Monday, March 20, 2006

Moving On Over.

For the ten people reading this site, I'd like to invite you to come over to the Blazer's Edge, my new, somewhat more professional Blazer-themed blog. It will be the same fairly obvious observations and juvenile pouting that you've come to know and mildly enjoy, only now someone else is responsible for the html and possible lawsuits. So take off your bookmarks and replace it with You might not be glad you did, but you'll at least feel indifferent.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Talk Stories

Paul Allen, most likely against the wishes of his lawyers and yes-men, had a little sit down with Mike Tokito; the better of the two Blazer beat writers for the Oregonian. Paulie didn't exactly tip his hand, but I must admit that after reading the interview, I feel a little better about the future of the franchise. I have to question keeping Lance "Fancy Pants" Conn as the financial front man, as I think he's proved himself incompetent, but ultimately Allen calls the shots. After watching the fourth quarter on Wednesday though, I wouldn't be surprised if Paul was ready to sell to the first drunkard stumbling out of the stadium.

Update: This article by Eggers in the Trib (via Eric Marentette) makes me feel even better. I think Paul kind of knows he's screwed, but he's got to try and apply some pressure to the city.

The Red and Black continue their death tour tonight against King James, the Oregon Rat Boy, and the rest of the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s really anyone’s guess how this one is going to end up, though Vegas has a pretty good feeling that the Blazers are going to get their ass's handed to them. Right now, my sanity is clinging to moral victories, so scoring more than 75 points will be enough for me. Today is St. Patrick’s day, so hopefully Irish players Darius Miles, Ha Seung-Jin, and Voshon Lenard catch a little of the luck that is synonymous with their country and kin. Cleveland has lost three straight, so you know they’re going to try and get right against the Blazers.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Maroon 5

I don't really have anything to say, I just wanted to continue the streak of using band names to describe the horrible offensive performance this team seems dead set on producing. I'm not sure why Nate didn't have the team shooting half court shots when it became obvious that proximity to the hoop wasn't necessarily resulting in scoring points, but I guess he probably has his reasons. If the current trend of scoring continues, the Blazers are on track to score only 47 points in their final game of the season verses Phoenix, which would be one hell of a way to close out the relationship between the Trail Blazers and the fans. It doesn't get much lower than this.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

66 Mafia

The fourth lowest point total ever, two nights after scoring 111? I’m ashamed. Really, I am. Usually 2000 some-odd miles would be buffer enough to take the sting out of a colossal beat down, but getting held below 70 by a team fighting to get into the playoffs in the East is enough to send feelings of inadequacy and humiliation all the way back to the Pacific Northwest. Other than Zach, no Blazer scored more than eight points, which means guys like Darius Miles and Sebastian Telfair were outscored by non-American born hoops legends like Andres Nocioni and Luke Schenscher. Nothing like letting a guy from Hope Forest, South Australia put up a career high on you.

While the team was eager to hit the town after the game for a post-beat down Chicago-Style pizza eating contest, tight scheduling forced them to hop on a plane to the Garden State for a game against the Nets tonight. I’ve been doing a little math, and if the current trend of scoring big (as in the game against Phoenix) is then followed by scoring little (as in the game against Chicago) then logic would tell up that the Blazers are set to go off tonight. The Blazers scored 45 more points on Sunday than they did on Tuesday, so I figure that this time around, the Blazers should score somewhere around 156 points. I’m not sure if that will be enough to win, but it should at least give them a shot.

Though I recently stated that I didn’t want to discuss the drama that is Paul Allen vs. Portland, Helen Jung has a fascinating article and Q&A with NBA don David Stern. He doesn’t divulge much, but just his involvement signals that this thing is big, and only going to get bigger. When is that damn liberal media going to start reporting some good news?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

When You Mess With the Bull...

I'm sick off the uncertainty surrounding the financial wellbeing of the Red and Black, so if you want to discuss it, check out Henry, Eric, Helen, Dwight, or Kerry. Together they sound like a law firm that specializes in personal injury, but individually they all offer nuanced reporting and commentary on the battle-royale taking place between Paul Allen and Vulcan Inc. in the red corner and the citizens and politicos of Portland (and other far off Salem-type lands) in the blue corner. The winner will surely be the team who first figures out how to drink thunder and crap lighting.

