WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE

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Hello, friend. Here- take this blanket. You seem disoriented. Have you been wandering about in the cold night questioning the purpose and truth of all things which once were? I thought you might have been. There’s no need to be afraid anymore; there are others like you here.

You must have heard that the beloved Trail Blazers of yesteryear no longer exist. Yes, friend, by now you know that Nicolas Batum was traded to the Hornets. LaMarcus Aldridge, franchise cornerstone and person who ostensibly wanted to continue to play for the Blazers, is now a Spur. Wesley Matthews apparently wilted under the pressure of Chandler Parsons’ personality and signed with the Mavericks. Robin Lopez signed with the Knicks. Arron Afflalo also signed with the Knicks, but you didn’t really care. Will Barton is gone. Thomas Robinson is gone. Victor Claver is gone. Steve Blake is gone, again. Joel Freeland is gone. Dorell Wright is gone. Basically everybody is gone.

Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Meyers Leonard, Tim Frazier, Allen Crabbe, and Chris Kaman are the only players who return from last year’s team, and Lillard is the only remaining player who was a part of the rotation in the playoff triumph over Houston just over a year ago. Despite this, the current situation isn’t terrible, and could be far worse.

First off, we’re still alive. A massive earthquake hasn’t killed us, destroyed our homes, and altered the geographic makeup of our entire region yet. In addition to this, Damian Lillard signed a max contract and will remain a Blazer through the 2020/2021 season, and extensions for Leonard and McCollum are almost certainly on the horizon. The Blazers have also been prescient in regards to trading away a relatively low amount of future draft picks (The ones which they did trade were predominantly 2nd rounders), so in addition to potentially being able to sign free agents using their substantial cap space going forward, they’ll be able to annually add more young talent. Furthermore, despite the exodus of 80% of the starting lineup and several key role players for which the Blazers received very little compensation, Olshey has been remarkably effective in acquiring promising, young, athletic players to fill the void without giving up many assets.

That being said, there’s a distinct possibility that the Blazers will be the worst team in the Western Conference next year, and honestly, this is probably something that you should be actively rooting for at this point. Teams in the West which were pond scum last season- Minnesota, LA, Denver, Sacramento- all made moves to significantly improve their rosters, and all of the playoff teams with the exception of Dallas got even better. Frankly, the Blazers are incentivized to lose as many games as possible this year in order to have the best possible chance at obtaining a high lottery pick to add to their core, and with the West looking potentially stronger than it did last year when it was historically strong, all signs point to them being very, very bad.

Personally, I’m kind of excited. The franchise already has a borderline superstar in Lillard, and a down-year will finally allow McCollum, Leonard, and Crabbe (COOL BREEZE HYPE TRAIN 4EVER) a chance to see extended minutes and to play through their mistakes in a way that wasn’t possible when the team was a borderline contender. Almost all of the Blazers’ offseason acquisitions will similarly be allowed to play major minutes in an attempt to accelerate their development, and the extent of this development will be one of the most interesting things to watch for during the season.

In all, the Blazers have signed, drafted, or traded for 9 players who will likely be with the team for the upcoming season and replace the players who everybody loved and thought were awesome. Some are even good at basketball! Let’s have a look at them.

 

Maurice Harkless

Position: SF

Height / Wingspan: 6’8 / 7’0

Age: 22

Nickname: HOW COULD YOU BE MOE HARKLESS

Moe Harkless grew up in Queens, played a year at St. John’s, and probably wanted to get drafted by the Knicks. Instead, he went 15th overall to the Magic, started 100 games over the course of his first two seasons, and then saw virtually no playing time in his third because of a logjam at small forward / the Magic being the Magic. Projects as a solid 3 and D guy, and will probably see significant minutes backing up Al-Farouq Aminu.

Ceiling: Trevor Ariza with a splash of Austin Daye

Floor: Austin Daye

 

Gerald Henderson

Position: SG/SF

Height / Wingspan: 6’5 / 6’10

Position: SG/SF

Age: 27

Nickname: Gerald Henderson

Henderson was acquired in the Batum trade and is very average at most things. He holds the distinction of being the best player on the worst NBA team of all time, as he averaged a team-high 15.1 ppg for the 7-59 2011/2012 Bobcats, in addition to probably losing hundreds of games of 1-on-1 to Michael Jordan. A very likely candidate to be traded at some point during the course of the season.

