Posts tagged Portland
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The 2011 NBA Draft is all about selecting players who can help your team as much as possible. While many go for the players who could score 25 PPG one day, others prefer to go toward defense. If the latter is what you opt for, then look no further than Chris Singleton of Florida State.
Drafting this Seminole could hands down make the Portland Trailblazers the top defensive team in the entire NBA within a year.
Singleton is a decent shooter who struggles from the free throw line, but he can step back and bury a three pointer when the situation calls for a big bucket. He is still sort of a project on offense, but that can be taught at the next level.
It is his defense that will get him drafted in the first round.
Chad Ford of ESPN says of Singleton that “He remains the best and most versatile defender in the country. Singleton was repeatedly called upon to guard the opposing team’s best player and showed again that he’s equally comfortable covering perimeter and post players. His size, quickness and athleticism should all transfer to the next level. Someone’s going to take him high based purely on his ability to impact the game defensively.”
Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress likes his size, even though he is sort of a ‘tweener.’
“Numbers aside, Singleton’s biggest asset as a NBA prospect remains his prototypical physical attributes,” says Givony. “Standing somewhere between 6-8 and 6-9, with long arms, a well-built frame, and outstanding athleticism, he looks the part of a modern-day NBA forward — a la Josh Smith, Rudy Gay and Gerald Wallace.”
Singleton may not bring a lot of offense to Portland right off the bat. But his defense will earn him plenty of playing time, and the offense will follow.
For more on the draft and some possible first round selections, make sure to check out Bleacher Report Cavaliers Featured Columnist Jesse Dorsey, who previews the NBA Draft 2011: Has Jimmer Fredette Worked His Way Into the Top 10?
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NBA Picks: Portland Trailblazers vs Los Angeles Lakers
Portland Trailblazers (39-29) @ Los Angeles Lakers (49-20)
Time: 8:30 pm EST
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Preview: The Portland Trail Blazers will look to win their third straight game when they play at the Staples Center against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Trailblazers are currently in 6th place; tied with the New Orleans Hornets in the Western Conference.
Portland has struggled a bit on the road; winning just 16 of 35 games. Also, the Trailblazers against Western Conference foes have won 23 of 40 games. Portland used 20 points and 11 rebounds on Thursday as they blew out the Philadelphia 76ers by 41 points. Portland is seeing their big man LaMarcus Aldridge score near 23 points per game, taking over as the offensive force for the injured Brandon Roy. Portland is 7th in the NBA in defense; allowing 95 points per game.
The Lakers come into the game as winners of three straight games and nine of their last ten. With just 13 games to go, the Lakers lead the Dallas Mavericks by a single game for the second seed in the Western Conference. The Lakers are coming off an 8 point win over the Timberwolves Friday night, where Pau Gasol poured in a game high 25 points, and Will Bynum ripped down 14 rebounds. Los Angeles is 24-8 this season when playing at the Staples Center.
Our prediction for this game: The Lakers continue to roll, knocking Portland another game back in the standings. Los Angeles wins 101-91.
The Portland Trailblazers will take on the Los Angeles Lakers this weekend. These two teams have both been solid as of late and they are both hoping to finish strong in order to earn the best position possible when the playoffs begin.
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The Lakers have looked excellent since the All-Star break and they have won 9 of their last 10 games. The key to their success has been the hard play of Andrew Bynum. Everyone has seen flashes of brilliance from Bynum, but he has never offered the consistency that the Lakers have needed him to. If he can provide interior defense and rebounding in this game, they Lakers will have the definite advantage.
It seems that things are falling to their place at the right time for the Portland Trailblazers. The Blazers have been riding the efforts of Aldridge all season, but they have added some players and had some players come back from injury that could really help the cause.
The most notable player to start producing has been Brandon Roy. Roy was their MVP before sustaining injuries and he is starting to look like the player that he was previous to his injuries. If he is healthy the Blazers could give the Lakers a hard time in this game, and the Blazers could upset some good teams in the playoffs.
If the season were to end today, these teams would play each other in the playoffs. This game could be an important game in establishing an attitude in Portland that they can beat the Lakers if they match up in the playoffs.
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The defending champion LA Lakers currently hold the third seed in the Western Conference, and are set to be matched up with the Portland Trail Blazers, the current holders of the sixth seed. Although these positions may change, it’s most likely that Portland will be LA’s first round matchup.
The Lakers are undergoing a season of struggles. Usually a staple for the first seed in the West, Los Angeles has fought this season with internal issues, limiting their production. These problems (typical of two-time champions), mostly effort-based, have led to rumors of players such as Ron Artest getting moved before the deadline.
