PRS RADIO – THE RIP CITIZENS #34: WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

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We welcome Corbin Smith to the show this week to discuss life, history, and the last week of Blazers ball. We look at why the Blazers have improved at come-from-behind victories, what Kaman & Blake are bringing to the table, and how the Western Conference is shaping up.

Then we discuss NBA superheros, check in on where former Blazers are today, and talk about an old episode of Modern Fishing.

All that, plus lots of info on Nolan Smith, some love/hate for Joakim Noah, and Corbin tasting a salt crystal.

If you don’t want to bother with this SoundCloud gadget, you may find the iTunes subscription option a helpful one.

BULLS @ TRAIL BLAZERS PREVIEW: INTACT

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Yoked_Wisconsin_oxen

The first sentence of Wikipedia’s entry for “bull” mentions castration. “A bull is an intact (i.e., not castrated) adult male of the species Bos Taurus (cattle)” is what it says. It’s sort of a weird lede, to say that something has not been castrated. I have not been castrated, and I don’t have a Wikipedia page. But if I did, it would be nice if it said something pleasant about me in the first sentence like, “Joe Swide is a decent guy and not bad blogger who grew up in Portland, Oregon,” not, “Joe Swide is an intact person (I.E. HIS TESTICLES HAVE NOT BEEN CUT OFF OR POISONED WITH CHEMICALS SO THAT THEY SHRIVEL OFF.”) Like, come on Wikipedia, why are you even mentioning my testicles only to say that they exist as though that’s the most important news to give people in case they don’t read this entry any further? Keep my testicles out your mouth.

But maybe when it comes to bulls, it’s important to mention that they are “intact.” The testicles of these Chicago Bulls, Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler, are playing. However, Pau Gasol and Derrick Rose, whose roles in the male genitalia metaphor I will not be elaborating upon any further, have missed the last few games. Pau Gasol has an injury to his calf which is a small muscle named after a young bull. Derrick Rose has battled ankle injuries all season, and is a good reminder for how poorly built humans are to play basketball as opposed to bulls, which as you’ve learned are cows with testicles.

Unlike Derrick Rose, bulls do not have ankles. They have “hocks,” which serve a similar purpose to ankles but are located higher up the leg, analogous to where a knee would be in human anatomy. And as we know, Derrick Rose’s knees are not in good shape either. With unhealthy knees and weak ankles, he would be best served replacing his legs with bull legs. With no ankles at all and a hock, or “super-ankle” as we’ll call it, in place of his knee, he will be unstoppable. The only issue would be his hooves, which are poorly suited for grip on hardwood but Adidas could figure something out. Impossible is nothing, guys.

If the Chicago Bulls are not “intact” tonight for their game against the Blazers, they would actually be oxen, not bulls. However, Thom Thibodeau would love oxen. Oxen have no egos, just work ethic. They could play all 48 minutes and they would never ask for breaks. Thibs would teach them how to play tough half-court man-to-man defense and yell about rotations and they would just quietly nod and do their job, clogging the lane from dribble penetration while still pulling carts and helping plow fields on their off days. Keep that superstar stuff in New York and Los Angeles. Chicago is a town for blue-collar defense and oxen. Imagine a team of 10 oxen, Jimmy Butler hitting corner threes, and Joakim Noah yelling encouragement. Oxen probably struggling to shoot because they don’t have hands and struggling to procreate because they don’t have testicles but winning because they know how to do is work. Thibs finds spiritual fulfillment through coaching basketball oxen and attaining the pinnacle of his basketball oxen vision. Castration is overrated.

Or, in an alternate version, they’re not oxen but steer and get easily slaughtered and cut into steaks.

TRAIL BLAZERS 102, PELICANS 93: THE DRAMA YOU’VE BEEN CRAVING

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Watch this game from the outside. The up and coming Pelicans, featuring one of the league’s finest rising stars: possibly the third best player in basketball today, come into the Rose Garden, one of the hardest road games in the country, and get the Blazers on the ropes. AD is tearing stuff up. Eric Gordon, Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans are proving the support they were brought in to give. They’re defending the Blazer attack, one of the best offenses in the game, WITHOUT Omer Asik, their ace defensive center. “This is it!” Cries America, “The Pelicans are emerging! A new force in the West! Oh happy day!”

Then, in the fourth, they just get wrecked. Their offense stagnates. They go away from Davis and towards guardy penetrations. There’s no reliable shooting on the floor, besides Anderson, who can’t create. Anthony is barely touching the ball. Lopez is shutting them down at the rim. The Blazers start to get into their Motion. Is it the coach? Is it the personnel? Maybe they just aren’t ready to take on an UNSTOPPABLE FORCE like the Blazers. Not ready to beat the best of the West!

