Pick and Scroll, New Year’s Eve Edition.

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Your daily (Mon-Fri) roundup of links from around the blogosphere, typically Trail Blazers related.

In retrospect, there was some discussion of how Kevin Pritchard “caved” and gave Brandon Roy a player option for the final season; it’s a moot point now since Roy is sure to pick up that option. However, it does make one wonder what sort of data on Roy’s knee that the Blazer front office had in front of them if they were willing to make such a bet. Brandon Roy’s primary agent, Bob Myer, must be very pleased with himself for negotiating the deal, even if he is understandably concerned for his client’s future.

  • The Oregonian’s Steve Duin thinks Paul Allen may sell the Trail blazers next year. Duin admittedly has no sources, so he’s basically just publicizing a hunch. This sort of journalism is catchy and low-risk since if it does work out, Duin gets to play prophet; but if it fails, well, it was a reasonable guess and no one is going to remember it in 12 months anyhow.

The reason Duin’s style works is that the idea of Paul Allen selling the Blazers plays to a Portland fan’s fears. “What if the new owner doesn’t love the team as much and won’t spend the money for a championship?” “What if Portland just ends up another small-market team without a deep-pocketed owner?” In the face of uncertainty, unlikely-but-terrible events feel as likely as more reasonable and probable options because of the high cost of being wrong.

The Loopy Trail Blazers Again Bounce Jazz

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Up. No, wait. Down. Then up. And down. Down some more. Deeper. Boom! Back up, Sky High.

And so on.

Hosting Utah Thursday, the on-again off-again Trail Blazers were indeed on, and for the second time in a week they clowned the 22-11 Jazz. The win felt even more off-kilter as so many in the media predicted that Utah would come in mean, their fangs dripping for a taste of revenge.

But it was not to be—not on the night where the Trail Blazers announced Brandon Roy would continue sitting out to rest his balky knees indefinitely. For the Blazers in uniform, however, it was every bit buisness as usual.

In fact, the Thursday’s 100-89 game shared a similar tenor with the matchup three days before: the Blazers built a comfortable lead over the Jazz in the second half and dominated in most all aspects, offense and defense alike.

Jazz veteran Raja Bell pointed to a tone the Blazers established on Monday. “I thought it started in the last half of the game we played in Utah and it carried over to tonight,” Bell said. “They thought they could take the game to us. And it’s hard to win in this league when people take the game to you.”

There were differences between the week’s two meetings, of course, and all tiled Thursday in favor of Portland. While Utah lost CJ Miles, Mhmet Okur and Andrei Kirilenko to a combination of injury and sickness, the Trail Blazers gained Marcus Camby who, after missing a game and a half with an ankle-sprain, pulled in a season-high 20 rebounds.

But the Blazers got contributions from accross the board, as is becoming common in their victories. Bouncing back from a terrible 1-8 performance in Denver on Tuesday, Wesley Matthews regained his shooting touch. He tied a career high 30 points, 16 of which came in the third quarter. Afterwards, coach McMillan seemed more impressed by Matthews’ defense—the second-year guard was responsible for four steals and a countless array of affecting hustle plays.


Sitting down in his locker afterwards, Matthews spoke in hushed, humble tones, and refused to say much about how the announcement of Roy’s indefinite hiatus has effected his game.

Matthews did, however, say that his expereience of spending the previous year with the Jazz ignites both his preperation and movitation. Matthews pointed his time in Utah when asked how he was albe to hold Jazz star Deron Williams to just a single second half point.


Unlike Matthews, LaMarcus Aldridge had nothing to make up for. Aldridge was, perhaps, the only Blazer player who showed up for Tuesday’s atrocious loss in Denver.

On Thursday, in what is becoming commonplace, Aldridge did it again—he shouldered the offensive load with, calm, thoughtful consistency to finished with 27 points.

Aldridge spoke of facing against increased double-teams, and how the Blazers’ goals haven’t changed since Roy went down.


Ever the shepherd in 33 minutes, Andre Miller put in a quiet but impressively efficient performance. Miller his 6-11 from the field for 16 points and dished out a game-high 10 assists. It was Miller’s fifth double-double of the season.

