Monday, April 2, 2012

Bullcrap

What a f-cking bullsh-- game. I wanted a win for my birthday, and I thought the Blazers knew that. They started off brilliantly, had a 14 point lead and pissed it all away. Wes went off, had an awesome game and wasn't getting any calls. I respect him for going as long as he did without a technical, but he finally did get one and still the calls weren't happening. He even worked them back to a three point lead, and then Felton dribbles off his foot and we lose everything.

JJ Hickson decided defense and rebounding weren't going to be played by him tonight, and everyone else followed suit. I don't know if he and Aldrige can play together because he likes to showboat, and when the O if always run through L-Train, he doesn't do jackshit anywhere. That's total crap.

Felton was all right tonight, better than the other two point guards, but he had key mistakes when he made them. Total momentum killers.

And Hasheem Thabeet is a liability. He played all of ten seconds and did not do his job at all. He went in for one thing, to spell LA so LA didn't get a foul, and to get a rebound. He is 7'3" and he allowed a 6'7" guy to both get a rebound and score before he got his big ass boxing out. What the hell. I will take half his salary and do his job. Fundamentals.

And another thing. I didn't give props to Batum for coming out and playing last night. Well today he had great moments and again for some reason was streaky as hell. There were two tremendously horrific calls made on him that he should have bitched about, but didn't. He needs to.

One call on Wes was the same ridiculous way, that Wesley finally yelled about. He got his legs grabbed by Millsap and then Paul fell down and they called it a charge. Wesley should have had 2 points and a FT, and they called it a damn charge. Not only is that dangerous, but it's obvious. Also, on the steal in the final seconds by the Jazz, the dude ran out of bounds. I saw it live, I saw it on the replay and everyone in the garden saw it, how is that missed. That's atrocious, and if I knew how, I would contact the league.

Fuck the referees and fuck Utah. Fuck being 24 if my Blazers can't buy a victory. Happy Birthday to me. Not in the least.

TIMBER! Go the Wolves

I liked a lot of what I saw in this match-up. LA and Kevin Love didn't cross-match as they usually do, and it worked well in our favor. Last game Kevin Love had 42 and 10, but with LA on him they both had 26 and something. Not bad for LA to assert his defense and bother Kevin all night. And bother him he did. Love was getting pissed off a few times even losing his cool, once I was surprised they didn't T him up. Props to LA for not backing down from the burly, bearded little bitch.

Wesley "The Wesley" Matthews had himself a game, too. Took a few of those boys to school in his lunch pail. I imagine him before the tip-off shaking hands and telling everyone how much he would make them his sons. He's in no way, shape or form that arrogant, but he could have, and he'd have been right.

Flynn is working into the system nicely and had a few suh-weet dimes that a fan like me likes to see. Felton, I will admit, played very well in spans he normally struggles. Troubling is the fact that Nolan Smith is nowhere to be found these days, after starting a game in Felton's absence. I don't know if "Coach" is taking his first started game as signs of lackluster all-around play, or if he's spooked and wants to chill for a bit, but whatever the case, I think it should be opposite. I don't want a lasting mental toll on Nolan just because he seemingly got blasted in his first start. It was an off night on his first ever NBA start against a good opponent, and I really think this benching is going to have a worse impact if it continues, than the game initially would have.

Batum I feel never got on in this game because of some questionable (to be ├╝ber nice) calls. He couldn't find his Batum groove. He got some awesomeness going, for certain, including the game's biggest play, but if he can do that always, despite referee interference, that's when he'll just go apeshiz on ninjas.

Speaking of the game's biggest play. Batum comes from the other side of the floor to block a Ridnour jumpshot, from the side, as he's jumping across, using his off hand. The ball goes directly into Felton's hands and Batum continues running the floor with Felton in the middle and Matthews on the other wing. If I'm Felton I dish to Batum if he's open at all, but Felton dishes to an open Matthews who finishes anyway. Wheeze from Minnesota, electric screams from the fans, wonder in Nate's eyes. Beauty.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

OKC Goes Ham

Ok, seriously? You get your team together for a game, show some spirit and energy to make a late game surge to seal a close one and lead everyone to believe you're maturing into the coaching role that has been thrust upon you. Then you coach like tonight. Yikes, Kaleb. Not cool, my man.

Again, blame the inexperience of the coach for the loss tonight. Not much more to say. Down 18 at the half in large part due to ineffective use of the zone defense. This defensive scheme has worked in the recent past to disrupt another team's flow, but the score would suggest this is not the case in this particular matchup. So, halftime over, Kaleb changes that. The halftime adjustments are working, Blazers hit a 19-2 run to close a large gap to within 3. Holy donuts, that's impressive. But, we can't keep it up. The lead stretches to 9. Uh oh, it's slipping to double digits now. Yuck, 15. Timeout is called, all right good. Time to make some moves. But, what have we here? The moves made are...go back to zone? Seriously?

Despite that blockheadedness, I feel like the team got some good, albeit streaky playing time. Flynn needs to keep his head up and learn to pass. Nolan needs to also do that because tonight he was not the guard he knows how to be. His first ever start, so it makes sense, but come on. Also, good on JJ for being on, but some passing could be good too.

Mostly, we just need to box out and rebound, and play some defense. And I hate floppers, but we were playing Derek "Flop like a" Fish-er, so taking a few more charges this game could have helped. Adjusting the defense to Westbrook was a necessity  that was apparently never addressed. Hard to believe seeing how poor of a shooter he is when defended well, and he went yard tonight. Scoring 10 straight from the same exact spot SCREAMS a change to me but, despite a timeout late, he kept it going. Which just feeds his already over-confident ego and turns him into an even bigger sack of douche, but if we're not gonna guard him of course he'll feel like he's a badass. To be clear, you put Batum or Matthews on him like glue, the only badass thing you'll see is their stellar defense. He'll start bitching more than Lewis Black.

Anyway, props tonight to Hickson and Matthews. Matthews because he had an off-ish shooting night and still had 17, 6 and 4 without a TO and played 34 minutes, as he always does. Baller.

Nolan, sir, you're the low brow with Crawful tonight. Embrace your role and own it, my man. Crawford, yeesh. Sure some fouls weren't called (except on you), but you were so off that even I wasn't calling for many of them. It's their job and you're a jumpshooter, so they should be all over it, but you weren't all over your job either. 2 points on 1 for 7, 2TO...

Barely Better than the Bay Area

Felton went off tonight, not shooting a high percentage but getting a season high in points and some assists nonetheless. That's a good change of pace. If he could play at that level but consistently, just imagine what a point guard he could be. Numbers didn't wow me, but he had some leadership qualities he hasn't proven to possess lately, and that was nice to see.

Glad to see Steph Curry wasn't on the floor, because that guy goes off like a wet towel on a rack. Almost impossible to guard completely. Matthews could of course, but I'm glad he didn't have to.

One dude I've never heard of, Jenkins, had himself a ball though. Not cool, guys. And former draft pick/draft day trade Brandon Rush was hitting some outside jumpers. I wanted that guy on our team so badly that the immediate trade was sad, and every time he plays us I'm reminded why. not every game he plays, though. He's pretty not so good at times.

Defense all around was all right, but obviously when a guy whose previous career high is 15 gets 27, some adjustments were certainly missed. Squeaked it out, but not by much.

Shout out to LA, who had 9 rebounds, the final few points and the final defense on the hot-handed Jenkins' buzzer-beater attempt. Props, sir.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Losing at the Lakerfront

We kept it close the entire game, even tying the score a few times. This was a feat in and of itself, seeing as we were in LA, had an interim coach on his fifth game on the second of a back-to-back and a few guys who hadn't really played much with the team. They played like Goonies, never saying "die", and that is certainly commendable.

We had great games from the guys, too. The game started out looking like Los Angeles was about to take us to a clinic and smoke us like a jay behind the bleachers, but the second quarter we really took off, coming from eleven behind and ending the half only down 5 with momentum. L-Train had 29 points and 9 boards, 2 assists and 2 steals, and was hitting some shots early and late. He kept us around in the beginning, going the first half with only two misses. He had something like 21 in the first half, most of that coming in the second quarter run.

The story to me, though, was my main man Matthews. He had 16, which is solid, first off. But, he took a card out of former Blazer guard Ruben Patterson's pocket and became the Kobe Stopper. The only difference was Wesley never called himself that, he just did it. Shobe started off with a hot hand. He was hitting outside shots and Bynum was inside doing what everyone expected him to do from day one. But, after Kobe's "electrifying" 5 of 6 start, Matthews decided to recalibrate, or take the reins from Batum, and locked the ninja down. Kobe finished the game going 0-11 and 18 points.

Hickson too, did well. He had 14 for the bench, although his defense was, as always, suspect.

The game just boiled down to two problems for the boys. [Offensive] Rebounding and inexperience from a coaching standpoint. Lakers out rebounded the Blazers by 24, including 18-6 offensively. About 6 of those for the Lakers came on one possession too, which has got to be just disheartening for an already exhausted Blasers' team. Play solid defense for 24 seconds, miss a board, miss another board after solid defense, and it goes on and ends with a Lakers' three-pointer.

