Arron Afflalo, Chris Kaman out Game 2 against Grizzlies


It seemed injuries would dictate the Trail Blazers-Grizzlies series, and they did in Game 1.

Mike Conley and Tony Allen, despite pre-playoff concerns about their availability, excelled. Arron Afflalo didn’t play. And Memphis got a resounding 100-86 win.

The Trail Blazers aren’t getting any good news for Game 2 tonight.

Jason Quick of The Oregonian:

Wesley Matthews is out for the season, and Portland probably needs to advance further to get back Dorell Wight.

But Afflalo’s absence looms large. C.J. McCollum seemed to be playing over his head while starting and shooting just 1-for-8 in Game 1. Plus, if McCollum starts, that’s one less spark off the bench.

Chris Kaman, who injured his ankle in practice this week, is a big body to throw at Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. But more playing time for Meyers Leonard might be preferable, anyway.

Blazers’ Batum says he wrote “We don’t lose to Spanish players,” was intended as joke


It was meant to be an internal joke that got out and blown way out of proportion.

That according to Portland’s Nicolas Batum, who told he was the one who wrote the “We don’t lose to Spanish players” line on a motivational card in the team locker room. Batum, who is French and says he has family living in Spain, said it was a running joke with Spanish former teammate Victor Claver. The French and Spanish national hoops teams have had somewhat of a rivalry in recent years.

It probably wasn’t the smartest thing to write, but it doesn’t seem to be malicious or from the Blazers’ organization.

For his part, Marc Gasol — Spanish-born star for Memphis — blew off the “controversy.”


PBT Extra matchups to watch: Can Memphis keep Damian Lillard in check?

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In Game 1 of the Portland vs. Memphis series, not only did Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley play, but he also moved incredibly well. Especially for a guy battling a foot injury through the end of the season. Then there was Tony Allen, who was back and looking sharp for Memphis.

All that spelled trouble for Damian Lillard, and Portland as a whole.

Lillard shot 5-of-21, harassed at times, and with that forcing the issue and missing his shots. Portland has LaMarcus Aldridge, but he has his own challenges with the Grizzlies front line of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. Aldridge played Memphis to a standstill up front, but Memphis won the backcourt game.

Lillard is key in Game 2. Can he keep getting into the paint (he did that fairly well) and this time finish when he does? If so, Portland can make Game 2 interesting, if not they will go home for Game 3 in a deep hole.

Report: Spurs might get a free agent meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge


LaMarcus Aldridge is one of the more high-profile players who will hit the market as an unrestricted free agent this summer, and reports continue to emerge that he may be one of the few max guys who would actually consider bolting his current situation on order to play somewhere else.

One said Aldridge was more likely to leave than people realize, while another quoted an anonymous teammate in estimating the chances of him returning to Portland are 50-50, at best.

If Aldridge does look around to see where the grass might be greener, he’d be hard-pressed to find a more appealing option than the one which may be available to him in San Antonio with the Spurs.

From Zach Lowe of Grantland:

The Spurs accepted that risk because waiting to bump up Leonard’s salary gives them the chance to dangle max cap space in front of Marc Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge this summer. Neither is a good bet to leave his current team, but sources around the league have been saying for weeks that the Spurs might get a hearing with Aldridge — and that was before the Oregonian reported that at least one Blazers player thinks there is only a 50-50 chance that Aldridge stays in Portland.

(And no, I wouldn’t take that as gospel, either. Aldridge said before the season that he wants to be the greatest Blazer ever.)

Marc Gasol has similarly been linked to the Spurs, but his connection to Memphis seems strong enough to where his leaving in free agency seems like a long shot.

With Aldridge, though, the rumblings are probably there for a reason. We won’t know exactly how serious things are until Portland’s season has come to a close, but you’d have to believe a first-round playoff exit at the hands of Gasol’s Grizzlies would have him ready to, at the very least, strongly consider his options.

Lou Williams wins Sixth Man of the Year


Isaiah Thomas, Jamal Crawford and Lou Williams were the only eligible players to average at least 15 points per game.

Unsurprisingly, they filled the top three of Sixth Man of the Year voting.

But it was Williams, who ranked third with 15.5 points per game, who took the award.

Here’s the full voting with player, team (first-place votes, second-place votes, third-place votes, points):

1. Lou Williams, Toronto (78-34-10-502)

2. Isaiah Thomas, Boston (33-46-21-324)

3. Jamal Crawford, L.A. Clippers (8-18-37-131)

4. Andre Iguodala, Golden State (7-16-17-100)

5. Tristan Thompson, Cleveland (0-6-15-33)

6. Nikola Mirotic, Chicago (1-4-7-24)

7. Marreese Speights, Golden State (1-2-9-20)

9. Corey Brewer, Houston (1-1-4-12)

9. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio (0-3-3-12)

10. Taj Gibson, Chicago (1-0-3-8)

11. Aaron Brooks, Chicago (0-0-1-1)

11. Chris Kaman, Portland (0-0-1-1)

11. Anthony Morrow, Oklahoma City (0-0-1-1)

11. Dennis Schröder, Atlanta (0-0-1-1)

Williams was a strong candidate, and three of the four of us put him on our hypothetical ballots, including Kurt Helin slotting him at the top. Williams often took over the Raptors’ offense, especially late in games and quarters, and made plays. He wasn’t the most efficient, but Toronto often didn’t put him in position to be.

From top to bottom of this list, there are no egregious choices. I’d have a tough time ranking some of these players a top-three reserve this season, but at least they’re all pretty good and in a reasonable order.

That said, am I the only one who would have voted for Rudy Gobert, even if it’s just on a technicality?