounds, while also logging at least five assists, five steals and five blocks. It was the exclamation point on a dynamic four-game run in which Nurkic has averaged 21.5 points, 13.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.8 steals.

Portland Trail Blazers at L.A. Clippers: Game preview, TV channel, how to watch live stream

The Portland Trail Blazers (16-13) play the L.A. Clippers (17-12) Monday night at the Staples Center.

Here are the details:

What: Blazers vs. Clippers, 7:30 p.m.

TV channel: NBC Sports Northwest (Comcast/Xfinity channel 37, or 737 for HD)

Online: Watch a live stream on NBA League Pass (Subscription is required. League Pass is not available locally and is blacked out for nationally televised games.)

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Listen: Radio on KPOJ 620 AM in the Portland area.
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS
The Clippers fell 110-104 to the Oklahoma City Thunder Saturday night on the road, suffering their third loss in a row and fifth in the last six games . … Danilo Gallinari recorded 28 points cheap nba jerseys
and seven rebounds and Tobias Harries added 22 points and nine rebounds in the defeat. … The Clippers are 9-3 at home this season. … Despite their recent rough patch, the Clippers are in fifth place in the Western Conference and remain an early-season surprise. The Clippers have won at least 17 of their first 29 games for the eighth time in franchise history. … Backups Lou Williams (17.2 points per game) and Montrezl Harrell (15.1) rank second and seventh in the NBA in bench scoring, respectively, and are the only set of teammates averaging 15 or more points off the bench this season. L.A.’s second unit leads the NBA in scoring, averaging 51.0 points per game this season. … Williams did not play vs. the Thunder, missing his third consecutive game with a sore left hamstring. … In a win in Portland on Nov. 25, Harris scored 34 points and made 14 field goals, matching career highs in both categories. … Coach Doc Rivers sits one victory behind legendary Blazers coach Jack Ramsay (864) for No. 13 on the NBA’s all-time coaching wins list. … The Clippers rank sixth in the NBA scoring, averaging 113.9 points per game this season, and are the NBA’s most frequent free throw shooting team. They lead the league in free throws made (23.1 per game) and attempted (28.9).

Poll: Are You Still Engaged With The Blazers

Are you still fully engaged with the 2018-19 Portland Trail Blazers?

I am – but to be fair I have to be. I watch every game, analyze the data, and formulate opinions. But this is a team that yet again has shown itself to be similar to the previous year’s model. A few new bells and whistles, but ultimately not really a redesign in any meaningful way.

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It remains to be seen Wholesale nba jerseys  if their win over the Toronto Raptors will kick-start their motor again but, as it stands now, the Blazers have fallen off in a big way after their hot start. What I’m curious about is how their performance affects you as a fan. Are you a die-hard, watch every minute of every game fan? Or have you seen enough over the last two months that you’re able to take a step back? Maybe you remember you’ve got that home project to work on in the evenings. Maybe you turn the TV off and spend a little more time with the kids.

Both contingents of fans are out there, but I’m curious where you stand. I take calls nightly during The Last Quarter (102.9/750 The Game after the final buzzer of every Blazers game), and I hear from people that they are starting to tune out on this team because, as stated above, they feel like they were sold a product as something that’s brand new, but it’s really the same old thing. And they’re fed up with it happening again and again.

But callers to a sports radio show immediately after the home team’s loss aren’t going to be the most accurate indicator of what’s actually going on. Emotions are running high and people feel frustrated in the moment. So with the Blazers looking not much different than the last several years, I put it out to you:

Blazers Hold Ground in Power Rankings

The Portland Trail Blazers hold a familiar spot entering into the tenth week of the NBA season. Following a 1-2 week, the team sits squarely in the middle of the pack in the eyes of the national media, as displayed in this week’s Power Rankings round-up.

ESPN kept the squad 12th, with Marc J. Spears highlighting the recent struggles of the team’s second unit:

Remember when Portland was first in the Western Conference after an 11-5 start? Now, the Blazers are in eighth place in the West after winning just five of their past 13 games. So what’s wrong? cheap portland trailblazers jerseys
One problem is the Blazers need more scoring from their bench. Portland’s reserves showed some promise by scoring 58 in a win over Toronto on Friday.