However, LA’s front office put their trust in their current lineup, and didn’t make any big moves before the deadline. Since then, LA has gone 8-1 (blowing out the Spurs in San Antonio, nonetheless), and has suffered a loss only to the Miami Heat.
Portland on the other hand, has dealt with injury issues all season, losing time from critical players Brandon Roy, Greg Oden and Marcus Camby. Roy, earlier this season, underwent two knee surgeries that will almost assuredly limit his production for the rest of his career. Consequently, he is coming off the bench behind Wesley Matthews.
The remaining Blazers, however, have lived up to their high-ceiling potential. LaMarcus Aldridge, the worst All-Star snub in NBA history according to LeBron James, has powered this team to the sixth seed in the West, and has earned Western Conference Player of the Month honors in February, as well as Western Conference Player of the Week twice.
Aldridge, although he has been a dominant force, hasn’t been without help. Wesley Matthews, the undrafted sophomore who came in from free agency, has been one of the top three-point shooters in the league, and has led Portland’s three-goggle assassins (Rudy Fernandez, Patty Mills, Nicolas Batum and Gerald Wallace).
Gerald Wallace, the recently acquired forward from Charlotte, has come off the bench to spark Portland’s lineup with his unique brand of energy and hustle. Proving vital in Tuesday’s matchup against Miami, Wallace should be one of the key pieces in Portland’s success in the playoffs.
When these two teams play, sparks usually tend to fly. It should be noted that Portland has won nine of the last 11 contests played in the Rose Garden against Los Angeles. This should prove vital when these two teams match up in Portland. The Blazers must win their home games if they hope to have a chance against LA’s hotshot squad.
It’s hard to talk about matchups when considering Portland, especially since Brandon Roy and Gerald Wallace haven’t truly cemented their place in the rotation yet. LA, on the other hand, has fielded the same lineup (ignoring injury replacements, of course) since acquiring Ron Artest in the summer of 2009. It’s very likely that they will field the same starting lineup when the playoffs come around. Although they might change, it still makes sense to compare the positional matchups from these two teams.
PG: Derek Fisher vs. Andre Miller
Derek Fisher has often been considered the weak leg of the Lakers’ starting lineup. Although he’s a good point guard for the triangle system, he’s been known to disappear in important games and has proved to be a defensive liability against stronger point guards. In clutch situations, look for Fisher to punish opponents with his jump shot, but a good defensive point guard should be able to neutralize him. He’s most effective when opposing guards double Kobe Bryant (all the time) and shouldn’t be left open too often when he’s having a good shooting night.
Andre Miller, on the other hand, has been one of the driving forces behind Portland’s tenacious run this season. Possessing a “wily vet” reputation like Fisher, Miller lives for clutch situations, and although his jump shot (especially from the perimeter) has faltered since he entered the league, he’s one of the best point guards in the post, and against a player like Derek Fisher, could do some serious damage.
Advantage: Andre Miller
SG: Kobe Bryant vs. Wesley Matthews
Kobe Bryant, although age has clearly affected his formerly MVP-level game, still shows flashes of brilliance as LA’s clear franchise player. Bryant, who has built a reputation over his time in the league as a voluminous shooter, has taken less shots this season and has still remained effective, and is posting an above-average field goal percentage. Although he seemingly no longer possesses the ability to take over a game and score 80-something, he can surely lead his Lakers to a championship. An excellent perimeter defender, he should have no issues keeping Matthews’s three-threat to a minimum.
Wesley Matthews, although he has slowed down from his hot start in Portland, is still a crucial player to the Blazers. He abuses opponents from any point on the floor, and should be a handful for Bryant, although he should be manageable. A defensive specialist, his length and speed should make him a nuisance for Bryant, who shouldn’t be able to take over the game with quite as much ease with Matthews on him. Although Matthews is a rising star in this league, and maybe even a future All-Star, Bryant is just too powerful for his skill set.
Advantage: Kobe Bryant
SF: Ron Artest vs. Nicolas Batum
Ron Artest, the 2009 acquisition brought in to replace Trevor Ariza, after a successful 2009-10, has faltered this year and has been the subject of trade rumors. Reportedly, he has feuded with coach Phil Jackson and consequently, has had issues on the court. His shooting and overall production have dropped off significantly, making him a liability in LA’s complex system. Artest has always been a player known to “flip the switch”, however, and can’t be counted out in the playoffs. After all, after a couple of lackluster series in the 2010 playoffs, he became a dominant force in the 2011 Finals, and was one of the main reasons for Boston’s defeat.
