BLAZERS AT BULLS PREVIEW: CHATTING!

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(Good afternoon. I spoke, over email, or I emailed over email, with RJ Casey, the proprietor of Yeti Press, a comics publisher based out of Chicago, about tonight’s Bulls/Blazers game. These are the fruits of that labor.)

CORBIN: Hey sorry I took forever I went to buy protein powder. I can’t drive, so I had to walk. We, me and you, are doing an email chain to talk about this Blazers/Bulls game before it happens, no? What are you feelings? Search the deepest part of your soul, RJ, and tell me of your Bulls.

RJ: The Bulls ARE my soul. I look at the Bulls as a mirror to my life’s progression and benchmarks. In elementary school, when I was full of promise and sunniness, I had the ineffable ’90s Bulls. As I entered middle school, the legends bailed and I was left with a cicada shell of Ron Harper. This of course coincides with all the terribleness of junior high and really hits rock bottom with the signing of Ron Mercer overlapping with me getting my shoes peed on in gym class. As I entered high school, the “Baby Bulls” were still in their infancy with Captain Kirk leading the way. Just about junior year in high school I started looking girls in the eyes and gaining confidence. This was about the time Ben Gordon was hitting actual field goals and Andres Nocioni was looking like he bathed in chum. I was in college when the Bulls selected Rose and the push yourself with no regards to the inevitable setbacks mentality has informed my adult life. I might as well have that picture of Luol Deng in the hospital bed dripping spinal fluid framed in my apartment.

But this year – this year we have Pau.
I’m nervous about this game though. The Bulls are coming off looking pretty good against the Nets, but they were looking pretty good against the Nets. Your Blazers are going to be the in bounce back mindset. The “we gotta win this one if we want to look at ourselves as contenders” mentality. That’s always scary for the opposing team.
CORBIN:”My” Blazers? Do I like the Blazers? I can’t tell anymore. I have begun to resent their consistency like the way a rebellious teenager resents a good, caring parent who always wins at home and usually makes quick work of inferior opponents. I suppose they do need to whoop on the “Good” Eastern Conference team to keep pace with the other marauding T-Rexes that are playing in the West, marching up and down human roads, ripping off heads, sipping blood like tea. They did just take a dumb schedule loss to the wolves so I guess they could come out a little more jacked than usual.

Who is on the Bulls again? I don’t watch them because I am still bitter about 91′. “But Corbin, you were three at the time,” say the haters who doubt my deep Blazermania. Mirotic? He’s like a stretch four? Kirk Heinrich isn’t still around, right?I don’t know if my son can handle his horrible visage again.
RJ: Kirk Hinrich IS still around, playing serious minutes, and preparing for his next roll as the United Center’s own Marley’s ghost. He’s even got the rec specs/mouth guard look going which adds to his whole weirdo heel aura. As of a few weeks ago, Mirotic was the only rookie with a few double-doubles on his resume. I’m hoping he turns out as charming as he seems. We rely on the hydra of Rose, Noah, Butler, and Gasol. When you cut off one of it’s heads, Taj Gibson tomahawk dunks out of the open wound. Keep in mind that this hydra is often injured and plays like 46 minutes a game.

We also have Mike DunTHREEvy, Aaron Brooks, Little Dougie McDermott, and some real ugly guys who barely get any minutes coming off the bench. Those are the best type of bench players.
Do you think Noah and Lopez trade hair tips or hitchhike to moe. concerts together?
CORBIN: /shudder “Double-Double.” Hickson flashbacks. I need to drink a sip of tea. That’s a unit, the size of a single sip of tea, I keep in a sip sized container. It’s extremely wasteful.

