BULLS @ TRAIL BLAZERS PREVIEW: INTACT

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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.

WARRIORS @ TRAIL BLAZERS PREVIEW: “MACAWS VISIT CLAY LICKS PERIODICALLY TO EAT FROM THEM.” (WIKIPEDIA)

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Last night, Klay Thompson, shooting guard for the Warriors of Golden State and childhood resident of Portland, Oregon, scored 41 points in a victory against the Lakers of Los Angeles.

For the Trail Blazers to achieve a victory against the Warriors tonight, they should probably try to prevent Klay Thompson from scoring 41 points again. To do so, they will need to grow their understanding about Klay.

Here is a guide to Klay.

 

From Wikipedia: “Clay is a fine-grained soil that combines one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter.”

Fine-grained soils are defined as soils that will pass 50% or more through a 200 sieve, which has openings that are only .0029 inches large. At best, the Blazers defense is probably a 50 sieve, with openings of .0117 inches, and that’s assuming that Terry Stotts will start the game with Nicolas Batum on Stephen Curry. If Damian Lillard of Oakland, California, is left to guard Curry, the defense becomes more of a 7 sieve, with openings of .110 inches.

But while sieves are a good way to gauge the grain size of a given soil and test its pure scoring ability, they aren’t feasible large-scale defenses against the erosion caused by clay soils, which is fortunate news for fans the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team.

There are a few traditional methods of containing such clay erosion.

Here they are, provided by GeoInsight, Inc.:

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The silt fence is a good way for isolating and containing the clay that is causing the erosion. However, to be successful it often requires a strong and cohesive team defense, as well as quite a bit of labor, to properly execute. The Blazers may not have time to do that sort of rigorous preparation work.

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I really don’t know what hay bales do to prevent erosion, but hay bales are pretty fun. Look, a cow is eating some hay! Go Blazers!

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 2.14.22 PMThis is likely what Terry Stotts will do. It’s relatively cheap and easy. Just get some rocks and dump them on the ground in the path of the runoff. It probably isn’t a long term solution, it might work for a day or so.

Hey look! That one on the left looks just like Wes Matthews!

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 2.16.05 PMHey Wes! You look good!

 

(GeoInsight, Inc., notes that none of these traditional methods are “very effective or efficient in removing silt and clay soils suspended in runoff.”)

 

FIBA WORLD CUP VIEWING GUIDE FOR OREGONIANS AND LOVERS OF THE OREGONIAN LIFESTYLE

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I can barely walk down the street these days to enjoy an open-air donut without some person yelling over at me, “Hey! You with the donut! The FIBA World Cup is starting soon! Whooooo! I love basketball and the Earth! But I’m a Portland Trail Blazers fan and I don’t know which country best reflects my basketball values! Rooting for America feels too mainstream for my lifestyle and a bit too casually nationalist! I mean sure, I like living in America and I eat tofu hot dogs on Fourth of July and real hot dogs when I’m drunk! But I always vote for the Green Party in elections! Except in elections when I actually care and need my side to win! And by the way, why doesn’t Cascadia have its own independent FIBA-recognized squad yet?! We have the lumber industry to support it! I just love basketball and the Earth and lumber! What do I do?! Enjoy your donut!”

“Well, child,” I say. “You asked the right fucking donut. Check my blog.”

Welcome to said blog. Now place your hand in mine and let me guide your emotional and spiritual journey into the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

First, you should absolutely not root for America. America wouldn’t even root for America. Well, maybe some parts of America would root for America, like the Steak N Shake parts. Steak N Shake’s America would root for America. But did you know that George Washington famously hated Steak N Shake? “That menu is like if Carl’s Jr. had an even sloppier descendent named Carl III, who put ‘Steak’ in the name of his restaurant to make it sound fancy to yokels who get dressed up to go to the hot dog stand outside Home Depot,” he would tell Martha.

George Washington, Whitney Houston, the old guy in Shooter who calls Mark Wahlberg “gunny,” the red-white-and-blue bald eagle in the Dipset logo, and everything else this country is built on would call bullshit on Coach K for cutting Damian Lillard to keep Kyrie Irving and generally Coach K’s hypermilitaristic approach to basketball. Guys, Coach K rode into the arena for the last game on a white horse, dressed like Stonewall Jackson. Then he brandished a saber and stabbed two fans. There’s no place for that.

So who should you root for? Unlike Coach K, I’m not here to mold your brain into my own image, but I will lay out the brief cases (curated to appeal to Oregonian minds) for each country below.

[IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THESE COUNTRIES. I’M PRETTY SURE THAT THEY’RE ALL ACTUALLY PART OF WYOMING. I DROVE THROUGH WYOMING ONCE AND THE BIGGEST CITY IS CHEYENNE AND IT DIDN’T SEEM THAT BIG AT ALL. THEY GOTTA HAVE MORE IN THAT STATE THAN JUST CHEYENNE AND A MUSEUM WITH A PAIR OF SHOES MADE OUT OF HUMAN SKIN. THEY’RE HIDING SOMETHING. LIKE POSSIBLY SENEGAL AND MOST OF WESTERN EUROPE.]

Angola

Angola spelled backwards is alognA.

Argentina

Argentina is sailing to Spain for the tournament on a giant barge called Bargentina. Playing on a barge helps their muscles learn how to balance when they play on hardwood that’s attached to solid ground. Oregon also has barges, wood, and solid ground.