And as it became clear they would win Thursday, that there would be no encore to Deron Williams’ impressive run Tuesday, I wondered aloud why the Blazers were so up and down? How could they look so great one moment (Utah on Monday) before floundering the next (Denver sans Carmello Anthony on) only to flip another complete one-eighty and knock out the hated Jazz? Where was the consistency?

“It’s how a .500 team plays,” a member of the press answered. And, at least for now, he seems to be right.

NOTES:

– Portland has won seven straight home games, and are a total 11-3 at home.
– Wesley Matthews’ 52 3-pointers lead all NBA sophomores this season.
– Last season the Jazz swept the Blazers in their season-series, 4-0.

Roy Out Indefinitely

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The earlier reports were right. Take it away press release:

TRAIL BLAZERS GUARD BRANDON ROY SIDELINED INDEFINITELY WITH SORE KNEES

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy will be sidelined indefinitely with sore knees, it was announced today by General Manager Rich Cho.

“Unfortunately, Brandon Roy’s condition has not significantly improved and we’ve decided to hold him out indefinitely,” said Cho. “In the short term, we’re going to proceed with an extended period of rest. Beyond that, we’re looking at all available treatment options to help better determine a course of action.”

Roy, 26, has missed nine games this season (three games from Nov. 16-20 and the last six games beginning on Dec. 17) with a sore left knee.

A three-time NBA All-Star and 2007 NBA Rookie of the Year, Roy has led the team in scoring in each of the last three seasons. He holds career averages of 19.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.08 steals in 297 career games (295 starts).

In 23 games (all starts) this season, Roy has averaged 16.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.13 steals in 35.3 minutes per game. He scored 20 points or more in nine contests and led the team in scoring eight times.

Pick and Scroll, last game of the year edition.

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Your daily (Mon-Fri) roundup of links from around the blogosphere, typically Trail Blazers related.

  • At CBSSports.com Ken Berger reports that the Trail Blazers are considering shutting Brandon Roy down for the season in the hopes that he will be able to regain his prior All-Star caliber of play. If Portland is unlikely to contend this season (and barring a real steal of a trade, that’s the case) it makes sense to shut Roy down to protect his knee (and his trade value) from further damage.
  • Also from Berger, a triple-shot of Blazer news featuring rumors that the Trail Blazers are waiting to see what Brandon Roy’s long and short term prognoses are before deciding the direction of the franchise. Additionally, Berger reports that any trade talks with Charlotte are on hold because of the coaching change; and that Marcus Camby wants to retire a Blazer and does not want to be traded.
  • Darren Rovell tweets that the NBA has the youngest viewing audience of the three major US sports. A young demographic in encouraging for the NBA’s continued health; however, older adults typically have more disposable income and thanks to medical advances, now make up a larger portion of humanity than has ever existed. Hopefully, the research is indicative of a thriving and excited fan base and not a failure to reach older audiences.
  • At HoopsWorld, Yannis Koutroupis reports that the Timberwolves want Nicolas Batum. I expect that Rich Cho probably doesn’t engage in Kevin Pritchard’s patented maneuver of screaming “Yeah? How does it feel to want?” before muttering “ ha… Pritchslapped! Making a culture cake…” and running off to stab one of A Woj’s puppies.
  • Speaking of trades; though it’s a bit early, Evan Turner has struggled to make shots for the 76ers. Is he a “slow starter,” or is his game ill-suited to the NBA? What would you be willing to trade for a player like Turner who showed triple-double talent in college but has yet to translate his game to the pro level? Let us know in the comments below.
  • ESPN’s “Player X” (INsider) discusses Tony and Eva, Tiger, open relationships, and pre-nups. It’s an interesting read, but there seems to be a disconnect between the writer and the reader as “Player X” simply accepts infidelity as a reality in pro athlete’s relationships. I suppose that Player X’s take just validates this important research.
  • It’s the last game of the year!
  • The Oregonian’s Mike Tokito reports that the Utah Jazz may come into the Rose Garden a bit shorthanded. To which I respond that it’s only fair, and in fact Utah should really let Portland borrow Kyrylo Fesenko to make things more even.
  • Jason Quick tweets that that Marcus Camby will suit up against the Jazz, Brandon Roy and Joel Przybilla will not.
  • ESPN’s John Hollinger had a few things to say about Brandon Roy and Andre Miller in today’s chat:
Kevin (Twinsburg, OH):

Are Roy’s comments about Andre Miller evidence of a star who is not adjusting to his diminished ability/output very well? Or is there a deeper personality conflict that we don’t hear about?