The Blazers were straight up villains tonight, dogging t all game and then swooping in to steal one when the scrappy upstart Pelicans lost their minds. They’re going back to their fancy camp on Lake Oswego tonight, where they will feast on caviar around an electric campfire. Snobs win. And we’re the snobs, guys! We’re rich! Hahaha! Get out of our way PEASANT PELICANS! You DELTA TRASH aren’t fit to lick the FINE BOOTS of the Portland Trail Blazers! Tell them, Nic, in your tasteful camel colored jacket! “Oui Oui! Zee Pelicans are Nosing com’pared to us! Oh hohohoho!”

WE DID IT, GUYS! We’re the establishment! Eat our guts, upstarts!

But yeah, for a lot of the game, the Blazers looked pretty bad. Aldridge was shook at hell by Davis, who lit him up on offense and put the fear of god into him on defense. Theoretically, Aldridge should be able to take Davis to the block. He’s his and strong, Davis is thinner and wiry But goddamn if Davis isn’t able to compensate for that with sheer athleticism and timing. Hence this thing…

…which is one of the kookiest basketball plays I have seen in a while. But LMA was able to feast on everyone else they sent at him. Ryan Anderson in particular, who was a pain in the ass cover until he chilled in the fourth, got his ear chewed off pretty good. He eneded with 22 on 18 shots and 9 rebounds, also known as “The LaMarcus Aldridge Special.”

You know who was NOT good in this game? Allen Crabbe! 3 points on 3 shots, two turnover and a WHOPPING -14 rating. He was a central fixture of the Pelicans’ second quarter run that put them in pole position for much of the game. He would get the ball at the wing, seemingly open, seemingly able to make three pointers, and he would make a big ol’ mess of a drive instead. What is the Deal, Crabman? Just take the shot, brother!

On the other side was Steve Blake, sporting a fucking +27 and DOMINATING the YOUNG Pelicans with his VETERAN wiles that ENCHANT the opposition. You guys see that hesitation move in the second?  That’s what REAL basketball looks like. I think these “Pelicans” could stand to learn a few lessons from “Professor” Steve Blake, who everyone acknowledges is very good at basketball and is always good at basketball and is never frustrating, ever! 7 assists off the bench, Steve is coming for you, Stockton!

Hey, look at this!

minnutes

That is a lot of minutes for LMA and Lillard and Matthews! Probably too many! I mean, Jimmy Butler played 45 in a 10+ point win, so it’s not THAT bad, but 35+ every night might take a toll! Oh well! Hey, now that the Blazers are the establishment, I think its time to rest dudes during national TV games, because that is what you do when you’re successful as hell like the Blazers are! I have NOTHING BUT CONTEMPT for paying customers in cities besides Portland!

Your Friend Damian Lillard did that “Struggle in the first half, light it up in the fourth” thing, AGAIN. I am tired of it. I do not find it exciting, I find it a middle finger to logic and reason. Please perform the way averages suggest you should, Dame. This is bullcrap.

Robin Lopez sunk two late free throws. I often meditate, like actually meditate, on mountains, on the particular threat of a rolling big man who can sink free throws, and I have decided that they are dangerous, dangerous men, because you can’t just sag off in high leverage and try to yank their arms off and make them earn it the way you can with Dwight or whomemver.

The Beginning of the Second Quarter Was All About Former Blazer Great Jeff Withey, a novel by The Universe, written on this night. He got wrecked in the post by Kaman, twice, committed three fouls, one on noted post up power player Joel Freeland, he dished out a B-/Kinda Sweet high/low pass. He was the Center of the Universe! Also, always good to see Luke Babbit out there, still ballin’ at the age of 35. Not getting a lot of minutes, but a reliable, veteran presence after his tempestuous career in Portland and Russia.

Wes scored a sill basket while he was falling down and trying to heave a shot at the rim to create an offensive rebound It was silly, but very fun. He also scored the tying basket.

Thank God the Blazers won tonight, because if they hadn’t, they would have been beheaded by The Queens of the Pacific Northwest and America’s  Finest Rock and Roll Band, who were COURTSIDE IN THE BUILDING TONIGHT:

When I saw S-K the Gawdesses were present, I totally lost track of the game so I could try to parse out some information about their viewing habits. Janet was clapping the most, clearly has the deepest investment in the team. I heard the fourth quarter surge came from Terry getting everyone in the huddle and playing the chorus of “Get Up.” “You’re right, Terry,” said Dame in the huddle, “We can’t disappoint Sleater-Kinney. They made all of our favorite records that we train to every day!”

PELICANS @ TRAIL BLAZERS PREVIEW: BASKETBALL IS PELICAN

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When Salt Lake purloined the Jazz from New Orleans, they promised to give the name back if New Orleans ever landed a new NBA franchise. This promise was worth approximately half the value of nothing, but it should have been kept. A whole miasma of freaky word-association confusion could have been avoided if Utah had just traded “Jazz” for “Hornets.”

