Blazers fall in summer league opener
LAS VEGAS The Trail Blazers got off on the wrong foot at Las Vegas Summer League, falling to New York 71-69 Saturday at Cox Pavilion in the opener for both teams.
Second-year point guard Shane Larkin's floater with 28.4 seconds left providing the final points, though there was a flurry of activity after that.
Portland's Joel Freeland missed a contested jump hook with 12 seconds left -- "I got hit by one, maybe two guys, but no foul call," he said -- and the Knicks rebounded. Oddly, they tried to score, but Cleanthony Early missed a layup, giving the Blazers another possession.
But Portland's Bobby Brown stepped on the end line after taking an in-bounds pass, and the victory went to the Knicks, who trailed 65-60 with three minutes to play.
"The game shouldn't have come down to that," said Portland's CJ McCollum, who had 16 points on four steals but shot poorly, making 4 of 11 from the field and 7 of 13 from the free-throw line. "We gave away too many easy opportunities. It comes down to simple things like making free throws, converting fast-break opportunities and not turning the ball over."
Thomas Robinson was 6 for 9 from the field and scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Portland, which was only 22 for 34 (.647) from the line and committed 20 turnovers.
"I liked our defense today, especially from our guards," said Portland assistant coach Nate Tibbetts, who handled head coaching duties Saturday. "Our offense wasn't as good as we'd want it, but this is the first time out for these guys after some time off."
NOTES: Portland's next action is at 5:30 p.m. Sunday vs. Houston. Tim Hardaway Jr. led New York with 20 points. Will Barton had 11 points and seven rebounds but made only 4 of 11 shots from the field. The Blazers shot .393 (22 for 56) and made only 3 of 15 3-point attempts. Meyers Leonard sat out the game with a strained back. The 7-1 center said he was unsure whether he'd be able to play Sunday. "Still pretty sore," said Leonard, who worked out with coaches prior to the game.