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Tag: C.J. McCollum

Dame, C.J. and Nurkic Propel Portland Toward Playoffs (Power Rankings: March 29, 2017 Edition)

With brilliant play since the All-Star break and a little help from his friends, Damian Lillard has led the Trail Blazers into sole possession of the Western Conference’s eighth seed (James Schumacher/Flickr).

With fewer than 10 games remaining on each team’s regular-season schedule, valuable playoff seeding is still up for grabs all over the NBA standings. Some teams, like the Celtics, Blazers and Raptors, look like they’re hitting their stride at just the right moment, building momentum that they hope will continue through the playoffs. Others, like the Hawks and Cavaliers, are just hoping that they can stop the bleeding before it’s too late. As always, the result is much debate and movement in the penultimate regular-season edition of our power rankings.

Biggest Jumps: Portland Trail Blazers (+8), Toronto Raptors (+5), Denver Nuggets (+5), New Orleans Pelicans (+5)

Biggest Falls: Minnesota Timberwolves (-14), Detroit Pistons (-9), Atlanta Hawks (-7)

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Miami Is Seriously Heating Up (Power Rankings: Feb. 6, 2017 Edition)

In his first season in Miami, Dion Waiters is playing an outsized role in the Heat’s active 10-game winning streak (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

Up is down and down is up in this tumultuous edition of the power rankings, which features the most movement of any edition so far, with mighty teams struggling and lowly teams rising up. The Cleveland Cavaliers, still the consensus pick to come out of the Eastern Conference, went just 7-8 in January, giving LeBron James his first losing month since his rookie year. The Toronto Raptors and the Houston Rockets, both in last edition‘s top five, have lost eight of 11 and eight of their last 14, respectively. Even the seemingly unstoppable Golden State Warriors, who have occupied the No. 1 spot in our rankings every single edition except for our first, have dropped games since last edition to the Miami Heat and the Sacramento Kings.

On the other side, the Washington Wizards were just 13-16 before Christmas and have since gone 17-4, steadily climbing up the Eastern Conference standings to the third seed, and up our rankings to fourth. The Dallas Mavericks, at one point dead last in our rankings, have won six of their last seven games, their one loss coming to the Miami Heat. And finally, the twice-aforementioned Heat, unquestionably the NBA’s biggest story right now, were 11-30 and 29th in our previous power rankings, before rattling off 10 straight wins, a streak that is still active. These are some exciting times in the NBA.

Biggest Jumps: Miami Heat (+15), Washington Wizards (+8), Dallas Mavericks (+8)

Biggest Falls: Philadelphia 76ers (-8), Milwaukee Bucks (-8), Toronto Raptors (-8) Continue reading

Dane Carbaugh: Blazers’ Lillard Has “Biggest Chip on His Shoulder Ever”

Under the leadership of Coach Terry Stotts (pictured), the Portland Trailblazers have exceeded expectations and are vying for the playoffs. (Wikimedia Commons)

Under the leadership of Coach Terry Stotts (pictured), the Portland Trail Blazers have exceeded expectations and are vying for the playoffs. (Wikimedia Commons)

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After a summer of roster upheaval, highlighted by the departure of LaMarcus Aldridge, the Portland Trail Blazers have been finding their way on the fly. Since falling to the Warriors by 20 on Jan. 8, they’ve caught fire, winning 15 of 18 games, including a blowout of those same Warriors. The knowledgeable Dane Carbaugh hangs with the guys to explain Portland’s scorching play, C.J. McCollum’s emergence, Damian Lillard’s excellence and so much more. Located in the City of Roses, Carbaugh has worked for SB Nation and Sporting News, among other outlets. He’s a skilled NBA video analyst for Vox, Blazer’s Edge, Hardwood Paroxysm and FloHoops. The Renaissance man, whose videos appear here also has his own podcast with Yu Miyagawa called “Between Me and Yu,” which can be found on iTunes.

Some particularly noteworthy clips can be found below:

7:15 – 8:10 on Damian Lillard’s underdog mentality: “(The underdog mentality) is definitely a part of his process… and what has happened to him by choice… He has the loyalty factor. He wants to put on for the city. He got MVP chants while he was at the free-throw line the other day.”

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Midseason Awards Starring Porzingis, Towns, Popovich and McCollum

Kristaps Porzingis is one of the leading candidates for Rookie of the Year so far this season. (Ed/Wikimedia Commons)

Kristaps Porzingis is one of the leading candidates for Rookie of the Year so far this season. (Ed/Wikimedia Commons)

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Midway through the NBA season, Loren and Aaron take the opportunity to handicap the league’s various awards, including Best Hair of course. In the opening segment, they reflect on the state of the Suns and Nuggets – the most recent team interviews – as well as what’s on the horizon for those two.

Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod

Best Rookies, Portland’s Surprise Start and the Enigmatic Derrick Rose

Andre Drummond's improvement has been key to the surprising Pistons (Erik Drost/Creative Commons)

Andre Drummond’s improvement has been key to the surprising Pistons (Erik Drost/Creative Commons)

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On today’s episode, the A-A-Ron Block is devoted to continued discussion of the Chicago Bulls. This intriguing-yet-perplexing team has defeated the Cavaliers and Thunder, while also surrendering 130 points to the Hornets. Its starting point guard is an enigma, too, going three straight games with single-digit scoring before erupting for 29 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds against the Thunder Thursday. Following Derrick Rose’s strong individual performance, the guys debate the validity of the latest trade rumors swirling around him. They also touch on frontcourt rotations, the pros and cons of starting Doug McDermott and more.

Later, LLC Incorporated breaks down the best rookies so far — Karl-Anthony Towns is the twins’ consensus pick — and the league’s most pleasant surprises and early disappointments. While the Blazers and Pistons have impressed Aaron so far, Joshua is particularly irked by the Grizzlies’ sluggish start. Finally, who’s currently the worst team in the league? The guys disagree.

Music: “Who Likes To Party” by Kevin MacLeod

McLemore’s Development, New Head Coaches and D. Wade

(Mike Tipton/Creative Commons)

(Mike Tipton/Creative Commons)

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In the J Spot, the panel continues the Kings discussion from earlier in the week, touching upon the Kings’ playoff hopes, Ben McLemore’s changing role given the improved guard depth, Rudy Gay’s seemingly newfound efficiency and how much it matters to have winning veterans on an up-and-coming team.

Next, on the A-A-Ron Block, the league’s seven new head coaches are analyzed. What can we expect from their respective squads, and who has the most pressure in their new role? Which coaches are taking over the best and worst teams?

Finally, with the NBA GM survey being released earlier this week, LLC Incorporated poses three original questions that should have been included on the actual survey. Well, maybe not, but they sure are fun ones.

Which NBA player or personality would YOU want to be your personal stylist? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter: @OnTheNBABeat

Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod

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