Pregame Notes: Lakers Yet Again, Quarterman Guaranteed And McCollum's SnapChat Filter
LOS ANGELES -- Some pregame notes prior to Tuesday night's game between the Trail Blazers and Lakers at Staples Center (tipoff scheduled for 7:30 pm on CSNNW and 620 AM)...
• Tuesday night’s game is the second time in less than a week that the Trail Blazers and Lakers have faced each other, with the Portland taking the previous contest 118-109 at the Moda Center on January 5. And after Tuesday night’s game, the two teams will meet up again in Portland to play the third game of the season series on January 25. So by the end of that stretch, the Trail Blazers and Lakers will have played three times over the course of 20 days, which is somewhat of an oddity in an 82-game schedule.
“I think I like it because you’ve got that familiarity with them,” said Maurice Harkless of playing the same team multiple times in a relatively short period. “We just played (the Lakers) two games ago so we know their stuff still, it’s still pretty fresh in our minds. Preparation for the game is a lot easier and we’ll be able to be more locked in on other things because we had a chance to play against them a few days ago.”
Though it their recent games are any indication, the Trail Blazers might not need the extra help. Portland enters Tuesday’s contest with a nine-game winning streak versus the Lakers, which is already their longest streak in franchise history versus Los Angeles.
“We understand how difficult it is to continuously beat a team over and over, playing them in such a short period of time,” said Allen Crabbe. “We know what we have to do in order for us to be effective and get the wins we need to get. It’s just us continuing to lock in and doing the things we need to do.”
• The deadline to cut players with partially guaranteed contracts came and went last weekend, resulting in a number of teams releasing little-used players rather than paying their full season salaries while adding the amount of those salaries to their cap sheet.
But that wasn’t the case for Trail Blazers rookie Tim Quarterman, who Portland signed this offseason after the 6-6 guard went undrafted out of LSU. While the team never indicated they planned on cutting Quarterman, making it past the deadline was still a relief for the rookie guard.
“I feel good, it’s a blessing to be around these guys, they treat you like family,” said Quarterman of knowing he’ll be on the team for the rest of the season. “Just learning from it each and every day and getting better, that’s big for me, the grind of being a rookie and stuff like that. It’s definitely a blessing, it means I can provide for my mother, take care of her. I’m just happy to be here.”
While Quarterman hasn’t seen much playing time this season — he’s played 39 minutes total in 12 appearances this season — his energy and aggressiveness during practices has earned him the respect and admiration of his teammates.
“I love Tim, we spend a lot of time together,” said Moe Harkless. “He works really hard, plays hard when he gets in. He’s always listening and he wants to learn and that’s important. I’m happy for him, that’s big for him and his family to have a sense of security now, even if it’s just for the rest of the year. He’s going to continue to get better because he works so far, he’s always ready to learn.”
“(Quarterman) works extremely hard off the court and he’s locked into scouting the plays of the other team, understanding roles of guys and what to expect from there game in an game out, even though he’s not playing a lot,” said CJ McCollum. “That’s a credit to his work ethic and diligence and understanding that if you want to be a part of a team long term, if you want to be in the NBA long term, you have to still do your homework when you’re not playing. I’m happy for him, well deserved and look forward to seeing him continue to grow and develop.”
Hard work notwithstanding, it’s unlikely Quarterman ends up playing much for the remainder of the season unless the Trail Blazers suffer multiple injuries at the guard position. But that doesn’t mean he can’t play a role, even a small one, in helping the Trail Blazers improve on the court this season.
“I just come and work hard no matter what, try to get them prepared for the game,” said Quarterman. “When we go through scouting stuff, I’m trying to go hard. I enjoy watching them play and stuff like that, learning from them. Their success makes me happy, it makes me feel like, in practice and stuff, I’m doing something right just because I’m going hard each and every day.”
• If you follow CJ McCollum on SnapChat (his username is “cjm313”), you know the Lehigh product is big into taking photos of his various meals. Whether he’s at a fine dining establishment, the practice facility or at a morning meeting at the team hotel, McCollum adheres to the social media tradition of posting food pics.
McCollum posts so many food pics on SnapChat that someone at the social media giant contacted him about adding his own filter, an offer McCollum gladly accepted. So when the fourth-year guard and reigning Most Improved Player posts a photo of lobster ravioli or a three-egg omlet, he does so with a filter that says “CJ’s Fine Foods.”
“They just sent me a filter and I was like ‘Sure!’ said McCollum. “They’re open and available to different options, so they said if I had any questions or concerns or any ideas to let them know. So let me know what y’all would like to see and I’ll put it on there, or have them put it on there.”