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

 Top Blazers Last 7 Days

While there is still a week left of the NBA‘s regular season, many Portland TrailBlazers fans will tell you their season ended weeks ago. Sitting 8 games under .500, with just two games left (both on the road too), Portland is at risk of finishing the season an embarrassing 10 games under .500 for the first time since the 2006-07 season (they finished 32-50 that year).

Failing to live up to even the smallest of expectations, the Blazers will be in a full-blown rebuilding mode as Summer approaches.

Until then, Portland will stumble through the remaining games, fielding a team that looks nothing like the squad that took the court back in December.

This new squad didn’t necessarily improve the team as far as wins go (Portland was 0-3 this week), but they did provide a little bit of insight in to who may, or may not, be a part of the Blazers come the 2012-13 season.

Below are the three best performances by a Blazer over the course of the past week.

First Star: JJ Hickson (4/21: L @ Memphis)

Note to Paul Allen: will you please re-sign JJ Hickson this offseason, and not let him back in to the free agency pool? The city of Portland is begging you.

Okay so maybe the word begging went a bit too far there, but Hickson continues to prove his worth as a Blazer, and Saturday’s game against the Grizzlies was more evidence to support that.

Hickson recorded 23 points, on 9-16 from the field, adding 13 boards and an assist in 38 minutes of play. While this performance did come in a loss, JJ’s playmaking ability was on full display Saturday night and should prove to be a worthwhile addition if he is allowed to stick around Portland for a few more years.

Second Star: Wesley Matthews (4/18: L vs. Utah)

Wednesday nights match-up against the Jazz marked the final home game of the season for the Blazers, and while they were enduring a three game losing streak, Portland was hoping to send the fans away with a victory.

Wesley Matthews

Until last night, Wes Matthews had stepped up this week

However, victory was not the occasion, as Utah rolled Portland 112-91, but it wasn’t due to a lack of effort.

In a game that saw Jamal Crawford ride the pine for the duration of regulation, Wes Matthews stepped up to try and fill the scoring void. Matthews put up 21 points, on 7-15 from the field, and 3-7 from long range, to go along with 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in 37 minutes of action.

However, Matthews’ performance was not enough, as Utah cruised to victory behind the hot shooting of Devin Harris and Gordon Hayward. Portland, unfortunately, would end their home schedule with a loss.

Third Star: Jamal Crawford (4/16: L @ Phoenix)

Portland began their distressful week with a trip to Phoenix to take on the red hot Suns. More than just a play on their name, the Suns have been one of the best teams since the All-Star break, and, led by Steve Nash, are trying to play themselves in to the last playoff spot in the West. Needless to say, this wasn’t an ideal position for a struggling Blazers team.

While the game was never really close, the Suns trounced Portland 125-107, Jamal Crawford was one of the few bright spots in the game. Notching 22 points, on 7-16 from the floor, Crawford also added five rebounds, four assists and a steal in 36 minutes off the bench.

This typical Crawford-like performance wasn’t what had the media in a frenzy after the game. It was his alleged remarks about his desire to play in Phoenix that made headlines around the Internet. Stay tuned later this week as I look in to the significance of Crawford’s alleged comments.

Dunk of the Week: JJ Hickson vs. Memphis Grizzlies

This weeks feature dunk comes from JJ Hickson, who received a nice pass from rookie Nolan Smith, and put down a fierce two handed jam against the Grizzlies.


— Video courtesy of TheBlazersVideos YouTube channel


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