Not only does the name “Jazz” make about as much sense as “Lakers” does in Los Angeles (you’d be better off calling them the “LA River”) but bees are a big thing in Utah. Their official motto is “the beehive state,” the unofficial alternate state name is “Deseret,” a word that means “bee” in the Book of Mormon. Mormons tried to get the state named “Deseret” to begin with, which Congress shot down. Bees represent hard work and subjection to a common goal, big deals in Mormon culture.

When you cross the border from Idaho into Utah, suddenly the freeway is not full of potholes and the fields are green. (No offense, Idaho. Keep doing you.) The Mormon Temple in Salt Lake is composed of stones dragged twenty miles from a quarry over the course of several decades, and will probably still be standing five thousand years from now when alien archaeologists wonder what happened to those interesting life forms who stopped transmitting “The Simpsons” four-and-a-half thousand years from now.

Of course, there are also signs on the freeway for gravel road exits which read “New Jerusalem / 94 Miles / No Services” and you really don’t want to imagine what goes on there, and if you are a hard-working person in Utah who happens not to be Mormon, you should probably get your ass outta Ogden pronto.

The New Orleans “Pelicans” are named after a disgusting trash-eating seabird (like all seabirds) that apparently is often seen in New Orleans. They should be named the “Jazz,” but they can’t. Or they should be the “Satchmo,” since playing Louis Armstrong records has gotten far more people laid than listening to garbage birds puke out six-pack-holders outside one’s window. But kids outside New Orleans probably don’t know who Armstrong was and they are more familiar with winged vermin. Plus they had to come up with a name quick when the NBA decreed Charlotte was getting “Hornets” back.

Charlotte had the most appealing of all the ’80s/’90s expansion franchises, to fans. (NBA players preferred Vancouver, because prostitution.) The Hornets had goofily eager Larry Johnson, sternly macho Alonzo Mourning (how can you not be stern when surnamed so?) and the littlest bugger ever to make it in the NBA, Muggsy Bogues, at all of 5-foot-3. The Hornets also had an owner, George Shinn, who was a terrifying rapist creep (yeah, Paul Allen being a greedy dick about Ticketmaster fees seems rather paltry by comparison) and Charlotte was eager to get rid of him. So the Hornets ended up in New Orleans, which couldn’t get “Jazz” back, but that later expansion Charlotte team got “Hornets” back after “Bobcats” flamed out.

You can see how much sense this all makes, team-nickname-wise.

Actually, if New Orleans can’t have “Jazz,” then nobody should have it – not just because New Orleans was one of the birthplaces of that singularly complex/confounding American art form, but because “jazz” is a singular noun which has plural connotations when referring to a team sport. This is maddening for newspaper copy editors and readers. Nobody knows whether to type “Jazz have/are” or “Jazz has/is” and it makes grammar nerds crazy since it looks wrong in either direction.

OH YEAH PREVIEW STUFF: the Pelicans scored 80 points in the first half against Minnesota on Friday, which sounds really scary, but I watched part of that game and Minnesota was just turrible, turrible. So I wouldn’t worry too much about Portland getting demolished unless Aldridge is still sick with an actual illness (as opposed to the Jordan/Barkley “flu,” which was a hangover) or somebody else important catches it. Anthony Davis is really good: watch him: it’ll be fun if LMA is healthy and those two can go at each other: Salt Lake should give the damn name back.

NETS @ TRAIL BLAZERS PREVIEW: BANG THE WORLD INTO SHAPE

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pappyvanwinkle

After watching the 1995 NBA Draft, me and my brother rushed to our NES console to create the draftees we liked best in “NBA Live ’94.” The first name we entered, good Portlanders we, was Damon Stoudamire. Well, those crafty souls at EA Sports (a good company back then, this I swear to you) had gotten around the legal restrictions of not including players in the game who weren’t allowed to be in the game (such as college players) by making the player names into cheat codes. If you entered the name, their height and abilities magically showed up in that Create Player mode. Thrilled, we tried several more. Antonio McDyess; yep, he was in via cheat code. Joe Smith? Yep. Rasheed Wallace? Sure! “Big Country” Reeves, Jerry Stackhouse, Portland’s draft haul Gary Trent, they were all in the game (not every top pick was, but most.) So was a player who was kind of an afterthought for me and my brother, some high school kid nobody’d ever seen. What was his name? Kevin, um, Garnett?

That’s right. Kevin Garnett was drafted the same year as those guys (and future Blazers players Kurt Thomas/Theo Ratliff). That’s how long Garnett has been playing. This will be his 20th year. My diligent research (clicking buttons for five minutes) says that only Kevin Willis, Robert Parish, and Kareem managed to make it that long. Those three guys represent an interesting spectrum. Willis was always sort of a workhorse, Kareem a superstar, Parish the intense guy who glued together all those great Bird/McHale teams. Not a bad comp for Garnett.