Nicolas Batum, the third-year man out of France, was penned in for big things this year after a great second half-season in 2010. Although he has been hugely effective at times, he has had issues gelling with Wesley Matthews and Gerald Wallace on the floor. Nonetheless, Batum is a player that can damage opponents from the perimeter, and his long arms should be enough to shut Artest down at any point of the court. A defensive specialist, he’ll also be used alongside Matthews (and especially Roy when he comes off the bench) to double-team Kobe in critical moments.
Advantage: Hard to say, but Batum seems like the right choice.
PF: Pau Gasol vs. LaMarcus Aldridge
The true critical matchup of this series, the two most consistently dominant players on these teams will happen to play each other for the majority of their time on the floor. Gasol came into this season looking like an MVP candidate, but has dropped off slightly as LA has dropped important games. Nonetheless, he’s still considered one of the most dominant power forwards in the game, and should’ve been given Finals MVP honors in the 2010 playoffs. Although he can hit from the perimeter, he prefers to do his work 15-18 feet from the basket, and can take over a game in pick and pop situations with Fisher or Bryant. Often regarded as “soft” in the post, Gasol is not to be underestimated, and can’t be left without a double team deep in the post, as his hook shot is nearly unstoppable.
LaMarcus Aldridge, a frontrunner for Most Improved Player honors, has defied rumblings in the league about his limited arsenal in the low post by bringing to the table an improved post game this season. Consequently, opposing defenses haven’t yet been able to figure out how to stop him. If Gasol is unable to stop his assault, which is efficient from any point inside the perimeter, Aldridge will be able to take over the series. This matchup could go either way a month from now, but if Gasol and Aldridge continue to play as they have for the last few months, Aldridge may be able to surprise a few Lakers fans.
Advantage: LaMarcus Aldridge, but only slightly
C: Andrew Bynum vs. Marcus Camby
For years, Andrew Bynum has been limited by injuries, and although he’s missed time this year, we’re beginning to see where his numbers could be as a healthy player. In LA’s seven-game win streak, Bynum has gobbled up rebounds and has looked like one of the most dominant rebounders in the league. Although he has some legitimate offensive potential, this is his place in Coach Jackson’s system, and he is happy with his role.
Marcus Camby is perhaps the prototype for Andrew Bynum’s play style. Along with being one of the more gifted rebounders in the league at 35, Camby is expert at cleaning up broken plays, and is a perfect sidekick to LaMarcus Aldridge. Portland definitely realized his absence, and lacked inside presence when Camby missed time. Camby, despite his age, has made Portland the number four offensive rebounding team in the league, and is on pace to attain one of the best offensive rebound percentages of his career. Camby, however, should have issues boxing out the young Bynum, and surely will surrender some critical rebounds to LA’s center.
Advantage: Andrew Bynum
LA: Steve Blake, Shannon Brown, Matt Barnes, Lamar Odom
Portland: Patty Mills, Rudy Fernandez, Brandon Roy, Gerald Wallace, Jarron Collins
LA’s bench production this year has been one of the major reasons they have faltered. Steve Blake, a point guard who is seemingly perfect for the triangle system, has struggled in learning the system, and has been subject to some streaky shooting in the process. Shannon Brown, although he has improved slightly this year, looks to have a ceiling as a pretty good bench player on a contender. Matt Barnes, coming into this season expected to be a huge benefit to the Lakers’ bench, has missed time with injuries and still hasn’t gelled with the team as much as Coach Jackson would like. Lamar Odom, however, has been incredible off the bench for Los Angeles (and in the starting lineup with Bynum out) and received heavy consideration for an All-Star bid. Off the bench, he’s the most legitimate threat to Portland.
Portland’s Bench, after a slow start, has been imbued with legitimate star power and is now possibly the most dominant piece of the Blazers’ system. Portland takes two 2010 All-Stars off the bench in Brandon Roy and Gerald Wallace, two dominant players who have a reputation of taking over critical moments with grit and physicality. (These tendencies were the downfall of Miami on Tuesday.) Apart from these players, great shooting from Patty Mills (who has also surprisingly developed an intense defensive game) and Rudy Fernandez will ignite the Portland bench to do great things in the Playoffs. Concerning Jarron Collins, in the five or so minutes he will play, he’ll be an absolute liability. Hopefully Marcus Camby will be well enough to clean up most of the minutes at the five on the floor.