Ceiling: Gerald Henderson

Floor: Gerald Henderson

 

Pat Connaughton

Position: SG

Height / Wingspan: 6’5 / 6’9

Age: 22

Nickname: Planet Pat

Connaughton is a second round pick out of Notre Dame who can throw a baseball like 96 miles per hour, which isn’t a necessary skill for a basketball player to have but is pretty cool. He can definitely shoot, and his defense will probably be better than people expect due to his length and athleticism. His hair is terrible.

Ceiling: JJ Redick with Will Barton’s athleticism meets Fred Hoiberg meets Rex Chapman

Floor: Travis Diener

 

Ed Davis

Position: PF/C

Height / Wingspan: 6’10 / 7’0

Age: 26

Nickname: Ed

Ed Davis has been hyped as a prospect since about 2008, but this last season that he spent with the Lakers was the first that he’s had where he was consistently productive over the course of an entire year. He’s not great in any one area, but he’s very efficient and still has room to improve. Overall a nice value signing.

Ceiling: Poor Man’s Jermaine O’Neal meets Brandan Wright

Floor: JJ Hickson

 

Daniel Diez

Position: SF

Height / Wingspan: 6’8 / 6’5

Age: 22

Nickname: That guy with the T Rex arms

Diez is a late second round pick who hails from Spain, and no that wasn’t a typo on his wingspan. Dude literally has negative length. He makes Kelly Olynyk look like a pterodactyl. Unless he’s knocking down 3s at an extremely high clip it’s going to be hard to justify leaving him on the floor due to the likelihood of him being a defensive liability.

Ceiling: Bojan Bogdanovic

Floor: Travis Diener. Travis Diener is the floor for every shooter.

 

Al-Farouq Aminu

Position: SF/PF

Height / Wingspan: 6’9 / 7’3

Age: 24

Nickname: King Farouq

Neil Olshey drafted Aminu eighth overall in 2010 when he was GM of the Clippers, and then subsequently traded him to the then-Hornets in the Chris Paul deal. Aminu never quite blossomed in New Orleans, and signed for basically nothing with Dallas after his rookie deal expired. In the playoffs last year against Houston, he finally put it all together and at times appeared to be the Mavericks’ best player. He can legitimately guard 1-4, and he has the potential to be one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. If he could ever figure out a way to shoot even like 35% from three over the course of a season he’d probably be worth twice his contract.

Ceiling: Shawn Marion meets Draymond Green meets Really Big Andre Iguodala

Floor: Al-Farouq Aminu 2010-2014

 

Mason Plumlee

Position: PF/C

Height / Wingspan: 7’0 / 6’11

Age: 25

Nickname: Plums, Plumdog Millionaire

I really liked Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, so I was initially upset when he was traded to Brooklyn for Plumlee. I am still very upset. Putting my personal feelings aside, Mason Plumlee is okay. He’s not amazing or anything, but he can jump to places that other people can’t to finish alley-oops. He’s questionable as a rim protector, and that’s probably a nice way of putting it. Overall a pretty solid player though, and his ability to catch lobs will probably increase Lillard’s assist average by at least one.

Ceiling: Tyson Chandler with slightly less rim protection meets Nick Collison

Floor: Miles Plumlee

 

Luis Montero

Position: SG / SF

Height / Wingspan: 6’7 / 7’1

Age: 22

Nickname: The Ghost

Luis Montero has a dope self-proclaimed nickname and is from the Dominican Republic. He moved to America when he was 19 and had a very successful first season of JUCO ball, only to have his school’s program shut down over forged transcripts. Instead of going to another junior college, he decided to enter his name in the draft. After going undrafted, the Blazers signed him to a partially guaranteed deal, presumably because of his physical tools. He’ll probably spend a lot of time in the D-League.

Ceiling: Thabo Sefolosha

Floor: Josh Huestis

 

Noah Vonleh

Position: PF

Height / Wingspan: 6’10 / 7’4

Age: 19

Nickname: Nobody on the Internet has ever given Noah Vonleh a nickname

Vonleh was the ninth pick in a strong draft class, but had an injury-plagued rookie year in Charlotte. Regardless, he’s still very young and has prototypical length for a power forward to go along with underrated athleticism and range out to the three point line. He was the piece that enticed Olshey enough to trade away Batum, so he’s clearly a big part of the organization’s plans for the future. If he develops properly he could be a very special player.