Australia

If you turned the Earth upside down, Australia would be in the exact spot where Oregon is now, and Canberra would be exactly where Portland is now. Basically, Oregon is the Australia of Australia. So who really are the real Australians? Is one’s Australianness just a matter of perspective? Patty Mills is injured and will not be playing.

Brazil

Brazil’s portion of the Amazon Rainforest is the fourth largest forest in the world behind Mt. Hood National Forest, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, and the other part of Mt. Hood National Forest. Brazil also has a river. We have upwards of four rivers, plus Fanno Creek. Brazil deserves your sympathy.

Croatia

Croatia’s Adriatic coast has been called “The New Italy” in travel writing aimed at people with enough wealth to tire of the original Italy. Coincidentally, people also describe Oregon as “The New Italy.”

Dominican Republic

An entire country dedicated to miniature canned goods. Prepare for the worst, but do so without being overly wasteful. Very Oregonian of you, Dominican Republic.

Egypt

You know who liked Egypt so much that he had an Egyptian tattoo on his arm? R.A.S.H.E.E.D. W.A.L.L.A.C.E.

Finland

Petteri Koponen plays for Finland and I think he might have a beard now. Actually I’m pretty sure he doesn’t but he should have a beard.

France

Nicolas Batum, that weird era of Marlon Brando, some other cultural stuff.

Greece

The giant inflatable octopus that has sat above that restaurant downtown forever is Greek and you wouldn’t want to let him down.

Iran

I was watching a Portland Beavers game through the fence one time and a man next to me who had long fluorescent white hair like Legolas and was wearing nothing but neon-colored running shorts said that America invaded Iraq because you could launch a missile from Iraq to anywhere in the world because Iraq was the very center of the entire world and then he told me to go home that night and look at my globe to confirm. I did and holy shit he was right. Oh wait, we’re talking about Iran?

Korea

Ha Seung-Jin will not be playing but I’m sure he will be smiling at you from somewhere because he’s very sweet.

Lithuania

Arvydas Sabonis, The Grateful Dead, tie-dye, the early ’90s, it’s all kind of spelled out for you there isn’t it.

Mexico

The best Mexican food in the Portland area is in the back of a grocery store in Hillsboro and mayor whatever his name is should make a special jail for people who put Tabasco sauce on tacos.

New Zealand

Imagine Portland stretched into an entire country: lots of white people who like nature and hate dancing.

Philippines

If the Philippines win this tournament, all of the players will be frozen in carbonite and hung on the walls of Jollibee locations throughout the country, much like Portland did after the ’77 championship.

Puerto Rico

America doesn’t even root for America.

Senegal

Senegal is shaped like a head with The Gambia being the negative space of the open mouth and Dakar being Rudolph’s illuminated nose so that’s pretty fun. Root for Senegal.

Serbia

More like 420_HERBia_420.

Slovenia

in Portland we have those eARTh bumper stickers and in Slovenia they have sLOVEnia bumper stickers.

Spain

Victor Claver is on the team. PS: miss u rudy plz come back :(

Turkey

Whenever the Turkey coach calls a timeout he puts his hand on the dry erase board, traces around his five fingers, then draws eyes and a beak on the thumb part and it looks just like a Turkey are you still reading this?

Ukraine

A country based on ukeleles and rain! Just like Portland!

A NOTE OF THANKS TO ALL OF YOU AND SOME ANNOUNCEMENTS

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Hello everyone,

 

I’ve been meaning to write a note of thanks to all of you for supporting our site over the course of this past season, so here it is: Thanks! When I took over this site in August, there had been many talented writers who had written in this space – some of whom had gone on to much cooler things – but we had just lost our ESPN affiliation and while I was happy to keep writing stuff here and see what happened, I had no idea how long it would last and honestly, I didn’t expect it to get through the end of the season. Fortunately, we were #blessed with a really fun year of the Blazers to write about, as at least my writing here soon moved from actually trying to recap games and provide serious insights to instead attempting to capture the experience of Blazer fandom (something I know a lot more about) with each game of the season as a different window into that experience. Yet even as fun as the season quickly became, I still would not have lasted running this blog without Corbin joining the cause, as well as the contributions of Grady O’Brien, Lindsay Mills, Jack Ward, Tron Burgundy, Gage Hamilton, and the Rip Citizens squad.

So big thanks to everyone – you/them/us/everyone on Twitter for joining in our nonsensical in-game conversations/the people that linked to our stuff (Blazer’s Edge, Ball Don’t Lie, Willamette Week for including us on the list of 26 Reasons to Love Portland, etc.) – for allowing us to find, survive, and grow in this fun weird niche of the Blazers mediasphere.

 

As for the offseason, we’ll be doing our best to keep it all going through the draft, Summer League, and not to mention the upcoming revolution spearheaded by Corbin Smith that y’all will find yourselves so enveloped in so very soon. My presence might get a little sparser around these parts, as I’ll be working on a separate project for most of June and into July (and no, contrary to several reports, it is not the proposed site within ESPN.com in which Corbin and I write semi-fictional accounts of us playing Subbuteo with various historical dictators). Then at the end of July, I’m moving to New York to go to graduate school, so while I’ll still be around here, hopefully still running the site and writing periodically, I won’t be able to write nearly as much as I did this past season which brings me to my last announcement…

We need some more writers! If you like us or don’t like us and just like writing stuff about the Blazers, please email me at the portlandroundballsociety@gmail.com address. If you have clips, send those too. If you don’t have clips, no worries, email me anyway. And don’t feel the need to be funny or weird or caps-locked or include dragon references or anything else, we’re just looking for talented people who can write in whatever way comes naturally to them, so long as it’s interesting and engaging and vaguely related to the Blazers. Unfortunately we can’t pay you in anything more than smiley emoticons, but once you get beyond the rookie phase in which Corbin stands over you and shouts random obscenities as you try to compose paragraphs while I glare a Sheedian glare at you through Skype dressed in a full Walt Williams outfit complete with high socks—after that phase—you will have so much fun! I promise!