While the suits fight over who gets the revenue from pretzelled bread and cotton candy sales, the guys in the mesh tank tops and shorts still have their own problems to tend to. Portland kicks off a mini-road trip against the Bulls in Chicago tonight with hopes of putting together the oft elusive winning streak. The Bulls have been up and down all year, and are currently fighting to get into the eighth spot, so they certainly don't want to get beat by the Blazers of all teams. But beat they shall get. Dating back to January of '01, the Blazers have beaten the Bulls seven of the past ten times. Unfortunately, I don't think what the Rasheed, Damon, Pippen, and Bonzi did in 2001 is going to have a whole lot of bearing on this game, but I still think the Blazers come out on top. The line is Bulls -9.5, which is a slap in the face to a Blazer team that just beat Phoenix, though maybe the 6-25 road record doesn't instill Vegas with much respect for Mac-10 and the Boys.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Ain't No Sunshine When He's On.

A big welcome to all of you Sebastian Telfair fans, wherever you may be. The screening of Through the Fire on ESPN last night, coupled with Jason Quick’s piece on seems to be responsible for a slight up-tick in traffic, especially from those of you Google searching the phrase “Sabastian Telfair.” Now if I could just find a producer to finance my Viktor Khyrapa/Ha Seung-Jin buddy picture. In it, Ha and Viktor are a highly-trained counter-terrorism team fighting Islamic separatists in Viktor’s native Ukraine, while also combating a growing communist nuclear threat in Ha’s native South Korea. It’s going to be awesome, I swear.

You want to know what else is awesome? Beating the Phoenix Suns at the Rose Garden, especially after the thrashing they put the Blazers through the last time these two teams crossed paths. It seems I was one game early in predicting the Blazers would beat a far superior team at home, but it’s better late than never. Of course, being tardy to the pre-game did keep Zach out of the starting line-up, but it didn’t keep him from scoring 32 points and, even more impressively, grabbing 14 rebounds against an athletic Suns team. Steve Blake also managed to cancel out the reigning league MVP by scoring 18 and dishing out 13 assists, without a single turnover. Take that, you uppity Canadians.

There were a few factors that allowed the Blazers to win this one. First off, the Suns are a little gimpy at the moments. Only eight guys played for Mike D’Antoni last night, so fatigue has to factor in. It was also fortuitous for the Blazers that the officials seemed to have consumed their whistles, as the referee team of Bennett Salvatore, Matt Boland, and Rodney Mott assessed only 27 fouls, which resulted in only 23 fouls shots being taken in total by both teams. Anytime the Blazers can stay out of a foul shooting contest, they stand a chance of winning. Well, maybe not necessarily of “winning” but at least they stand a chance of not getting blow out, which is a win in my book.

In other news, Paul Allen has broken his silence regarding the current argle-bargle over his request for a public/private partnership to keep the Blazers afloat. Call me a curmudgeon, but I’ve already made up my mind, and ain’t no fancy worded internet posting going to change it.

Friday, March 10, 2006

With A Rebel Yell, He Wants More, More, More.

So it turns out that good feeling I had was just a residual reaction from the drugs I was taking for my wisdom teeth. If I were in an unencumbered state, I would have said there was no chance of the Blazers beating one of the best teams in the NBA, regardless of how they performed 2 days earlier. Let that be a lesson to all you kids out there: Never operate heavy machinery or predict a Blazers win while under the influence of narcotics.

While the Blazers continue to skim the bottom of the Western Conference like so many basketball playing catfish, the biggest fish in the Portland pond continues to stack his chips. Though you wouldn't know it from the posturing of his stooges at Vulcan Inc, Paul Allen continues to be somewhat of a wealthy man. According to Forbes (via the kick-ass Helen Jung), he's the sixth biggest baller, shot caller, 20-inch blades on the Impala human-being on the face of the earth, jumping up from the seventh spot he held last year. No word yet on when Forbes will be releasing the list of the world's "Luckiest S.O.B.'s Who Ride Bill Gates' Coattails," but I'm sure Paul is one of the frontrunners on that compellation as well.

I'm sure Allen called his equally hideous friend Steve Forbes and asked him to hold off on publishing the list until he had the chance to squeeze Portland's collective shoes for a little while longer, but business is business. Paulie Walnuts made a cool billion last year, improving his net-worth to 22 billion dollars, which begs the question: How can you cry poverty when, even in the face of numerous poor business decisions, you still manage to make money? My guess is that Allen follows the Wu Tang School of Finance, which goes something to the effect of "Cash, rules, everything, around, me. C.R.E.A.M. get the money. Dollar, dollar bills y'all."

