Trail Mix: Blazers, Clippers react to line-up snafu

(AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

(AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

The Portland Trail Blazers 109-98 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers will likely go down as their most memorable game of the season. CJ McCollum was mistakenly placed on the inactive list before Wednesday’s loss and Terry Stotts and the Blazers did not realize the mistake until it was too late.

There also seems to be several other details to the story, not the least interesting of which involves the Clippers pleading their case to the league according to Ben Bolch of the LA Times. A couple of other reports suggest that Rivers was given the option to allow McCollum to play and declined, which explains this hilarious exchange between Rivers and McCollum after the game.

Rivers was asked after the game if the Blazers tried to change their line-up after submitting it.

“I think so,” Rivers said. “But once you make it, we made that error last year twice. It’s not our fault.”

Rivers repeated the same message several times: this wasn’t their problem, it was Portland’s. However, he did take the time to stump for change in the league.

“Bottom line is there just shouldn’t be an active list, ” Rivers said. “I’ve been fighting this for three years. I still want someone to tell me why there is an active list. We have guys who are healthy and we still have to tell them they can’t play.”

Mason Plumlee, who played extremely well with 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists in 25 minutes, thinks something should be done as well.

“I think if it was an honest mistake, no harm done he should be allowed to play,” Plumlee said. “It wasn’t like we were trying to pull one over on the other team like oh, he’s hurt and it wasn’t in the media that he wasn’t playing and then oh, here he is. But you know, maybe the league should look at that.”

  • Plumlee had more good stuff. He was asked whether he’d ever seen anything like that before in a game. “I think i’ve seen high school. Technicals because a jersey number is wrong or something.”
  • To the Blazers credit, nobody threw anybody under the bus. “It’s in the past,” McCollum said.  “We put it in the past now. There’s nothing we can do about it now.”
  • Here’s what Plumlee had to say about the game: “We aren’t good enough to wait ’til halftime, we didn’t give ourselves a good first half,” Plumlee said. “Mistakes happen, man. Nobody…It could have happened to any team, whatever.”
  • Damian Lillard also had some good quotes. “I mean, we get up this morning and prepare we’re going to have to have one of our better players on the floor, then in the starting line-up, somebody else’s name gets called. Then we just have to go on the fly after that. So it’s a weird situation but it happened and we just had to go with it.”  Lillard continued: “When they was about to do starting lineups and I was sitting next to CJ and he just leaned over and told me ‘I might not be able to play tonight.’ SO I thought at least he’d probably have to sit out the start of the game and then eventually would get in, but I didn’t see him on the bench and I assumed they wouldn’t let him play tonight.”
  • Check out our gamer that will be in Thursday morning’s Columbian, including Allen Crabbe’s perspective of the night’s events before he unexpectedly started.

  • The photo of the night goes to Thomas Boyd of The Oregonian.
  • Here’s our first news piece on the story which we’ve updated to try and clarify the reasons why McCollum was unable to play.


Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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