As for coaching, I can't really blame Kaleb at this point. I did, in the rise and fall of emotions last night, but I kind of have to rescind that. Because yes, he coached areas poorly, substitutions late in the third were a big problem, but is that all on him? He didn't promote himself, and he can only do his best in the new position. Objectively, I can watch and say, "No, Crawesome is off, so you need to put this guy in late instead" or think that a certain match-up isn't working, but at the end of the day, I'm on my couch in my underwear with an apple fritter, and he's courtside.

I enjoyed the game for the most part, and as many times as I palmed my face for a missed call (it is Los Angeles, after all. And has Ron Artest ever dribbled by someone without hooking?) or a missed rebound, my boys played very well. They played better than the refs for 3 quarters, and played with enough heart to warrant I compliment from the Lakers announcers. Which is saying a ton, actually, because those guys were having a hard time recognizing anything Blazers besides Kurt Thomas being 39 and LaMarcus being an All-Star. In all seriousness, those guys were talking out of their asses more than Jim Carrey's early movies (with such gems as "When only 1 defender is guarding Kobe, he doesn't have to worry about a second defender guarding him," saying McRoberts was having one hell of a game despite going 1 for 3 with two points all game, and falling in love with the term "Splash" (it means scoring, apparently.)

Anyway, off game of the night: Jamal Crawford. 3-14. He had ten points but he'd dribble himself around wasting time and then take a wild 3pointer from deep space nine. Also, Felton had some late game non-heroics by dribbling for 18 seconds (with 40 to go, down 6), deciding to mae a move resulting in him being baseline, four feet from the hoop on his offside and throwing up a left-handed...lay-up attempt, I guess, that he airballed. Then he didn't foul for 13 seconds. Nice.

On game. Wesley. What a champ. I'm glad we have him for 4 years more. Hopefully this overhaul/rebuild ends before ditching him and Batum.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Better Than the Grizzly Men

Inviting another Western conference opponent into the Garden, after falling to Milwaukie already was a game I was somewhat anxious to watch. Seeing the big guys a bit out of synch and knowing the close game struggles, I expected a close game and hoped for a result countering the statistics.

And we got it. A lot in part to the active defense played by Wesley, Nicolas, and the big dudes down low. Man I love blocked shots. Blocked shots are the donuts of the stat sheet. Three pointers are great, steals, all those, but when I see blocked shots...guuuuuuuud. Hold them under 100, 93 tonight compared to 116 to the Bucks. Held them 25 points or under per quarter, like their goal was, and outscored them 31 to 24 in the final 12 minutes, coming from a third quarter deficit to win outright. Uh, that's some good ball.

Also keeping us up, perfect from the line. Not perfect like Memphis' announcers said "Jamal Crawford NEVER misses." at 91.5%. We were 100%, 25 for 25. Which I believe is a season record as the last I can remember is 24 in the Detroit/Milwaukie game. That game had 41-41 FT made, Pistons with 24, Bucks with 17. Wild.

Back to us now. 40% from threeland. Batum and Wesley were both 4-8. I love the way Wesley is shooting the three ball these days. My two favorite Blazers now that MC is gone, holler. And the Lukey "BB" Babbitt, living up to the BB (Buzzer Beater) moniker at the end of the first. Could be better than 40, but 40 is way better than the season. We were plus-21 from threeland, hitting 10-25 at some crucial moments in the game.

So Batum was the Batum-shaka-laka for sure tonight. The definite #2 punch behind LA, which worked tonight because LA was off, in my opinion. Batum hit it hard early, went down with 3 foulds, then got right back on when necessary, getting crucial steals, playing Gay rough (don't read that like you want to) and just being the man. If I could give two, I'd give Wesley the next one, because tonight he was all over scrapping like a bum looking for Coke cans to recycle for booze money. Smothering at times, getting a lot of contact despite it being an overall loosely called game, he played like the Dreaded Pirate Roberts his name suggests. Good on you, Wesley.

I'll tell you who wasn't on my good list tonight. LA. Man, this guy has to step up tomorrow or we might just be dead in the water like that guy from Mystic River. He's the number one punch, obviously, but he played like he did two years ago. He had 4 TO and only once did he make a move to the rim, everything was distance fades from 18. And he wasn't hitting them. I think he shot 50% for 16 points. Not atrocious, but he never looked comfortable, showcased by lack of aggressiveness. He did take my suggestion early on, making a brilliant pass out of a double for a nailed three-pointer, but later he lost it. I guess he gets all flustered and forgets the basics. The thing is, All-Stars can't afford that in the NBA. The one time tonight he turned in, he lost the ball, and if it weren't for some heroics by a tandem Crawford and Batum, the game would've been a 1 point spread with less than a minute and a huge Memphis momentum shift.

Anyway, this was a nice win to have to bring "Coach" back to .500, and to have a bit of momentum on the flight to LA. Hopefully we don't celebrate too hard, because it was just Memphis, 5th seed and we now have to hit LAL, 3rd seed, and a much bigger rival. Minus the theatrics of Derek Flopper, but still a heavy hitter nonetheless. Knock on some wood tonight, all you readers.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Buck Puns Stop Here

Losing to the Bucks is like peeing your pants at school in that I can't believe it happened to me. I never thought I would see a Bucks team so consistent in passing, but I also never thought I'd see Raymond Felton have a decent game, and here we stand.

This game was overcome with rookie mistakes, and I'm not talking about a Nolan Smith turnover. Also, holding hands with the newbies, or rather, from the hands of the newbies (to cross-pollinate the metaphor), was a night devoid of any bench scoring whatsoever. 0-20 was the last number I heard on bench field goals, and 1 point during that time on a 1 for 2 trip to the stripe by second in the league Jamal Crawford. Happy birthday it was not.

Besides that though, like I said, the game was dominated by the rookies, particularly rookie referee "Sir" Alan Thomas and Interim "Head Coach" Kaleb Canales.

There was a stretch during this game that one referee was having himself a field day of atrocities, including a run of charges rung up on the home team, all calls going against the hometeam and a 5 minutes discussion with Joel Przybilla about how a jump ball should occur. Why a rookie ref is instructing a veteran big man where to put his feet, how to stand and how to knit a sweater when the only necessary steps are whistle-toss is an explanation I hope to see very soon from this particular referee.

Why he is named 'Sir' is a question for his parents, though I wouldn't be shocked to learn they're from South Carolina and wanted to add some royalty to their bloodline. I suppose that is how you start the regal progeny,  by naming them so. I guess they couldn't wait for Alan to underwhelm them by never reaching the low potential he was aimed for in the first place, and figured they'd start early. It used to be people earned titles from dignitaries, but perhaps the new age is one of bestowing titles at birth so people don't have to do something as difficult as say, working for them.

But even he couldn't control the entire game, with his no-calling, no-calling, TECHNICAL pattern he had going. Kaleb Canales had himself a third game for the memories, if the memories were my demential grandmother's. Kaleb really showcased his lack of experience with poor substitutions, ineptitude of pace and complete and utter nothingness on the sideline. It takes more than standing, clapping and yelling "C" and nodding to be a coach in today's NBA. As a former video intern I suppose a sideline view may distort his perception a bit, but I hope in reviewing the tape of tonight's game he realizes the disaster he induced with his [non] command of the game.

It was actually around bench mishap 14 that I remembered why Whoopi Goldberg got a chance to coach in Eddie. I really should get myself into the stands with a whiteboard, because for sure tonight's game would have fared better for the home team. I'm not saying I'm more experienced running an NBA squad, but I am saying I could do more on my first game than Canales did with his third. I don't need to watch any game tape to know how to fix his mistakes. When you don't have anyone to inbound, you have to realize either your practice sessions are a curb-stomping away from American History X, or the subs you have in there aren't making up the group of guys you want on the floor at the same time. Going more than seven minutes of game time without scoring a point, without a timeout or a substitution? I mean, come on. I don't even go that long in NBA Live without a line-up change, and I score 200 points in 20 minutes.

His woeful coaching job was only amplified by the piss-poor shooting done by players 6-12 of the team. A lot can be said in chemistry; there was none, and lack of practice; I can't speak for that, but all in all, they plain didn't play professional basketball. The first quarter was fine, the pace was up tempo, the crowd in the game, the ball movement proficient. Come the second quarter and then...any time after that, and any momentum or cohesiveness was kaput. Back to the drawing board, Kaleb. Go at it old school like in the video room if you need to, just don't forget that it is time for an interim, not an intern.


Balls Out Blazer: Matthews. Dude had some passes that needed to make it and did, and got his shooter's touch back these past three games, including going 4-4 to start from behind the arc. Also, he scrapped and got some great defensive plays.

Could have been better: LaMarcus. Definitely needed some passing from this dude. Did a tremendous job on offensive rebounds, and I know "coach" probably called a kabillion plays too many to him, but sometimes you have to shoulder the on-floor play more than say, someone that just got promoted last week. I can't blame you for the play, did well, just more passing in some of these situations. One play in particular was an NBA Jam dream where LA was one-on-two and Wesley Matthews was wide open for a three, but LA faded for a short-rimmed miss. Wes would've set the net on fire, L-Train. Nest time.

