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Anthony Tolliver and Gary Trent Jr Stand Out in a Busy Week

In this week’s Mom’s Favorite, we have great games from Anthony Tolliver and Gary Trent Jr., plus continued excellence from Damian Lillard.

Portland Trail Blazers v Houston Rockets Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images

Each week, Team Mom highlights her favorite plays, players, and other things that made the Trail Blazers fun to watch. Who is Mom’s Favorite this week? What were your favorite things that happened this week? Let us know in the comments below.

Week 12, 12-18. Charlotte Hornets (W), Houston Rockets (W), Dallas Mavericks (L), Oklahoma City Thunder (L)

Mom’s Favorite Anthony Tolliver

I enjoyed Tolliver’s time with the Trail Blazers and I’m sorry to see it come to an end. His box score stats may have been disappointing but on some nights Tolliver looked like the only forward who knew how the game worked. Skal Labissiere was still getting used to where he needed to be, Carmelo Anthony was focused on scoring, Mario Hezonja was in and out of the lineup with back problems. And then there was Tolliver with his tall socks and 12 years of accumulated knowledge of how to be a team player.

A consummate professional, he understood the game. He had a feel for the speed and force it took compete even if he wasn’t always able to keep up. He knew when he was out matched physically and figured out other ways to slow opponents down, like taking a charge (he leads the team in charges drawn).

Tolliver, the back-up center, closed out seven of the last eleven games. As we look back on the Tolliver Era, Trail Blazers fans should remember his game against Charlotte in which he scored all 16 of his points in the fourth quarter. I attended that game and all of section 319 knew where I stood regarding who should get the ball.

Even though he didn’t score until 10:03 left in the game, Tolliver had been working his tail off in many other ways through the first three quarters. His rebounding was outstanding, having tipped many of his seven rebounds (to that point) directly into the hands of his teammates (he would finish with eleven rebounds). He even had an assist running a hand-off with Damian Lillard that looked as smooth as one of CJ McCollum’s (okay, if you squint it looked smooth).

I don’t know why I thought Tolliver would go on a hot streak in the fourth; he hadn’t even taken a shot. But I started standing up and yelling “Shoot it!” every time he got the ball. Something about the way he was tipping those rebounds made me think he was dialed in. Everyone thought I was nuts. Then it started to go in and I looked like the biggest genius in the arena. So I’ll always have Tolliver to thank for making me look and feel smart for one night.

Kent we hardly knew you. I’m sad to see Kent Bazemore leave. I don’t think we got enough out of the nickname Blazemore. Perhaps if he had had that one game where he went off we could have had it. Oh, what might have been. I wish both Bazemore and Tolliver all the best!

Gary Trent Jr “21st birthday-flu-but-not-that-kind-of-birthday-flu” game. I’ve been waiting for this since Gary Trent Jr poured in 31 points at a Summer League game against Houston. When he gets the hot hand, it is hard to imagine he will ever miss again.

On his 21st birthday, on the second night of a back-to-back, battling flu-like symptoms which led to an IV after the game in Dallas, Gary Trent Jr caught fire, scoring 30 points on 18 shots.

In addition to being the second highest scorer, he also played tough defense against the Thunder. He chased three talented point guards for a significant chunk of the time he was in and communicated well with teammates, switching when necessary and making good choices that kept him in the right defensive position while under pressure. According to advanced box score stats, Trent played more defensive minutes in that game than any of his teammates and guarded more partial possessions than anyone but Anfernee Simons. He also tied his season-high with three steals. All of this while scoring 30 points.

On his own birthday, Gary Trent Jr was the gift that kept on giving. And the best part about it? He wasn’t satisfied.

Hope you feel better soon Gary!

Damian Lillard, of course. Battling injuries, illnesses, and now with two of the remaining healthy players out of the lineup, there has been a lot going on with the team. Through it all, Damian Lillard has been rock steady. This week he’s averaged 30.8 points, 8 assists and 1.3 steals. He’s been hacked, decked, and mauled while under the weather. And yet, he makes time for the fans.

Vote for Damian for the All Star game! Houston is struggling; can we get enough momentum going behind Lillard so that he can pass Harden in the voting?

Damian Lillard Jr holds press conference. We’re all ears, Dame Jr.

Damian Lillard and Carmelo Anthony hitting more career milestones. This week, Lillard passed 14,000 career points.

Carmelo Anthony also reached a big milestone, becoming the 18th player to reach 26,000 career points scored.

Wenyen Gabriel’s G-League team, the Stockton Kings, once played a game in uniforms covered in pizza. While searching for highlights I came across this gem. I will never complain about any uniforms again. If you can see past all of the pepperoni, Gabriel is the one finishing a reverse dunk:

Pink shoe shift In late December, Nassir Little and Anfernee Simons started wearing pink KD 12 “Aunt Pearl” shoes.

Since then Jaylen Hoard has also been seen sporting pink and for the last several games, at least two have them have laced up in these easy-to-see sneakers. When two or more of them take the court, I call it the “Pink Shoe Shift”. Statistically there hasn’t been much to write home about, but I’ve got my eyes out for the Pink Shoe Shift, expecting to see a lot more of them in the future.

That will do it for this week’s Mom’s Favorites. What did you like about this week? What plays or player make you excited for the future? Let us know in the comments below.

Xoxo Team Mom | @tcbbiggs

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