You know I don’t think a moe. concert is Robin’s scene. More of a power pop guy. Has certainly listened to a They Might be Giants record in his life. I think you get Robin at a moe. show, he enjoys it for a while, then the pipes come out, room is choked in that sweet smoke, he says “Oh, hey, pot, alright, cool. Hey, no thanks, but man you guys do what you have to do!” Then he leaves before the second set. Noah, on the other hand, he probably bring his own bong-os, which is a bong that is also bongos.
Is it safe to say The Bulls haven’t stormed out of the gate? Is there a sense that this is a major thing, they were overprojected, or that they’re just rounding into shape?
Also, what is being investing in an East team like? Less terrifying but ALSO a little less exciting, or what? Do these games mean anything? Does any basketball game mean anything? Does anything mean anything?
RJ: Can I see a blueprint for these “bong-os,” please? You better get a design patent on that before I take it to Shark Tank.

The Bulls have been doing well. I feel like they’ve been overlooked a bit so far this season due to the Hollywood Cavs in the same division and the Bulls never able to play the same lineup in back to back games. I always expected Butler to be a Tony Allen Lite, but he racking up over 20 points a game. Pau’s looking revitalized after grabbing a lifeboat and leaving the sinking shit ship in LA. It all depends on Rose’s crumbly, little ligaments though.
The state of the East notwithstanding, I want to see the Bulls win every single game because Tom Thibodeau wants to win every single game. He’s the anti-Pop because every game is the fiery apocalypse. If Thibodeau was in the fable The Tortoise and the Hare, he’d be the hare, but get to the end of the race, rush back while screaming himself hoarse, pick up the tortoise, and then carry him back to a foot in front of the finish line contracting plantar fasciitis on the way. I’m really not sure if that analogy works at all, but Thibs is out of his mind.
CORBIN:
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Once, a told Thibs that he could have all of the success in the world if she submitted to her curse. The majik lives deep in his blood and drives him to go harder 100% of the time. Here is a picture of the witch:
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RJ: “We should have never, ever let Michael Jordan play for the Wizards.” – Kanye West

TIMBERWOLVES 90, TRAIL BLAZERS 82- DROP OUT OF LIFE

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If you read someone, anyone, making a big deal out of this loss, you should rip their tooth out and show it to them. You should say, “This is your tooth, I have taken it from you. This is a big deal. That loss was not a big deal. That loss was absolutely nothing. It didn’t even happen.” When he rolls on the floor in front of you, blood pouring out of his mouth, he will understand so many things all at once. He will, first off, understand true pain and the nature of true pain. This transcendent experience will take him to other places, giving him a deeper respect for life, a deeper love for his family, an understanding of the interconnection of all people. He will understand what a cruel and impulsive person you are, and if he read this article first, he will understand the persuasive sway I have over people. He will come to respect and fear me. If he sees me walking down the street, he will run into an alley and mute his breath out of fear that I will see him and unleash my fury, or my influence over the people of the internet, on him once more. And understand this, reader, doer of my bidding: I will unleash on him like a nightmare hurricane if given even half a chance. I will make all of Portland metro fear me, respect me. “Fear is the only true respect.” -Ghandi. Not the one you’re thinking off, I am talking about Donald “The Tank” Ghandi, the beloved pro wrestler. Here is his signature move:

Anyway this was the schedule-lossyest schedule loss of all time. The Blazers are one of the best rebounding teams in the league; they gave up 20 offensive rebounds. They sleptwalked through the first half and almost caught up in the second because the Wolves aren’t good at executing. They shot 28% from three, which is either the providence of luck or the product of tired-ass legs, depending on how much you cling to cause and effect relationships in sports. It’s probably both.

My only bone to pick is that the Blazers didn’t lose this game faster. They were down 20-ish in the third, and the Wolves couldn’t put them away. The Blazers play so many minutes, they needed a rest. Why couldn’t those young men do them a favor and gently send them to sleep?

Hey, why were the starters even playing? Back to back in Minnesota, who are terrible let’s see what the bench’s fresh legs can do! Here are the benefits of sitting two or three starters:

  1. Rest! It works!
  2. Bench players get some run! Let’s see what they can do when they’re not living in fear of the hook! Maybe it will help them be better!
  3. It would be more fun to watch than a slog-ass game like the one I just watched!