Garnett only played for one championship team (also the Celtics), and the knock on him, by idiots, was that he couldn’t cut it as a “leader.” OK. I guess a career playoff average, in 131 games, of 19 points and 11 rebounds while shooting .481 doesn’t taste enough like leader-y. (I left out his last year in the playoffs, for it was sad, and we can’t blame players for getting old. Only Hollywood actresses; to the glue factory, Bullock!)

He was always intense. He stole that “slap talcum powder at the scorer’s table” deal from Jordan, and LeBron stole it from him, but Garnett’s slap had more oomph than either. Jordan’s was “I am God,” LeBron’s is “I am not a human born of uterus but a marketing creation conceived by Eniac,” Garnett’s felt aimed at the TV announcers. “Criticize me all you want,” his seemed to say, “I’m busting my ass out here.”

Aside from that one championship year in Boston, he was always cursed in terms of teammates. Stephon Marbury pouted his way out of Minnesota; Malik Sealy died. Ferengi lookalike Sam Cassell and Klingon behavealike Latrell Sprewell helped Garnett to the WCF one time, and Garnett was brilliant, but the Lakers were a machine built to inflict pure evil back then, and it was a shock when some ragtag misfits in Detroit upset them for the title. (Including Garnett’s draft-day alum, Rasheed, who’d been dumped twice that season by teams eager to get he behind thee.)

Even Garnett’s championship in 2008 felt underwhelming. Zen Faker Phil was already vulnerable; the Pistons had shown that. Boston was no longer a town of lovable loser fans, the Patriots and Red Sox had accomplished that. Those of us who loved Garnett, with his long-faced head that might have been drawn by Al Hirschfeld and his angly, elbowy body that might have been scrawled on a napkin by Picasso in lieu of paying for a bar tab, secretly rooted for him. Few others, besides those incapable of pronouncing their “R”s correctly, cared. (Some secretly rooted for Ray Allen, too, another NBA lifer and another player whose success always came with “does he have Leader Flavor” caveats from dumbshits. Imagine if Allen and Garnett had somehow played together in their prime. They wouldn’t have spoken much, because oversharing with the media was not their thing, but they would have been fun to see.)

Why is Garnett still playing? And for a team owned by (essentially) the Russian mafia that moved to Brooklyn in a shady deal worthy of their old home and new owner? It can’t be the money. He’s richer than George Clooney and doesn’t buy Nicholas Cage’s number of castles. (Garnett once, desperately trying to shake up lethargic Target Center fans in Minneapolis, offered to buy free booze for everyone in the building at a game. He also tried to get his contract renegotiated into less money so the Wolves could afford help, which was correctly nixed by the union (to let him do it would open the door for teams to unfairly pressure players who don’t want to do it). The man must just love his job. There’s something archaically awesome about that.

Today, when you see #2 for Brooklyn, don’t think of the player you’re watching. Think of the guy who could once defend positions 2-5 and score on all of them. Think of how the Nets have Brook Lopez, who is Robin Lopez’s brother and Andrei Kirilenko, whose girlfriend once famously admitted to the press that she lets him cheat with a hooker every year on his birthday. And think of how Garnett is cooler than both those guys and Joe Johnson combined. If Garnett had been luckier in terms of teammates (neither Jordan nor Kobe could win alongside stiffs either), he might be thought of as Robert Parish today. (You know Parish was cooler than McHale, maybe cooler than Bird. Cooler than Ainge depends on your feeling about Eugene natives in general.)

Hail that once and future “the kid.”

TRAIL BLAZERS 130, NUGGETS 113: BONE TO PICK

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I didn’t think the Blazers were going to win this game, or I thought they would have to grind to do it. Back to back in Denver? That’s a guillotine schedule loss, man. I had accepted it in my heart. I was ready to grind out a recap that said something to the degree of “Yeah, shitty game, but there were circumstances behind that shitty game and it’s basically acceptable.”

But Ladies and Gentlemen, THAT’S WHY THE GAMES DON’T TAKE PLACE IN MY HEAD. The Blazers cruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuushed the Nuggets, who looked like absolute garbage on defense. Like in the Cleveland game the Blazers weren’t really the compelling happening on the court. The Nuggets seems actively to be in open rebellion against covering three point shooters and protecting the rim in the first half. A lot of times, I credit good or bad shooting games to regressive forces. And the Blazers did get lucky but oh man the Nuggets were under the table rigging the wheel in their favor all night.

Look at the halftime box score:

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Sixty percent from three! Lopez had 15 points! ALDRIDGE HAD 6 BLOCKS. Oh man, those poor Nuggets, taking it to the rim, over and over, and getting blocked all night, triggering fast breaks for the likes of Robin Lopez and Allen Crabbe. THEY WERE SO BAD.