Ceiling: Pau Gasol meets Cliff Robinson

Floor: Perry Jones III

 

————-

 

Various asides:

– Keith Bogans is 35 years old and on the Blazers’ summer league team. I think that this is amazing and therefore am now investing a large amount of emotional energy into Keith Bogans not getting cut. I will be disappointed.

– Team Ceiling / Floor:

Ceiling: Win 40+ games playing pace-and-space with a dynamic young backcourt and narrowly miss the playoffs (think Phoenix two seasons ago).

Floor: 0-82. The worst basketball team ever. Damian Lillard demands a trade to Milwaukee.

What will probably actually happen: 25-57, high lottery pick, Lamarcus maybe gets booed.

– Enes Kanter isn’t going to be a Blazer, probably ever. This is very, very good news.

– There’s a solid chance that when the season ends Damian’s ppg will be higher than the Blazers’ total number of wins. This is probably an ideal outcome.

– Noah Vonleh is the first Blazer who’s ever been younger than me. Dreams are hollow, youth dies, nothing is forever.

BLAZERS OFFSEASON PREVIEW: UNDER CONSTRUCTION

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July 4th: LaMarcus Aldridge announces a free-agent signing with his hometown team, the Chicago Bulls. John Canzano of newspaper “The Oregonian” opines, “Aldridge was a traitor all along, every true Portlander with microbrew in their veins knew it.” Dave Deckard of popular website “Blazer’s Edge” posts a reasonable, thoughtful assessment of Aldridge’s decision, while commenters who disagree with Deckard’s analysis are identified by hackers, rounded up and disemboweled.

July 5th: Wesley Matthews signs with the San Antonio Spurs. Matthews: “Jesus H. God, our team went from reasonably incompetent on defense to horrifuckingly abysmal the absolute goddamn second I got injured, and people wrote think pieces about why this is? I’m out.”

July 6th: Robin Lopez announces he really likes “Kindergarten Cop” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3.” Chris Kaman reveals he once shot an anti-logging activist but field-dressed the wounds properly. Steve Blake continues collecting severed tits for his collection of severed human tits.

July 7th: C.J. “Convoy” McCollum reveals he’s actually Nolan Smith; he just wanted to make everyone wait for it.

July 8th: Dave Deckard praises the disemboweling of those who disagreed with his Aldridge post, writing “I’m proud of the community we’ve established here.” Benjamin Percy takes notes for his next novel.

July 9th: Damian Lillard states that he thinks every play should run through “Dame.” Calls on team coach Terry Stotts to make the change, suggests he may approach owner Paul Allen if Stotts refuses. Suggests teammates who disagree aren’t “about winning.”

July 10th: Aside from Lillard, all remaining Trail Blazer players are discovered dead in their beds.

July 11th: Further investigation reveals that the Trail Blazers murdered yesterday had super-advanced toxic nanobots in their bloodstreams. Columnist Canzano writes “How long will we tolerate these hip-hop cyber-terrorists and their devious drug-dealing, low-income, nano-technology ways? That’s not the Portland I know.”

July 12th: Damian Lillard publicly suggests hooligans may have not been responsible for the Trail Blazer nanobot deaths. “I’m not against the changes, but it seems a bit weird.”

July 13th: Damian Lillard is found dead at his desk, veins transformed into metallic crystals, frozen forever with a smartphone in his hand. The phone was accessing TNT’s “Overtime” coverage of the latest Golden State Warriors game.

July 14th: Nothing of interest has ever happened on July 14th.

July 15th: The Trail Blazers announce a trade. Steph Curry will go to the Trail Blazers for a collection of rotting corpses in return. “I’m happy about this,” Curry says in his presser. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity.” Curry then jumps to his feet and rasps “Are you OK? Did they hurt you” before the feed goes dark.

July 16th: Nicolas Batum raises his head from a low-hovering layer of pot smoke and asks, “Did I miss something? MERDE!!”

 

PRS RADIO: THE RIP CITIZENS EP 47 – NOW WHAT?

