Notes on Lillard, the 'run-and-Coug,' Forbes' next boxing card, Bonton's breakout, and more
Knocking it about on a variety of sports subjects ...
• Let's reflect for a moment on Damian Lillard's almost out-of-body experience Monday night at Moda Center in a 129-124 overtime victory over Golden State.
Lillard's 61 points topped his franchise record of 60 established earlier in the season against Brooklyn. He set a franchise record by making 11 (of 20) 3-pointers and matched the franchise best for finishing a game with 16 free throws without a miss.
The Trail Blazers captain also took a career-high 37 shots from the field, making 17, so he missed 20 attempts. That wasn't a franchise high. Zach Randolph launched 40 shots in a 42-point performance at Memphis in 2007, making 16.
Lillard also had 10 rebounds and seven assists and only two turnovers in his 45 minutes. It may have been the most impressive individual production in Portland's 50-year NBA history.
The 60-point barrier has been reached 61 times, topped by Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game in 1962. Only six players have done it as many as two times in their entire career — Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Elgin Baylor, James Harden and Lillard. Interestingly, all six accomplished it twice in a season.
Think about that. Great scorers such as LeBron James, Rick Barry, Jerry West, Larry Bird, Karl Malone and Shaquille O'Neal reached the 60-point mark only once in their career. Lillard has done it twice in a span of 10 weeks.
Lillard, incidentally, isn't the only Blazer on the 60-point list. Carmelo Anthony went for 62 for the New York Knicks in a 125-95 rout of Charlotte in 2014.
• New Washington State coach Nick Rolovich has a tough passing act to follow after Mike Leach's "Air Raid" attack, but Rolovich won't be utilizing a "three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust" offense.
Rolovich's run-and-shoot offense produced more than 2,000 yards rushing and more than 5,000 yards passing in 15 games during the 2019 season at Hawaii.
"The run-and-shoot was developed in the Northwest by the legendary Mouse Davis," Rolovich said at his initial press conference in Pullman. "I'm going to ask Mouse if we can change it to the 'run-and-Coug,' to see how he likes that."
"That would be spectacular," said Davis, 87, who popularized the run-and-shoot during his six seasons at Portland State from 1975-80. "I'm rooting for him. He's a good guy. Personable. Doesn't think the sun rises and sets on him."
Rolovich is a former quarterback who played for June Jones at Hawaii and later served on Jones' coaching staff there along with Davis.
"Nick runs our stuff, but he runs his own stuff, too," said Davis, 87, who winters in Las Vegas and summers in Portland. "He'll do well at Washington State."
• Two world championship belts will be on the line when Layla "Amazing" McCarter of Las Vegas squares off with Brittany Cruz of Denver in the headline bout on a boxing card put on by 2Pound Sports and Entertainment April 4 at the Clackamas Armory.
McCarter (43-13) will place her Global Boxing Union and Women's International Boxing Federation world welterweight titles on the line against Cruz (12-12-2) in a five-bout card staged by promoter Stevie Forbes.
"Really excited to have Layla join us for what should be a great night of fights," said Forbes, the former IBF super featherweight champion, Grant High grad and Portland resident. "She'll be in the International Boxing Hall of Fame one day."
McCarter, who turns 41 in April, is already a member of the Nevada and California boxing halls of fame. In 2016, Ring Magazine called her the 10th-best female boxer of all-time. McCarter, who has held world titles in five weight classes, owns a pro record of 43-13 and has never been knocked out. She comes to Portland on a 20-match win streak, her last loss coming in 2007. Her last fight was last January.
"She is still a very good fighter," Forbes said. "I've known her my whole career. She lived in Spokane growing up and fought in the Golden Gloves here in 1997. When I lived in Vegas, we were at the same gyms a lot."
Forbes said former boxing greats Christy Martin and Lisa Holewyne will make an appearance to support the show, Forbes' fifth in the Portland area since forming his promotion company in 2017.
• Isaac Bonton's breakout performance for Washington State in an 89-76 win over Oregon State last Sunday didn't surprise those who knew him at Parkrose High.
The 6-3 junior guard, who collected 34 points, eight rebounds and eight assists against the Beavers, started his prep career at Columbia Christian, where as a freshman he helped the Knights to the Class 2A championship in 2014. Bonton transferred to Parkrose, where he earned first-team all-state honors as a sophomore and senior for the 5A Broncos.
Bonton started his college career at Montana State, averaging 7.8 points in 11 games before leaving the program. He transferred to Casper (Wyoming) JC, where he averaged 21.4 points and 5.6 assists as a sophomore, earning second-team All-America laurels in leading the Thunderbirds to the NJCAA championship game.
It hasn't been a great first season at Wazzu for Bonton, who was shooting only .333 from the field and .304 from 3-point range going into the OSU game. It all came together on Klay Thompson Jersey Retirement Day in the Palouse. Bonton was 8 for 14 from the field, 4 for 7 from the 3-point line and 14 for 14 at the foul line against the Beavers.
"That's the Isaac we knew at Parkrose," said JC Alexander, who coached Bonton for his three seasons there and is now at Mountain View High in Vancouver, Wash. "We knew from the get-go that the kid was special. Coaches are trusting in him again. That's what happens when you trust in Isaac."
• Chad Doing is breathing much more easily this week.
The personable Portland radio sports talk show host (Rip City Drive, 620 AM) is relieved that his son, Isaac, is recuperating nicely from emergency brain surgery. Isaac, who is autistic, is a 16-year-old junior at Vancouver's Columbia River High.
"The doctors had discovered some swelling and some cysts that were expanding and filling up with what they thought was brain fluid," the senior Doing said.
The surgery was to drain and relieve pressure on the left side of the brain.
"Doctors believed that was the cause of seizures and headaches and equilibrium problems he had over the last six months," the broadcaster said. "It turned out to be a blessing. They were able to pull out scar tissue, and a dead area will be filled with healthy brain tissue. That should alleviate seizures moving forward."
Doing said he didn't get nervous until he found himself in the waiting room at Portland's Legacy Emanuel Medical Center during the surgery
"That's when it came to my mind and I was thinking, 'I could lose my son,' " Doing said. "I'm not ready to give him up and lose him. To have the doctors come out (after the operation) and say, 'It couldn't have gone any better' ... I couldn't have had better news."
Isaac was released from the hospital on Sunday night.
Said the senior Doing: "He said, 'Dad, I'm just happy I get to sleep all night without being waked up every two hours.'"
• For the first time in more than 20 years, Oregon State assistant coach Pat Bailey was unable to attend the annual Northwest Baseball Coaches Association in Portland last weekend.
So OSU's new head coach, Mitch Canham, took the convention to Bailey, who was home in Corvallis recovering from shoulder surgery.
Canham called Bailey, then used FaceTime to have all the coaches attending the convention serenade Bailey with "Happy birthday" on his 64th birthday.
"They always have the convention the same week as my birthday, so they always sing me happy birthday," Bailey said. "This time, I had to stay home. But when Mitch called, I had an idea what might happen. It was awesome."
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