GAME 5, SPURS 104 – TRAIL BLAZERS 82: KING OF COUNTRY

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OH GOD THEY LOST OH NO THE SEASON IS OVER WHAT DO WE DO NOW YOU MEAN WE ACTUALLY HAVE TO TURN OFF OUR TELEVISIONS AND INTERNET MACHINES AND SPEND TIME WITH OUR FRAMILIES EVEN THE HAMSTER IN THE PLASTIC BALL BUT CMON THE PLASTIC BALL IS SUCH A PHYSICAL BARRIER IN OUR RELATIONSHIP AND A CLEARLY ANTISOCIAL LIFE CHOICE HE DOESN’T CARE ABOUT US HOW CAN WE BRING HIM INTO OUR LIVES WHEN HE WOULD RATHER LIVE ALONE IN A PLASTIC BALL AND WHAT ABOUT MY EARL WATSON PAPER MACHE EFFIGIES I SUPPOSE WE HAVE TO GIVE UP CRAFTING NOW TOO IS THERE ANYTHING IN OUR WORLD THAT CAN STAY OH SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP I DON’T WANNA HEAR ABOUT YOUR PROBLEMS OR YOUR UNHEALTHY PAPER MACHE FIXATION WITH EARL WATSON I JUST WANNA YOLO BLOW THIS THING OUT FOR ONE LAST TIME FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOOD TIMES AND FOR THE SAKE OF THE JOURNEY AND FOR THE SAKE OF WILL BARTON ALLOWING US TO SEE THE WORLD THROUGH HIS KALEIDOSCOPE EYES WORD TO RAY HUDSON AND FOR THE SAKE OF LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE GOING ALL REVERSE PETER PAN AND CUTTING LOOSE FROM THE SHADOW OF POTENTIAL AND FOR THE SAKE OF ALL OF US DIPPING OUR SOULS IN THE EXCEPTIONALLY WET AND HOLY WATERS OF THE RIVER DAMIAN LILLARD FOR A MAGICAL 0.9 SECOND CLEANSING AND FOR THE SAKE OF THE LATE DOCTOR JACK RAMSAY.

RATHER THAN FOCUS ON THE BLAZERS COMPLETELY FALLING APART IN THE SECOND HALF AT THE HANDS OF A SPURS SIDE SANS TONY PARKER OR THAT THE SPURS’ TWO LEADING SCORERS WERE DANNY GREEN AND KAWHI LEONARD FOLLOWED BY PATTY MILLS WHO SPENDS MOST OF HIS OFFSEASON TIME PLAYING LUTE IN A MIDIEVEL THEMED BEYONCE COVER BAND CALLED “SERF BORED” OH GOD TWO HORRIFIC PUNS IN THE SAME JOKE DELETE DELETE DELETE IS IT DEAD YET DELETE DELETE MOVE ON QUICKLY SO ANYWAYS INSTEAD OF FOCUSING ON ALL THAT STUFF LET’S ENJOY THAT WE GOT TO WATCH KAWHI DO SPECTACULAR THINGS ON A BASKETBALL COURT AND SEE SOME FINE PERFORMANCES FROM THE BLAZERS LIKE NICOLAS BATUM HAD 12 REBOUNDS AND LILLARD HAD 10 ASSISTS AND UH WAIT GIMME SEC UH SCANNING THROUGH HERE UH IS 5-19 THREE-POINT SHOOTING GOOD UH HOLD ON UH WELL ANYWAYS WHO CARES ABOUT ONE GAME ANYWAY IT WAS AN AWESOME SEASON SO LET’S JUST CELEBRATE THAT INSTEAD I MEAN HOW MANY OF YOU GUYS THAT WATCHED LAST SEASON OR EVEN SUMMER LEAGUE WOULD HAVE BELIEVED THAT THE BLAZERS WOULD WIN A FIRST ROUND SERIES AND THEN WIN A SECOND ROUND PLAYOFF GAME AGAINST THE SAN ANTONIO SPURS BEHIND A FANTASTIC GAME FROM WILL BARTON AND REMEMBER EARLIER IN THE SEASON WHEN THE BLAZERS WERE THE BEST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE OH MAN LET’S JUST TAKE A MOMENT ON THAT ONE AND IMAGINE EACH OTHER IMAGINING IT LIKE WE’RE ALL LOOKING UP AT THE SAME MOON.