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Now that the dust has settled we look back on the Memphis series, break down contract situations ahead of the off-season, and discuss the future of LaMarcus Aldridge in a Blazer uniform.

Then we look at the rest of the NBA playoffs, make some predictions, and share a bold prediction about next season.

PRS RADIO: THE RIP CITIZENS EP. 45 – THE RIP CITY RECAP

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In the days before the playoffs start, we look back at the 2014-2015 season. We share our highlights of the season (as well as the lows), discuss if our expectations were met, and hand out regular season awards to the NBA and the Blazers.

We’ll have the second part of the show (our Playoffs preview) tomorrow, so stay tuned!

If you enjoy the show, please subscribe to us in iTunes (or whatever podcast platform you use) and leave us a rating & review if you feel so inclined!

THUNDER 101, BLAZERS 99: SHOWOFF BIRD

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Oh man, the season is still going on!? Everyone sat out of this game. Meyers scored 24, Joel Scored 21. The Thunder won, wire to wire, proving, once and for all, that  team comprised primarily of Meyers, CJ, Fraizer, Kaman, and like 20 Minutes of Lillard would not beat any team with Russell Westbrook on it in a playoff series. Hopefully, we never have to find out for sure, because something would have gone horribly wrong.

TRAIL BLAZERS 116, TIMBERWOLVES 91- FRY HEADED BIRD

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Hello there, reader. I was AT last night’s basketball game with my beloved mother. Here is what I cobbled together, memory wise:

1. This game was pretty much a wire to wire blowout. I think there was a little moment at the beginning when you thought MAYBE it could end up somewhat close, then the moment passed, like summer love, or food.

2. To be honest, whenever I actually go to a game, I don’t pay attention to the score, because I watch the game on the floor, so I don’t have like any concept of what the flow of the game was or anything like that. One time I went to a game with my dad and he said he always watched the screen and I thought, “Why would you pay all this money to watch a screen, homie.” (In fairness, my dad doesn’t like basketball) I don’t know what you do or don’t do, but I encourage you to be present in the moment at sporting events, concerts, and plays, and actually watch the human beings move in front of you. It will be great, you’ll have a mind expanding time.

3. I ate some ice cream. I thought it was good, then at the end it was a liiiiiiitle salty. I wish they had the Olive Oil Flavor, which is my favorite flavor from Popular Artisanal Ice Cream Shop In North Portland And Elsewhere (NO FREE ADS!).

4. The wolves looked pretty tired. I kept hoping LaVine would dunk on a fool, but it never happened. At one point he cocked back, then switched to a more conservative layup motion. If I were the Wolves, at this point, my only goal would be putting dudes into Vines. Wggins played really well, he always does when your boy Corbin is in the building. (I went to BOTH Hoop Summits he was in, nbd.)

5. Kevin Martin dunked, which felt like something the Blazers’ help defense was doing TO ME.

6. That flame outside the stadium is like, obscenely wasteful. I also managed to walk in the fountains without getting wet on my way to the MAX.

7. When I was riding on the Max, a woman was talking on the phone. When we were at the Killingsworth station, she said “Oh my God, this car is gonna blow up!” There was a car at the gas station and the engine was overheated to the point where you could see smoke coming out of it, but I seriously doubt it was going to blow up.

8. Kevin Garnett was at the game in a suit. Some children in TImberwolves gear got dap after the game.

9. I was very disappointed in the intro video. Also they have these things they show on the screen when someone scores that look like grind-house slides and the one for Chris Kaman makes him look like a chainsaw butcher. or human meats. (Okay, I looked at the screen A LITTLE.)

TRAIL BLAZERS 99, PELICANS 90: SEA BIRD

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Boy, it was hard to stay awake through this game. Not because it was a bad game; it was pretty fun. But because one of the the Pelicans announcers, Joel Meyers, has an incredibly sonorous, soothing, mid-range bass voice. It’s a Schonely-type voice, that assures you all will be well. You can drift off into the unknown realm of death listening to such a voice.