Horriawful: The bench. Not much more can be said than the statistics. I don't even want to boxscore them it was so bad. Let's just say, I hope Babbitt is like Sampson, because he was sure looking like it tonight. Crawesome did too much cake and ice cream and not enough wishing and Nolan Smith was duped, not Duke.

See you next game, 'Zers.

Focker, out.

Monday, March 19, 2012

OK in OKC

We got the result everyone expected, but played for it.

Everyone knew coming in that OKC would win the game. What they didn't know is that the Blazers would manage to close a gap to 8 points, despite numerous referee mistakes. Oh, sorry. I wasn't going to comment on that until later.

Anyway, a ransacked team, playing a Thunder team tops in the West that is coming off a devastating home loss, is probably not a team you'd expect to compete. Especially since before the Blazers fired the coach and gutted their frontcourt they lost by 42 to the Knicks. All the deadline day acquisitions didn't even road trip at all with the team, they're waiting (patiently I'm sure) in Portland to meet their teammates and interim coach in the next few days before the homestand.

But we managed to stay in it, for the most part. We got down, sometimes deep, but scrapped our way back like we fans are used to seeing. A deficit at halftime is almost old hat, and the fourth quarter comebacks seem to be just "our way". Today, it fell short, but, though we all wanted to believe in another Chi-town miracle, we just don't have the closing force - or, dare I say natural ability - to clutch into a victory.

Nor did we have a fair game, by any stretch of the imagination. The Blazers went more than an entire half of basketball (from 5:21 left in the second quarter, to 5:10 left in the game) without attempting a free throw. In fact, James Harden himself went 11-14 from the line and still made more than the entire Portland roster all game (Portland was 9-14). So the Thunder are superdeeduper favorites, don't just serve the game up for them. THey still have to earn their money, jackhole.

Now, Portland could have been a little better from the stripe. They pride themselves on free throws and were leading the league at one point. But when the referees aren't blowing the whistle at all, you have to capitalize when they breathe out too quick and make a mistake. I know Kaleb is too green to complain about the disparity, but OKC hat 28 attempts to Portland's 14. That's 200%. Something could be said (and was on the Thunder broadcast) about Portland's lack of aggressiveness with regards to going hard to the rack, but I saw multiple lay-ups and dunk attempts, as well as deep rebounds wherein fouling was happening with n'er a toot to be heard. So the commentators can blame it on lack of drive or whatever, but he who hesitates (to evolve) is lost. If you don't adjust your swing to what the ump is calling, you'll strike out looking every time, that's all the Blazers were trying to do. Watch the game, dummy.

Whereas, on the opposite end of the floor, Lames Harden chicken wings a defender's outstretched arm "drawing" a foul. One end Jamal gets hit twice on one attempt, manages to skip a stratospheric lay-up of the tippy top of the glass while falling onto the floor in a pile, nothing until the resulting fast break with numbers gets blown dead because the Thunder player ran into a defensive player's back. And then a 'T' on Crawford for saying, "Wow. He just tackled me. You do know you're ref-ing basketball, right?" There was a stretch of non-call/call sequences, three in a row, that I became livid. If I hadn't be comfortably reclined on my bean bag chair, Molly on lap, I'd have had a Camby-like "homicidal rage" moment resulting in a television not fit for redistribution. Just call it both ways, is all I'm saying. If you're calling ever jersey-shift, every hand check, every drop of sweat or breath on Rip City, call it on your precious Sonics. Thunder, whatever.

[Also, for the blogger writing about MC in that light, um...f*** you, you s***dick. Those were in no way as hard of fouls as you construed them. Granted, Camby is about the calmest human on earth, known to as butterflies to flutter quieter, but still. Knock off the Camby knocks, douche.]

Anyway, Raymond was ESPN's "top performer" for the team today. I can't say that my migraine was caused by this fact alone, but I will honestly say it contributed. When Raymond "Gimme the Ball" Felton is your leader, you have serious issues. He got 19 and 7. First off, he should reverse those numbers as a point guard. If your name does not start with "D-" and end with "-errick Rose," you should be passing to your All-Star scorers. Especially if your season field goal percentage is lower than Kurt Thomas' age. LA only fetched 15, but my ninja Wesley got himself 16, including 3-3 from 3. Look at he and his bad self, hitting longballs like he's 'posed to. Crawesome had 23 but was 3-9 from long range, which the announcers kept referring to as his bread and butter.


Losing by 16 isn't bad all things considered. Played Harden's fieldgoals pretty well, got some sick blocks and managed to ward off Kendrick Perkin's criminal sociopathic sexual appetite. I was scared for Nolan. When Kendrick wants to get his rape on...well, he more often explodes on Twitter, but, you never know.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Winner, Winner, Chicago (for) Dinner

All I can say is "Where has this been?"

This was not a perfect game. We played from behind the entire game, and having to come back from 8 points down in the fourth quarter is not something you want to count on, but tonight it worked. Why did it work tonight and not during the Knicks game?

Nate McMillan wasn't here. Don't read that as me blaming him either. I'm blaming the diva players (Felton/Crawford) for being little seventeen year-old high school girls, whining to their principal about their teacher teaching differently than they want to learn.

Nate did more with less night in and night out. More than six years here, he created magic out of nothing. Even this season we had some big wins with him at the helm. Oh, Lakers are coming to town, how will we win without Brandon Roy and Greg Oden (or Przybilla at the time)? Get me a bucket, a paintbrush and ten pounds of salt. Victory.

And yet, here we are left without him, and these guys pull a victory out of their asses. They worked hard. Best thing about it tonight was old school scrap. Rebounds, passing and willpower. And an emotional letdown from the Bulls after beating Miami. Their lull and our will.

Batum was there tonight. Not his best offensive game points-wise, but he created. Nolan Smith came in and showed the point guard we pay the money to how to earn it. Then Felton went back in and turned the ball over immediately. Babbitt. Didn't shoot the ball like he can, but rebounded like a champ. Sad to see the young guns getting loads of time without seeing The Lankmaster CJ in there too.
Big Country not backing down from BOOzer. Proud of Joel for not taking any crap from the crap that is Carlos. Even while Chi-towns announcers were just dogging on him all night for being old, broken, slow and fat. Douches.

It was great to get a win. A good one. Not flawless, but deserved. Teams this season are now 4-0 on the game following their head coach being fired. I just don't understand the cost. The ends don't justify the means to me. Video Only isn't going to coach his way into the playoffs. If we get in, it will be because we step up and play the game we are capable of. The game we were capable of with McMillan, but never gave.

It's frustrating to see that happen, the distinctly different variations of a great group of players. And what is even more disturbing to me is the pull that two first year (with the team) players, with expiring contracts, were able to pull for a release of the Captain. They should be gone, because they were the ones not performing. They were the ones not living up to their contracts, not doing their jobs. McMillan had to try to coach around them, but they were where the money went, and both kind of were the backcourt for the team. Two Kardashians playing the same position, it's hard to work around that. If not one, then the other.

In all honesty, check the blog, he should've benched the eff out of Felton. Elton. He could have played Nolan much more. He tried with Elliot until he got hurt, and it was an awesome move. But, I know that while that would've been a bold move, and the right move, Nate would have been fired earlier, in all likelihood. And I don't know why that is.

Trading Felton and/or Crawford would've brought a a good result also. Maybe different, maybe similar, but a good one. Better, because we'd still have the heart of the team in McMillan and we'd have successfully removed the tumor that is Felton. We would not have got much for Felton, probably, but considering who came over in the deals for Camby and Wallace, we couldn't have done much worse.

I was assured on the message boards that Paul Allen knows what he's doing. Fine, perhaps he does. I mean, by definition he HAS to, because he is doing it. He may not know the consequences though. He isn't the coach in the locker room, he isn't creating wins. I feel he should have been more vocal with McMillan, asking questions or asserting his plan for the team. He didn't even tell McMillan he was fired. They didn't talk it over, just axed and made moves with an interim GM. And it is too bad.

Money isn't basketball, Paul.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Okay, so we had some big and dumb moves today.

They ditched my man Camby. Sad to see him go but it's probably the best thing for him to be out of the fray.

And then Wallace is gone too. He didn't necessarily fit the system per se, but he tried too. There goes rebounder #2.

Oden got waived. This makes sense, but he could chill for a year or two, sign with someone and beat the shit out of us.

Chris Johnson waived as well. Not enough time behind a legitimate center pair like Joel and Marcus to develop. He worked hard though.

Who did we get? Steve Blake back? I liked him, like him, but we traded him for a reason. But he probably would've been better than Felton AND Crawford AND another guard that we got in the trade. We also got Thabeet (first #1 pick to get D-Leagued), Shawne Williams (who?), Mehmet Okur (ugh, really?) and Jonny Flynn (decent).

Yeah yeah, so we have a stack up of guards, one that is so bad it hurts to watch. I know we gathered the mud that is this traffic jab of mediocrity of a backcourt for the expiring contracts, but did the interim front office forget that we have games left? How will we put together a team for the Bulls game tomorrow night?

Bloodbath.

Oh yeah, we fired Nate. No joke, that's confirmed. Yeah, I know. It's like....dafuq? As if this manure pile is his fault. As if he didn't make great decisions through the worst of times. Didn't breed All-Stars in Roy and LA, didn't piece together wins through record numbers of injury and hotheaded arrogance. Disrespect, Portland. Straight up disrespect.