I WILL END HERE BY MAINTAINING MY STANCE THAT THE CITY OF PORTLAND SHOULD HOLD A PARADE FOR THIS TEAM BECAUSE PARADES SHOULD NOT BE RESERVED ONLY FOR CHAMPIONSHIPS BECAUSE CHAMPIONSHIPS ARE AN UNFAIR CAPITALIST DECIDER OF SUCCESS BECAUSE SUCCESS SHOULD BE MEASURED BY FULFILLING POTENTIAL AND CREATING JOY AND CONTENTMENT AND MAN OH MAN THERE WAS MORE JOY AND CONTENTMENT AROUND HERE THIS SEASON THAN THE LAST TWO SEASONS COMBINED BECAUSE WE GOT TO WATCH A BASKETBALL TEAM FINALLY BLOSSOM INTO A BEAUTIFUL ORCHID FLOWER OF ENLIGHTENMENT AFTER YEARS OF FRUSTRATING CULTIVATION SO YEAH LISTEN UP MAYOR WHATEVER YOUR NAME IS YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIKE MAKE BIG FLOWER FLOATS OR ANYTHING THIS ISN’T THE ROSE PARADE BUT IT WOULD BE NICE IF YOU GOT SOME CONVERTIBLES OR BICYCLES OR EVEN THE PLAYERS COULD JUST WALK DOWN A STREET AND WE COULD APPLAUD THEM AND THEN WE COULD ALL GO OUT FOR FROZEN YOGURT AFTERWARDS AND REMINISCE ON THE SEASON AND IF YOU OPPOSE THAT IDEA THEN YOU ARE A TROPHY ELITIST AND AN OPPRESSOR OF THE NATURAL SYMBIOSIS OF BASKETBALL AND FROZEN YOGURT BECAUSE AS THE BLAZERS SHOWED THIS YEAR YOU DON’T NEED A SUPPOSED FROZEN YOGURT EXPERT TO TELL YOU WHAT TO DO YOU CAN GO INTO THAT BAR AND BLEND FLAVORS HOWEVER YOU WANT THEN SHOWER THE BOWL WITH ANY MIX OF TEDDY GRAHAMS AND SPRINKLES AND CRUMBLED OREOS AND FRUIT AND EVEN THE WEIRD SYRUPS AND WHATEVER ELSE BECAUSE IN FROZEN YOGURT AS IN BASKETBALL AS IN LIFE IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT OTHER PEOPLE SAY ABOUT YOUR CONCOCTION YOU’RE THE ONE EATING IT SO ONLY YOU NEED TO ENJOY IT and just like that the clock ran out and we all turned into pumpkins.

GAME 4, TRAIL BLAZERS 103 – SPURS 92: LIVIN’ IT UP

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Look guys I really have no idea what to say about this game. I’m not a very good basketball blogger anyway, but when you separate me from the structure of the television broadcast and throw me into the cauldron of light-up sticks and free t-shirts and unsynchronized “D! Fense!” chants—the cauldron named for Mola Ram—well, my ability to analyze or contextualize or summarize a game in an effective manner goes from the normal mediocre-to-poor-but-masked-by-weird-jokes-and-distracting-fan-fiction level to the empty vacuum of space in which even the jokes instantaneously suffocate and die. Actually, maybe that’s it. I expected the Blazers to die, and I expected to write a eulogy. Now, uh, they didn’t die, they’re still alive, the mood was pretty high in the arena, everyone seemed to have a really good time, I had a really good time, and uh, well maybe I should still write a eulogy. I don’t know.

Was this a wake? Fate was certain. Tensions were low. Sadness was absent. Joy was high. When Storm Large sang the national anthem, she beckoned for the crowd to join her, imploring us to celebrate what could have very well been the last time we would all get to take part in a weird patriotic pregame ritual until next season, and next season is not this season OH SHIT THAT’S THAT CUTTING ANALYSIS RIGHT THERE HOLD UP I GOTTA TAKE A PICTURE WITH IT FOR MY MOM.

During introductions, when the lights turn down low and everyone holds up their red glowing sticks and yells just to yell cuz sometimes you just gotta yell I ain’t judging, the energy felt different than say, Game 4 against Houston (which was the only other playoff game I’ve attended this year so yeah I’m 2-0 you’re welcome Blazers). Do not be mistaken, it was live as hell tonight, but there was no fear. We had accepted our fate, but we were gonna turn up because if you’re gonna die you better die turnt that’s how you get into heaven.

Playing on behalf of your favorite neighborhood bar where you drink $3 tall boys and mingle with fellow degenerates and watch SportsCenter on mute while you silently lament how your life became “this,” the Blazers jumped out to a quick lead for the first time in the entire series over the Texas-funded developers who will soon turn the site of your favorite neighborhood bar into a giant construction site decorated with scaffolding covered in “Popovich Construction” banners until it’s finally replaced by 35-unit luxury apartment structure with a Panera Bread underneath. Fucking Tony Parker loves Panera Bread.

There was actually a competitive basketball game happening in the soon-to-be Panera Bread for a good 2 ½ quarters, THAT IS UNTIL WILL BARTON HAPPENED (and Thomas Robinson). The main Blazers all played well. I can list their names but you know who they are. I will say that Nicolas Batum played impassioned defense on Parker and Ginobli and had 14 points, 14 rebounds, and 8 assists. Man, he always has the most beautiful lines in the box score. Hang that shit up in MoMA. Watch an art student stare at it for 30 minutes then cry. “IT’S SO UNIVERSAL AND PERSONAL AND UNCOMPROMISING.” Meanwhile in the big room, the weird smelly people who snuck in on the free admission day and never left are still frozen and mesmerized by the performance of one Will The Thrill The People’s Champ Trill Barton.