Meyers and his co-worker, David Wesley, are also no fools. They know whereof they speak, and what level of enthusiasm in which to speak it. I am reaching the point of exhaustion following the Blazers this season, having taken the emotional drunk-bus-driver ride from “maybe better than last year” to “OMG THE CONFERENCE IS WIDE OPEN ANYONE CAN WIN” to “fuck it, injuries suck” and I am frankly wore out. If the Blazers had Wesley/Meyers, my heart would be calmed. New Orleans is competing for a playoff spot, and Meyers/Wesley don’t pretend that this matters. Anthony Davis is the best young talent in professional basketball, and they don’t scream bloody foul murder when he misses a shot nor engage in sickening sycopanthy when he makes a nice play.

Jesus, Paul Allen has more money than God retains after an all-night casino bender, you’d think he could lure away announcers like this. Nope. Of course, to get Wesley/Meyers, Allen would have to pay more than just their salary; he’d have to pony up extra fees to get them away. EXTRA FEES SUCK YOU COLOSSAL TICKETMASTER ASSHO

Wesley/Myers didn’t get everything right. At one point, early on, when things are lighthearted, they mentioned Lopez’s charming mascot rivalries, and jokingly wondered what psychological defect could cause RoLo to behave in such an uncouth fashion. “Maybe because he doesn’t have a mascot at home, he takes it out on mascots around the league.” No mascot at home? What about Schrunk?

In the third, there was a who-tipped-what out-of-bounds play, which Portland lost (correctly), followed on the other end by an amazing Anthony Davis save from going out-of-bounds play, where Davis scored. Rather than applaud politely, Rose Garden fans booed like 20,000 toddlers screaming “it’s not fair!” Myers/Wesley politely referred to these dingbats as “very passionate fans.” Really, Portlanders. You have one of the highest literacy rates in the country. Do you actually have to behave like idiots when it comes to rooting for the Blazers? Calm the living fuck down, already.

If it was a meaningful call, the refs would review it. With 50.8 seconds left in this game and the Blazers up by 11, the refs reviewed a call, staring forever at the replay screen as if stoned out of their minds. Then, with 30.6 left, and the same score, another replay. Which the refs quickly dismissed as if drunk out of their minds. New Orleans scored, Portland got the ball back, and nobody fouled anybody because the game was over. But They Got The Calls Right.

Call. Call! C.J. “Convoy” McCollum! (See the effortless transition? ‘Cuz his last name has a “call” syllable? Yeah, you see it.) “Convoy” almost killed me in the first half of this one, looking like pure-dee gangbusters, and making me fear I must pay attention to the playoffs. Thankfully, in the second half, New Orleans payed more attention to Convoy, and he forced shots into Large Tall Men the way Lillard, when frustrated, forces shots from Long Distances. Thank Buddha. I don’t want to watch much playoffs.

I do want to watch Anthony Davis in the future. I’m glad I didn’t have to watch him play, tonight, on the court in New Orleans. That court has a sick and wrong wood-staining design apparently meant to evoke the outstretched feathers of a majestic pelican ready for flight. It looks really creepy. As if the graphic designer dropped acid with Hitler.

Davis was off, but that happens. Sometimes guys have off nights. Sometimes guys just don’t match up well with other guys. Tim Duncan rarely matched up well with Rasheed Wallace. Does that mean Wallace was a better player? To Rose Garden fans, perhaps.

I tried showing my SO Davis’s signature unibrow last Sunday, when a Pelicans game was on the bowling-alley TV. “Look,” I’d say. “He has a signature unibrow!” The SO would look, and the camera would cut back from closeup. Apparently Davis and my SO have some kind of quantum-observation dilemma going on.

During this game I saw many closeups of Omar Asik. He resembles the big mean jock bully in every 1980’s teen movie. Chris Kaman had probably his best game as a Blazer, before or since; he resembles the distant family friend who’d show up once every two years bringing deer jerky.

Spooky-ass “Deliverance” Steve Blake can hit exactly three shots on a basketball court, and for the sake of your precious children I will list them here. One is from the left baseline edge. Another is from the right baseline edge. The third is scooping the ball into the hoop after running underneath the basket, along the baseline. Presumably he is allowed to take these shots so that he doesn’t start gnawing into anyone’s living pancreas.

Nicolas Batum has a weird beard attached to his jaw, now, something a KGB spy would glue on. It made me wonder – what would Batum look like with hair? My first instinct is to assume it would grow into a beret, baguette, and cigarette, but that’s probably wrong, it would probably just be regular people hair.