John Hollinger:

Roy hasn’t liked Miller being there from the moment he arrived. He lobbied for Steve Freaking Blake to start ahead of Miller last year. It’s not a personality conflict, though — it’s a basketball style conflict.
Richie (Arlington, VA):
Is it that Roy’s knee is completely shot or the unorthodox style of Miller that is diminishing the number’s B Roy is putting up this season?

John Hollinger:

Well, Miller was there all of last year too. So I think it’s pretty easy to conclude it ain’t him. By the way, Roy will sit out again tonight and Blazers said more information will be released later … (cue ominous-sounding music)

  • Don’t forget to check out TrueHoop Network sister site, Salt City Hoops, for the Utah perspective on tonight’s tilt.

Trail Maintenance

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Click to expand

Pick and Scroll, No Carmelo Anthony, no problem for Denver nuggets

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Your daily (Mon-Fri) roundup of links from around the blogosphere, typically Trail Blazers related.

  • Chris Broussard of the ESPN TrueHoop Network motherblog is reporting that Marcus Camby wants to stay in Portland. After hearing reports that he might be traded to Charlotte last week, Camby wasn’t happy and one source reports that he would retire if traded to a non-contender.
  • Building off of that topic, Sekou Smith of NBA.com Hangtime blog is intrigued at the thought of Marcus Camby playing in Orlando.
  • Jason Quick of The Oregonian provides his analysis of last night’s loss to Denver, including the Sloppy ending to the half in which the Nuggets scored 5 points in less than 2 seconds to take a seven point lead into the locker room.
  • Of course, if you haven’t seen it already Ben from Blazersedge provides Video and a Twitter response from JR Smith’s “3 goggles impression” from last night’s game. In all honesty it was only a matter of time before somebody mocked the Trail Blazers with this gesture, and fans shouldn’t get bent out of shape over the harmless trash talk.
  • The Oregonian’s Mike Tokito breaks down the next two Blazer opponents—Utah and Houston both games will be played at the Rose Garden. While the Blazers are undoubtedly thankful to be playing at home again (where they are 6-0 this month), the next two games will not be easy by any means .
  • As 2010 concludes it’s important to look back over the year and remember the good times the Blazers had. Jesse Price of Portland Trailblazers Examiner offers us The Portland Trail Blazers 2010 year-in-review.
  • Eric Freeman of Ball Don’t Lie reports that Coach Byron Scott thinks that NBA players need to try harder.

Pick and Scroll, After a hard fought win in Utah, it’s On to the Next one for the blazers

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Your daily (Mon-Fri) roundup of links from around the blogosphere, typically Trail Blazers related.

  • Joe Freeman of The Oregonian provides us with his game recap of “the biggest win of the season” last night in Utah. I am interested to see if the team can build off of last night’s win tonight against Denver or if the team will come out flat having used so much effort to pull out the victory in Utah.
  • Jason Quick also of The Oregonian reports that The Blazers took a hard look at themselves after the Christmas night loss. The team participated in a lengthy film session on Sunday, and judging by the results of last night’s victory, the team picked up on a few things.
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie goes Behind the Box Score to tell us where Portland looked the strongest in the win at Utah.
  • The Blazers take on the Denver Nuggets tonight at the Pepsi Center, and it seems as if the Nuggets have had some trouble finishing out games as well.
  • I know I am a little late on the “Holiday Greetings” viral videos that Tonry posted on Friday, but I figured that given tonight’s opponent everyone should check this out.
  • As always, check out what’s going on with tonight’s competition at our TrueHoop Network sister site, the Roundball Mining Company.

A Note On Holiday Leisure

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Greetings All-

Perhaps you’ve noticed things have been a little slow here at PRS in the last few days. I’m sure you can guess why. Nonetheless, I wanted to make a slightly more official announcement: we’re taking a much-needed break for the Holidays. There will be a smattering of content, and I will be covering the home game here on December 30th. As far as previews and recaps are concerned, however, we’re not sticking to any specific schedule.