WHAT ARE THE DOWNSIDES?

  1. Wahh someone paid to see…

I ROUNDLY REJECT THE RIGHTS OF CONSUMERS. MONEY MEANS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

Anyway. schedule loss, who cares, if someone was paying me to freak out about it and say it indicated some deep flaw in the Blazers’ mettle or construction or whatever I would do that but they aren’t so I won’t. Onto whatever the next game is. Chicago, I think. God I hope Chicago gets beat something nasty.

(Also, several members of the Blazers wore “I Can’t Breathe” shirts in honor of Eric Gardner, who died while being subjected to an illegal chokehold for selling loose cigarettes by a New York Police Department officer in broad daylight on camera. The officer was not even indicted and made to stand trial, which is a travesty of justice. I encourage you to read about the shit-ass way American police officers treat people of color in every part of the country. Thanks.)

TRAIL BLAZERS 98 PISTONS 86- YOUR LADY

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I was about something in my post game bath. The reader of this entry PROBABLY watched the game I am recapping tonight. They AT LEAST watched the end. But since the beginning was on during West Coast work hours, there’s a PRETTY GOOD CHANCE you didn’t watch this game and you are coming to me, a writer you trust, for a snapshop of tonight’s events, a feelings of the emotional texture of the event.

As a mercy for this reader, I will write two (2) recaps tonight. One is the truth and one is a lie, and the reader can pick the one that they prefer to believe.

RECAP ONE: BLAZERS CLIMB MOUNTAIN, SPIRIT IN THE EYES OF THE GODS

It was a cold night in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Snow fell outside the stadium. Cars were trapped. Everyone was stuck, and the Pistons organization knew it. But there was a basketball game to be played, so they kept quiet and tossed the ball. Andre Drummond, “The Beast from Mount Vernon,” ripped the tip out of his hands, flew across the court on wings made from pure leg power and ramma-jammed so hard the whole building shook. THe snow on top of the building avalanched and buried everyone even deeper in the stadium. A miracle would be needed to save everyone. But there was a game to play, so they kept playing. The Blazers fought back. All kinds of lineups, all kinds of shots. At one point, Sotts and Stan Van Gundy were at a strategic stalemate, so they just met in the center of the court and played chess with each other to determine who would be allowed the next open shot. A level of competitive intensity I have never seen in my life.

Then, end of the game. Blazers down, 123-121. Lillard gets the ball at half courts, They pass it to everyone. The Pistons almost gets like 4 steals. It goes back to Lillard. One second left. Three guys draped all over him. He fades. It sinks. All of a sudden, a blast of hot air leaves the stadium. The snow melts. Everyone’s car is freed. They all stand up and applaud, because Lillard has freed them from this icy nightmare prison with his hot, hot shooting. A weary nation is inspired. We get our shit together. We end war. We feel compassions for out fellow man. ll because of one game, that you missed. Thankfully, I recapped it for you.

RECAP TWO: UGH, HORRIBLE.

Let’s talk about the broadcast for a second. It was weird. The cameras were set funny, so the entire court was slightly washed out. Entirely too bright, not even kind of natural. The lavalier microphones in the studio were broken so when they were going to the halftime show, it sounded like they were recording the sound with a  condenser microphone in an airplane hangar. Mike Barrett complimented himself on reading a promo early. Disconcerting setting.

This game was very bad. The Pistons are bad, but the Blazers didn’t take advantage and absolutely rake them, so it was just a bad team and another team kind of ineffectually coasting on through.