 

TRAIL BLAZERS 107, LAKERS 77: GREY BIRD

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Friday night, I got blue sweats and a blue sweatshirt on, the weather is terrible, the Blazers are playing the busted ass Lakers: there is only one solution to this, and it is one of my patented WordVom recaps, where I watch the game and just write whatever.

 

Can I just say, Friday night, Blazer game, that is horse shit, man. I should be out with a friend or a lover or something tonight. There are some DECENT restaurants in Vancouver, WA, man. Thai Orchid, for instance, they have those good veggie sushi rolls. I could be eating them, but I’m here, with the Blazers, instead.

 

MARK JACKSON! MAAAARRRKKKKK!

 

The Blazer clinched the Division before the game started. Or, I suppose, the Thunder let the air out of their division chances.

 

Aldridge misses and early three pointer. He isn’t making enough three pointers. Are any of us, really? What are our personal standards, and how are we achieving those dreams? Are we, even? Do we deserve to? Is the standard of deserve completely arbtrary? Is the only thing we truly “Deserve” death?

 

Easter is coming up. I think I will try to catch the Pope’s easter mass when I get back from work at around midnight. I am not a catholic, but you know, you should always seek the BEST of any-thing, and you gotta imagine, the Pope on Easter, that’s some real-shit. Lillard hits three three early. God bless him. I hope on easter, the Pop takes a minute to talk about “The young man who wears 0” and thank him for all he has done for the church and for humanity.

 

Ugh, they let Ryan Kelly dunk. The DUKE Ryan Kelly. Disgusting. I have a taste in my mouth, and it’s bad. It’s like toilet water, like Coach K’s favorite evening beverage. YOu read that right, Coach K drinks toilet water at night, after everyone has used the toilet. If he has something to say about it, he should sue me. He will see the fucking evidence I have. THe whole world will, in a civil court. He is a gross man, who drinks toilet water.

 

Alrdidge misses a corner three. The Pope shakes his head. He needs to make those shots, says the pope to his gathered cronies. “Yes, yes, Mr. Pope,” they reply, “absolutely. You know the deepest secrets of ball, Mr. Pope.”

 

Booze-Man misses a midrange shot. I hope the Blazers sign him next year, so we can hang out. He seems like a fun guy, and I think we have a lot in common. For instence: we both have intimate knowledge of Coach K’s “Toilet Proclivvys” Booze-man misses a paint pushy hook.

 

I heard “Clarkson” as “Marxon.” Jordan Clarkson is the people’s player! Once I tried to look and see if there was a blacklisted baseball player. I couldn’t find one, and I was very disappointed. That’s a whole goddamn pitch, right there. I suppose the gentleman who invted the high-five was probably blacklisted for being a homosexual. God, the world was once terrible and is not much better now.

 

Lillard outscored the Lakers in the first quarter. I am not COMPLETELY sure that I should be watching this game.

 

CJ isolates and hits a midrange shot. Cool, I guess? I mean, it’s not a GOOD play, but it is a play and it did go in. The Blazers are beating the Lakers by a lot of points. Hopefull they don’t get comebacked again. They probably won’t the Lakers are extremely bad. The Lakers are not a very good team. Neither am I. I am letting everyone else on my team down every day.

 

Dave Pasch feels like this is the least energetic he has seen the Staples Center. I like it, it’s listless. Every arena should be like this. Getting excited about sports, or anything, is gauche.

 

Instead of grabbing a rebound Meyers shoves it into the floor and it bounces in the air and Lopez grabs it. Is it just trying to turn boards into team rebounds? He doesn’t think ANYONE should get credit for rebounds, DAMNIT!

 

This game is a gutter. I woudn’t be surprised if the lakers sent in a sewer croc or a giant, wet teddy bear or like three hundred rats.

 

Did you guys see that Nancy Sinatra said that Ronan Farrow isn’t Frank’s son? Has she seen that dude!?

 

I mean, COME ON. Even the Pope is like “Uhh yeah, that’s Frank’s seed, clearly. I am the Pope, I ain’t lyin!” I also suspect he could play for the Lakers at this point. A censored version of “BOOM BITCH GET OUT THE WAY” in the Staples Center. C’mon, I brought my kid to this game, and to see the Pope, who is also at the game.