With Mo Williams nursing whatever he’s nursing (groin I think? HEY ESPN IS THAT DIRECTION, NERD), Barton stepped into Mo’s minutes as primary creator when spelling Lillard and as wacky scorer when next to Lillard, and holy shit he did really well. 17 points and a runaway playoff win speak for themselves but allow me to speak further. When running the point, Barton was basically given a horse that he promptly climbed inside at a sub-molecular level and changed its genome and all of a sudden he was riding a Pegasus-like winged equine beast that no longer had a head because it was too in tune with the universe to have need for a head but it did have a few extra legs and used those legs to score a series-best 11 fast break points – and while next to Lillard, he was the hot sauce on the hash browns, so to speak.

For nearly the entirety of the season, Mo Williams has been derided by fans for his apparent duality between viable scoring option and turnover-prone madman. He typically can only manage one facet of his basketball personality per game, which is what makes him such an unpredictable and frustrating player. Barton, however, seems to possess a similar duality between wild scorer and savvy creator, but he moved between the two in this game with such ease and self-awareness that—well, maybe take your time to get healthy, Mo. Lastly we get to Thomas Robinson, who was the only bench player other than Barton to score, even though his line in the box score said only, “Turnt.” So yeah, it was a fun wake.

GAME 2, SPURS 114 – TRAIL BLAZERS 97: TWANG

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Well, the Blazers lost again. But instead of a total blowout, it was only kind of a blowout! In #fact, let’s half fill up our glasses and look at all of the #positive #basketball #improvements shown tonight (there’s not actually that many so this shouldn’t take that long which is nice because I don’t really want to talk about this game very much anyway). Last game, the Spurs thoroughly destroyed the Blazers from the moment the older gentleman in the NBA-issued v-neck tossed the ball skyward. But tonight, with Wes Matthews instead of Damian Lillard checking Tony Parker from the start, the Blazers hung around, they traded buckets, they grabbed some rebounds, they even got a couple stops, and they ended the first quarter down by just a cool three points.

They started the second half even better! The Blazers won the third quarter by a score of 20-17! 17 points! Defense! Standing in front of people! Good stuff! Even the fourth quarter, when the Blazers technically lost, the Spurs only outscored them 27-26. So yeah guys, the Spurs only edged the Blazers by one point over three quarters! That’s not bad at all! Turn that frown upside down! Actually, wait a sec before you do so. You may want to keep that frown for a moment longer.

 

[Lights dim. A lone spotlight shines down onto Pitbull, sitting on a stool in front of the stage. He raises his head slowly. His gaze is sad and blank. He seems draped in an invisible melancholy hue. A lone tear forms in the corner of one eye. He wills it away. From the back of the stage, in the darkness, Ke$ha begins to sing the dirge, “It’s going down, I’m yelling ‘Timber’…”]

 

Oh yeah, the second quarter………41-25, Spurs. In four and a half minutes, it went from a one-point game to an 18-point game. When the Spurs get going like that, uh—you remember like in Spanish class or French class or whatever when you would be listening to a recording of some native speaker and you would kind of understand at the beginning that they were talking about burritos or croissants or what have you, then you missed a couple words, then a sentence, then all of a sudden it’s just background jibberish while you find yourself mindlessly staring out the window and wondering if different types of birds have any prejudices towards each other or if they all respect each other equally as fellow birds? Robin Lopez knows what I’m talking about.

As ugly as it was to see the Blazers get – more or less – RUN, again, there were some fun moments towards the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth when it almost felt like the kind of weird game that someone would stumble across on League Pass in January when House Hunters transitioned into that lame renovation show but when this fictional person wasn’t quite ready to go to bed yet. The crowd had become disinterested, or at least quietly contented. Each team was emptying their bench – the Spurs because they were in the midst of a blowout, and the Blazers because Terry Stotts had nothing left to do except cry softly. Then all of a sudden, Will Barton started hitting shots, Thomas Robinson was doing that stuff he does, and San Antonio’s Patty Mills was doing everything in his power to keep the Spurs’ healthy advantage. If it wasn’t happening in a depressing playoff loss to the Spurs, I might have uttered a few hearty laughs at the scene on display. As it was though, the Blazers did manage to cut the lead back to single digits during that stretch and tease at making a total comeback, which they did not do. But that does bring me to one last point before we wrap this up and appreciate the rest of life, notably the things that don’t involve basketball, but yeah as I was saying:

Will Barton played exceptionally well – 13 points, 100% shooting from the field. He received some early minutes after a relatively strong Game 1 and even found some extended run with the starters after Mo Williams had to sit with a groin injury. Also, Thomas Robinson was the only player on the Blazers with a positive plus/minus rating, at +10. His line wasn’t great (2 points, 2 rebounds) but the impact of Thomas Robinson is not measured in the box score, it’s measured with Geiger counters by future generations. Now, to get to that point, Will Barton and Thomas Robinson need to get more run! Gregg Popovich knows everything the Blazers do and he’s already a sorcerer and the Spurs have thusly been Michelangelo freeing the angel from the Blazers’ defense (and offense). Terry Stotts needs to do something wild to shake things up, and Barton and Robinson only know how to do wild things and shake things up. Start Robinson over Lopez in Game 3. Yeah, I said it.

Oh btw there was a rattlesnake in Thomas Robinson’s locker before the game and had it bit him, he could have been in some real health trouble. LOL! The NBA! I love this game!