Advantage: Portland Bench
Much of this first-round matchup will rely on Portland’s ability to remain healthy, something they have had trouble with this season. If Portland can accomplish this, they’ll have a legitimate chance at taking the defending champions down. If the series moves to seven games, expect the Lakers to be a tired team moving into the second round, realizing they can’t leave their bench on the floor for too long against Portland’s arsenal of reserve gunners. Expect Bryant to take the game over in critical moments and move the Lakers to barely squeak past Portland.
Verdict: Los Angeles Wins, 4-3
The Orlando Magic will be without superstar Dwight Howard Monday when they try to get back in the win column against a Portland club kicking off a four-game road trip.
The NBA suspended Howard for one game without pay for receiving his NBA-high 16th technical foul of the season in Friday’s 89-81 loss to Chicago. Under league rules, a player or coach is automatically suspended without pay for one game upon receiving his 16th technical of the regular season. The infraction took place with 1:41 remaining in the second quarter.
For every two additional technicals assessed over the remainder of the campaign, Howard, who is averaging 23.1 points and 13.9 rebounds per game this season, will automatically receive another one-game suspension.
On the floor Friday, Chicago’s Derrick Rose finished with 24 points as the Bulls used a dominant second quarter to gain control, then maintained its lead in the second half to beat the Magic, who were coming a Thursday win against the Miami Heat.
“What it really comes down to is executing down the stretch on both ends,” said Howard, who finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, but made just four of his 12 free throw attempts.
Brandon Bass and Richardson both finished with 16 points for Orlando, while Jameer Nelson had 14 points and six assists. Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu suffered a right elbow sprain in the first quarter, but returned to the game and finished with two points on 1-of-5 shooting.
The Blazers, who will also visit Miami, Charlotte and Atlanta on its trek, won their second straight game on Saturday when LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points as Portland cruised to a 93-69 victory over the Bobcats, beating Charlotte for the fourth straight time.
Coasting down the stretch, Portland rested three of its five starters for the entire fourth quarter. Only Aldridge and point guard Andre Miller played as the Blazers led by as many as 26 points.
Patty Mills scored 12 points and Brandon Roy had 10, both off the bench, as Portland improved to 3-3 in its last six games.
The Blazers have been playing well on the road, winning a season-best five straight away from Rip City but the competition, Cleveland, Toronto, Detroit, Minnesota and Sacramento, has been weak. Portland, which has lost four of its past five in central Florida, hasn’t won six consecutive road games since Feb. 18-March 2, 2002.
Portland Trail Blazers at Orlando Magic game preview Published: Monday, March 07, 2011, 12:01 AM By Oregonian Sports
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Blazers (35-27) at Magic (40-23)
4 p.m. Monday at Amway Center
TV on CSN (Comcast 37); radio on KXTG (95.5)
Portland’s projected starters
6-2PG13.3 ppg, 7.3 apg, 3.9 rpg
6-5SG16.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg
12.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg12
6-11PF22.3 ppg, 8.9 rpg23
C5.7 ppg, 11.1 rpg
Orlando’s projected starters
12.6 ppg, 6.2 apg 23
16.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg
9.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.1 apg
10.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg
11.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg
About the Magic: Orlando lost more than just a game to the Bulls during an 89-81 home defeat Friday night. Center Dwight Howard received his 16th technical foul of the season, guaranteeing an automatic suspension for tonight’s game against the Blazers. He had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the loss, recording his 21st consecutive double-double. … The loss came one game after the Magic overcame a 24-point second-half deficit to beat the Miami Heat. It was the second-largest comeback in franchise history. … The Magic have played nine of their last 10 games at home but after tonight will leave for a five-game trip. They will play nine of their remaining 11 March games on the road. … The Magic are 24-10 at home this season and are beating teams by an average margin of 16.4 points at the Amway Center. … The Magic have overcome double-digit deficits 10 times to win games this season. … The Magic are shooting 36.3 percent from three-point range and lead the NBA in three-pointers made (585) and attempted (1,611). They’ve made at least 10 threes in a game 30 times this season. … Orlando’s defense ranks among the league leaders in several defensive categories, including points allowed (fifth at 94.2 points per game), field goal shooting (fourth at 43.8 percent), assists (fourth at 19.5) and three-point shooting (eighth at 34.3 percent). The Magic are 34-11 when they hold their opponent below 100 points.