 

What I have eaten today: A banana, and indian buffet. I am like 50/50 on eating dinner. I feel a little like I am going to starve if I keep eating this game, because it is fallow. The lakes are almost certainly not going to crack forty points. Pasch just said “Happy Birthday, Big guy” to Mac Jackson and he has to be like “BIG GUY!? I’m not that tall and I am CERTAINLY Not Fat! Dave, you are taking some liberties! I expect you to apologize on air in the next segment.”

 

The Blazers have shot two free throws in the half. They are infamously bad at drawing fouls, but I am inclined to blame it on the Lakers looking to keep their PERs free of fouljunk.

 

Lead goes from 25 to 16. The Blazers need to uh, oh I don’t care. At this point, I just want what’s best for everyone in the game. Jordan Clarkson should play well, make a career for himself. I hope he does well.

During halftime I watched this Chuck Berry video. I THINK this is him playing with randos, because he was too cheap to hire a real band in those days. One of these randos can kind of shred, but the rhythm section is tremendously slapdash. He plays Johnny B. Goode for like ten minutes, and the game is starting again.

 

Afflalo got fouled. I have decided to make some ravioli. Mark Jackson is singing the praises of Arron, because he is an isolation player and Mark Jackson likes postup mismatches. If I knew when I was going to die, would I live a different life?

 

Robin got dunked on. He sacrificed himself for a shot at glory, and it crumbled in his hands, like sand. Robin collapses to the wood and weeps for what he lost. For what his team lost. For what everyone lost.

 

I don’t like this game because the Blazers aren’t absolutely whooping the Lakers like I wish they would. I wish something extraordinary would happen in one of these games. I suppose the fight was really cool, and there were some buzzer beaters at year’s beginning. But for the last, like, three months, these things have been draaaaaaging their hands down the street and falling asleep for five minutes and waking up and yelling “Oh my god, was there a race going on!?” Then waking up and shuffling to a finish line, win or loss be damned. Lakers pull into 13th street.

 

Jordan Clarkson is killing the Blazers. Majick Clarkson. If he related to Joey? Are all of us? Is Joey Crawford all of our anger, out spite, manifest in the world, congealed together, and formed into an NBA Referee?

 

CJ is having a great game. That’s good. I have long thought that he was juuuust short of being an NBA player, but he has been playing well lately. Maybe he will keep playing well. Maybe he won’t. Maybe I will find love, a person to share warmth with, maybe I won’t. Life is so very hard to predict. All I can hope for is CJ to be sustainably good and a love to come my way and melt my cold outsides and reveal the real person, the fiery soul underneath.

 

Mark Jackson points out that the Lakers are playing a shit ton of music. So do the Blazers, though, and the people in that stadium scream their faces off. I wish the Blazers had an organ. I like organs. They could play Water Music during games.

 

The Blazers have pulled away. Took long enough.

 

TRAIL BLAZERS 109, SUNS 89: YELLOW BIRD

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Your dad beat the Suns today, in a blowout. He had lost to the Suns a lot lately, but the team has been fractured by poor play in close games, internal strife, and madness.

 

“That’s what happens,” you dad says on the way home. “That’s what happens when you can’t keep it together.”

 

You want to tell your dad that those close games have so much to do with luck, that the Suns were a fun and interesting team who were running a fascinating plan before they were too unstable to continue.

 

“You need to have five positions, son.” He says to you. “The guard, the forward, the center, the coach. Anything less and the system will break.”

 

Dad is really feeling himself tonight. He was scoring left and right. The Suns were DOA, toast, Kaputt. He made it to that playoffs You are glad he won, but you wish he could just shut up on these rides home.

 

“And it IS about a system, son. Say that back to me.”

 

“Dad, this is absurd.”

 

A silence. It extends. You feel the chill in his heart, creeping into your own.

 

“…It’s about a system.”

 

“You’re goddamn right. A system. Purge the chaos and all that’s left is order, and you can build a castle on the order, and use the castle to crush your enemies.”

 

You don’t mention the fact that everyone else has a castle, and one of the knights is gone, and there is a sense of building, creeping dread around the castle, a faint whiff of disease in the villages, a feel that the black death is here and we are all just sitting and waiting for it to come. I might be soon and it might be quick, or it might be far away and slow and extracting and doomed.

 

Your dad arrives at the house. Can your family really afford this house?