The Portland Trail Blazers had three scrimmages last week to serve as a warmup for the NBA season restart. The scrimmages allowed for the team to work on their conditioning and lineups, but it also provided an opportunity to catch up on the usual in-game trash talk. Several players called the pickup-like atmosphere “fun,” as detailed by Blazers digital reporter Casey Holdahl:
“You can hear everything,” said Carmelo Anthony. “Honestly, it’s a fun environment to be in. It puts a lot of pressure on guys who may not like those type of environments. When you playing in front of fans — and we miss the fans — that noise kinda drowns out a lot of the trash talking that goes on out there on the court, even from the benches. Out here in this environment, it’s heightened.”
Big man Jusuf Nurkic, who had a small entanglement with the Raptors’ Serge Ibaka in Sunday’s scrimmage, is also enjoying the environment:
“I don’t know from fan standpoint but I think out there, we hear a lot of things and I think it’s echoing. There is no way you can’t hear it,” said Jusuf Nurkić, a prodigious trash-talker whose exclamation of “BALL DON’T LIE” after a missed Raptor free throw in Sunday’s contest could be easily heard over broadcast. “I even said it was going to be pickup game, you guys don’t listen man. I think it’s fun. It’s going to be hard on people who can’t handle stuff like that, but I think it’s cool. I think definitely should be a line with what people says.”
The Blazers begin their seeding game schedule on Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies in what is poised to be an intense matchup between two teams vying for the NBA Playoffs. You can read more from Holdahl’s story here.