Quite honestly, if Crawesome had a problem with Coach, he should've been benched or traded. This is not his team. He could've been benched to wait until the contract was up. Felton should've been the first if only one to go. Trade that bastard. He is cancer.

This season was in no way McMillan's fault. At all. I'm proud of him for limping through and showing up for this team of hot dogs that barely even play. No one was respecting each other or themselves. Slumps abounded, no one rebounded, but McMillan was always there to try (if unsuccessfully) to right the ship. Fuck Chad Buchanan, fuck Raymond Felton (it's not out of shape, the season is more than half over. You plain suck monkey ass), fuck this season and fuck Mehmet Okur. I hate that asshole. If they hire Jerry Sloane I might burn something.

Oh, and promote an unpaid video inter to Interim Head Coach. Wow.

All I can say is good luck to Crash and MC in their respective teams. Go easy on LA when you play him, guys. Best of luck to McMillan, though I doubt he'll need it. I hear New York wants a coach, who else? Lakers were pulling while he was still employed in good standing with a competitive team, so my guess is someone's hunting.

Forget this.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Raped in the Apple

Wow. The Knicks, really?

And why is Felton still here?

That's it for tonight. Seriously, what the hell.

Not on Pace(rs)


Wow. There isn't much more one can say about tonight.

Netted two field goals out of 15 attempts in the first quarter. I've made more than that in 12 minutes with my eyes closed. I could make more half court shots than that in 12 minutes. Jeepers. Also, talking about lows, five assists all game. And I'm pretty sure most of those came in garbage time. You can't have that. There was only one in the first half. Against a pedestrian team in Indiana, not known for their defensive prowess, nor are they known for their offensive prowess, nor are they really known at all.

A new career high for a third strong center is not really a stat you want to give up, but we did that too. He went 10 for 11 shooting with 21 points. He's only scored 20 twice before and I'm pretty sure his shooting percentage is less than forty. At least this year. And in games they win it's usually lower like 34%. Today it was 91%! Just pass it underneath to the white dude. I understand Camby wasn't there, but come on. You're in the NBA, and the easiest place to defend is the paint. It's painted! How hard is it to miss that area?

They were down thirty plus at one point. Aldridge only had 17. I say only because he's an All-Star, and supposed to be the workhorse. A 5-15 night with 17 is not the makings of consistent, especially when the guy guarding you is Hansborough or Hibbert. I'm pretty sure I was a better center my first year playing than Hibbert was last year. He's improved...not that much. Plus, he knows about the paint, and he stays there. LA has (or had) a jumper. Where did it go tonight?

Maybe I jinxed this game, but I really anticipated a back and forth with a Blazers 7-10 point victory. The Pacers haven't been relevant for years, since Reggie probably. I mean, for 5-6 years there Mike Dunleavy was their best player. I saw some good defense today, some good offense and neither of those was from the Blazers' side of the ball.

5-22 3PT. Four of those came in garbage time from Smith and Babbitt. FG% overall: 31. Free throws I can't really complain about, because the stripe was the only thing keeping us in the same building, but even there we had 8 misses. Misses are unacceptable to me. Those are free points. I mean, come on guys! If you're shooting 20+, 5 misses is the max I could handle. 30-38 is under 80%. We don't have Shaq or Dwight, and if you're not making jump shots, or layups, you gotta make the free throws.

Speaking of layups, 16 points in the paint. That would be 8 shots. 7 were missed in the paint. 3 fast break points. That's a defensive and offensive stat. Yowzer.

I wish I could have control of the payroll on nights like these. Even on the honor system. Just be like "Hey, Crawford. You think you earned $75,757.76 with your play tonight?" Contract renegotiated. 

Brilliant plan!

Each game paycheck should be based on the previous game. Or, make it like bowling, and have a "Strike" number, perhaps a double double for a big man, certain number of assists, to base the next two games on it. That way, Raymond Felton would be making the same amount I've made the last three weeks. Nothing. Solid plan.


To Whom it May ConStern...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Whizzing on Washington

Today's game was more my speed. Not perfect by any stretch, and against a lowbrow team in Washington, but solid.

LA netted another 30 point game, his fifth of the season. He also started getting some rebounds in rebounding form, which is his biggest weakness. The Wizards have some tall rebounders in McGee and Blatche, so I enjoyed seeing LA go after some a fetching the double-double he's more than capable of. Also nice was Mr. Felton's semi-poised play, producing around the calibre I expect him to night in and night out if he expects to stick around much longer. I like Crawdaddy's game tonight too, though I fear it was more making a show for teams interested in trades than to beat the Wizards.

One thing I hated, however, was Scott Foster, What the hell? This is the second time this season that Scott Foster had a [potential] dagger in his hands, and chose to stab away. First, not that I need to remind anyone, was his jackass "goaltending" call during the OKC game. Let's not kid ourselves, that was a horrid miss. The call was not even close to goaltending, at a time the Blazers had their fate in their hands. He certainly could have reviewed it at that point, but again, shouldn't have needed to. The Blazers lose because he's a boneheaded ninny.
Cut to tonight. Second quarter we have immature Wizard #15 elbowing Marcus Camby in the neck for a good solid 4 seconds. Not cool, jackwagon. I get the happenstance of accidental throat contact, I do. But not after a rebound. This dude gathers a rebound with one hand in order to keep his elbow in Camby's throat. Camby shoves him down. I would have too. GTF off me, nucka. So they blow the whistle. Camby nods, of course, I've been in the league I know that's a technical. Then Seraphin gets up and shoves Camby back. Retaliation, okay, technical assessed. Should be pretty cut and dry. After that Foster and teammates separate the two, including Batum, class act, going to his French National teammate Sarah's fin and talking him down. Offsetting T's.

But NOOOO.

Foster boots Camby with a Flagrant 2! And Scaryphin gets a technical? Are you for real? No way in hell that goes down like that in real time. But, to throw another facepalm into the mix, Foster reviewed the tape. You'd think this would be a perfect time to reassess the situation, oh, clearly Terraflip elbows Camby right there, elbow and hold, holding, rebound, holding...okay. Offset the technicals and move on. But nope, not Foster. After calling 3 consecutive fouls on back-up Blazers center Vanilla Gorilla in less than 3 minutes, Foster decides now would be a perfect time to eject starter Marcus Camby, one of the most mellow and truly good guys in the league.
Mr. Foster, you're on my list.

If I'm McMillan, I'm calling that BS hard and fast. I'll take the fine, just as Camby will now have to. I'm calling out Foster like I would have McCutcheon last year. These sluts need to learn that biased calls don't fly. Let Scaruhflimsy back into the game when he not only initiated but retaliated also? Wrist slap him but boot MC? Who the hell do you think you are?

Oh, great, now I'm mad. Remembering how John Wall slipped and they called a blocking foul on Felton. I hate Felton and even I think that call was horsecrap. One official was just brought up fro the NBDL, but, In my opinion, all three should go back down.

Blaze of the Night had to be LA. Playing only two minutes last match-up before getting injured, LA showed how much of an impact he can make. Got him some blocks, 30pt/10rb, making 12 fro 15 and all his FTs. Blatche, please!

Gory Blaze. Felton. Man, all you had to do was keep making free throws. Went 26 of 26 and with 30 seconds left you missed the second one? C'mon man!


Latest trade rumors are pretty out there. Just when you think you're reading a legit sports page you see a guy saying Blazers could trade Felton and Crawford for Boston's Big Three. Yeah, I suppose they could try that, but would it work money-wise, and would Boston go for it?

One reasonable one that I don't think will happen but I liked the thought of was sending Felton, Crawford and Thomas to LA Lakers for Blakey and Devin Ebanks an $8M trade exemption and Mav's/Lakers 2012 1st round picks. It would have to happen in two moves, logistically, because a trade exemption cannot be paired with players, but the picks and TE for Thomas and Felton is reasonable, in my mind, and Crawford for Blake and Ebanks seems like it could help both sides.

I don't think it will happen, but wishful thinking was satisfied when I read it. Blakey knows McMillan and the system, as well as many players and the fans, and could surely help with consistency. The two picks could shore up a nice backcourt in a deep 2012 draft, and the expiring contracts of Crawford and Felton as well as Felton's tremendously awful play would be gone. If we're gonna lose out on these guys in free agency anyway, might as well move them for something.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Butchered in Boston

Three turnovers in the first minute and a half really set the tone for the rest of the game. And by that I mean, the Blazers matched the league's season high for turnovers, with 28. Yikes.

I could talk about how they were down 43 points at one time, or their 30 point first half, which was Boston's best defensive first half (not to mention offensive at 65) but II think we all saw that. Saw that LA still got his points and Camby still shagged the boards like he's born to do. Saw that, once again, Raymond Felton coughed up a big hairball, with a -27 net points of productivity while on the floor. He didn't shoot as much today, which suggests he is learning, albeit slowly, that he sucks.

All I heard this game was laughing. I was watching Boston's local broadcast, and all they could do was laugh and laugh, mock and laugh. And say that Felton looked out of shape. Which is rude, to point out someone else's flaws on TV like that. I mean, the camera never shows the commentator's themselves, and if it ever did, they'd be behind a monitor and a huge desk. They likely tip the scales at 230+ judging by the tambour of their voices, so I don't know what gives them the right to mock my point guard (as a lifelong fan, that's my job), but I can't really blame them, because it's all I've heard all season.

