Shootaround Notes: Blowout Losses And Lillard's Love Of Roller Skating

by Casey Holdahl
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SACRAMENTO -- The Portland Trail Blazers held shootaround at the Golden 1 Center Friday morning in preparation for tonight’s game versus the Kings in Sacramento (tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m. on NBC Sports NW and 620 AM). Some notes from shootaround…

 • The Kings enter Friday night’s game coming off an embarrassing 126-80 loss to the Hawks in Atlanta on Wednesday. The loss was the Kings' third in a row, all of which were by double digits. Given that, you might assume the Trail Blazers are in for an easy night, though players noted that is not necessarily the case.

“It was the end of a road trip, a tough game,” said Damian Lillard of Sacramento’s most recent loss. “Atlanta shot the ball well, they played well… They’re coming off a tough road trip and now they're back home in their comfort zone, so it’s more likely for them to play well than for them to have another 40-point loss, so we’ve got to be ready. “

As for the Trail Blazers, while they won their last two games versus the Nuggets and Magic, they haven’t logged a victory on the road since the first week of the season, making Friday night’s game a good test before heading out for a five-game trip starting Monday in Memphis.

“It’s an NBA team, so you’ve got to come out and give them their respect and you’ve got to have the right mindset to come out,” said Lillard. “Any team can see the ball go in a few times, the crowd gets into it, they get confident, they get some energy and then you’ve got a dogfight on your hands.”

• In the second game of TNT’s weekly Thursday night double-header, the Houston Rockets scored 90 points in the first half before going on to defeat the Phoenix Suns 142-116. The Rockets’ 90 points were the second-most points scored in the first half of a game in NBA history.

“I looked on the ESPN app and I saw the score of the game and I thought that was the final score,” said Damian Lillard. “It was like halftime, I was like ‘wow.’ It’s crazy.”

With teams like the Rockets and Warriors putting up video game numbers over the past few seasons, thanks in large part to an increased emphasis on shooting three-pointers, there’s a notion that scoring in the NBA has never been better. Games such as Houston’s victory on Thursday night go a long way toward forwarding that notion. But NBA teams are averaging around 105 points per game this season, which would only rank 34th in league history. In fact, teams were scoring far more than teams this season long before the three-point line became important, or even existed.

“You know what’s funny, we were talking about scores. (Hersey Hawkins) was talking about how he got beat, had a bad loss when he was in Philly and it was against Seattle,” said Terry Stotts, who was an assistand coach with the SuperSonics during Hawkins’ playing days. “So we went and looked it up and we won 149-93 and we only took 13 threes. That was '92-'93. And then 93'-'94 we had a game where we beat the Clippers 150-101 and we took 13 threes. That’s 20 years ago, so I don’t know. Is it a trend? It’s hard to say. Depends on the team, the competition, the schedule and talent, all of that.”

• On Friday, the “Glow In The Park” colorway of Damian Lillard’s signature sneaker, the Dame 4, was released on Eastbay. As a part of the promotion for the sneaker, adidas made Lillard a pair of custom roller skates using the Dame 4 as the base to celebrate Lillard’s affinity for hanging out at Oaks Park roller rink in southeast Portland.

“Usually you go to parties and they play music, and it’s like a good time like that. I enjoy that same thing, but skating,” said Lillard. “It’s cool, it’s a chill environment, everybody kind of having a good time just rolling around the rink. I’ve always enjoyed it since I was a kid, it’s kind of like been a part of what my family and my friends have always done, just go to the skating rink. One of my favorite movies is 'Roll Bounce' just because it was about skating.” 

Lillard noted in a recent interview that he enjoys skating so much that sometimes he’ll hit the roller rink after games.

“After a game the last time I did it was last year after we played New Orleans at home,” recalled Lillard. “I went skating - it was like the day after Thanksgiving I think – and I remember because Tim (Frazier) went with me. After the game we just went straight to the skating rink.”

Adidas is holding a promotion in which a few lucky fans will have the opportunity to go skating with Lillard, so keep an eye on his Instagram account for that. Tim Frazier may or may not be invited.