Portland Trail Blazers: Five early question marks

J.J. Hickson is set to go up again his former team. (Photo: Bruce Ely/The Oregonian)

NWSB Insider and Portland Trail Blazers blogger Jon Irwin breaks down five questions Portland is facing on the young season. With 19 games in the bag—to the tune of a 8-11 record—there’s plenty for Portland to answer for. Can rookie sensation Damian Lillard keep it going? Will Nicolas Batum ever be good enough for his contract? Nicolas Batum looked ready for a breakout All-Star season. J.J. Hickson is enjoying a great season as Portland’s starting center.

Seattle Mariners rumors: 2012 Winter Meetings update

Justin Upton

NWSB Insider and Seattle Mariners blogger Jonathan Irwin reports on recent Mariner-based rumors coming out of the annual Winter Meetings. Seattle continues their pursuit of outfield help, with interest anywhere from Jason Bay to Justin Upton. Also making headlines is the M’s desire to keep Felix a “Mariner for life,” as well as their push for Billy Butler.

Looking forward to the OSU-Texas Alamo Bowl matchup?

Markus Wheaton

NWSB Insider and Oregon State Beavers football blogger Jon Irwin breaks down five things to watch for in the Alamo Bowl matchup against the Texas Longhorns on December 29th. Highlighting the list are seniors Markus Wheaton’s and Jordan Poyer’s final game as Beavers, as well as the chance at a big statement to finish off a stellar season.

OSU Beavs dominant to close out 2012 regular season

Markus Wheaton vs NSU

NWSB Insider and Oregon State Beavers football blogger Jon Irwin breaks down the NSU vs. OSU week 14 matchup. Markus Wheaton has a prolific end to his career, and the Beavs put together some great prep before their bowl game. The only negative is the return game is still nonexistent against underwhelming competition.

Batum comes up big in much needed Portland win

Nicolas Batum vs. Cavs

NWSB Insider and Portland Trail Blazers blogger Jon Irwin breaks down the Blazers vs Cavs matchup. Portland finally nabs a game on their East Coast swing, aided by a big game from the starters—all scoring in double digits. But Wesley Matthews slump continues, and the Blazers struggle to box out the Cavs.

Boston blows out Portland in 78-96 Blazer’s loss

LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Boston

NWSB Insider and Portland Trail Blazers blogger Jon Irwin breaks down the Blazers vs Celtics matchup. The Headline: LaMarcus Aldridge comes alive, but a dominating Celtics defense holds Portland to 34 percent shooting in this ugly loss. L.A. and the bench show some great signs of life, but there’s never anything positive about 34 percent shooting.

Damian Lillard has a quirky phobia

Damian Lillard

NWSB Insider and Portland Trail Blazers blogger Jon Irwin gives some insight on rookie sensation Damian Lillard’s quirky phobia of statues. But not just any statues, but statues of historical figures. With the Blazers paying visit to the Washington Wizards, it must have been a trying day for Lillard.

Rock bottom? Blazers giftwrap first win to Wizards

Nicolas Batum vs Washington

NWSB Insider and Portland Trail Blazers blogger Jon Irwin breaks down the Blazers vs Wizards matchup. ​​The Headline: squaring off with the winless Wizards, Portland continues its East Coast losing streak with this new 82-84 loss. Batum looked like he’s coming out of his slump, and Hickson had a season high 19 rebounds. But with four games left on the roadtrip, Portland needs to find some wins.

Mariners offseason: Possible free agents M’s could land

Anibal Sanchez

NWSB Insider and Seattle Mariners blogger Jonathan Irwin reports on three potential free agents signees for the M’s. Among the list are Anibal Sanchez, Mike Napoli and B.J. Upton. All three could have a significant impact on the Mariners, and would be great moves for the offseason. The Seattle Mariners are on the fringe of becoming relevant in the American League once more.

Nicolas Batum breakout season making good on monster contract

Nic Batum

NWSB Insider and Portland Trail Blazers blogger Jon Irwin takes a look into Nicolas Batum’s stellar beginning to the 2012/13 season. Despite an offseason spent trying to get away from Portland, Batum looks to have turned a corner in his career. With highs in all stat categories, Batum is becoming a major cog for the Blazers.

LaMarcus Aldridge alive and well, but can’t hold off Pistons

Terry Stots

NWSB Insider and Portland Trail Blazers blogger Jon Irwin breaks down the Blazers vs Pistons matchup. ​​The Headline:​ despite a nagging back injury, LaMarcus Aldridge comes alive for Portland; unfortunately, it’s not enough to hold off the Pistons in this 101-108 loss. Also, the rookies show promise while the stars fade. The Blazers rolled with four bench players in this one, rookies Will Barton and Meyers Leonard were prominent.

Pac-12 bowl games: Landing spots for top NW teams

Civil War Woods

NWSB blogger Jon Irwin takes a look at Washington’s, Oregon State’s and Oregon’s bowl projections. With the BCS shakeup over the last two weeks, only one NW team seems destined for a major bowl game. But all three teams are still destined for interesting matchups and great games. Marcus Mariota, Keith Price and Sean Mannion or Cody Vaz will all get one more game this year to impress.

NorthWest Sports Beat