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Flip the Script On the Dallas Tip.

Not too bad of a loss on Tuesday. Being a long-time Blazer fan, I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact they're never going to be a good free-throw shooting team. They came out on fire, fought off numerous Dallas runs, and almost came away with the win. If only it weren't for those damn free-throws. Oh, and Darius Miles, he didn't help much either. Why the hell was Vik out of the game for so long? He was straight ballin' out of control in the first half (that block on the Devin Harris fast break was one for the Vik highlight reel), but he ended up only playing 17 minutes, while headbonker-come-lately dragged ass for 33 minutes. Thanks for the effort cornrows, or should I say, cornLOWs. No, cornrows still sounds better.

Maybe Paul Allen could lobby the NBA to change the rules so that fouls function more like they do in hockey. Commit a foul; the team plays a man down for 30 seconds. It would also save everyone from those atrocious end of game scenarios when teams foul to stop the clock, making the last minutes of semi-close NBA games last an eternity. Those never seem to turn in favor of the Blazers, so to hell with it. Everyone always loves seeing an open goal in hockey, so why not in basketball as well? You'd end up with some sick 4-on-1 dunks in the final minutes, which is way more fun than seeing guys battle it out at the charity stripe. Better yet, maybe Paulie could beg the NBA to switch from four quarters to three periods (trimesters?), a la hockey, as the Blazers have played pretty well for the first 3 quarters of the last few games.

But in the meantime, the Blazers still have to function under the archaic rules of the stuck-in-the-mud NBA. Dallas comes to the Rose Garden tonight in a rare back-to-back event. It's about as close to a playoff setting as the Blazers are going to get in the near future, so savor the flavor. I've got a good feeling about this one. I think the Blazers are due, and Dallas hasn't played so great as of late, so I think this one goes down as a win. The Red and Black are eight point dogs, which is more respect than they garnered from the gaming community on Tuesday. Can you feel the love?

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves.

Posting has been slow lately, as I recently had the last useless vestiges of our Cro-Magnon heritage ripped from my word-hole. While the oral surgery is no handsome cab ride, it's not as bad as everyone says. One thing I will say is that whoever decided to call nitrous oxide "laughing gas" needs to be sued for false advertising. After 45 minutes of deep panic breaths, I felt little more than a haziness similar to getting hit in the head with a whiffle ball bat. Thanks for nothing Joseph Priestley.

Then again, maybe I'm just desensitized to the pain, as this season has been the equivalent of getting all of your teeth pulled out by a urine-soaked meth addict. Sure, getting a win over the Lakers is always good for a few minutes of post-game bliss, but then games against San Antonito and Houston come along, and I go back to feeling numb. But it's not the losing. I've been losing all of my life, and I don't mind it all that much. There was that intramural floor hockey championship in college, and I won't lie; that felt pretty damn good, but losing is a part of life. People who can't take a loss are those a-hole 45 year-old guys playing park and rec. basketball, barking coaching advice at fellow teammates and getting into fist fights over foul calls. So it's not the losing, it's the way that this team loses.

They're tricky bastards, those Blazers are. Sometimes they hustle for loose balls, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they player great defense, sometimes they don't. A lot of the time they'll give a good team all they can handle, and then simply give up for seemingly no reason. Now like I said, I don't mind losing, but stop playing with my heart. If you're going to be a below-average group of underachievers and half-asses, great! In all honesty, I could probably relate better to that kind of team than I could to a group of ferocious competitors who would slit their grandmothers’ throats for a chance at a championship. But for the love of Arvydas, just pick a characteristic and stick with it! This on again/off again effort is really taking its toll on my psyche.

It probably won't get any better tomorrow, as the Blazers take on the Mavericks in Dallas. So I'm pleading with you guys, if you ever loved me at all, just play hard, or don't, but do one or the other. I don't know how much more of this I can take.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Great Moments in Interviewing

Zach Randolph recently sat down (or stood up, who knows) to answer some questions from his legion of fans. Following the lead of fellow teammate and wordsmith Travis Outlaw, Zach opened up the preverbal vault that is Z-Bo, proving that he truly is a "Holler' Back Zach." All questions and answers are given in their entirety.

Taylor (Oregon City): Hello Zach, I was just wondering if the knee is still bothering you during the games or if it is getting better?

