Posted on: October 6th, 2014 by Eddie L. Bolden, Jr. Comments


Projected Record: 50-32 (4th in West)


Wesley Matthews, LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard, Robin Lopez, Nicolas Batum

Portland's balanced top 5 makes them a real threat in the West. (AP)

Head coach: Terry Stotts
2013-14 record: 54-28
2013-14 ORtg: 108.3 (5th)
2013-14 DRtg: 104.7 (16th)
Players in: Steve Blake, Chris Kaman, James Southerland, Diante Garrett
Players out: Mo Williams, Earl Watson
Projected Starting Lineup: Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Robin Lopez

In one storybook season, the Portland Trail Blazers went from bottom-dwellers in the Western Conference to a championship contender. Although they fell to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Semifinals, the Trail Blazers had officially arrived. Sure, it helps having two stars in LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard at the forefront, but a supporting cast that can perform specific roles on a nightly basis is just as important too.

Wesley Matthews, rising scorer, Nicolas Batum, versatile wing, and Robin Lopez, inside man, play good basketball together and developed good chemistry alongside Lillard and Aldridge. Their starting five finished the season with a winning percentage of .667 and a plus/minus of 211. With the recent offseason acquisitions of Chris Kaman and Steve Blake, Portland’s production from the bench should improve. Last season, Portland’s bench averaged 23.6 points per game, the lowest in the league.

Much of the Trail Blazers' success last season relied on their ability to execute their offense at an efficient rate. Head coach Terry Stotts, an apprentice of veteran head coaches George Karl and Rick Carlisle, implemented the ‘flow’ offense, a steady motion of off-ball screens that leads to cuts and open shots. It is a component of team basketball and the philosophy helped the Dallas Mavericks win a championship in 2011, in which Stotts served as an assistant coach under Carlisle.

Just as Dirk Nowitzki flourished under the system, so has LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge had a breakout season in 2014, finishing as the team’s leading scorer and rebounder with 23.2 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. The development of his mid-range jump shot, especially from the left and right block, helped elevate his game to another level. Double-team coverage from opponents often resulted in perimeter opportunities for Matthews and Batum. Matthews connected on 37 field goals assisted by Aldridge and Batum connected on 58 field goals from Aldridge.

Entering his third season in the league, Damian Lillard is set for a breakout year. During his first playoff run, Lillard stunned the Houston Rockets with a game-winning, series-clinching, three point shot that electrified the city of Portland and put his name into the mix as one of the best point guards in the league. His ability to attack the rim and mix up the defense with his ball handling, passing, and shooting make him a constant threat on offense.

It will take more than the ‘one-two-punch’ of Aldridge and Lillard for Portland to climb the standings and finish as the number one seed in the West. Portland finished the season with a defensive rating of 107.4 and gave up 102.8 points per game which ranked 22nd in the league.

Last season, no one saw the Trail Blazers coming, and that’s what made their run special. This season, expectations will be high as they look to remain one of the most elite teams in the West.

Expect the Trail Blazers to finish among the top five teams in the Western Conference as they aspire for a championship.



Kevin Garnett, Thomas Robinson

The Nets continue their west coast trip against the Portland Trail Blazers tonight. (AP)


Brooklyn Nets


Portland Trail Blazers
26-28 Record 39-18
6-4 Last 10 Games 5-5
103.0 Points scored per 100 possessions 108.6
104.6 Points allowed per 100 possessions 105.3
97.9 Possessions per game 98.0
45.1% Field goal percentage 45.0%
36.5% Three-point percentage 38.1%
47.7% Rebound percentage 51.6%
15.4% Turnover percentage 13.8%
Joe Johnson (15.2) Top Scorer LaMarcus Aldridge (23.9)

Projected starting lineup:... MORE →


Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez

The Lopez twins. (AP)

In a wide-ranging interview with Williamette Week, Portland Trail Blazers center and Brook Lopez DNA match Robin Lopez discusses growing up with the Nets center, as well as their shared interests, comic books (of course), and memberships.

Here's a glance at some of Robin's Brook-related answers:
... MORE →


LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Garnett

The Nets couldn't stop LaMarcus Aldridge and the Trail Blazers Monday night. (AP)

The box score is here, if you hate yourself.

Five final thoughts:
... MORE →

Ghost Town

Posted on: November 19th, 2013 by Devin Kharpertian Comments


Jason Kidd Coach

Jason Kidd reflects during Brooklyn's 108-98 loss. His team did after. (AP)

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Following Monday night's game against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Brooklyn Nets engaged in some roster-wide "reflection," reflection that kept roughly 40 media members out of the locker room, pushed back into a far-off hallway, well out of earshot. Whatever words were tossed around the lockers, it was clear the team didn't want anyone to hear.

After reporters were allowed in, some 30 minutes later, we were introduced to a room filled with... MORE →


Check out the advanced box score from last night's 111-93 Brooklyn Nets slaughterhouse here.

Some final thoughts:

  • I've already expounded on how unreal Reggie Evans was last night, but just a cursory look at the numbers: 37.8% total rebound percentage (40.6% on -- they're slightly different because of how the two sites calculate possessions), about four times the league average. Over 35% both on offensive AND defensive rebounds. He had more rebounds than the entire Trail Blazers team in the first half (14-13) and nearly led them after three quarters (21 to the Blazers' 22). It was his seventh 20-rebound game this season but also his season-high in assists and the seventh time he recorded more assists than turnovers.