At halftime, the Nuggets got boo’d, because they were terrible.

Was this a good win for the Blazers? I guess? I mean, the Nuggets were terrible, but they CRUSHED them. Here is a question. Look at this empty soda can:

670px-Disguise-Your-Beer-Can-With-a-Soda-Can-Step-1

Now, I want you to think about me, a six-foot two adult man, picking up that empty soda can, and crushing it on my forehead. Is that cool? Is that good? I saw Damien from Fucked Up do it at a concert once, and I thought it was cool then. But I could see why someone would just think it was silly.

What I am getting at is the Nuggets were an empty, shitty soda can tonight, and the Blazers crushed them on their foreheads, and I don’t know if we, as a Blazer viewing public, should think it was cool.

In the third, the Nuggets went on a 15-0 run, and narrowed the lead to, like 20 or a high 18 or something. For a second, there was a feeling of “This could get close” but then Damian drilled three straight triples and completely ended the game as a competitive contest. He had 27 on 16 shots, went 5-6 fre three and had nine assists. He was very productive.

Lamarcus had 12 points. That guy has a lot of trouble scoring on JJ Hickson. Blazers should have resigned him just to keep him from playing against LMA.

The Blazers gave up a lot of points. Ty Lawson had 32 on 17 shots! They need to defend better if they’re going to REALLY CONTEND. A title team would have won this game 130-89! PATHETIC EFFORT, FIRE STOTTS.

Mike Rice alluded to the presence of Vampires in the ROse Garden and then didn’t explain himself. I am worried for my family now. Will my daughter become a vampire thrall just because I wanted her to experience some hot NBA action? Vector needs to address my concerns, sooner rather than later.

Barton threw down a tremendous alley-oop dunk at the end of the game. There is no video of it, so watch The Beast Masterbator tear up The Chris Gethard Show instead. Nets next.

TRAIL BLAZERS @ NUGGETS PREVIEW: OBAMACARE

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Dikembe Mutumbo Ruined Colorado

by Col. Slattery Whitman (Ret.), Professor Of Biology/Swim Coach, United States Air Force Academy

 

When did Colorado become so soft and weak? Some say it was “Mork & Mindy,” which depicted us as a bunch of free-loving alien-hugging “do what feels right” wimps. That wasn’t it. It was Dikembe Mutombo.

I understand why we got an ABA team in 1967. I admit, though I’m ashamed to say it, that I kinda sorta rooted for the Nuggets when Larry Brown was whipping those overprivileged glandular cases into shape. Youth has its follies.

I didn’t pay attention to the Nuggets ever again, because I am a God-fearing man and God only created one team for Colorado to believe in, I know that now. Yet I understand many young people did get led astray. Because of Mutombo.

In 1994, the Nuggets were an eight seed and the other team, a bunch of hippie potheads from Seattle, were a one. Whatever these things mean, the lamestream media went on and on about how Mutombo’s Nuggets beating those SmokerSonics was a big deal. I guess there’s a photo of Mutombo laying on the floor (wimp that he is), holding a basketball and almost crying with joy (crying, joy, wimp) that became a symbol of how athletics can transcend money and marketing and become . . . whatever the America-haters want athletics to be.

It was all downhill from there. Kids watched basketball. They watched the Rockies, who did try hard to do the right thing by the Bible, still baseball hasn’t been America’s pastime since players were allowed to wear fielding gloves and batters got awarded free passes for getting hit by a pitch. That’s a ball, you girl, not a free walk to first! There’s nothing free in America except our freedom to support our flag! At no cost to you!

Do I have to tell you what happened next? Hockey. Which, I grant you, is a man’s sport, as hockey players do die from manly brain damage, but the players have stupid names. The “Avalanche” had a guy named “Roy” and he pronounced it “wuah” and everybody who thinks we should just throw English in the toilet went along. Now we have soccer. I guess I should dress my children (who, thank the Lord, are grown, strapping, buxom men) in French kilts and have them play the “bag” of “pipes,” as if I didn’t know what that was supposed to lead them to.

I’m told by my court-ordered psychiatrist (Big Brother will get you too if you have a few drinks and go to your ex-wife’s house, because in our “1984” world the Lord’s laws about marriage being an eternal contract don’t count against Obamitler’s “restraining orders”) that Mutombo is some sort of superman. That at age 40 he was more “efficient in limited minutes,” whatever that means, than most “centers” (who’d he hike the ball to?) today. That he’s spent millions opening a state-of-the-art-hospital in his native Congo (I guess Denver wasn’t good enough for him!) That his “finger-wag” ebullience, an expression of fun instead of dominating cruelty, was something sissies loved to watch. And, oh-so-rich, that Mutombo helped crack open the door for international NBA players. Big accomplishment, there!

