Found November 21, 2012 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
Top Blazers Last 7 Days Last week I wrote of a depth problem with this year’s Portland Trail Blazers squad, and how a solution needed to be discovered if they were to stay competitive. Well, a solution is starting to reveal itself, and it’s not by way of a trade, or any current player stepping up. No, the solution is increased minutes/workload for the current starters; a solution that could wear out as the season goes on. However, this temporary remedy played in the Blazers’ favor this past week as they snapped out of their losing skid and began stringing together some wins. After a defensive lapse against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday, Portland traveled to Sacramento to square off against the Kings. Led by rookie Damian Lillard, Portland was able to finally notch a victory, breaking the losing slump they had been mired in the week prior. Returning home for two games against Houston and Chicago, Portland was able to ride the momentum gained in the contest against Sacramento and won an OT thriller against the Rockets (their second OT win over Houston this year) and beat the Derrick Rose-less Bulls two nights later. 3-1 on the week isn’t half bad, and Portland was able to get back to a .500 record on the year. It’s a work in progress, but Terry Stotts’ squad is starting to learn how to win. Here are the three best performances by a Blazer over the past week: First Star: Nicolas Batum (11/16: W vs. Houston) For the third straight week Nicolas Batum finds himself in this column, and as he continues to justify the $46 million contract Portland gave him over the summer, I expect him to continue to be a fixture of this piece. In last Friday’s game against the Rockets, Batum was filling the stat sheet and helping Portland overcome Houston in yet another overtime game. Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus are two of the players who stepped up big for the Blazers this week. (Photo: Steve Dykes/US PRESSWIRE) The Frenchman was 13-of-19 from the field, including 5-of-8 from beyond the arc and 4-of-5 from the free-throw line. He also grabbed six rebounds, dished out four assists, and blocked an astounding five shots to go along with one steal. Batum, one of the league leaders in minutes played, logged 47 minutes in the overtime win. Second Star: Damian Lillard (11/13: W @ Sacramento) Lillard, the rookie point guard, has been more than just the talk of Portland during his first few weeks as the starter for the Trail Blazers; he’s been noticed around the entire league. Sure, he’ll make the occasional rookie mistake here and there, or shoot for a poor percentage, but that’s expected in Lillard’s first season in the NBA. It’s the positive impact he’s had this year that’s had everybody taking notice. Coming off of a four-game losing streak, Portland traveled to Sacramento to take on the Kings in an effort to right the ship. In 35 minutes of play, Lillard was simply on fire all night, shooting 7-of-10 from the field, 5-of-6 from long range and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe for a game-high 22 points. The rookie also added nine assists and two rebounds while powering Portland to its third win of the season, effectively breaking out of the slump they were enduring. Lillard’s impact continues to justify Portland selecting him sixth overall in the NBA Draft, and seeing as how he leads all rookies in points per game (19.0), assists (6.1), steals (1.5) and minutes (37.5), Lillard is the early front runner for Rookie of the Year honors. Third Star: LaMarcus Aldridge (11/16: W vs. Houston) The quieter performance in last Friday night’s overtime tilt against Houston was by forward LaMarcus Aldridge. While Batum was out making the highlight plays, and seemingly scoring at will, Aldridge was up to his usual consistent self and kept Portland within reach of the high-powered Rockets (or more accurately, James Harden). Aldridge put up 29 points on 11-of-19 from the floor and 7-of-9 at the free-throw line, while adding six rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 43 minutes of play. It was easy to single out Batum’s performance because of the loaded box score at the end of the game, but it was Aldridge’s consistent play, from start to finish, that kept Portland competitive. The forward hit a couple of big shots in the 4th quarter, while staying active on the glass, to help get the game to overtime. With a strong start in the books for Aldridge, he seems poised to repeat as a selection to this year’s All-Star game. Dunk of the Week: Batum (Sacramento, Houston and Chicago) Batum had a heck of a week, and it was hard to single out any one dunk, or play, the forward made. This week you’ll get some extra helpings of his highlights. Enjoy. Batum Dunk Of The Week No. 2! Batum Dunk Of The Week No. 3! CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE BLAZERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!

Damian Lillard’s Emergence Is Exciting, But Blazers Must Re-Emphasize LaMarcus Aldridge’s Post Game

If voting for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award took place right now, it would be sort of weird since it is only three weeks into the season. But, heck, since All-Star voting has started already, no award discussion is really off limits. Anyway, if voting for the top rookie happened today, there is a good chance Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard would beat out...

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Phoenix Suns prediction and preview

Back on track? The Portland Trail Blazers have won three straight contests, as its young roster is beginning to find success in a lighter part of the schedule. Matchup: Portland (5-5) @ Phoenix Suns (4-7) Venue: US Airways Center Time: 6:00 PM PT Date: Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 A game against the 4-7 Phoenix Suns could be just what the team needs to keep their streak going. Game Notes...

Blazers nab huge 102-94 win over Bulls

Shooters come alive for Portland The Headline: L.A. puts up a double-double, and Portland uses a rain of shots to sink the Rose-less Bulls 102-94. Chicago Bulls vs. Portland Trail Blazers When: 9:00 ET, Sunday, November 18, 2012 Where: Rose Garden (Portland) Officials: Rodney Mott, Pat Fraher, Kevin Cutler Attendance: 20,242 Love ‘em 1. Great outside shooting Once again, Blazer...

Shorthanded Blazers decimated 114-87 in Phoenix

No answer For The Suns The Headline: the Suns come out blazing, shooting a near 60 percent against an ailing Portland team. Portland Trail Blazers vs. Phoenix Suns When: 9:00 ET, Wednesday, November 21, 2012 Where: US Airways Center (Phoenix) Officials: Eli Roe, Bill Kennedy, Kane Fitzgerald Attendance: 14,263 Love ‘em 1. Lillard keeps a hot hand Rookie sensation Damian Lillard...

Trail Blazers-Suns Preview

Three straight wins have the Portland Trail Blazers feeling they're headed in the right direction. Three consecutive losses have the Phoenix Suns about to change theirs. Portland looks to continue its rejuvenation on offense against arguably the league's worst defensive team Wednesday night with a visit to Phoenix, which could test a new-look lineup. A victory would give...

Nicolas Batum – A Star On The Rise

An untethered Nicolas Batum, as opponents are learning, is dangerous.  During 4 seasons playing for former Portland Trail Blazers Coach Nate McMillan, Batum made steady progress.  Joining the Blazers as a 19-year-old, Batum increased his scoring from 5.4 ppg his rookie season to 13.9 ppg during the 2011-2012 season.  As Batum’s game matured, Nate McMillan’s utilization of...

Nicolas Batum: One For The Money

During the offseason, there was chatter all across Portland and all around the league about whether Nicolas Batum was worth a $40 million dollar contract. Well as of November 16th, he has quieted a lot of that chatter. The big crack on Batum has always been inconsistency and shrinking in big games. So far this season, he has been spectacular, especially against Houston on Friday...

Batum's Game Has Expanded With New Contract, More Opportunities

Nicolas Batum ranks 11th in scoring, seventh in steals and fourth in minutes.

Minnesota vs. Portland Preview, with Q&A from John Fiesta of Timberpups

Timberwolves vs. Blazers, writer vs. writer Earlier this week, I was approached by John Fiesta of with a fun opportunity for a Blazers vs. Timberwolves preview. Basically we’d run a Q&A with each other, and post the answers on our respective blogs. With an opportunity to debate sports—and shower the Blazers with homerly praise—I jumped on the offer. While...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.