Because it's true. Which may explain why my buddies berate me for getting on his case. Why they say he's better than his numbers. But the thing is, he's really not. Not this season, and that's what the whole season is about. It's about itself. Wrap your mind around that one. I get that he came in a bit out of shape. The move to Portland, the gaining of weight to protect himself from the winter cold, but come ON.

Everyone had the same tumultuous offseason. Everyone had adjustments to make. I might let it slide were he producing anywhere close to where he was last season. I might let it slide if he were a Dwayne Wade, and was still a baller, leagues ahead even when he isn't 100%. But the dude isn't as athletic as DWade. He's not as tall as Dwight Howard or as quick as Jamal Crawford. He clearly doesn't have enough skill to backslide and still produce. And the thing is, Chris Paul and these other ballers who came in a bit out of shape, they're in shape now. How long does it take? You're an athlete, perform like one.

And someone who did tonight was Luke Effing Babbitt. Wowzer. I knew the dude could ball, I've liked him since we got him (though the trade wasn't my favorite), but finally, he got a chunk of minutes without any pressure, and got him some. We all knew he could shoot, and he did, but how about those rebounds? Thank goodness. When we got him, I didn't like it because Martell was gangsta. He hit some jays and could jump out the gym, and he was coming off the bench regularly. Luke hasn't had that time, he hasn't grown into a role like Webster did while he was here, so I didn't like it. But dammit if some of the regulars and starters could take a page out of his book. Try. Get motherfreaking rebounds. THe dude is white and getting some good boards in the middle of three Celtics. Yes sir.

And, while we're on the subjects of seeing things today. I saw a post about Crawesome and Great Oden's Raven going to Minnesota in a three way, that gives us Ramon Sessions and Daniel "Don't Call Me Boobie" Gibson. My thoughts are, No. Not Crawesome. The dude isn't consistently 6th man, for sure. But at times he;s the only scorer we have. Oden could come back next year and eat us alive. When he's healthy, he's in the argument for Top 3 centers. But, I get the sentiment that COULD is too much of a stretch at this point. I could stomach that, I think.

But I don't understand why would would gift Crawford to Minnesota, in a trade which takes from them Ridnour, Tolliver and cash. Even more of a question is, Why would we get Sessions and KEEP Felton? Gibson isn't going to be a PG, sure, but sessions, though young, would surely be better at any given moment than Ray and Felton's already proven that a battle for starter will in no way improve his performance. You might say "Nate, what if he comes back next season in shape?" and I say "...yeah, so?" From what I've seen, the dude in shape still couldn't hit a shot twice in a row. Jamal, all day, over Felton.

I don't know, if we give up Crawdaddy in a trade like this, without dumping Felton, I won't like it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

It's Cold in Minnesota (94-106)

Lost by 12. By 12! In an arena that hasn't seen a win over Portland since Kevin Garnett, some five years ago. That's a lot to stomach. Also a lot to stomach is Kevin Love's beard.

The only thing I learned from tonight's game was that Felton probably wants to impress the team his trade rumors have been linked to. That's the only thing I learned. I did have many thoughts confirmed.

Like Wes Johnson is pretty much gonna be a boss. I knew it. I knew it when I saw him at Syracuse, and when I crossed my fingers that we'd fetch him on draft day. And tonight, when he started lighting people up. So young too. Alas...

Confirmation two was that Barea really can't stay on his feet. He flops more than this chick, and she was on ice. And, as much as you can say I can't blame him if the refs keep calling it, I disagree. Yes, the refs are just completely f*cked in the head for keeping that crap up, but, for the integrity of the game, if I were Barea, I wouldn't keep doing that. That's not basketball, it's just childish and ridiculous. Draw a legit charge, fine. But don't fall over when a person runs by or touches you. Come on.

Confirmation three was that Martell is bitter as balls that we traded him for a white dude with a sleeve. Try getting him back in a mirrored trade deal and you will get laughed at. Yeah, that was a draft day trade that I head as I went into work at Slaveway, and I shook my head for eight hours straight. I almost got fired when my boss asked me to stock the milk. It's good to know that Martell was irritated too. I'm not saying he is the difference maker between this season being what it is and what it really should be, but he certainly could have helped.

Oh, another confirmation: Kurt Thomas is the oldest player in the league. Get over it, Minnesota. Good grief. He's a day older than Grant Hill, he usually makes outside jumpers. He has crazy eyes. That won't change all season, but you announcing it every single game could change. Right now.

A lot of missed jumpers tonight. Too bad too, since no one was making lay-ups either. Minnesota too. Good grief, I wish they shot threes like they did lay-ups in the last two minutes. Eight lay-ups without a point. One was a dunk attempt that got blocked, but other than that, nothing stood in their way. I would say that's embarrassing, but losing to a team that comes up empty on eight straight lay-ups is more so.

I guess Felton knowing his fate is good, because he turns on the jets more. I mean, I guess if you have nothing to lose, it's easier to play balls out. And, since he knows he's on the trading block and he already lost the starting job, then got it back, pretty much can't lose anything more. I was thinking tonight though, that maybe the dude just needs a hype man. Because the announcers were saying he was on fire tonight, and in a way he was. Not a great shooting percentage to finish, but he started out 5-5. He's been ice cold all season, so seeing the spark tonight in comparison is like going from Antarctica to Death Valley.

He must've heard the Minnesota announcers is all I'm saying. I could be that guy for him, if that was what he needed to be consistent. I was hoping they'd mention his elite passing skills too, to test my theory. See if he could rack up some assists, he still got 9 so I shouldn't complain. In all seriousness, put me behind the bench and I will rub his shoulders and tell him he's the baller he's not if he needed it to succeed. Unfortunately, in my honest opinion, the only things he needs to succeed is a serious shooting makeover, physical conditioning he didn't get over the trade and lockout, and passing drills.

Blaze of Glory for the night was Raymond, I guess. I hate applauding him for finally having a game that he's expected to produce close to every night, but no one else really nailed it tonight.

Blaze of Gory was Crawful. 3-13, 0-6 from three. I mean, this dude was my dude last year. Favorite non-Blazers (besides TrOutlaw, that dudes my dawwwwg). But that was last year. He had some extraordinarily high arcs on his shots tonight. The thing he didn't have on his shots tonight? Points.

Monday, March 5, 2012

More Mean Than Orleans (86-74)

Down and up and up and down the Rip City roller coaster rides. Nothing like a second half surge to rebound after a devastatingly embarrassing showing on Saturday. Tonight's game showed resilience that the team has struggled to showcase during this season.

In a game after the beatdown that Minnesota put on us, the Blazers started out a step slow. New Orleans got out to a brief 5-0 lead, then kept up a bit before the Blazers captured the lead. But, scoring runs and droughts throughout the first half kept the Hornets buzzing, getting down 14, closing to within 3, and heading to the locker room down 10.

And then someone probably told LaMarcus he was an All-Star and should act like it, because he came out and scored the first three Portland field goals in the third quarter. The first part of that third was a playground scramble for anything. A bunch of chickens with their heads chopped off, trying to play ball. I guess that was all LA needed to get going.

The defense seemed to lock onto the poor shooting of NO also, clamping down on their dry spell and holding until Portland blazed a 20+ point lead. From there, the pinwheels went kick push, kick push and coassssssst.

A nice thing to see was Felton and Matthews getting a little taste of scoring. Flip side of that was seeing Felton try to continue tasting when it quite obviously was no longer time for that. It was like he went to Costco and was trying to make Thanksgiving dinner out of the samples. Know when and where the points come from, and stick to those.

I did enjoy Elliott getting more minutes tonight as well. He keeps this up and people might actually know who he is. Batum too, will be famous soon. How he isn't already is probably due to the same reason my lady didn't know the Blazers existed until she started checking me out a few years ago. The northwest is an enigma to outsiders, and the Rose Garden flies below the radar.


Brilliant Blazes tonight: Joel. Knocked Vasquez out his kicks tonight. Blaaaah. Batum. Mr. Consistency.

Bleck Blaze: Everyone was pretty solid tonight. Good to see team play. A lot of passing. I will just say there were too many turnovers for my taste. On point passes. Also, Mr. Thomas, no airballs. I know you're older than Grant Hill, but that's your shot, nucka.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Minnesota Douchenozzles

Have you ever been so embarrassed, you aren't embarrassed anymore? Like you started at 12 o'clock embarrassment, proceeded all the way around the clock-face until you're so embarrassed that you aren't anymore?

Enter the Blazers vs. Timberwolves game. The Timberwolves. They have lost to the Trailblazers 12 straight times. I don't think they've been relevant in the league since I was wearing diapers. And yet, somehow, with a few gross beards and a fistful of assholes, walk onto the Blazers' home court and outplay and outwork the home team.