I’m happy to say, checking the Wiki page, that the Nuggets rewarded traitorous apostate fans exactly as they deserve. While those who stuck with the one true Elway got championships, Nuggets turncoats got trip after trip to the playoffs with a big bottle of Nothing. I also see that you Blazer fans do have one championship, led by a Walton. That’s what family values gets you, folks. Laugh at “good night, John boy” all you want but your Walton proved the old ways are the best!

(My psychiatrist also has to review these posts before I press “button” and she says I should mention that “Kenneth Faried is pretty good and why did you guys draft Nolan Smith instead”? That’s because she’s brainwashed and hates good wholesome names like Nolan Smith and loves terrorist names like Faried but I can’t blame her, she’s not from Fort Collins, and I try to forgive people the weaknesses they could help but don’t.)

TRAIL BLAZERS 102, HORNETS 100: FEEL LIKE MAKING COPPER

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tina

The end of that game was so silly I‘m not convinced it wasn’t bad for basketball. I can imagine Naismith, from his throne in Muscular Christianity heaven, looking down on his creation and yelling “Oh my God, Blazers and Hornets, what is this hooey!? You think this is a game!? Well, it is a game, I suppose, but do you think my creation is a JOKE!? Why are you turning basketball into a SKIT, like the sort one performs around a CAMPFIRE!?”

I refuse to write something as myopic as “Lillard almost lost this game for the Blazers twice in 16 seconds,” because a win or a loss is a cumulative thing that happens in the course of 170 some-odd possessions. So, in lieu of that PARTICULAR sentence I will write: “Happenings directly related to Lillard’s performance in high leverage situations at the end of the game almost lost this game for the Blazers twice in less than 16 seconds.” The second was Lillard getting absolutely BLOWN UP by Neal on that drive. Thankfully, the winds and waves of time and space managed to keep the ball on Neal’s fingers juuuuust long enough to spare the Dr. Nasmith an overtime period. The first was taking a shot instead of running the clock down for no particular reason. He was getting roughed up a little, and I suppose he thought if he took a shot it would have somehow reminded the refs that he was trying to get fouled at that particular moment?

Anyway, the Blazers had a comeback win, which is great, if you’re into those kinds of things. I just see basketball as a bunch of unconnected possessions, each it’s own puzzle, arbitrarily strung together by time. You could play the game out of order and I would have had the exact same emotional response. I apply the same logic to novels and relationships. But I SUPPOSE if you’re into the pedantry of trying to assign MEANING to this deeply, deeply silly game, I will thresh that wheat for you.

Comebacks are either adjustment based or luck based or both, and honestly, they’re almost always both. The Blazers took a hot-as-hell shooting performance from the Hornets in the first quarter, particularly from Lance, who cooled considerably by the end of the game. They were also not shooting well. Wes in particular was not shooting well, but there wasn’t any reason behind it aside from natural regression (And Kidd-Gilchrist) waving its hand in Wes’s face. Generally when this happens, the Blazers roll the dice with Batum, but since they couldn’t tonight, they they just kinda stunk and fell behind.

In the second half, the Blazers shot better and the Hornets shot worse, which is just what happens in every game and happened in a particularly extreme way tonight. But they also made some adjustments to get back in it. Zone defense made an appearance, as did Joel Freeland. Robin Lopez’s not great post defense against the 5 elite post-up big men in the NBA is not generally a big deal. He’s great at many other aspects of defense, and post scoring is not a high efficiency option in the modern NBA. But when he’s getting busted on a matchup, Ol’ Bulldog Joel and his gigantic muscle wall body that doesn’t bite on fakes is a good option.

Lance Stephenson, his team down two with 34 seconds remaining, in complete defiance of anything resembling basketball logic, isolated against Wes and lost the ball out of bounds, but f he hadn’t, it probably would have been a shot clock violation. Then, after the game, in an display of all-time non-self awareness, he complained about the end of game offense going through Jefferson too much.

Alan Crabbe started, was not great. What did Dorrell do to you, Terry? Does Dorrell have an agent? Is he mad? Or is she mad? Women can be agents. PJ Hairston got Steve Blake on a hilarious flop, a Veteran-style flop from a rookie. Flopping is the best, I wish the Blazers had more flopping options. They gotta stop signing all of these serious dudes. Batum’s absence was felt in ball movement more than anything.

Terry called a timeout on the last possession of the half. The team came out and scored a bucket on a high screen and roll between Lillard and Aldridge. They needed a timeout for that? I guess they’re like fingernails; you have them, might as well use them.

I think my PERSONAL perception of this game was warped by watching Kings-Mavs earlier in the night, which was weirdly similar. 20-point lead, wiped out, Mavs win. Of course, the Blazers inched towards their result, and the Mavs heaped massive runs onto the Kings.