Sports Illustrated has them 11th, up from 12th last week. However, Khadrice Rollins laments the pair of potentially costly intra-conference losses:

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Friday’s win over the Raptors was much needed after road losses to the Rockets and Grizzlies. Too bad for the Trail Blazers, they probably won’t have to worry about a tiebreaker scenario with Toronto. Can’t say the same about Houston and Memphis though.

CBS Sports also has the Blazers 11th, down one spot from a week ago. Reid Forgrave points to the production drop-off of Zach Collins:

What’s the path forward for the Trail Blazers? They have one of the best backcourts in the NBA in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, yet the rest of their roster doesn’t exactly scream high ceiling. I’m a believer in Zach Collins, and he was fantastic to start the season, but he has largely fallen off from his hot start. Collins was averaging 1.1 blocks and shooting 36.8 percent from three his first 20 games; over the past nine games he’s averaging 0.6 blocks and shooting 23.1 percent from three.

The Trail Blazers (16-13) are in Los Angeles tonight to take on the Clippers, then return home for match-ups against the Grizzlies, Jazz and Mavericks later in the week.

Trail Blazers a Consensus Top 10 in Power Rankings

It was another solid week for the Portland Trail Blazers, with wins over the Pacers, Rockets, Pelicans and Timberwolves, and the only blemish being a nail-biting loss to the re-energized Lakers. That success was not lost on national pundits, as the team was a unanimous top ten selection in the weekly NBA Power Rankings entering the fourth week of the season.

ESPN placed the team seventh, up two spots from last week. Marc J. Spears does see some cause for concern, however, giving the (relatively) slow start of CJ McCollum:

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The Blazers are quietly winning at a high rate thanks in large part to a high-octane offense. Oddly, CJ McCollum’s scoring has dipped during this start, as he is averaging 19.2 points per game while shooting 42 percent from the field. McCollum has averaged at least 20 points and a 44 Wholesale nba jerseys
percent shooting average per game in each of the previous three seasons.

CBS Sports also ranked the team seventh, up from tenth a week ago. Reid Forgrave praises Zach Collins while also pointing out the team’s early strength of schedule:

The Blazers’ schedule the first month of the season has been — and will continue to be for another week — unforgiving. And yet they’ve weathered it incredibly well. The impact of Zach Collins on this team cannot be overstated. This might be the best version of the Blazers since LaMarcus Aldridge left.

Sports Illustrated has Portland sixth, all the way up from 12th last week. Khadrice Rollins is impressed with the wide variety of players stepping up:

Lillard’s scoring took a slight dip in the Trail Blazers’ victories as the team’s role players continued to dominate. Zach Collins scored 17 points against the Pacers and then Jusuf Nurkic dropped 22 and 10 in Houston and 20 and nine at home against the Pelicans. Meyers Leonard chipped in 15 and 12 in Sunday’s victory over the Timberwolves as Nurkic led the way with 19 points.

Things don’t get any easier for the Blazers (7-3) this week, with the Bucks, Clippers and Celtics all rolling through town.

Trail Blazers’ Evan Turner Flourishing Apart from Lillard, McCollum

Portland Trail Blazers wing Evan Turner has been one of the biggest surprises with his play so far this season. When the Blazers signed Turner in the Summer of 2016, fans were expecting another ball handler and play maker to go along with leaders Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Up until this year cheap los angeles dodgers jersey
they got less than they expected. In 2018-19, they may be getting more.

In 2015-16, Turner was a part of the Boston Celtics squad that made a surprise run to the playoffs despite their youth. Turner was the leader of the second unit. His play on the court led the Blazers to sign him to a four-year $70 million dollar deal.

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It’s not as if Turner has played badly with the Blazers since, but this season he seems to be playing a lot more efficiently. The Blazers bench, which had been a negative in the past, is now one of the better reserve units in the NBA. Are Turner and the Blazers doing something different or is it just a small sample size of Turner playing well?

Turner is averaging about 10 points per game, over 4 assists, and shooting over 50%. You can tell he is playing better. But why? I looked at some stats for Turner from his time in Portland and his final year in Boston, and I found some very interesting numbers.

The first factor is where Turner is getting his shots from. Portland believes that they can coach anyone to become a solid three point shooter. Turner was not during his first two years in Portland. This year they appear to have given up on that experiment and are allowing him to play to his strengths.