05-25-2018  12:05 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

Attorney General Forms Hate Crime Task Force

The task force will study hate-motivated crimes and review existing legal protections for victims ...

Portland Art Museum Celebrates Art Museum Day with Free Admission on May 25

Portland Art Museum joins art museums across North America, with great works of art and public programs ...

June Key Delta Community Center Hosts May Week ’18 Health Fair May 26

Event includes vision, glucose screenings, medication disposal and car seat installation ...

Mississippi Avenue Giving Tuesday

On Tuesday, May 22, 10 percent of proceeds from participating Mississippi Ave. businesses will go to SEI ...

'Smart' gadgets: Ways to minimize privacy and security risks

NEW YORK (AP) — Revelations that an Amazon Echo smart speaker inadvertently sent a family's private conversation to an acquaintance shows the risks that come with new technologies.According to Amazon, the Echo's Alexa voice assistant misheard a word as "Alexa" — a trigger to activate...

The Latest: 3 injured in hit-and-crash in downtown Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Latest on hit-and-crash in Portland, Oregon (all times local):11:20 a.m.Police say three women have been injured in a hit-and-run crash near Portland State University.Portland police Sgt. Chris Burley say the vehicle hit the women while they were on a sidewalk...

'Smart' gadgets: Ways to minimize privacy and security risks

NEW YORK (AP) — Revelations that an Amazon Echo smart speaker inadvertently sent a family's private conversation to an acquaintance shows the risks that come with new technologies.According to Amazon, the Echo's Alexa voice assistant misheard a word as "Alexa" — a trigger to activate...

Former NAACP leader exposed as white faces fraud charges

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A former NAACP leader in Washington state whose life unraveled after she was exposed as a white woman pretending to be black has been charged with welfare fraud.Nkechi Diallo, known as Rachel Dolezal before she legally changed her name in 2016, was charged this week...

OPINION

Racism After Graduation May Just Be What's on the Menu

Dr. Julianne Malveaux says that for our young millennials, racism is inevitable ...

Prime Minister Netanyahu Shows Limits of Israel’s Democracy

Bill Fletcher, Jr. on racial politics in Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s uneven treatment of African immigrants ...

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Utah NAACP head disheartened by sentence in hate-crime case

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah man accused of yelling racial slurs at the young son of a black man and then shocking the father with a stun cane has been sentenced to nine months behind bars — an outcome called disheartening by a civil rights leader.The Deseret News reports defendant...

Former NAACP leader exposed as white faces fraud charges

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A former NAACP leader in Washington state whose life unraveled after she was exposed as a white woman pretending to be black has been charged with welfare fraud.Nkechi Diallo, known as Rachel Dolezal before she legally changed her name in 2016, was charged this week...

Students hand back in yearbook after racial slur is pictured

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Students at a coastal Georgia high school are being asked to hand back in their yearbooks after a racial slur made for some bad memories.The Savannah-Chatham County school district tells news outlets that the publisher has recalled the Windsor Forest High School yearbook...

ENTERTAINMENT

Famed chef Mario Batali's Vegas Strip restaurants will close

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Mario Batali's three Las Vegas Strip restaurants will shut down July 27, officials said Friday, as the celebrity chef faces sexual misconduct allegations from multiple women.Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group partner Joe Bastianich sent a letter to nearly 300 workers...

The Latest: Weinstein takes books on theater, film to arrest

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the sexual misconduct probe of film producer Harvey Weinstein (all times local):11:40 a.m.Harvey Weinstein was in and out of custody so quickly in his rape case, he probably didn't have time to read the books he brought with him.The film mogul carried three...

Handcuffed Weinstein faces rape charge in #MeToo reckoning

NEW YORK (AP) — It was the moment the #MeToo movement had been waiting for: Harvey Weinstein in handcuffs.His face pulled in a strained smile and his hands locked behind his back, the once-powerful Hollywood figure emerged from a police station Friday facing rape and criminal sex act...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn't happen this week

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue headlines of the week. None of these stories is legit,...

For CEOs, .7 million a year is just middle of the pack

NEW YORK (AP) — Chief executives at the biggest public companies got an 8.5 percent raise last year,...