Blazers play in Denver altitude on a back-to-back tomorrow, which is not fair. If you have emotions invested in the Blazers, just write this one off.

Here is a drawing of Steve Clifford protesting a call:

steve

TRAIL BLAZERS 116, NUGGETS 100: DIFFERENT TRAINS

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(Hello! Tonight’s recap will be a visual depiction of tonight’s game, prepared by the author during the contest. He wold see something happen, draw it, then watch again until something else happened. He noticed and drew a lot of things, but missed some others, such as Blake’s flagrant foul on Kenneth Faried, which he trusts was stark and humorless as it’s perpetrator. The drawings are presented in chronological order.)

FIRST QUARTER

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(The Author is always annoyed by Sunday evening games, because he prefers to watch Bob’s Burgers, his favorite television program. Here is Tina asking him about why he is skipping warm heated laughs for a dumb basketball game.)

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(Kenneth Faried, the Manimal, dunking an alley oop pass from Wilson Chandler.)

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(Nic Batum for three.)

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(Faried, depicted here and for the rest of the evening as a brick, beats Robin Lopez at the rim. Robin is getting hit in the jaw by BrickFaried, not fun.)

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(Former Blazer JJ Hickson checks in.)

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(Terry calls for play #1.)

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(Chris Kaman shooting Hickson’s layup attempt with his big ol’ shotgun.)

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(Steve Blake enters the game for Damian Lillard. He was good tonight, except for when he mauled Faried.)

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(Javale and his long arms with the putback!)

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(Ty Lawson, with a burst of speed, steals the inbounds pass and lays it in.)

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(Chris Kaman powers through snakes grabbing his arms for the And-1)

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(Steve Blake drains a corner three with a second left on the shot clock)

SECOND QUARTER

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(Danillo takes foul shots.)

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(Mozgov gets fouled by Thomas Robinson. This is the worst drawing, and that is really saying something.)

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(Barton gets his fadeaway blocked.)

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(TV Commercial)

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(Steve Blake travels.(on a train))

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(Wes Dances behind the line for a stepback 3)

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(LMA Makes a turnaround jumper on Faried)

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(Wes Matthews powers through his opponents and grabs the Offensive rebound. Depicted here metaphorically butting jungle vines with a machete.)

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(Lillard turns the corner on the pick and roll and dishes it to Aldridge for the long 2. Lillard was not great tonight, but that’s okay.)

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(Batum, depicted here in a Beret misses the Baguette at the rim. In the bubble he was orginally saying “I should have used a basketball instead.)

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(Timofey Mozgov, depicted here as a gigantic brick wall, boxes out three Blazers for an offensive rebound and slams the outback home.)

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(Ty Lawson gets fouled right before the end of the 2nd quarter. Okay, maybe this is actually the worst drawing.)

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(Wes Matthews beats the buzzer at the half. The buzzer is saying “Please stop.”)

THIRD QUARTER

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(An Aldridge shot hits backiron to start the quarter.)

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(Wilson Chandler, a bird once again, sinks a transition two pointer.)

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(Lopez, depicted as a DragonBird with an Afro, blocks BrickFaried at the rim.)

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(WallMozgov Misses a point blank layup on the pick and roll.)

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(Wilson Chandler, depicted as a bird for no particular reason, fouls LMA across the tummy.)

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(Aaron Afflalo fouls Wes Matthews while Wes tries to leverage post position.)

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(LMA Hits a jumper over BrickFaried, who fell down and fell asleep whole he took it.)

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(Randy Foye, depicted here as a giant floating head with psychic powers, sinks a three pointer)

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(Chris Kaman blows up the rim with a foulline jumper.)

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(Steve Blake holding up a sign that says “Corner three”)

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(Giant Psychic Randy Foye head has a splitting headache when he airballs a jumper.)

FOURTH QUARTER

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(Chris Kaman fouls Javale on the arms at the hoop.)

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(Joel Freeland, depicted as a British flag, dunks the ball!)

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(CJ, wide open as if in a meadow, drills a three)

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(Chris Kaman blocks JJ Hickson at the rim.)

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(Faried blocks Batum’s baguette at the rim, eats it all up.)

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(Gallo tries a classic magic Gallo circus layup, but it doesn’t go. The wand is broken.)

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(BrickFaried tears the rim off the backboard.)

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(Wes draws the foul in transition.)

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(Lamarcus with the smooth jumper. Here is Carlos Santana, congratulating him.)

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 (Wes blocks Lawson at the rim, then retrieves his own blocked shot)

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(Lillard breaks out of his cold shooting night and hits an off the dribble three. The cold shooting right is depicted as an iceberg, trapping Lillard.)

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Meyers, drawn here to be a haystack in a jersey, passes to Barton, who drills the three. Blazers win!)