GAME 1, SPURS 116 – TRAIL BLAZERS 92: ALWAYS NEVER THE SAME

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Oh thank God for the San Antonio Spurs! Playoff basketball is normally such a brutal, miserable emotional experience filled with so much tension. I’m not really like a doctor or anything but I can’t imagine watching most playoff games with an emotional investment can be a healthy thing for the human body. I had a stomachache last week and I went on WebMD and at first it told me I had a brain tumor and I was like, “Word? Are you sure?” Then it said, “Wait, nah—just a classic case of Mo Williams. You have 6 months to live.” :(

Even the wins wreak havoc on the body. Damian Lillard series-winning, buzzer-beating, three-pointers are spectacular moments of elation. So many chemicals of excitement pulsing through the veins. So much work for the liver or pancreas or whatever organ makes the excitement chemicals to do. It’s like a sweatshop in there. Working conditions are poor. Attempts at unionization are quickly struck down.

But then, behold, a hero of the workers! A liberator of your liver or pancreas or whatever! The San Antonio Spurs, the planet’s most noble attempt at a perfect basketball team, remove all tension and emotions from basketball by turning winning into inevitability. To doubt that they will beat your team is simply foolish. The resulting disappointment and negative health affects from fostering such misguided hope are not covered under any insurance plan. I guess you could do some kind of John Q situation, but that’s beside the point! Accept their liberation! Be free!

The Spurs beat the Trail Blazers by quite a few points on Tuesday night and the score wasn’t even that close. Everyone on the Spurs played ridiculously well and everyone on the Blazers EXCEPT WILL BARTON WHO SCORED 9 POINTS ON 3/3 SHOOTING FROM 3-POINT RANGE I SEE YOU WILL played pretty badly. Even mighty LaMarcus Aldridge, who tallied 32 points on 25 shots, still managed a team-worst -23 rating. Though his rating might have been more of an indication of playing heavy minutes against the Spurs starting lineup who were pretty much invincible. Though even their backups were invincible. Marco Belinelli was terrific, as was Aron Baynes. Said Tim Duncan after the game on the former Washington State Cougar, “Aron was awesome. He came in there with his big body…” I just wanted to cut that quote right there but Duncan went on to elaborate what Aron did with his big body – mainly scoring points, rebounding, playing defense, and assorted other basketball tasks. It was a bad night for the Blazers in every way.

Once again though, don’t let that get you down! Be happy that you weren’t teased along with false hope and building tensions before a suddenly crushing defeat sent you on a spiral of despair into the deepest cuts of the great Natalie Imbruglia songbook! The Spurs care about you! They crush your optimism as quickly as possible so you can appreciate their mastery without the weight of uncertainty! The sun is going to set each night so you might as well enjoy the colors and the cool perfection of Tony Parker’s decision-making!

Game 2 is on Thursday.

GAME 6, TRAIL BLAZERS 99 – ROCKETS 98: DANCING CANDY

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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OH DID YOU NOT WATCH THE GAME AND YOU JUST GOT HOME AFTER A LOVELY EVENING AT THE THEATER WITH YOUR LADY AND NOW YOU ARE WONDERING WHY YOUR NEIGHBORS ARE IN YOUR LIVING ROOM AND YOUR COUCH IS ON FIRE AND THEY’RE DANCING AROUND IT NAKED WITH ALL THEIR WES MATTHEWS TATTOOS SHOWING WHILE YOUR CAT LOOKS ON WITH A LOOK OF WILD GLEE LIKE HE HAS CONSUMED ENOUGH CAT NIP TO GO GET A DAMIAN LILLARD CAT TATTOO AKA A CATTOO ON HIS CAT PARTS AND MAYBE BURN DOWN A CAT COUCH TOO YEAH THAT MIGHT BE CAUSE FOR CONCERN WELL SIT DOWN AND I WILL TELL YOU HOW THAT HAPPENED BUT BE EXTRA SEATED DOWN BECAUSE THERE ARE GHOSTS IN THIS STORY AND ALSO BEFORE WE GET INTO IT YOU SHOULD KNOW IT IS PRETTY POWERFUL STUFF FOR BRAIN TO HANDLE SO QUICK QUESTION HAVE YOU EVER DRANK AYAHUASCA WHAT NO YOU HAVE NOT OH WELL OK YOU WILL PROBABLY BE ALRIGHT.

