Rick’s Picks: The weekly Portland Trail Blazers all-stars

Top Blazers – Last 7 Days

With the trade deadline passing this past week, the Portland Trail Blazers, one of the more active teams at said deadline, saw more than their fair share of ups and downs.

In the midst of a brutal road trip, Portland saw their team get fleeced at the hands of the New Jersey Nets and Houston Rockets, one night after getting crushed by the reeling New York Knicks, 121-79.

Gerald Wallace was moved to New Jersey and Marcus Camby was moved to Houston; two fan favorites who will most certainly be missed during the inevitable “rebuilding” period Portland is about to embark on.

Let’s not forget Nate McMillan was also given the axe, and the one-time video intern, Kaleb Canales, was now running the show.

At 34 years old, Canales is the youngest head coach in the NBA.

As much as Portland’s management may have thrown in the towel this year, it’s good to see the players are still competing at a high level, presumably striving to sustain their pride.

Here are the three best performances by a Trail Blazer, in one case, former Trail Blazer, this week.

First Star: LaMarcus Aldridge (3/16: W @ Chicago)

Just one day after the trade deadline, Portland travelled to Chicago to take on the Bulls in what was almost a lock to be an utter embarrassment. None of the players acquired in the trades would be available, due to pending physicals, and Portland was going to take the court sans Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby.

Granted, Chicago was also fielding a team that was without reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose, but that same Bulls team beat a full strength Miami Heat team just two days prior.

However, embarrassment wasn’t the occasion and the TrailBlazers, down 53-50 at halftime, rallied against a top-tier defensive team behind a strong performance by their All-Star, LaMarcus Aldridge.

A mainstay at the First Star position in this column, LaMarcus Aldridge put up 21 points, on 9-18 from the field and a perfect 3-3 from the charity stripe, to go along with 5 rebounds, 2 assists, one steal and no turnovers in 38 minutes of action.

Chicago shot just 3-23 in the final quarter, equating to 10 points, as the TrailBlazers cruised to victory 100-89.

Behind Aldridge’s solid performance, Kaleb Canales was able to record a win in just his first game as an NBA head coach.


Thanks for the memories Crash, Camby and Coach Nate

Second Star: Gerald Wallace (3/14: L @ New York)

Coming off of a recent coaching change themselves, the New York Knicks were no longer the toast of Madison Square Garden; Linsanity had, for the time being, apparently run its course.

That is until the Blazers travelled to New York, having some dysfunction of their own to sort out.

Despite a 121-79 drubbing at the hands of these reeling Knicks, Gerald Wallace, unknowingly playing in his last game as a Blazer, notched a typical Crash like performance. He put up 15 points, on 6-12 shooting and 3-4 from the free throw line, adding 12 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal in 33 minutes of play.

In an otherwise pathetic evening, Wallace was the lone bright spot on a Blazers team destined for some sort of shake-up. With the trade deadline just a day away, shake-up is what they got.

I wish Gerald well as he moves on to play for the New Jersey Nets, he will be missed and always appreciated for his time as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Third Star: Wesley Matthews (3/16: W @ Chicago)

Oh Wesley, where have you been?

Making his first appearance in this column, Wesley Matthews‘ play against the Chicago Bulls this past week was the kind of play we’d come to expect out of Wes since his break-out year last season.

In an all-odds-against-them type game, Matthews shot lights out to help propel Portland to a much needed victory over one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.

Wesley put up 18 points, on 6-11 from the floor, including 4-5 from long range and 2-3 from the line. He added 2 rebounds and an assist in 33 minutes on the floor.

One can only hope to see these kind of productive minutes of Wesley Matthews during the final stretch of this shortened season.

Dunk of the Week (Special Throwback Edition): Gerald Wallace vs. Los Angeles Lakers

This week’s dunk of the week didn’t happen this past week but is in honor of Gerald Wallace and is of the monster windmill dunk he put down against the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this year.

Video courtesy of TheBlazersVideos YouTube channel.


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