Lamarcus had 21 on 23 shots. He was so, so bad in the first half. Thankfully, Chris Kaman stepped up to cover for him because if he didn’t the Blazers might have lost to the Pistons. Don’t they understand that counts for like five losses in the West? Look at this shit:

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Slip up once out here, you wind up dead as hell. You think Dallas won’t put a knife in you!? They’ve already forfeited the right to challenge Golden State, that train has LEFT THE STATION forever. If they lose three games against the East this year, they will take the title away and award it to Memphis. Then, the Blazers will have to beat them in a seven game series on top of a mountain to take it back. It’s right there in the CBA, read it. I’ve read it. It’s interesting as hell.

The Blazers comfortably led for most of the game because the Pistons are bad. In the 4th Quarter, Van Gundy rode the bench and they made a good stab at stealing the game. It didn’t work, Batum made a three and Wes made a three and it was out of reach.

There were so many goddamn jump hooks in this game. Kaman, LMA, Monroe, Josh Smith, Drummond. They were all taking these swinging sump hooks in the lane all night. I think Lopez even took one. It is the TWENTY TENS and dudes are out here tossing up jump hooks like it’s just okay. Makes me sick.

Kaman took a one legged fadeaway:

The experience of watching this game can be simulated by playing this video on a giant tv, strapping yourself into a chair, and paying two children to hold your eyelids open for two hours. The Blazers played a totally average game against a shitty opponent who played shittily and won. If they have played better they could have banked some minutes for their fourth game in five nights on Saturday, but they didn’t.

There was a point in this thing where I thought, you thought, we all thought, “Christ, just rest everyone and see what happens, this is boring.” Would you rather see a C- win that looks like every other win, or a crazy Blazers flameout where Joel Freeland punches through the wall of his own ability and comes out the other side a broken and scarred and stronger man? The Pistons could have been the canvas to paint this masterpiece! BUT IT WAS TAKEN FROM US, BY TERRY! Ohhhhh Terry, why do you torment good people like this, Terry!? 

WHICH ONE WAS THE REAL RECAP? It doesn’t matter, reality is what you make of it. That’s what postmodernisim is.You live in it every day. Read Foucault, he explains it. But only in the French versions.

TRAIL BLAZERS 103 – KNICKS 99: I LEFT WITH A COAT HANGER

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The silver lining of being a traitor to the Pacific Northwest and living in New York now is that I was at this game, in section 226, which not coincidentally was named the Foxwoods Lucky Section. Despite Foxwoods being a casino, the latin word for “ornate money fountain,” we didn’t win anything. They put us up on the big screen, we cheered, and nothing else happened. Maybe this is how gifts are given here in this ruthless city: “Hey, this casino has decided to honor you as the the lucky section and your gift is that you have not yet died and are also at a Knicks game which you paid too much money to attend.” Rudy Giuliani is probably behind this.

The Knicks’ perfectly thorough dysfunction at every level of the franchise makes them the most entertaining show to experience through the common methods of television and Twitter and blogs––they are a television show and they are perfect at being a television show. But the barrier of the television screen creates the sense that the Knicks don’t really exist, like we’re watching a stereotyped and streamlined version of something we’ve collectively imagined. But guys, let me tell you, the television show has got nothing on the Knicks as live theater. And truly, the darkness in the arena and respectful silence early in the game creates a very formal and theatrical atmosphere. When Samuel Dalembert simultaneously performs a behind-the-back crossover at midcourt yet also gets called for an 8-second violation, it truly feels like a performance, a dramatic expression of Knicks, filled with historical weight and emotion.

The theater also extends to the crowd experience. There really was a woman in an Amare Stoudemire jersey in front of me who turned around and asked, in that sort of New York accent, “Really?” when she discovered she was sitting in front of Blazer fans. Someone directly behind me was asleep through most of the first quarter. There was a guy a few rows behind us who shouted instructions at various Knicks players during every possession (ex: “Yo, Melo! Hit em with that jab step! Jab step, Melo! Now post him up!”). There were also the bizarre “celebrity row” segments during timeouts, which were depressingly weird. Spike Lee was not in attendance so the in-game reporter had to hype up Monica Seles and some low cast member from SNL. What I’m trying to say is, the Knicks are more Knicks than even I could imagine.

