Portland Trail Blazers vs Los Angeles Clippers 10/24/14: Video Highlights, Recap

Two of the NBA‘s best, most exciting teams squared off on Friday night when the Portland Trail Blazers met the Los Angeles Clippers in a preseason clash. Led by Damian Lillard, the Blazers had one of the league’s best offenses last season. But the Chris Paul-led Clippers had the firepower to make this a very interesting matchup. 

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Lillard leads Trail Blazers past Clippers 99-89 (Yahoo Sports)

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 24: Will Barton #5 of the Portland Trail Blazers drives to the basket against Hedo Turkoglu #15 of the Los Angeles Clippers during the game on October 24, 2014 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Juan O'Campo /NBAE via Getty Images

Based on Friday, the Portland Trail Blazers would say yes; Damian Lillard scored 18 of his 21 points in the first half, and the bench held off a fourth-quarter rally as the Trail Blazers finished their exhibition schedule with a 99-89 victory Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers. Lillard scored seven points in Portland’s 17-4 first-period run to take a 25-16 lead with 3:08 left. He also scored his team’s final seven points for a 54-46 halftime lead for the Trail Blazers (4-3).


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Portland Trail Blazers season preview: Player projections

This is the third and final installment of our Portland Trail Blazers season preview. In the first two articles we took a look at the Blazers’ general roster and their potential standing in the Western Conference. Now I will give an overview of each player that will potentially be in the starting five and some key reserve players that will have a big affect off the bench.
The potential starters
Damian Lillard: While many players struggle during their second season, Lillard found a way to thrive. He averaged 20. 7 points and 5.6 assists per game last season. He hit the game winning shot to put the Blazers past the Rockets in the first round of the playoffs last year. Even if  Lillard’s numbers stayed the same this year, he would still be looking at having another great season. However I do expect Lillard’s 2.4 turnovers per game to decrease to 1-1.5 turnovers per game. If he is maintaining more procession and getting the ball to teammates more often, then scorers like LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews

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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets 10/21/14: Video Highlights and Recap

The Portland Trail Blazers looked to continue their strong preseason against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night. The Blazers’ explosive offense faced a tough test from the deep Nuggets roster, who were capable of matching Portland’s potent attack.

Watch the video for full highlights.

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Predicting the Good, the Bad and the Ugly for the 2014-15 Portland Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers will look to build upon last year’s run to the second round of the postseason and compete deep into the Western Conference playoffs this season. Can Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge help the Blazers take the next step?

Jay Allen of Fox Sports Radio 620 joins Stephen Nelson to predict the good, the bad and the ugly for the upcoming season in Rip City in the video above.

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Maccabi Haifa vs. Portland Trail Blazers 10/17/14: Video Highlights and Recap

The Portland Trail Blazers looked to score a big preseason win on Friday against Israeli side Maccabi Haifa.

Portland’s explosive offense has looked good all preseason, but the Blazers faced a tough test from the Israeli powerhouse.

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Matthews helps Trail Blazers beat Clippers 119-114 (Yahoo Sports)

PORTLAND, OR - OCTOBER 12: Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers shoots against the Portland Trail Blazers on October 12, 2014 at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Wesley Matthews scored 22 points, Portland was 17 of 25 from 3-point range and the Trail Blazers beat the Los Angeles Clippers 119-114 in an exhibition game Sunday night.


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Jazz’s Gordon Hayward Throws Down Huge Dunk in Preseason Game vs. Trail Blazers

There are a handful of NBA players you expect to throw down huge slam dunks during a game.

Utah Jazz wing Gordon Hayward is not one of them.

During Thursday night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Hayward threw down this exciting dunk after driving to the rim, finishing with authority.

[Gfycat]

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Trail Blazers’ Chris Kaman Stars in Reality Web Series ‘Exploring Kaman’

Chris Kaman may be known as the man who lies down on his team’s bench during games, but the Portland Trail Blazers big man has a pretty active life outside of basketball.

The 32-year-old is starring in a reality web series called Exploring Kaman. The trailer for the web series shows that Kaman does some crazy things in his free time.

Exploring Kaman will premiere on Oct. 17.

[Exploring Kaman]

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Who Will Emerge as the Portland Trail Blazers’ 6th Man?