When 2011 kicks off, we’ll be back to our normal routines, and of course, we hope you come along—your eyes, time and comments are inspiring and greatly appreciated.

With that said, a few brief thoughts on the last two games:

  • Christmas day’s game in Golden State was a drag. Monta Ellis was incredible, but the Blazers gave it away. Despite Ellis’ white hot touch, Portland should’ve won.

  • Great win in Utah, Monday, for so many reasons: Utah’s just a strong team; LaMarcus Aldridge continued his aggressive play against better front-line competition; the Blazers did it basically without a center, as Marcus Camby left in the second-half with a sprained ankle.

  • Regarding Camby’s ankle, X-ray’s were negative. He is listed as day-to-day.

  • Portland’s offense continues to flow openly without Brandon Roy. The amount of movement, compared to years passed, is staggering.

  • Rudy Fernandez, finally getting regular minutes, is becoming consistent, perhaps for the first time in his NBA career.

  • The Blazers have the opportunity to really forge a new identity as a team-first club with a win at Denver, Tuesday. Should it happen with another strong performance from LaMarcus Aldridge, his emergence as a player worth building around will be complete.

TIP-OFF 6:00PM

TV: Comcast

RADIO: 95.5FM

VEGAS LINE: TBA

Pick and Scroll, A Rocky ending to a rough year.

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Your daily (Mon-Fri) roundup of links from around the blogosphere, typically Trail Blazers related.

Petteri Koponen blows up

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Hippo is like me except Finnish and accomplished. He keeps the internet updated on the development of Petteri Koponen. Here is his latest report:

Finnish point guard and Portland Trail Blazers draft pick Petteri Koponen scored the highest point total in Italian professional league this season on Boxing Day eve.

Koponen totalled 36 points and lead his team Virtus Bologna through three overtimes to hard-fought 116-100 (43-51, 67-67, 81-81, 100-100) victory over Vanoli Cremona. The previous highest points total this season were courtesy of Montepaschi Siena’s Lithuanian veteran Ksystof Lavrinovic and ex-San Antonio Spur James White, currently playing with Italian Dinamo Sassari – both Lavrinovic and White had 33 points earlier this season.

Koponen had only seven points with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter in the game. At the end of regulation, Virtus Bologna coach Lino Lardo switched Koponen from shooting guard to point guard and Koponen started calling pick and roll, resulting into 8-of-9 2pt field goal shooting and 14-of-14 free throw shooting. Koponen also made two out of nine three point attempts.

Koponen was also responsible of several of his team’s clutch baskets. Koponen ended the regulation tying the game at 67-67 after a lay up resulting from a ball screen. Cremona took 72-79 lead in the beginning of 1st overtime, but Koponen answered with a 3pt shot, a layup and two free throws, tying the game at 81-81.

Cremona tried to pull away again taking a 91-96 lead with 1,5 minutes remaining in 2nd overtime. Koponen once again showed his cluth ability, sinking two free throws and tying the game at 100-100 with only a couple seconds remaining in the clock after a “full contact” layup.

In 3rd overtime, Virtus steamrolled Cremona 16-0, with Koponen scoring six of his team’s points.

Virtus Bologna has won 6 out of 11 games in Serie A season so far. Koponen is averaging 12,7 points, 2,6 rebounds, 2,3 assists and 1,1 steals in 28,4 minutes a game with shooting %s of 46,8% (2pt fg), 38,5% (3pt fg) and 90,0% (ft’s).

NOTE: Koponen suffered a stress fracture in his foot late April and had to sit until the beginning of October. Koponen started the 2010/11 season slowly but is making tremendous progress, as you can see from the stats below.

Koponen in OCT/NOV
Minutes 24,7
Points 9,9
Rebounds 1,6
Assists 1,9
Steals 1,0
Turnovers 1,9
2pt fg’s 38,5%
3pt fg’s 39,1%
Free throws 88,9%

Koponen in DEC

Minutes 34,8
Points 17,8
Rebounds 4,5
Assists 3,0
Steals 1,3
Turnovers 2,5
2pt fg’s 57,1%
3pt fg’s 36,0%
Free throws 90,9%

-Hippo