Bazemore Introduces Himself At The 2019 Fan Fest

by Casey Holdahl
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PORTLAND -- The fans in Rip City got their first real impression of what the 2019-20 Trail Blazers will look like in their 50th anniversary season with "Black" besting "Gray" 48-44 in the intra-squad scrimmage at 15th annual Fan Fest, presented by Toyota and Spirit Mountain Casino, Sunday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

"They played hard, it was competitive, they executed," said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts, who handed off coaching his assistants Sunday afternoon. "I told them before the game 'Play it serious' and I thought that they did."

Kent Bazemore, despite playing for the losing Black side, took home Fan Fest MVP honors with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field, one assist, one rebound and one steal in 24 minutes.

"The energy was amazing out there tonight," said Bazemore. "I ran out, saw the people that came out and supported and just fed off of it. Always done that in my career. It's a presentation of being a part of Rip City now. I just fed off it and played hard. When I'm out there it's just what I do."

While Sunday's scrimmage was the first chance for fans to see what Bazemore can do in a Trail Blazers' jersey, his performance was nothing new for his teammates.

"He was a little bit more aggressive tonight, I think he was excited to get to play in front of the fans," said Damian Lillard, who finished with four points, two assist and a steal for Gray. "He was saying 'They haven't seen me play.' You could tell he was a little more aggressive, a little more excited, but he's been playing that way since September."

Rookie Jaylen Hoard, who is on a two-way contract with Portland after going undrafted out of Wake Forest, led Gray with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting from there field, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals in 36 minutes off the bench.

"Jaylen's had a good week of practice," said Stotts. "He's improved his shooting, I think he's playing a lot better than he did at summer league. He's gotten better since then, he's playing with more confidence. I think he's kind of figuring out the NBA game a little bit. He probably should have been MVP tonight."

While Hoard came on strong in the second half for Gray, it was CJ McCollum who got the squad going, scoring eight of his 10 points in the first quarter. Skal Labissiere got the start for Gray and finished with four points, seven rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Keljin Blevins came off the bench to finish with nine points.

Anfernee Simons went 4-of-13 from the field for 13 points to go with three rebounds and a steal in the losing effort.

Sunday's scrimmage was lean on big men, with Hassan Whiteside (foot), Zach Collins (finger), Pau Gasol (foot) and Jusuf Nurkic (foot) sitting out with various injuries.

The Trail Blazers will be back at Veterans Memorial Coliseum for their preseason opener versus the Denver Nuggets Tuesday night in a nationally-televised tilt on ESPN. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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