Trail Mix: Blazers Beat Thunder, Look To Kings
Last night we had some issues technically and it prevented me from producing what will be a staple of our postgame coverage from the Moda Center in the Trail Mix.
In the past we’ve used the Trail Mix as just a place for links but we’ll try and drop as many goodies as we have that are important after each game.
- Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said that everything that went well for them against Oklahoma City was because of their defense. And he’s not wrong. It helped that Westbrook didn’t get to the basket as easily as he did in the second half but more importantly the Blazers didn’t give Oklahoma City the lifeline of free-throws. The Thunder, mostly Westbrook, shot 18 of their 26 free-throws in the first half. Portland also limited transition opportunities for the Thunder, holding them to just 5 fast break points after allowing 9 in the first frame.
- On what Stotts liked most about the defense, Stotts said: “One was that they didn’t get as many easy baskets, put backs. I think Nic did a really good job of influencing Westbrook and we were tighter in the paint. Just, they got so many second chance points and extra possession points that really hurt us and we really eliminated those in the second half to a degree.
- Damian Lillard addressed some tweets from 2011 that surfaced via Reddit that were directed at LeBron James, apologizing for them.
- When first asked about the tweets, Lillard said: “One of my coaches used to always tell me that when you make mistakes you got to face the music. In college me and some of my college teammates were messing around. I was the obvious Miami Heat fan and they wanted Dalla to win. And I made some comments about LeBron that was uncalled for. And that just goes to show that a lot of kids now, a lot of stuff that you put out there you’ll never know if it will come back. My advaice to them is to be careful with that. Luckily I know LeBron. Me and LeBron are cool, we talked about that. He knows that I respect him a lot. I’m a huge fan of him. It was just irresponsible. It’s something I wasn’t proud of but I can say I’ve grown up since then. I was just a young kid doing crazy stuff with my teammates, that was pretty much it.
- Lillard also spoke about his relationship with the four-time MVP: “I know LeBron. We’ve spoke. We’ve had plenty of conversations. I think he knows the respect is there. So it’s, it’s not really a big deal. I spoke to him, even about it. So it’s all good.”
- LaMarcus Aldridge had to get vocal with the Blazers at halftime. “I came in at halftime and I went off a little bit which is unlike me but I was just talking. I felt like we weren’t playing up to the level that we all wanted to. I felt like we all had to take the challenge defensively, even myself. And I was just saying that if we want to be this team that we are talking about being it just starts tonight. We went out in the second half and just played better.
- Aldridge also surprised everyone by starting the game off with a 3-pointer, even himself. He said: “I’m going to shoot more but I’m not going to live out there. But I’ve definitely worked on it this offseason and this preseason too, the coach is definitely giving me the green light to take them. The way Wes threw me the ball I had to shoot it. He threw it to me where I was in my 1-2 so I just shot it. It felt good. (Did you enjoy it?) Yeah. Because I didn’t think that anyone was thinking that my first shot would be a long 3 so it was kind of cool.
- A story about Aldridge’s name not being called in pregame intros on opening night from The Oregonian’s Jason Quick.
- Ben Golliver highlighted the Thunder perspective for SI.com.
- Here’s video of LaMarcus Aldridge’s alley-oop dunk off what he called a “perfect” delivery from Nicolas Batum:
- Aldridge said: “I saw he was going to steal it and I thought he was going out of bounds, so I ran so he would have someone to throw it to,” Aldridge said. “Then I saw he stayed in-bounds and I was like ‘oh, God, he’s finna to throw this up.” He added: “I haven’t caught a lob in I don’t know how long. I just tried to get my steps right. He threw it perfect. I felt like I was 18 again. Just felt young.”
- Hat-tip to Sam Tongue of Blazersedge.com.
- Also, the latest edition of The Moda Center Food Review, profiling Killer Burger.
- Meyers Leonard (upper respiratory illness) didn’t play on Wednesday and didn’t make the trip to Sacramento for Friday’s game against the Kings.