Source: Trump administration has cut deal with China's ZTE

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has told Congress it's reached a deal that would allow Chinese...

Putin says US exit from Iran deal could trigger instability

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Friday that the U.S. exit from the...

Explosion at Indian restaurant in Canada wounds 15 people

TORONTO (AP) — An explosion caused by a homemade bomb ripped through an Indian restaurant where children...

Netherlands, Australia hold Russia liable for downing MH17

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A day after international prosecutors said they had unequivocal evidence of...

Lamarcus Aldridge
Anne M. Peterson, AP Sports Writer

Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) poses for a photograph during the NBA basketball team's media day in Portland, Ore., Monday, September 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Not a whole lot has changed for the Portland Trail Blazers.

The starting five — LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard, Robin Lopez, Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews — are all returning to a team that won 54 games and advanced to the Western Conference semifinals last season.

Most of the Blazers' bench is likewise back. The only two additions the team made in the offseason were center Chris Kaman and guard Steve Blake.

In other words, the Blazers aren't fixing what isn't broken. They're just going to work on the details — which include convincing the rest of the NBA that they're legit.

"I think we can be good — we can be really, really good," Matthews said. "I think we deserve to be talked (about) as contenders in the West. I really believe that."

It starts with Aldridge, who averaged career highs with 23.2 points and 11.1 rebounds per game in the regular season, joining just two other players to finish in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding. He upped his scoring output to 26.1 points per game in the playoffs.

Lillard averaged 20.7 points and 5.6 assists as he continued to skew the NBA growth curve after jumping from Weber State to Rookie of the Year to All-Star over two seasons. But the 6-foot-3 point guard's profile really took off after his series-clinching 3-pointer with 0.9 seconds left against Houston to propel the Blazers to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in 14 years.

Adding Kaman to spell Lopez will help give the Blazers more interior scoring power, while Blake will provide veteran stability at the point when Lillard rests. The two additions should also help Portland's bench produce more points, something that has hurt the team the last two seasons.

The Blazers also need to continue to focus on their defense, which was ranked 16th in the league last season. That was up from 25th the season before, so coach Terry Stotts will be looking to build on the changes that made a difference.

"We need to be a better defensive team. We need to realize what made us a good offensive team and stick with that," Stotts said. "After that, you just play the games."

Here are a few other things to consider as the Blazers embark on the 2014-15 season:

ALDRIDGE'S CONTRACT: Aldridge decided in the offseason to put off signing a contract extension with the Blazers until next summer, when he can command a five-year deal with a max salary. He reiterated at the team's media day that he has every intention of staying in Portland, and the Blazers feel the same: Owner Paul Allen and general manager Neil Olshey personally visited Aldridge over the summer to make sure he knows he's wanted. "It was just great to be able to sit down with LA and get a chance to really understand his thinking about the team," Allen said.

LILLARD'S RISE: Lillard's star is rising so fast that he's getting his own shoe. Adidas will unveil the DLillard1 in early 2015, but Lillard has already been teasing the signature sneaks on Twitter. It looks as if Lillard's logo is a combination of the D and his No. 0, along with wings that incorporate adidas' three stripes. Lillard is determined to keep the shoes as reasonably priced as possible.

NO ROOKS: The Trail Blazers did not have a selection is this year's NBA draft for the first time since the 1998, so there are no rookies on the roster. The team's least experienced players are guards CJ McCollum and Allen Crabbe, who both played in Portland last season.

BATUM'S SUMMER VACATION: Batum didn't have a whole lot of time off this summer. After wrapping up the season in Portland, he joined the French national team for the FIBA World Cup, where he averaged 14.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. His high point came in a 27-point outburst to lead France to the bronze medal with a victory over Lithuania.

BLAKE'S BACK: Blake is embarking on his third tour with the Blazers after signing a two-year deal with the team this summer. He last played for Portland from 2007-2010, becoming a fan favorite before going on to play for the Lakers, Clippers and Golden State Warriors. The 6-foot 4 guard, who will backup Lillard, has averaged 6.9 points, 4.0 assists and 2.2 rebounds over an 11-year NBA career.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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