I won't blame the Blazers, I'm beyond that. I have a lot of complaints, but not much blame to spread. Credit to the 'wolves, with their teamwork and all that crap. Rebounding, in the NBA, is tough and they sure knew how to do that tonight. Knew how to push people in the back without getting called for it too, but if the Blazers aren't even trying for the rebound, I probably wouldn't call it either. Also, good on you for the flopping. Seems like all Barea has to do these days is nod his head to draw a charge. I bet if he sneezes on the bench he'll draw an offensive foul. I know he's little, but he's worse than Vlade at this point, and yet it would appear the refs still haven't caught on.

Blazers, welcome back to mediocrity. Shortened season or not, losing at the Rose Garden has never been your forte, and you have now dropped seven, and have dug yourself into 10th in the West. A sub-.500 season is not what anyone imagined, and I know it's disheartening because I've been there the whole time.  I don't have a motivational nugget to bestow upon your brains other than please keep playing. I'll watch if you play. I would pull out the Fear Factor motivation of "[insert money amount] x 3" but I suppose you already know that.

Daily complaints about officiating are numerous for tonight. Most upsettingly, Williams and Barea. They should never get a foul called in their favors. Are you serious? Worst acting I've seen since accidentally walking into Twilight Whatever. Also, there was a string of four straight bad calls in a row, including one possession of 5 missed calls against the Timberwolves, which ended with a bad call in favor of them. What the hell! One guy traveled twice in one move, while fouling the Blazer's defender. Also, in case you didn't know, pushing/elbowing the defender is ILLEGAL and is signaled as a foul by using the whistling device located in your mouth. And don't blow that for no reason. There were times that nothing happened and your whistle still blew. "Out of bounds...FOUL!" or "Wolves drive to the basket and miss, rebound goes to....FOUL!" Good grief. Yes, the Minnesota franchise is made up of dozens of former Portlanders/Blazers, with Love, Webster, half the coaching staff, Ridnour, but they weren't wearing the pinwheels, so shouldn't get home court advantage.

Specifically, rookie Williams on every shot pushed his opponent, one time pushing hard enough off of Gerald Wallace to fall onto his butt and "draw" a foul. Note to Williams: FUCK you. (I love having zero readership, because censoring is unnecessary). If you ever pull what you did tonight, I swear on my dead cat's grave I will egg the cockiness out of you. You a re a rookie. You were decent in college, but stop taunting after a lay-up. I just made a lay-up with my eyes closed, asshole. I also managed to make a finger roll, which is apparently beyond the scope of your skill set, even with your contract. I do that crap for free. It's pretty weak to shit talk when the only back-up you have is the ref. Don't bitch at my guys, diva (cup).

Also, classy card to KLove for the screaming after a dunk. Congrats on losing enough weight to jump. *sarcasm*

Asshole of the night for sure goes to Williams. Not a single time you touched the ball were you legit or legal even. I counted four rebounds on which you cheated, and, as previously stated, every shot you took I wanted to undercut you. You ooze classlessness, so please don't wipe your hands on my team's jerseys.

I'm tired of pleading for the benching of Felton. Seriously, it's been enough. Not marketable at all anymore, not anything but a turnover machine. And he still complains on the bench like it's the ref's fault he dribbled off his knee or missed a teardrop. Yes, there were times it was true, but they won't call a foul on a miss when you've missed 14 straight anyway. Not like you'll make you free throws anyway.

I have to facepalm for the shooting of LA and Crawesome too. Two misses from the line for Crawdaddy is just not a good night. And LA, sometimes you just have to pass. Just never to Felton.

Cream of the Crop tonight goes to three individuals. Wallace, up until about 7 minutes left when the referees dropped all masquerade and polished the serving platter they game was on, you played like a champ. Camby, damn that neck and those chin stitches, you laced up and came back in for a comeback and when you left, so did all the air in the tires. Joel, you walked over Rubio without stomping on him, unlike your opponent, and even dealt with the horsecrap pouring from DivaCup's rookiehole, so props to that. I'd have cocked back my big country arm and smacked some sense into that boy. Slapped him back into Home Depot, where tools like him belong.

18-19. Shudders. Fire Felton. Treat him like business class and put him at the way back of the bench where he can't hear the PA or see what's being served for lunch. He certainly hasn't earned a break, he doesn't deserve a break, but the Blazers and fans deserve a break from him.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Miami Plight (Loss 93-107)

I missed last night's Nuggets game, due to prior engagements. Ahaha, word play. I'll explain later. But, the score was tremendously uncool, and tonight's was even worse.

I don't know what I expected to change, seeing as the Heat are a much better team than the Nuggets, but I expected more than I saw, and was consequently disappointed. Never raise your expectations, Kyle, everyone knows this. Perhaps I was thinking the Rose Garden environment would assist the team, maybe the emotional return of the Thrilla. But nooooo.

The Blazers started out strong, but the strength came in a short burst, lasting a few minutes at most. EVen a mayfly goes hard for thirty minutes. Come on, man.

I don't even have that much to say tonight, because though some effort seemed to come in a few minutes of the fourth quarter, most of the game was a blowout, and Portland seemed to let it be that way. There were only two people who seemed to exude any willpower whatsoever. One was Joel, coming off a year and a half of coach surfing after tearing his knee in two places. And his other knee in one place. That man is so welcome in my home, I'd hand-stitch a doormat for him to wipe his huge as loafers on. I made him a sandwich at Subway once. True story.

But seriously, just because Coach brought him back to rebound and block, doesn't mean he's the only one that has to try to rebound and block.

The other dude, day in and day out, Nic Batum. He probably realizes he's a work hard with too much talent for the lazy asses hear, and wants to put on a show for us fans, and the teams that will actually give him a contract that he deserves.

Now, there are some beefs I have with the other team, and the referees, that I can discuss since I can't get fined. One is, Mr. Highandmighty thinks he can throw elbows and clear out without consequence. Which, apparently is true. There are two particular times that weren't even on shots that number 6 decided to swing the elbow out and down for some room to dribble. I know he struggles dribbling, too strong or something he'd say, but that's hella bullshiiiiii. That's illegal.
Once he straight up swung like a bat into Gerald Wallaces neck, who then went down. And who got called for a foul? Wallace. And you wonder why I don't want to pay to see my boys play the Heat. Because they are handed a game they would likely win anyways. Let them play, that's whack, homes.

As for the team, let's see. How have we not traded or cut Felton yet? Probably hard to shop him, seeing as my shooting percentage was better in middle school and I've had fewer career turnovers than he's had in his last ten games, but at the very least bench the dude. And not not start him, I mean bench. Like Joel was doing when he ruined his knees. Sit him at the end, in a suit by Greg and let him watch. Play Eliott Williams or Nolan Smith. Those guys will have more points, guaranteed. Maybe the same amount of turnovers but surely better PER and production.

One thing I know about Nolan is he would pass out of a one-on-four instead of trying a lay-up/tear-drop hybrid when LEBRON JAMES is trailing? Are you serious? Draw a foul or, I don't know...PASSSSSS? You're not a point guard, you're a jackass. Go to Uhaul school and figure out wear your damn trailer is. Good grief.

Dear Coach McMillan,
I have Loads of respect for you. Thank you for reviving my franchise, coaching injured teams to the playoffs, bring heart back to Rose City, but for the love of Alicia Keys, will you please put that piece of silly putty on the damn bench? It's cushioned, he won't hurt his tush (although a boot to his ass might help more). Seriously, I would be willing to do his job better for a lot less. I'm talking zero dollars a night. I'd drive myself, bitch less than him and take coaching. One thing I promise is I would actually pass the ball. I swear to you, I would even shoot unless forced into it by a shot clock threat. If I shot, I would make more percentage-wise than Mr. Felton. Shoot, I know guys better than me too if not me. ANYone. This guy, this guy, or this guy, or this guy. Or even this guy. Pleeeeeeeeaaaaase.

Man of the Hour: Joel. Welcome back, nuckah. I'll buy you a chicken fajita at Subway, you beasty boy.

Sucky Anus: Ray Ray. I wish you'd torn your knee up instead of Greg. And yes, I do mean that.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Gorilla is Back

I heard a rumor or two that Joel was looking around to get back in on some good, old-fashioned NBA action. The rumors even said that he maybe just might want to make his return in a Blazers uniform. I have always liked Big Country. He plays hard, and makes up for any lack of skill with heart. He's a work hard, and respect that more than anything else. Harder to go pro with heart than skill, but Joel did. A crowd favorite, a coach favorite I'm sure, and just a great human, all around, he fit right in in Portland, and I was part of the collective whimper when he left.

Well, the rumors were confirmed, and Joel passed up what many consider two strong title contenders in Miami and Chicago to return to Rainville. He said his heart was here, and his wife's was too. All I had to say was YAAAAAAAAY.

He's not the most skilled player in the league, I'll admit. But the spark that he brings to the game, the energy, is something that the Blazers haven't had this year, even some of last season. With the departure of another fan favorite in Dre, and dare I mention the retire--- of another key player in...well, you know, the Thrilla's coming back is so awesome it's like the first time I heard The Beatles, for the second time.

I can't wait for the All-Star break to be over. Not only to breathe again knowing LA is healthy (knock on wood), but to see Vanilla Beast get back on that floor, hear the crowd roar, and get that game back that we so desperately missed. Fill that void with his big body and his no-nonsense attitude. I'm not saying I want Ty Crane Tyson Chandler to start another fight, but I wouldn't change the channel. I'd probably turn the volume up.