OUR STORY BEGINS IN 1977 WHEN THERE WAS THIS COACH WHO WAS ALSO A DOCTOR OF EDUCATION AND HE WORE A LOT OF AGGRESSIVE PLAID AND HE WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP IN 1977 AND PORTLAND LOVED THAT CHAMPIONSHIP SO MUCH THAT THEY RUSHED THE COURT AND CARRIED PLAYERS OFF AND RETIRED THEIR NUMBERS LIKE ALL OF THEIR NUMBERS EVEN THE DUDE WHO FIXED BILL WALTON’S BIKE ONE TIME HE GOT HIS NUMBER RETIRED TOO FOR REAL THERE IS A BANNER UP THERE THAT SAYS #GUYWHOFIXEDWALTONSBIKETHATONETIMEREMEMBERMENONOTTHATDUDETHEOTHERDUDEWHOFIXEDHISBIKETHEOTHERTIME SO NO ONE CAN EVER WEAR THAT JERSEY AGAIN UNLESS HE GIVES HIS PERMISSION BUT ANYWAY YEAH THE CITY LOVED THAT TEAM SO MUCH THAT THE LOVE WAS REALLY DEEP AND KINDA PSYCHO AND LASTED FOR OVER 30 YEARS AFTERWARDS EVEN WHEN THE TEAM WAS NOT VERY GOOD BUT THEN A COUPLE DAYS AGO THAT COACH WHOSE NAME WAS DOCTOR JACK RAMSEY DIED AND HIS DEATH WAS SAD FOR THE NORMAL REASONS OF SADNESS WHEN SOMEONE DIES EVEN AFTER A LONG LIFE WELL LIVED BUT IT WAS ALSO SAD TO A LESSER DEGREE BECAUSE HIS DEATH REPRESENTS A KIND OF DISCONNECTION WITH THAT CHAMPIONSHIP HERITAGE ESPECIALLY AS THE TEAM HAS BEEN CHRONICALLY DISAPPOINTING PRETTY MUCH EVER SINCE THAT CHAMPIONSHIP AND HAS FAILED TO WIN A PLAYOFF SERIES SINCE 2000 AND IN 2000 THEY WERE ON THE DOORSTEP OF THE NBA FINALS AND A CERTAIN CHAMPIONSHIP BECAUSE THE EASTERN CONFERENCE WAS MADE OUT OF PAPER MACHE AND POPSICLE STICKS BUT THEN OH SORRY THAT IS ALL THE SPACE WE HAVE IN THIS PARAGRAPH SO YEAH THERE IS SOME HEAVY CONTEXT HERE.

THE BEST BLAZERS MOMENT SINCE 2000 AND TBH I THINK IT WAS THE BEST MOMENT IN MY LIFE CAME IN 2011 WHEN BRANDON ROY WAS GIFTED BY WHATEVER HIGHER POWER YOU CHOOSE TO BELIEVE IN FYI FOR ME THAT POWER IS CALLED RASHEED WALLACE BUT YEAH WHOEVER YOU CALL THE ALMIGHTY GIFTED BRANDON ROY ONE LAST MOMENT OF YOUTH IN GAME 4 AGAINST DALLAS AND HOLY SHIT THE BEST BLAZERS MOMENT I CAN REMEMBER WAS GAME 4 OF A SERIES THE BLAZERS LOST DO YOU REALIZE HOW BLEAK IT IS TO BE A BLAZERS FAN YOU STRAW MAN WHO SKIPPED GAME 6 TO TAKE TO THE THEATER WITH YOUR LADY AND LEFT YOUR CAT AT HOME TO GET ALL PYROTECHNIC AND WEIRD WITH YOUR NAKED NEIGHBORS AND THEIR WES MATTHEWS INK SORRY I WILL TRY NOT TO JUDGE BUT YEAH THAT BRANDON ROY GAME 4 WAS SPECIAL BECAUSE OF WHAT IT MEANT FOR ROY AND WHAT ROY MEANT FOR PORTLAND AND LOOK THE PROMISE OF THE FUTURE BY THAT POINT WAS DEAD THE BLAZERS WERE NOT GOING TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP AND ROY’S CAREER WAS PRETTY MUCH OVER WE KNEW THAT BUT EVEN IF THE TEAM COULD NOT ACHIEVE GREATNESS AND ROY BECAME A TRAGEDY AND WOULD NEVER REACH OR SUSTAIN AT THE LEVEL OF HIS CONTEMPORARIES HE STILL DESERVED A MOMENT OF IMMORTALITY AND AS MAGICAL AND TOUCHING AND END OF FIELD OF DREAMSY TEAR INDUCING AS THAT MOMENT WAS IT WAS ONLY A PERSONAL REDEMPTION FOR BRANDON AND MAYBE FOR US TOO BUT MEANWHILE THE TEAM WAS STILL NOT IN A GREAT PLACE AND VERY MUCH IN NEED OF ITS OWN BROADER REDEMPTION.

ON FRIDAY MAY THE SECOND IN THE MOLA RAM CENTER WHERE BEATING HEARTS ARE RIPPED OUT AND SACRIFICED TO MYSTERIOUS GODS THE BLAZERS FOUND THEMSELVES DOWN BY TWO WITH .9 SECONDS LEFT AND SURE YOU MIGHT BE ASKING HOW EVERYTHING HAPPENED IN THE PRIOR 47 SOME ODD MINUTES TO GET THEM THERE BUT FIND THAT PLAY-BY-PLAY SHIT ELSEWHERE I AM TALKING ABOUT FEELINGS HERE SO WITH THE BLAZERS DOWN 2 AND NICOLAS BATUM INBOUNDING ON THE SIDE IN FRONT OF THE ROCKETS BENCH AFTER A TIMEOUT THE REST OF HIS TEAMMATES WERE MOSTLY CLUMPED OVER ON THE OPPOSITE WING WHERE DAMIAN LILLARD CAME OUT TO THE THREE POINT LINE AROUND A DOUBLE SCREEN AND MAYBE WAS AIDED BY SOME DEFENSIVE CONFUSION BETWEEN PATRICK BEVERLEY AND CHANDLER PARSONS BUT THEN AS LILLARD CAME ACROSS THE TOP OF THE ARC TOWARDS THE INBOUNDS IT LOOKED LIKE HE HAD SOME SPACE AND THEN THE PASS FOUND HIM RIGHT THERE DEEP ON THE LEFT WING AND HE ROSE OVER A DESPERATELY STRETCHED PARSONS AND THE BALL LEFT HIS HAND AND IT HUNG IN THE AIR AND ALL OF A SUDDEN IT FELT LIKE IT HAD TO HAPPEN LIKE THIS THAT IT COULD NOT HAVE JUST BEEN LIKE A SIMPLE 8 POINT WIN AND ESPECIALLY NOT A SIMPLE 8 POINT WIN ON THE ROAD IT HAD TO HAPPEN HERE IN PORTLAND ON A RIDICULOUS LAST SECOND SHOT IN FRONT OF A PACKED HOUSE THE SAME SPIRITUAL HOUSE THAT HAD ONCE RUSHED THE COURT AND SCALED THE BACKBOARD AND CARRIED OFF BILL WALTON I MEAN REALLY COULD BREAKING THE 14 YEAR DROUGHT AND LIFTING THAT FEELING OF DREAD HAPPEN ANYWHERE ELSE OTHER THAN HERE CMON THIS IS PORTLAND WHERE BASKETBALL FANDOM IS A GENUINELY MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE OF COURSE IT HAPPENED LIKE THIS OF COURSE THE SHOT FELL THROUGH THE NET AND THE PLACE BURST INTO SCREAMING HUGS AND DAMIAN LILLARD GRABBED THE PA MIC AND YELLED RIP CITY TO WHOEVER WAS STILL CONNECTED TO EARTH.