CLIPPERS 106 TRAIL BLAZERS 102 – YOU DISSOLVE

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Down four with 1:19 to go in the game, Batum fouled Deandre Jordan while navigating around him on a pick and roll play. Deandre, an apocalyptically terrible free throw shooter, went to the line and missed both shots. After Deandre missed the shots, Lillard made a quick two off an out of time out set play. This was the last bit of good end of game clock manipulation the Blazers managed for the rest of the game. Down two with 39 seconds left, Aldridge fouled Chris Paul on purpose, even though there was plenty of time for a good possession. THEN, they lolligagged on fouling Jamal Crawford to try and milk one more out.

Win expectancy wise, this is of little consequence. After Chris Paul spent the last five minutes slipping pocket knives into the Blazers’ guts, it took a monumental outburst from Lillard to bring the team close. But, you now, it’s a little annoying that mismanagement issues made it so they didn’t even have a clean shot at it.

The Blazers were, at one point, absolutely dominating this game. They scored 38 points in the first quarter and managed to extend their lead in the second even after a crummy stint from the bench. The motion was a-movin’, threes a sinkin’; Robin Lopez was the proud owner of a 17 points in a half statline! It’s amazing, what this ball movement bullcrap can do for you!

But then, in the third, Robin Lopez scored two points. This wasn’t his fault, really. The Clippers tightened the screws* defensively and the Blazers tightened up with them. Ball movement was scarce. Aldridge was looking for one-on-ones 20 feet from the basket. The bench came back again and was awful again and the starters couldn’t patch the hole. The Blazers lost their not insubstantial lead and got beat by Reddick and Crawford and Paul making tough shots.

A close loss to a western playoff team is, like, what happens, you know? That third quarter where the Blazers looked like they were gravel being pushed out of a toothpaste tube was concerning, though.

PANCAKES!

This game started at 12:30 because of the Clippers’ ongoing war with their own stadium contract. That is, in this part of the world, solidly in the breakfastime. IN TRIBUTE, the “stray notes” portion of today’s recap will be accompanied by pictures of God’s Own Pancakes.

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*SPICY PANCAKES! HOT STUFF COMING THROUGH THIS BLOG! Hey, I don’t EVER want to be the kind of writer or person who makes a bunch of dry, burnable hay about how well the referees performed in a game, because whenever I hear it I roll my eyes so hard I can see the top part of my own brain. But maaaayyyybbee part of the reason the Blazers were having so much trouble in the third is that the Clippers were getting a little handsy and not getting the whistle. And, hey, that’s fine! The point of playing the game is to have fun, and if you think fouling is fun, you should do that, and then the refs, who are supposed to be keeping order, should maybe call those fouls, so you don’t get undue advantage! It’s just. Hey. Guys. 26 fouls for the Blazers and 19 for the Clippers when the Clippers’ coach recently went out of his way to complain that his team wasn’t committing enough fouls after their last game? Sorry, I hate sounding like a complainer.

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EGG PANCAKES, a dairy free concoction, because there was no MOTHER’s MILK on this play a DOUBLE TEAM SHOVE from Clippers wildmen CHRIS PAUL and BLAKE GRIFFIN on STEVE BLAKE!

When I watched this in real time, I wondered if Chris Paul knew something we didn’t about the ref who was watching him, and he was able to perfectly angle his shove and use his body to block the ref’s frame of vision on Blake’s little shove to create the most perfect double fouls for an open shot anyone has ever seen. No one appreciates Chris Paul enough, this guy is out here doing catcher framing shit on his offensive fouls! First Ballot Hall of Famer.

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CHOCOLATE CHIP PANCAKES for JAMMAL CRAWFORD, who, like this tasty, tasty, and also horrible for you and your health – a bad breakfast for establishing a day’s worth of nutritional eating – treat, vacillates WILDLY between absolutely KILLING his team and stabbing them with needles of pure dopamine! On any given FGA, I have no idea if he’s going to shoot the Clippers into a dumpster or take the team on his mighty back and take them to rainbow mine!

 And, hey, JJ Reddick! We get it, players progress to their means after a string of bad games! You didn’t need to shove it in our faces so aggressively! We understand, the spheres of the universe move in curves dictated by the fabric of the universe! Geeze!

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CRAPPY, BURNT ASS PANCAKES! Don’t EVER say you think the bench might be good, because it might not be, and you can never be wrong! Steve Blake was a -12, a botcher of pocket passes, a thrower up of hands, and a succumber to pressure, and a scorer of absolutely no points during his 19 minutes! And CJ. CJ, you poor, sweet baby. During the third quarter, he was in a pick and roll with Aldridge, a feasible pop threat. The defense decided to blitz the play anyways, a pretty risky proposition when Lamarcus Aldridge would be left wide the fuck open, and CJ couldn’t pass out of it. He should probably learn how to do that if he wants to be a good NBA gurard who dribbles a basketball!