So, let's all give Przybilla the welcome back he deserves when he finally dons the jersey he was born to wear. Raise your glass to the once and future Vanilla Gorilla, and watch him step up to start the block party. Legen-wait for it-----(keep waiting until the next game).

LA in FL

At the beginning of the season, the Blazers organization and fans alike had one thing on their minds: Don't need Brandon Roy. As everyone knows, Brandon Roy was the keystone guy in Portland. Had the All-Star games in his pocket, had the ball late in games and had first dibs at contract extensions. He was the highly touted character and skill guy, The Natural, that the city and team seemed to lean on.

But, he retired. Without him the city was sad, but one thing was still guaranteed. That thing being the season ahead. Trades and acquisitions were all well and good, but without the Wonder Roy, the question remained: What will we be? Oden out again, Roy gone, the holy Trifecta kaput. Only 76 together as a group. Could we still be good? Will we turn heads or continue to under-produce? Worse yet, will more knees crumble like like the Byzantine Empire resulting in a team more patched together than my grandmother's holocaust quilt?

In a mere 8 games, the answer was clear. LaMarcus arrived. Every season he has stepped up a little more, outplaying the term 'soft', adding to his game, becoming a more complete player. But, every season he was left with a bigger chip on his shoulder, in part due to playing second fiddle. Well, this season, with his new role, he gained new confidence. Perhaps he's just produced more now that he feels wanted. Much easier to commit when you know you're wanted (my girlfriend taught me that). With the ball in his hands it was like LaMarcus was looking us in the questioning eyes and saying "Do we need Roy? Of course not."

Averaging 22.3 points per game, the dude is a beast on the block. He's become the offensive threat Blazers fans always knew he could be, drawing double teams that never came before and has added moves to his repertoire that enable him to be, at times, unguardable. Even everyone's favorite player to hate, LeBron James, couldn't help but tweet that LA is an All-Star. High praise coming from a perennial All-Star, future HoF player known for his strength and skill.

As much a fan as I am, I won't say LA is perfect. There is always room for improvement in sports, and LA knows it. He could be more consistent, especially with free throws. He could get more rebounds, or block some more shots. He's still not yet the elite player I anticipated on draft day. He could be a double-double machine, and he's not there yet. But, the keyword there is 'yet'. He's still got youth, he's only just become really needed, and he's still clearly on the uprise. And, as aware and self-driven as he is, LA will make sure – as he always has – that he gets better.

That's the magic I see in LA. The very best is yet to come. His greatest weapon has always been his opponent's lack of confidence in him. They've said he's soft, he can't play the low post, that he can't carry a team, and he's always proved them very wrong. He got snubbed from All-Star Sunday last year, just like Ryan Gosling did from Oscar Sunday this year, but instead of complaining, he found motivation to make certain it didn't happen again.

He's added facets to his game that even he still doesn't comprehend. The first time he tried his new up-and-under, his opponent couldn't help but shrug. As if to say "Not much I could do about that." The best part was though, I swear I saw LA shake his head in wonder also. Probably much faster in realtime than he was in practice. When you're surprising yourself, that's a good thing.

So ,with this year's selection to All-Star Weekend 2012, LaMarcus has gotten some acknowledgement that is long overdue. But what makes him the true All-Star is not the game this weekend, but the game he has yet to bring. He's no Little Engine That Should, he's the MuthaFreakin' L-Train.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Stompin' Ground

As bad as the Los Angeles game was, this was good. A margin of victory of 40 points is the largest ever against the Spurs, and tonight it happened with nearly 15 minutes of garbage time. The Spurs chose not to play two starters in Duncan and Parker, and that would've changed the face of the game significantly. But getting up to a 48 point spread makes me think that any change of pace may not have altered the outcome.

In short, I was proud that the boys actually came to play tonight. Felton, in what might have been an attempt at getting his starting role back, played much better than ever before, and Jamal Crawford shone like the star(ter) he is. He didn't miss a shot until the second half, if I recall.

Could there have been improvements? Always. Turnovers are haunting at times, because though the team isn't last in the league in that category, they seem to commit turnovers at a really bad time. I don't want shoddy garbage minutes affecting habits. Also, free throws were below 100%. Come on, they're free. That's a point, a professional point, that is given to you. Missing free throws is like walking up to a Little Caesar's with Andrew Jackson, and coming back with two Abe Lincolns and a bread stick. Cash it in, Kyle.

And, the glaringly obvious, most splendiforous thing I would have loved to have seen is...this sort of effort last game. Or even half. Average the two and you get two victories instead of the world's worst half and the team's 8th largest victory spread. That's not a real number, I only know it's the second-largest of the season, first being 44 points against the Bobcraps. Which, at that time was the largest win of the season for any team, so it could still be.

Anyway, I wish I could say I don't think they played this hard because it's their extended weekend now, but I guess we can only see after the All Star break.

The Gory Blaze: McMillan left Matthews in 20 seconds too long, leaving him with a minor ankle sprain. The All Star break should allow time for healing, but at a point in the game where even Stilty Wilty couldn't win it, you face palm the coaching decision there.

The Brilliant: Elliot "Oh Yes I Did Just Do That" Williams. 17 points or so, playing in early and late minutes, the dude jumped out of crowds of Spurs to rebound and/or dunkface people. Improve those free throws and he's a significant bench player.

Side note: Everyone but Camby scored. I could bug him about that, saying a single basket would've tied the 44 point game and all, but he never attempted a shot, got 2 assists and snagged 5 boards in barely 14 minutes of theoppositeof a slugfest. Rest them old knees, my ninja.

Monday, February 20, 2012

LA Lights


I don't think anyone called tonight's game. Not even the Lakers. I mean, when preparing to play a professional basketball game, most see the other team as a [james] worthy opponent. Unless they're playing the Bucks. Seriously, have they ever been good? But tonight, especially the first half, looked to me, and 99% of everyone else, like some JV team was getting their Make-a-Wish playing against a pro team in LA.

After getting the first three points of the game, the Blazers went on a no-scoring run. The Lakers posted 32 in the first quarter, to the Blazers' 7. Yeah, I wanted to put that in numbers so you wouldn't accidentally read it as a typo, or think it was missing a -teen. SEVEN. 7 point. 07. Yeah, that happened.

So the Lakers started out like a real team, hitting real baskets, and the Blazers started like they all were Raymond Felton. 3-17 in the first quarter. That's an average of one make every 4 minutes. And only 1.42 shots per minute. The Lakers were on a 2 point per minute pace. I didn't want to waste the good mood I was in from a delicious meal of tomato soup and cornbread, so I went ahead and stopped watching. I didn't take off my beanie or shirt, but I turned my eyes to other forms of entertainment. Like watching grass grow.

I didn't feel much remorse, either. I'm a Blazers fan for life, but the Blazers didn't even show up. Their jerseys did, but the players did not. I saw some black and red, but mostly red. Their blood. Cuz they were getting bludgeoned out there. It was like the entire team got off the plane and wanted to show up fashionably late to a party they weren't even invited to. Everyone knows, if you want to go uninvited, you go early and help set up. How can you get there 24 minutes late and still expect there to be any corn dogs left?

But, at halftime I imagine Nate did what he does best and coached. I probably would've snapped a clipboard in half, cut my losses and had a good old-fashioned thumbwar with left foot, but they came out with a little gusto in the second half. Hit some shots, cut the lead to the low twenties. All the Stanley Yelnats-ing they did the first half, they tried to make up for by Hectoring Zero-ing in on the basket. My puns may be behind the times, but they are clever.

But, second half moves like Jagger still have an expiration date of 24 minutes, and that's precisely where it ended. They got within ten, which was nice to see. Much nicer than seeing the Hollywood Floppers put on a clinic. If Matt Barnes is outscoring you, scoring on you, or playing at all while you're losing, you have to be ashamed of yourself.

But the Blazers weren't the only ones that fell behind. Ron Artest fell on his behind a few times. Did I say fell? That was only to force the joke. He flopped. One time he flopped (after a foul was called, even. Good timing) right into teammate Pau Gasol. Yeah, he got bumped while dribbling – which, for him is hard enough as it is – and fell sideways into a running Pau Gasol. I would've liked to see an offset call there, Matthews foul on Ron offset by Pau's foul on Ron, but instead all I got to see was to Fakers writhing on the ground while the Blazers walked around tying to make sure their knees were all still good.

It all came down to keeping the pedal down, but the Lakers aren't cut from the same clothe as Van De Velde, so they still won by eleven. Props to Portland for blazing through 30 points and getting close enough to force Shobe Cryant back on the floor. Maybe next time we skip the trip to In-N-Out on game day, and work on our free throws instead. Or, maybe everyone take rip off the bong that Batum's been aspirer-ing. 4 blocks, to cap off a decent shooting night? Batum-shakalaka only begins to describe how fantastic this guy is.

That said, he is definitely the tonight's Brilliant Blaze. 18 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 4 sensational blocks.

The Gory Blaze: Aldridge. 6-19. Yikes. Not yet to the 20/10 I expect.