    So add it all up: A career high in rebounds, a season high in assists, a season high in points that tied his career high, and his highest field goal percentage with more than 7 attempts in a game? Yup, I'm comfortable saying that this was the best game of Reggie Evans's career. The only shame is that he wasn't around to do it in front of the fans in Brooklyn. Guess he'll have to do it again.

  • Deron Williams had his quietest post-All Star Game performance yet, Joe Johnson didn't play, and the Nets blew out their opponent by the first quarter. So that happened.

  • Though the road trip is only a minor indication, it appears that Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo has settled on a rotation, and Mirza Teletovic -- who only entered the game in the fourth quarter, long after garbage time had kicked in -- is not in it. Although the numbers will change when Joe Johnson returns and Reggie Evans doesn't have the night of his life, you can figure how the Nets will use their minutes going forward: 35ish for Johnson & Williams, 30 for Lopez, 25-29 for Wallace & Evans, 15-20 for Blatche/Watson/Bogans, closer to 10-15 for Humphries/Brooks, and filling in the blanks with Stackhouse/Teletovic.

  • Another day, another 11 points on 7 field goal attempts and three corner threes for Keith Bogans. I'm not saying but I'm just saying.

  • It looks like Gerald Wallace finally threw some trash in the trash can. Since he called himself out for his complete inability to make a layup, Wallace has shot 70.6% in the restricted area and half of his attempts from within five feet. He's still maddeningly unable to hit three-pointers above the corners, but baby steps, right?

  • Bears repeating: the Nets got 74 points in the paint last night, all from within five feet, and attempted more than double their season average from that area. 37 field goals on 58 attempts when your season average is 25.9 attempts per game? Solid way to win a game.

  • I'll close on a pace note: the Nets average the second-slowest pace in the NBA, humming around 90 possessions per game, but last night's game was closer to 95, according to's estimate, and that's even considering the ridiculous amount of second chances they had to extend possessions. It's a pace that would rank them 13th in the NBA. Maybe they are good when they run a bit more.


    The Game Starts Now... MORE →


    Tonight: The 41-29 Brooklyn Nets kick off the second half of their Circus Trip against the Portland Trail Blazers, at the Rose Garden in Portland at 10:30 P.M. The Nets are 3-1 on the trip so far, dropping only a 101-95 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Blazers return home after a five-game road trip, going 3-2 away from home.

    The BK Game Streak: Play "The BK Game Streak," where you can build a streak of wins along the betting line over the course of the season. Three prizes will be awarded at the end of the year, with first prize a $200 Amazon Gift Card. Log in with Facebook to get started, vote in the box above, and good luck!

    Watch & Listen: Tonight's game is broadcast on YES Network. Ryan Ruocco and Jim Spanarkel are on the call. The game is radio simulcast on WFAN, and in Spanish on WADO.

    More on tonight's game, including injuries and stats, after the jump... MORE →



    With half of the Circus Trip behind them, the 41-29 Brooklyn Nets kick off their final four games in the eight-game, 17-day road trip in Portland against the 33-37 Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers are 2.5 games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth seed in the Western Conference, and are back home after a five-game road trip of their own.

    Joining us to delve into just what comprises this Trail Blazers team is USA TODAY Sports NBA writer Sean Highkin, formerly of Portland Roundball Society and Hardwood Paroxysm.

    And as always: The BK Game Streak is up above. Make yer picks, 'n' good luck.


    Devin: Pick one: Damian Lillard's last month or Deron Williams's last month.

    Highkin:... MORE →


    The 41-29 Brooklyn Nets take on the 33-37 Portland Trail Blazers in Portland to kick off the second half of their Circus Trip, and along with a chance to guarantee a season over .500 for the first time since 2005-06, you know what that means: another chance to play The BK Game Streak to win a $200 Amazon Gift Card!

    The game is as simple as it sounds:
    ... MORE →


    Gerald Wallace Brooklyn Nets

    Gerald Wallace

    Chat it up in tonight's game thread!

    The Brooklyn Nets (7-4) face the Portland Trail Blazers (6-6) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn today. Here's the deal on this afternoon.

    Remember: you can grade the players at any time.
    ... MORE →


    Damian Lillard, Toney Douglas

    (AP/Don Ryan)

    Writing at New York Times's Off the Dribble blog, Benjamin Hoffman notes that the Brooklyn Nets will have a look at what might have been today against the Portland Trail Blazers: at last year's deadline, the Nets traded their first-round pick (top-3 protected), along with Shawne Williams and Mehmet Okur, for Gerald Wallace. The pick, which became the sixth overall pick, turned into point guard Damian Lillard -- an early frontrunner along with #1 overall pick Anthony Davis for rookie of the year.

    Hoffman said of Lillard, who leads all rookies with averages of 20.2 points and 6 assists, that "it would be hard for Portland to ask for more," and though Lillard and Williams play the same position, he'd easily have been an enticing player.

    Indeed, Lillard represents part of a long-term vision that the Nets eschewed in favor of a win-now mode: they've traded each of their first round picks since drafting Brook Lopez in 2008, always for veterans. Though it's impossible to alter the past, an interesting what-if is to imagine a long-term core of, say, Lillard-Derrick Favors-Brook Lopez.

    Either way, I still feel the Nets made the right move.

    Read more: New York Times Off The Dribble -- A Point Guard for the Nets to Ponder