About the Blazers: Portland will play the first game in a four-game East Coast trip tonight at Orlando. … The Blazers have won a season-high five consecutive road games and eight of their last 11. … The trip will feature two back-to-backs. The Blazers are 10-6 in the second game of back-to-backs this season. … The Blazers defeated the Charlotte Bobcats 93-69 Saturday night as Aldridge finished with 26 points and seven rebounds and the bench combined to score 38 points. … The Blazers allowed their fewest points of the season in the win and held the Bobcats below 80 points for the fourth consecutive time in the series. It’s the first time in franchise history the Blazers have held an opponent below 80 points four times in a row. … As of March 4, the Blazers led the NBA in alley-oops with 121. Aldridge had finished an NBA-high 80 alley-oops and Miller led the league with 55 assists on alley-oops. … Miller ranks 12th in the NBA in assists this season and ranks 16th on the NBA’s all-time list with (6,910). He needs just eight assists to pass Guy Rodgers (6,917) and move into 15th place. … Over the last 12 games, Miller is averaging 14.3 points, 8.1 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game. … Since Dec. 15, Aldridge is averaging 25.6 points and 9.7 rebounds and is shooting 52.5 percent from the field.
Series history: The Blazers defeated the Magic 97-84 in December to win their second consecutive game and third in five meetings in the series. Miler nearly had a triple-double, finishing with 22 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, and Matthews added 20 points for the Blazers in the win. Portland owns a 24-19 all-time advantage in the series, including a 11-10 edge in Orlando. This will be the Blazers’ first game in the new Amway Center.
Injuries: Portland will be without center Greg Oden (left knee) and guard Elliot Williams (both knees). Centers Dwight Howard (suspension) and Daniel Orton (left knee) will not play for the Magic.
Sacramento, CA (Sports Network) – LaMarcus Aldridge posted 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as Portland used a balanced attack to down Sacramento, 107-102.
Wesley Matthews scored 21 points, Andre Miller had 19, and Nicolas Batum posted 17 for the Trail Blazers, who won their fifth straight road game and also snapped a two-game losing streak overall. Patty Mills chipped in with 14 points while Gerald Wallace added 12.
Rookie forward DeMarcus Cousins had 28 points to tie a career high and also pulled down 11 boards for the Kings, who have dropped 11 of the their last 14 contests. Marcus Thornton added 26 points while Beno Udrih donated 13 points and eight assists in the loss.
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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers: NBA Expert Handicapper Pick
Los Angeles Lakers
(39-19, 26-31-1 ATS)
Portland Trail Blazers
(32-24, 28-25-3 ATS)
Western Conference foes duke it out at the Rose Garden in NBA betting action on Wednesday night, as the Portland Trail Blazers try to tame the Los Angeles Lakers.
Apparently, missing out on Carmelo Anthony might have been just the thing that really sparked the Lakers to start playing like the defending champs once again. They absolutely destroyed the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night in the first home game of the month since starting off a nightmarish road trip. The 104-80 victory was capped by a whopping 54-33 first half which killed Atlanta. It was a tremendously well rounded effort from all of the main pieces to the puzzle. Kobe Bryant scored 20, while Pau Gasol had a double-double with 14 points and 10 boards. Ron Artest, Derek Fisher, and Shannon Brown all reached double digits in scoring, while Andrew Bynum ripped down 15 boards. It was the defense that Head Coach Phil Jackson really had to be proud of, as his team kept the Hawks at bay for the entire night. For the season, that defense hasn’t always been the greatest, allowing 96.1 points per game, ranking No. 10 in the league. However, the percentages for the Lakers are solid, as teams are only shooting 44.1 percent from the field and 33.7 percent from long range against them this year.
There’s good news, bad news, and questionable news for the Blazers as they start their second half of the season. The good news is that there is no doubt that this is one of the hottest teams in the league. Portland has covered five in a row and won six in a row dating back to February 5th. The bad news is that neither Brandon Roy nor Marcus Camby is quite ready to come back into the fold yet, though both are listed as questionable for this evening’s bout with the champs. It’s also remotely encouraging that these two are at least thinking about getting back in the lineup, as they are two amazingly crucial cogs to this puzzle that are going to have to help this team get into the playoffs in the final 25-30 games of the year. The questionable news is that there is inevitably a trade out there to be made before Thursday’s trade deadline, and you never know if that could take a name like Nicolas Batum or Andre Miller out of the fold for the night. The good news is that rumors are still circulating that Devin Harris could be headed to Portland soon, but we know that won’t be in time for tonight’s game.
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Assuming that these teams look like they do on paper as of Wednesday morning, we tend to believe that the Lakers will keep this solid play going. Of the wins on this winning streak for the Blazers, only victories at home against New Orleans and Chicago were worth writing home about. LA will get the job done on Wednesday.
NBA Free Pick: Los Angeles Lakers
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