Oh, and Greg, hope you made it through the surgery okay. I also hope those five knee surgeries make you five times as good at rebounding. Because 25-7 after 12 minutes is not CUTTING it. 7 is MICROSCOPIC compared to 25. We kNEED you Gregory Oden, you're our only hope. More Collecting Le rebounds. Gotta CAP the opponent's shot attempts, and FRACTURE their rebounding. See you next year.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rock, Chock, A Hawks

First off, to preface, sorry about the cheeriness tonight. I don't think it will happen again [very often]. I'm usually much more sarcastic. But, too many things tonight were 8000 times better than last game.


ANyway. Welcome back, L-Train. Nice to see that high ankle wasn't as bad for you as it was for my hope for your first All-Star bid. And congratulations to the entire team for not going two straight seasons being swept by the Atlanta Hawks. There are a lot of improvements made tonight that I hope stick around, but even if they don't, I enjoyed seeing an evolution tonight. And the stop to an uncharacteristic four game home losing streak.


Starting with, probably the most prevalent of changes, Raymond Felton. Rainman tonight for certain. I don't have the stats on me, but I distinctly remamber two made from three and a number of teardrops. Any made shot is an improvement from the last few games, and tonight had more makes than misses. I'm not one to celebrate mediocrity, but I'm damned proud of a guy coming back from 0-7 and 5TO with a double digit scoring night and 8 assists. Seems like tonight was a good night to not lose your job on.


With the questionable play of Felton as of late, it's no mystery why Nolan Smith got more playing time tonight, even with Raymond on his game. Solid showing from Nolan tonight, despite a few TO. One was on what was nearly a great dish, with timing being the only factor. Easily fixed increase in time spent on the floor, would be my guess.


Another improvement I noticed was the balanced scoring attack the pinwheels put up against a decent defense. Four players in double figures, and Wallace and Camby with 9 and 8 respectively, the team seemed better at finding an open shooter, especially when the extra All-Star attention was paid to LA.


And how could I not mention my favorite part of the game? Marcus "Can it Be?" Camby with some offensive production. Give it up for the big man inside, coming out early. Hard to forget an eleven point fourth quarter last game, or the 28 point half...Camby seemed ready to should some points early on, until he noticed the guys decided to put their shooting glasses on and hit. Hitting some free throws, a long jump shot with some beautiful silkiness, The Big MC showed some aggressiveness where he normally doesn't. I like to see a tall guy shoot (and score) the basketball.


And of course the rebounding. He was like a tree chipper gobbling up those boards. Tip please. Batum too, got in on the action. When many seem to forget that rebounding is an integral part of winning games, Batum was soaring to get them. Nice to see someone remembers fundamentals.


Of course there were some bad moments. Turnovers that could've proven fatal had Atlanta not been so inconsistent. Willie Green seemed like the only guy that remembered to pack his shooting this trip. Hinrich even had his glasses and still couldn't see that his shot was shorter than he is. There was a possession with like, ten offensive rebounds that we still couldn't capitalize on, which, though I applaud the effort with the rebounding, can't happen every game. The lull happened as well, but again, was not taken advantage of by Atlanta. The lull is unfortunately Portland's only calling card this season, and I was glad to see Atlanta suffered one along. Until we find a way to heat the ice cold breaks in shooting, I'll never sit comfortably with a 20 point lead. A couple quick technicals fouls made me nervous too, but ultimately only helped Taco Bell bring in money for chalupas instead of handing them out for free.


And those technicals were bullcrap. Not only because the arguing that led to them was nowhere near tech-worthy, but because the arguments were well founded on things I like to call "facts". One went to Matthews after a third uncalled foul made him miss. The first foul in that streak was a blatant elbow jostle on a dunk that, though I would like to think he could finish anyway, a referee has to notice. And Wallace's technical, assessed at a quarter break, was one I saw coming because I was screaming before Gerald was. My issue with the foul was that if blue isn't going to give Gerald free throws, on what was certainly a lose ball foul, then he shouldn't give the offending party a freebie. Oh, if I had a paintball for every bad call.


All in all, the game was far from perfect, but coming after the crapshoot I saw last game, tonight was a much needed win, with far better, if not yet flawless, fundamentals. I don't think this game could choke up anyone into a "boom goes the dynamite" moment, but it made me smile just a little knowing that I won't have to watch Blake Overrated on SportsCenter later. I mean Griffin. Sorry, I always do that.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Good and Bad About The Blazers (Im)Perfect Season



The TrailBlazers started out this year's shortened season with one thing in mind: Don't need Brandon Roy.

On everyone's mind and in everyone's hearts, the once and future king of the franchise had knees worse off than (at an age nearly one quarter of) my grandfather's. One forced retirement later and he's probably on vacation in the Bahamas where his bone-on-bone joints can get some much needed relaxation. He can lay out in the sunshine, something he hasn't seen since probably before UW, stretching that back out, trying to recover from all those times he put the team on it.

Not so distant is the past when he laced up his sneaks six weeks after knee surgery and inspired a comeback win in the playoffs. And then the next game resurrecting a team from a 25-point deficit, and winning the fourth quarter by 20 points, 4-point play included. Everyone forgets that this early return may have been the reason his knees were beyond repair. Self-sacrifice for the playoffs. Heart.

So yes, missing Brandon Roy is only Natural (excuse the pun), but the Blazers made some off season trades and drafts to supplement, if not completely replace, the WonderRoy. And the moneyball 3-for-Roy approach seemed all but perfect for the start of the shortened season. Jamal Crawford and his almost perennial campaign for sixth man came to Portland, along with Raymond Felton, who seemed like the glue that held the Knicks in almost-contention in recent years. Sure, he may not be Elmer's, but Fred Meyer brand is still horse hooves and sticky, amiright?

Most across the league for decades have not given credit to the Blazers when it is due, but this season they did. Lauded for a 7-1 start, the Blazers beat brilliant teams in OKC and everyone's new favorite Clippers and no one could not talk about the Northwest. Not just for hipsters seems an appropriate adage. But, a six game road trip kicked off a stretch that even Richard Simmons couldn't be proud of. Dropping more losses than baskets, the Blazers are just 2-10 in games decided by 5 points or fewer, the last in the league in this category.

The Blazers are now just a game over .500, their stellar home record gone and their road record nothing short of abysmal. The Rose Garden used to be one of the most difficult places for opponents to play, but after seeing your boys lose three straight, blown out by the Wizards, it's hard for a fan to get up enough hype to scream, let alone commit to four hours in a zentai suit with no bathroom breaks. How can I be expected to go balls out -- have you seen me in a zentai suit? -- with my fanhood when I can't expect any heart from the players on the floor?

Some of this is easy to blame on the shortened schedule. A game doesn't go by without three mentions of Kurt Thomas being 39 years old, and Marcus Camby having been playing longer than LeBron has been alive. But, everyone has the same schedule, and old or not, if you're being paid, you play. Brandon Roy didn't have any cartilage and still managed greatness. Just sayin'. And there's not really an excuse for Raymond Felton.

Yes, sir, I'm calling you out. We had to get rid of key guys to give you a starting role, and thus far you have been nothing close to Cool Man Dre. I'll admit right now my expectations for you weren't high, but you've still managed to undercut them. The only reason Crawsome doesn't start is because the bench needs scoring, and the whole league knows you won't be bringing it. Story: I once won a free Subway sandwich by hitting a layup, a free throw and a three pointer without shoes on, in a full-body zentai suit. My hands were covered in spandex/poly blend, as were my feet. I was sliding across the floor, shagging my own rebounds* and I still managed to hit all three shots in a minute or less. Full court homie. Last night you went 0-7, 5 TO in 24 minutes. In one minute, I earned a 6-inch sub ($2.50 street value) with my three made baskets. You were gifted $113,636.37 assuming you keep your job and play all 66 games. That's $4,735 per minute. And you had shoes on!

* Something the whole team needs to work on. Except you Camby. Baus.

This is dark, and it's not meant to be. I'm not saying the season is gone, but to everyone else, it never even began. The great start is forgotten, the buzz is now about David Lee's futon and how the Clippers went from bottom feeding, to feeding the Lakers their bottoms. The excitement that others can recognize what Portland has known all along, the hope that finally, national television might broadcast more games for those of us located outside the range of Xfinity's monopolization arc, the dream almost realized that Portland isn't just the basement it has been for the past seven years...dashed.

But, can I give up hope? Will I hang up the jerseys and call this allegiance dead and buried? Of course not! Who do you think I am, Nixon? I don't dip when it's hard, I stay. Because I bleed red. And black and silver and white, in case you didn't get that thems the Blazers colors. Hard as it is to root for an underperforming team of millionaires, harder still is it to give up on a team you were born to cheer for. A team you know can do better.

The Blazers aren't a group for the fair weather fan. They aren't a franchise for the faint-of-heart. An eighties baby, I'm used to greatness and defeat. I've been through fourth quarter comebacks, and fourth quarter collapses. The good, the bad, the so-ugly-your-mom-calls-'em-a-twobagger, I'm there. So, while they might be worn down by a shortened schedule, old legs and loss of confidence, I'll still sit on my weird-shaped couch, eating my banana chips and watch every minute. If I have to cheer for mediocrity, so be it, I've done it before.

But here's to hoping someone, somewhere decides that, even if the millions aren't enough, a fan like me might be.

Go 'zers.