Zach Randolph: It's improving, but it's not 100-percent. The healing process takes awhile.

Paging Dr. Randolph. Nothing like starting off an interview with the old softball question. The "not 100-percent" heads off the "Why have you been playing like crap lately Zach?" questions. I mean, leave the guy alone, he's hurt! So what about Mac-10 Zach? You guys seem pretty close.

Chris Elizabethtown, Ky: Hey Zach, how is it playing for Nate Mcmillian?

Zach Randolph:
It's OK. He's a very disciplined coach who likes things done the right way. He wants to get the very best out of his players.

Ouch. I think Churchill said the same thing when asked about what he thought of Stalin. Of course, Zach could have been using one of the lesser know abbreviations of "OK", like "Overly Kind" or "Ostensibly Kickass." It's so hard to convey context over the internet. You should notice though, that Zach chose to wear his Nate-banned head band for the interview. A possible "screw you" to the old commandant? The world will never know. How about that Darius? He's probably just "OK" too.

Dan Ridgewood NJ: Hey Zach, How do you think the return of Darius Miles will help the Blazers?

Zach Randolph:
It's gonna help us out alot. He's one of the best players on our team, he's very talented and I think his return will help us alot.

I doubt Zach would say the same thing if Nate was coming off an injury. Oh, and "a lot" is two words. Any thoughts on some of the other guys on the team?

Brandon (Flint): Are You going to watch Sebastian Telfair's documentary "Through The Fire"?

Zach Randolph:
I've already seen it. It's real good.

Just "real good?" Not real great? Someone is getting crossed off the Christmas card list. I bet you thought Darius was great in The Perfect Score and Van Wilder. If I were you Zach, I might suck up a little more to your "point guard of the future." So what about off the court Zach? High tea and museum openings?

Ellis D (Portland, OR): Sup Z-Bo? What do you like to do on your free time in Portland?

Zach Randolph:
Hmm. I play video games. Just kick back and relax.

Way to represent the Portland cultural scene to the fullest. You could of at least said you attend the occasional Cool Nutz or Pink Martini concert every now and then. Maybe a trip to the Washington Park Zoo or Saturday Market perhaps.

paul (Portland): Was it fun being on Cribs? And what do you think they missed in your pad?

Zach Randolph:
It was fun, a great experience. They missed alot of stuff. The didn't get everything in there. It was nice though.

He's right. I know for a fact that Zach has an oversized cotton candy machine made out of platinum, and I didn't see that anywhere in the Cribs piece. It's kind of surprising, seeing as MTV is usually known for their hard-hitting, in-depth reporting. You don't win all those Peabody Awards by following around Nick Lachey.

So there you have it. Another thought provoking sit-down with Portland's favorite power forward. Maybe next time they'll answer my question about how good of a basketball player Zach's daughter McKinley is. From what I've heard, she can really hit the offensive boards, but still has trouble passing out of the double team.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Blazers Got No Sac

When the worst offensive rebounding team meets the worst defensive rebounding team, someone is going to end up looking stupid. And since this is 2006, and Portland is on a downward spiral not seen since a giant whirlpool swallowed the city of Atlantis, I bet you can guess who ended up getting punked, and who did the punking. Giving up 17 offensive rebounds is a sure fire way to lose, and lose the Blazers did. Brian Skinner showed his old team what for, though the other guys who hadn't previously played for the Kings didn't seem to have the same motivation. So really, this lose was managements fault. All they would have to do is acquire players from other teams the day before the Blazers play that team. Tonight, for example, the Blazers play the Hell-A Kobe's. All John Nash needs to do to guarantee a motivated effort is to trade for Smush Parker, Brian Cook, and Von Wafer. We couldn't lose! Then he could trade those three players for Brent Barry, Sean Marks, and Fabricio Oberto. Western Conference Finals, here we come!

Back to reality. Like I said, the Blazers play the L.A. Kobe's at the House of Lost Fortune tonight. Of course, the Blazers are permanently without the Kobe-Stopper, who is undoubtedly stopping Denver nannies from performing their contracted work in a safe environment. Nothing soothes the savage media beast in Portland like beating the Kobe's, so hopefully Mac-10 and the B-Boys can squeak this one out. The line on this one is the Kobe's -6.5, which, once again, sounds like a prime chance to make some scratch if you’re not averse to betting against the Red and Black.