Trail Blazers Host Haifa In Preseason Finale

by Casey Holdahl
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The Portland Trail Blazers finish up their 2017 preseason schedule by hosting Maccabi Haifa of Israel’s Ligat HaAl League Friday night at the Moda Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 pm.

The Trail Blazers enter Friday’s preseason finale on a four-game winning streak after defeating the Phoenix Suns 113-104 Wednesday night at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Reserve center Meyers Leonard had his best game of the preseason in Wednesday’s victory, going 5-of-6 from behind the three-point line to finish with 17 points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes. Damian Lillard, who ranks seventh in scoring during preseason play at 19.3 points per game, finished with 13 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals in 24 minutes.

It’s not likely that Lillard, nor many of Portland’s starters and main rotation players, will have much of an opportunity to pad his preseason stats Friday night, with Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts indicating he’ll prioritize rest with the regular-season opener less than a week away. That means players like Jake Layman, Anthony Morrow, Isaiah Briscoe, Archie Goodwin along with rookies Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan are very likely to see extended playing time versus Maccabi Haifa.

Shabazz Napier, who has missed the entirety of preseason thus far with a left hamstring injury, is listed as questionable for Friday’s game. Center Jusuf Nurkić, who sat out Wednesday night’s victory versus the Suns with a concussion, is not listed on the injury report and is expected to be available versus Haifa. Noah Vonleh (right shoulder) and C.J. Wilcox (right knee) are out.

Friday’s game will be the second ever meeting between the Trail Blazers and Haifa, with Portland winning the first contest 121-74 during the 2014 preseason. Lillard, Leonard and CJ McCollum are the only current Portland players who were on the team at the time of the last meeting.

There is no television broadcast for Friday night’s game. Travis Demers and Michael Holton will have the radio call on Rip City Radio 620 AM and on all of the stations of the Trail Blazers Radio Network.