After a year of sporting one of the league’s worst reserve units, the Portland Trail Blazers can look forward to an improved bench this season. There’s still room to grow in a few areas, but it’s clear players will have distinct roles rather than a slew of mismatched backups like last season.

As such, the team will need to find its sixth man to lead the reserves, acting as the first player off the bench to come in and make an impact. Let’s take a look at the possible candidates. 

 

Chris Kaman, C

Having signed their new backup center for a total of $4.8 million this season, per Basketball Insiders, you can bet the Blazers will want to see him earn every cent. 

Kaman will come into the season as Portland’s fifth-highest paid player, almost matching starting center Robin Lopez’s $6.1 million salary. As such, it’s likely the big man will check into the game behind either LaMarcus Aldridge or Lopez, depending on who is called to the bench first.

His size and mobility makes him an ideal fit at either frontcourt spot. Kaman can post up or drive on smaller forwards at the 4 or stretch the defense and space the floor with his mid-range shooting at the 5.

During his stint with the Los Angeles Lakers last season, Kaman converted on 47.4 percent of his mid-range attempts, courtesy of NBA.com. He averaged 10.4 points and 5.9 rebounds on 50.9 percent shooting for the year, but he played in just 39 games.

His troubles with former Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni were well-documented, going as far as both parties not speaking for almost three weeks. Kaman also touched on his unhappiness with an inconsistent role, per Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, saying: “Obviously, I would have never came here if they had said, ‘We’re not going to play you at all.’ I thought I had a good opportunity coming here.”

He’ll find no such trouble with the Blazers, as the team desperately needs competent reserve players. Over the course of last season, Portland’s starting lineup played a total of 1,373 minutes to trail just the Indiana Pacers‘ starting squad, courtesy of NBA.com

Per Hoops Stats, the bench ranked dead last in both minutes per game at 13.7 and points per game at 23.6. The likes of Thomas Robinson and Meyers Leonard were being counted on prematurely. Both big men still need time to develop as contributors and will have some breathing room to do so with Kaman on board.

He’ll be head coach Terry Stotts‘ first choice to back up Aldridge or Lopez thanks to his versatility and experience as he enters his 12th NBA season. Without doubt, he’ll be the Blazers’ sixth man in the frontcourt, though he may not fill that role for the team overall.

 

C.J. McCollum, G

McCollum‘s entry to the NBA last season wasn’t ideal, but he’ll have a chance to start the right way this time around.

After being drafted No. 10 overall in the 2013 NBA draft, the 6’4″ guard proceeded to break his left foot during practice at this time last year. McCollum also broke the same foot nine months prior while still at Lehigh.

In doing so, his NBA career did not officially commence until the start of January. McCollum therefore missed training camp as well as the chance to carve a niche in the rotation early on. He averaged just 5.3 points in 12.5 minutes over 38 games for his rookie campaign—underwhelming considering his draft selection but understandable given the circumstances.

McCollum won’t be burdened by the same issues coming into this season and should take over the title of Portland’s sixth man in doing so. 

Former reserve guard Mo Williams signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves during free agency, opening up a spot behind Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews in the backcourt. He received the biggest chunk of reserve minutes last season, playing an average of 24.8 per game.

Williams chipped in 9.7 points and 4.3 assists in that role, which is something McCollum should gravitate to. Though he’s a shooting guard to Williams’ position of point guard, he still carries similar traits in terms of shooting and ball-handling.

McCollum put up 20.2 points for the Blazers in the Las Vegas Summer League, shooting 47.9 percent with 3.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. The competition he played against will pale in comparison to what he’ll face on a nightly basis this season, starting October 29 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he’ll succeed even on a small scale.

McCollum is a scorer at heart and will fit in well behind either Lillard or Matthews. The team needs another offensive creator outside of Lillard, Aldridge and Nicolas Batum, which ultimately gives McCollum the tentative nod as Portland’s sixth man.

Kaman will still play a major role as a reserve for the Blazers, acting as a consistent and potent backup. But considering the makeup of the roster and the void Williams has left since departing the team, McCollum has a slight edge.

His scoring, ball-handling and shooting on the perimeter are all staples of Portland’s offense, and he’ll fit in seamlessly. The team can do more with McCollum in terms of strategic lineups and offensive sets, while Kaman will act solely as a strong reserve.

It could truly come down to both players acting as the sixth men for their team, but the title can only really be held by one.

And that’s McCollum.

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