NICOLAS BATUM WALKED OFF WITH A STRANGE CALM ALMOST IMMEDIATELY AFTER PASSING THE BALL TO LILLARD BEFORE THE SHOT EVEN FELL AND AFTER THE GAME HE DESCRIBED WHAT HE SAW AND YO THIS IS A REAL QUOTE NO JOKES HE REALLY SAID THIS AS QUOTED BY THE GOD ERIK GUNDERSON OF THE COLUMBIAN, “DR. JACK, HE PUSH THAT SHOT IN FOR DAMIAN. THANK YOU, DR. JACK.”

YEAH, THANKS DR. JACK.

 

OH MAN GHOSTS AND LAST SECOND SHOTS AND SO MANY FEELINGS AND THIS WAS JUST THE FIRST ROUND YO THE PLAYOFFS ARE FUN LETS DO MORE PLAYOFFS.

GAME 5, ROCKETS 108 – TRAIL BLAZERS 98: THANGS DONE CHANGED

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Am I scared? Yeah, I’m pretty scared—very scared. The Blazers allowed a team with two of the league’s top players to taste the sweet refreshment of life and now if the Blazers lose game 6 at home on Friday then it goes back to Houston on Sunday and OMG—wait, that was your question, right?

Jeremy Lin had 21 points and LaMarcus Aldridge had 8 points and you know what that’s pretty much a recap right there let’s give that its own paragraph and move on.

Well now that you know everything important that happened in the game, let’s talk about some other less important things that happened.

Dorell Wright had 1 point, 0 rebounds, and 0 assists. None were particularly memorable. He did manage a -19 rating in 11 minutes, somehow. Overall, Wright has been a bright spot of the series for Portland, but the early second quarter was not kind to anyone.

Wes Matthews played very, very, very well. Very well. 27 points, 5-9 from 3-point range, 3 blocks! He very nearly dragged the Blazers to a win that they most certainly did not deserve. Send him your praise and your gift cards to stores that have good deals on peanut butter, as well as good selection. Chunky, creamy, the weird natural stuff that separates so you gotta stir it, all that. Wes seems like a man who likes peanut butter and he deserves a lot of peanut butter.

Damian Lillard also played well – 26 points – but he doesn’t seem as deep into the peanut butter scene as Wes. Give him something else, instead. Egg rolls, perhaps. Everyone likes egg rolls. Egg rolls are fucking delicious.

Everyone in Houston wore shirts that said, “Clutch City,” as part of some kind of handbag-related promotion. You know, ladies like to bring smaller handbags to the club. Anyway, speaking of handbags, Mo Williams was terrible! Like really, really bad! 4 points in 20 minutes, 2-7 shooting, 3 turnovers, 1 assist, a -17 rating! After spending the lead-up telling every media person (well…not EVERY media person L) about how he was setting up a vacation home in Troy Daniels’ head, and generally presenting himself as an expert manipulator of the media a la Kris Kardashian or Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But rather than parlay some fireside chats into three terms as president of the United States, Mo just talked a lot of shit about some dude that was playing in the Rio Grande Valley last week and then got outplayed by that dude and, well, I think the official term is “he played himself.”

For the supposed veteran who would provide a steadying presence on and off the court, Mo’s maddeningly inconsistent play and now wild shit talking is starting to make Will Barton look like late-career Jason Kidd.

Speaking of The People’s Champ, he played the final two minutes of the game, unfortunately dropping his once undefeated postseason record to a sad 1-1.

As for the Rockets, Dwight Howard was good. Chandler Parsons was good. James Harden was quiet but decent enough. Omer Asik was around, and Jeremy Lin was surprisingly effective after spending the first four games of the series playing like he was wondering if maybe he should put his Harvard degree to use instead of waste his time with this “basketball” nonsense.

So what are the odds of LaMarcus disappearing, Lin exploding, the Portland bench scoring 5 total points, no one on the Blazers totaling more than 10 rebounds, only totaling 14 assists as a team, and all of these other things happen again? I don’t know. I’m not that good at math anymore. I’m just scared.