Northwest Notes: Dort, Harris, Trail Blazers, McCollum

Luguentz Dort has been celebrated for his defense on James Harden, but his shooting woes in Saturday’s Game 5 helped put the Thunder on the brink of elimination, writes Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman. Dort shot 3-of-16 from the field as the Rockets gave him plenty of room and basically used five defenders on the other four OKC players. Coach Billy Donovan remains supportive of Dort and said some adjustments are needed.

“I think part of his growth is understanding when to shoot some, when to drive some, when to pass some, and he probably had a mix of a lot of those in the game,” Donovan said.

Dort has been a pleasant surprise in Oklahoma City, earning a starting job at midseason after signing a two-way contract last summer. He quickly emerged as an elite defender, but his offense was a concern all year as he shot just 39.4% from the field and 29.7% from 3-point range.

“I’ve got to try to find ways to kind of incorporate him and help him as much as I can,” Donovan added. “But a lot of it’s going to be found in the course of the game through movement, through ball movement and spacing.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Nuggets will have shooting guard Gary Harris available for today’s Game 6 against the Jazz, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. It will be the first game in more than five months for Harris, who suffered a hip strain shortly after arriving in Orlando. He has made “significant progress” in workouts this week, Woj adds.
  • The presence of Damian Lillard prevents the Trail Blazers from thinking about rebuilding, observes Royce Young of ESPN. Still in his prime at age 30, the star guard always gives the organization a chance to be competitive, as he showed in Orlando before being injured. Young notes that as long as Lillard remains in Portland, the team will remain committed to building around him and CJ McCollum in the backcourt. He adds that management values continuity, and with Carmelo Anthony and Hassan Whiteside the only rotation players not under contract for next season, the front office views the team more as the Western Conference finalists from last season rather than the one that struggled to make the playoffs this year.
  • McCollum doesn’t expect to need surgery on the back fracture he played with in Orlando, tweets Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. He plans to rest for a couple of months and then resume normal basketball activity.
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11 thoughts on “Northwest Notes: Dort, Harris, Trail Blazers, McCollum

  1. hoosierhysteria

    Billy needs to have an adult conversation with Dort….if you want to play….don’t shoot….gallinari is really good at that. Your job is to deny harden the ball….get on him like a cheap suit in the rain. Oh yeah, CP3….don’t pass the ball to Dort. This isn’t rocket science….it’s called coaching. 3-16….don’t blame the kid…they are taught selfish hero ball in AAU. Blame the coach and veteran players who let it happen.

    • DynamiteAdams

      Dort should be able to make an open shot tho. It’s a coaching handicap to have an easily guardable player in your lineup. As the article states it’s kinda easy to design a defense when you only need to guard 4 players with 5.

    • wagner13

      Yeah, it doesn’t matter how elite of a defender one is if they can’t sink a shot. Feisty defensive specialists such as Beverley, Tucker, and Draymond were forced to adopt at least somewhat of a competent offensive game so that they weren’t complete liabilities on the offensive end. There’s a reason Lance Thomas is currently fighting for a job

    • afsooner02

      Meh….entire team minus DS all shot like crap yesterday….just one of those games. It wasn’t just Dort that couldn’t make anything.

      • Sillivan

        Make 3 good trades Offseason
        Each young player attach two future Firsts

        Thunder have 15 firsts

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      The reason he took so many shots is because the Rockets were forcing them to by leaving him wide open on the outside while they concentrated their defense on his four teammates. Instead of blaming him and the coaching, etc. you should really be giving the Rockets the credit they deserve for executing such an effective game plan.

  2. Reflect

    If he shoots 40% from the field that actually isn’t bad. If they are leaving him open he needs to take a few steps inside and take that open inside shot. You can live with 40% on 2’s all day with his defense.

  3. wagner13

    Gary Harris’ return could be very impactful for a Denver team struggling to contain Mitchell. He’s not the most efficient offensive piece, but his lockdown defense could be more important than it looks at first glance

  4. x%sure

    Box score check, link to basketball-reference.com , Shroder & Adams were the only Thunders with a positive O-Drtg, while the only Rockets who went negative were House and some late fill-ins.
    I watched ShaiGA and he looked out of sorts, not efficient. There was a lot of space between players.

    I have some blame for the “boycott” and offcourt hard feelings between players, which would be more likely to disrupt a midwestern OKC squad than a Houston one IMO, given the city’s cultures. Also, leader Chris Paul being also the union president of all that would not be what Chris Paul signed up for; while Rocket leader Harden has his buckets buckets mode to keep things straight. Westbrook’s return could be used to overshadow the negativity with good feelings.
    These vague touchy-feely factors would blow over, but, 4-2.
    In theory also, the Rockets were better in talent, so not really an upset.

    Shai makes for a very skinny wing. CPaul did his job, wise of Presti to keep him, but he could be moved out now.

  5. harden-westbrook-mvps

    No love for Jamal Murray? 142 points in his last 3 games. Jazz gonna choke in 7.

  6. KnickerbockerAl

    Murray is killing it. Harris back can only help. Porter in 28 mins only 2 pts. But did have 12 rebs. Denver at full strength is better matchup with Clippers. I’m glad they came back tonight. Gm7 anything can happen right.
    Rockets perimeter D was actually pretty good. They are the better team. OKC had a great yr. They have plenty of options for next yr.
    If Rockets had kept Capela. They really had a shot against Lakers. I see AD going nuts this series.

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