Trail Blazers Recap 01/13-01/19/20
To start the week off, the Blazer’s had a shaky performance against a young – but talented – Charlotte team last Monday. Damian Lillard dropped 30 points and 9 assists on 10/16 shooting, CJ McCollum contributed by dropping 27 points to secure the 115-112 win. The Trail Blazers shot 50% from the field and had a great performance from Carmelo Anthony with 17 points and Anthony Toliver having a big impact off the bench with a 16-point 11- rebound double-double, shooting 7/8 on the night – with all 16 points coming in the 4TH QUARTER. The game was exciting to say the least. – getting great productivity from the starters and a solid contribution from the bench was a nice sign of life from the team. The next game was against the Houston Rockets. A team with two previous MVP players who are still very dominant in the NBA. This was arguably the Blazers best game of the season thus far. Going into Houston, who had only lost 4 games at home this season and beating them by 10. This was a huge road win, especially for Melo due to the fact that Houston let him go a season ago after just 10 games with the Rockets. With a couple of smooth high lights, he and the rest of the starters all had big games – all five of our starters scored in double digits. They, however, could not shut down Russell Westbrook who had a 30 point triple double against Portland, although it was Dame who came out on top, in the Dame VS. Russ rivalry game. This game was won by playing as a team and really showed us fans how great this team can be. the Trail Blazers won 117-107. The second half of the week was more on the heart break side. While we still played well, a young-all-worldly talent, Luka Doncic had a career night against us in Dallas. With Dame having a monster game of 34 points, Hassan with 21 points and 18 rebounds, and Melo with a 22-point performance, the Blazers made a statement that they can still be a force in the Western Conference. The Mavericks were able to hold McCollum to just 4 points before he existed under his own power midway through the second quarter after spraining his ankle. Luka would lead the Mavs to a 120-112 win.
After this game, there was a trade made by Portland. The news broke from ESPN’s trusted NBA inside source, Adrian Wojnarowski: “The Portland Trail Blazers have agreed to trade Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver and two future second-round draft picks to the Sacramento Kings in a deal that sheds $12.5 million in salary, NBA sources told ESPN. The Kings will send Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel and Caleb Swanigan to the Blazers, whose luxury tax bill drops to $7 million with the deal. Bazemore ($19.3 million) and Tolliver ($1.6 million) are on expiring contracts. Ariza ($12.2 million) has a partial guarantee of $1.8 million on his $12.8 million contract next season. The Blazers will have until June 30 to pick up or decline that option.”
This trade is believed to be a deal to try and shed some of the luxury tax bill and can help hopefully help the Blazers going forward. Before this deal the Blazers had the highest payroll in the NBA. Worst case, Trevor Arizona is a well-established player on defense and on the perimeter. Ariza is for sure the key takeaway from the trade. The trade to acquire Ariza, Gabriel and Swanigan could not be made official until today. Which left the Blazers with just eight active players against Oklahoma City. The last game of the week against Oklahoma City in OKC was yet another loss. Playing against future hall of famer Chris Paul is never an easy feat. CP3 had a remarkable 30 points against our beloved Blazers. While they lost the game, this was another game that was not an embarrassing loss, playing only eight players following the trade. We saw great promise in Gary Trent, Jr. who had a career night scoring, 30 points off the bench. He was in his bag all night. Dame dropped another 34 points as he does. However, you just knew it would be a tough game without Bazemore playing due to the trade and Toliver as well. Two players who have been receiving a lot of minutes. The Thunder were focused, playing great defense and they definitely delivered. They ended up winning 119-106.
A great take away from this week is the level Dame is maintaining game in and game out. Also, Melo is still playing very effective while players from the bench are stepping up in key moments and showing flashes of greatness. With this trade we are able to get rid of some cap that we need to get better players for the future or even pay some players we want to keep for next season. I would say this week was a great week to be a Portland Trailblazer.