Your daily (Mon-Fri) roundup of links from around the blogosphere, typically Trail Blazers related.
Portland vs. Oklahoma City
What a weekend for the Trail Blazers, who have gotten red hot at exactly the right time. It should remind you of last season, where, at this very same time, Portland got in a rhythm, and closed on a tear.
• The Oregonian’s Jason Quick reports that Portland’s recent infusion of experience is serving them well:
Remember, it was just last season when the talk around the Blazers was how the roster was so young and inexperienced. But with offseason signings of Miller and Howard, and a midseason trade that netted Camby, the Blazers are starting to look like the perfect blend of youth and savvy.
“We are in a rhythm,” Miller said. “I’ll say that. We are finding our rhythm.”
• Kelly Dwyer says the Blazers did it with defense. Let me take a second to say that I really appreciate how much Dwyer advocates pace-adjusted statistics. Every single time Dwyer does a “Behind the Boxscore” on the Blazers he mentions pace-adjusted statistics, and I’m grateful for it because of the off chance that a play-by-play announcer or a beat journalist will read it and learn something. Perhaps then I won’t have to cringe when an announcer calls Portland “One of the best defenses in the league,” and cites points allowed, or when a journalist claims that the Blazers’ offense needs work while their defense is stellar. These guys have one job, and that is to keep fans informed about basketball. Mike Barrett does a fantastic job of incorporating pace-adjusted statistics into his play-by-play and every time I listen to a particularly bad opposing announcer, I silently thank him for it. Also, if anyone is looking for a play by play announcer, I’ve been working on my “Bill Walton voice.”
• SJ from Rip City Project says last night, Portland always had an answer. Which was good, because Kevin Durant was damn sure asking some hard questions of the Blazers’ defense in the third quarter.
• Sebastian Pruiti of TrueHoop Network sister blog NBA Playbook breaks down exactly what happened on the Thunder’s last possession. Sebastian does not care for the time-intensive plays that Oklahoma City coach Scotty Brooks has been drawing up at the end of games.
• For the Oklahoma City perspective, check TrueHoop Network sister blog Daily Thunder. Did I ever mention that I had the misfortune of being born in Oklahoma? Well I was, and it wasn’t my fault. I got out as fast as I could.
Portland vs. New Orleans:
• There was another game this weekend, and it was beautiful, unless, of course, you’re a Hornets fan. Check TrueHoop Network sister blog Hornets247 to reminisce how it feels to be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. It’s a recent memory that many Portland fans have not forgotten.
• Coup from Rip City Project has been breaking down film as of late and says that Aldridge and Miller are not too shabby at defending the Pick and Roll.
• Wendell Maxey thinks the Blazers might go for 50 wins. We agree.
• Dave from BlazersEdge breaks down the seeding battle and takes into account tiebreakers like the division title, an empty crown according to Henry Abbott over at the TrueHoop Motherblog.
• NBA.com’s David Aldridge has a must read article on the embattled Kevin Pritchard.
• Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post reports on Portland’s rumored interest in Mark Warkentien. However, in another example of someone paid to inform a fanbase simply not taking the time to practice due diligence, Dempsey gets his facts wrong. First, Dempsey claims that Larry Miller was fired and that LeGarie is Miller’s agent as well:
Currently, Kevin Pritchard is the Trail Blazers’ general manager. But after team president Larry Miller was recently fired, Warren Legarie — agent for Miller and Pritchard — openly wondered if his other Trail Blazers client was next. (Emphasis Added)
To his credit, Dempsey did correct his article, however, he got it wrong again, this time elevating Tom Penn to Team President and again claiming that Miller’s agent is Warren LeGarie:
Currently, Kevin Pritchard is the Trail Blazers’ general manager. But after team president Tom Penn was recently fired, Warren Legarie — agent for Miller and Pritchard — openly wondered if his other Trail Blazers client was next. (Emphasis Added)
I’ll be honest, after a few minutes on Google, I am still not sure who Larry Miller’s agent is, or even if he has one, though I’m sure that if I send an email or two to people who know, they will direct me in the right direction. However, I’m pretty sure Miller’s agent isn’t LeGarie, because surely Jason Quick, Dwight Jaynes, or somebody would have mentioned Penn, Pritchard, and Miller sharing an agent. Do you see what I did there? I took the time to check my facts before publishing something, and since I wasn’t sure of the answer, I made sure to include a statement to that effect.
• Now, I know that if the Spurs had lost it would bode better for Portland’s playoff seeding odds, however, I just can’t root for the Celtics. I just can’t. That is why I jumped for joy when Manu Ginobili crushed Kevin Garnett’s soul.
• Confused by who owes whom what picks and under what protection? DraftExpress has you covered.