If we evaluate this performance of theater as a basketball game, it was not a particularly good one. The Blazers shooters never really got going. LaMarcus did his LaMarcus thing but never entered the higher plane of LaMarcus in which his robotic perfection becomes like watching a Buddhist monk silently paint flawless circles. On the other side, we got some Carmelo isos, some JR Smith buckets (a dude in front of me said he saw JR at the club last night and I couldn’t tell if he was joking. BLESS YOU, KNICKS!), some questionable Jason Smith-heavy possessions, but nothing too ground breaking. But we shouldn’t be evaluating the merit Death of a Salesman by the sales techniques on display or evaluating Jersey Boys by whatever they do in Jersey Boys (sing? do drugs? idk).

Lastly, shouts to the dude in Foxwoods Lucky Section 226 who loudly and derisively called Steve Blake “white boy!” when Blake hit an important shot late in the second half.

BLAZERS 88 PACERS 82- CHERITH CUTESTORY

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Tonight, in Portland, Oregon, eyes were fixed to televisions everywhere s the Portland Trail Blazers went up against the rival Indiana Pacers. But in A M E R I C A, where Portland is nominally located, on the very edge, closer to Canada than “America Proper,” people afiex their eyes, and their hearts to ANOTHER live event. A television event that brings EVERYONE together. They were watching NBC’s PETER PAN LIVE!

Here is a list of everyone that was watching PETER PAN LIVE:

-”Girls” fans.

-Christopher Walken enthusiasts

-People who love musicals

-People who love pirates and hate children, and root for pirates to kill children

-People who love British children

-People who are taken away into a land of fantasy and wonder by sets that look more than a little like they were repainted flats from a soap opera.

-People who love wire flying

-Camp enthusiasts

-People who are ESPECIALLY into the musical theater person nailing every note they sing while the lead is a littttttttle flat over the court of the entire production

Now, I am ALL OF THESE THINGS*, so I have been looking forward to this night pretty much since the second they said that NBA would be doing live televised musicals every year. I played Leonardo Da Vinci in a musical once. I love musicals. If there was a different live musical on TV every night, I would ditch sports altogether and just watch musicals every night. I would be a fixture on TV Musicals Twitter, and write for all the big TV Musicals blog.

But, HO HUM, I am also a “Basketball Blogger” which mens I have to go through the DREARY AND DEPRESSING AND EMOTIONALLY, PHYSICALLY, SPIRITUALLY AND SEXUALLY DRAINING PROCESS OF RECAPPING GAMES FOR THE “Protlend Rundbells Shotiee” or whatever this thing is called. But I REFUSE TO miss the musical. THERE IS ONLY ONE A YEAR.

SO, for tonight’s recap, I watched the musical and flipped over to the game during commercials. I also red a stats sheet afterwards. But mostly, I watched the musical and recapped that. So, ENJOY!

FIRST QUARTER:

Peter Pan starts at eight and the Blazer game starts at seven, so I can watch the beginning of the game, I guess. Pan doesn’t ever stray far from my mind. Batum is playing well at the beginning of the game, which is good. Chris Copeland, the stretch four of note, posts up on Wes Matthews and it works from a “I am bigger than you” place but not really from a “I can do the thing where you turn around and take a shot” thing, whch looks horrible.

What if Mike Rice called Peter Pan? “Alison Williams doesn’t usually play boys, she mostly likes to play a 20-year old woman living and loving in Brooklyn, but you can see, she’ll put on a tunic and play a magical boy from time to time.” LMA is missing a lot of shots. (He will eventually miss fourteen and make seven and score 18 points.) David West sails a post entry pass out of bounds. Both offenses are totally locked up, 14-16 to end the quarter. At least there haven’t been any fouls. When does Pan start?

The Blimp fell down on everyone.

They drug it through the entrance.

Then, presumably they drug it through the concourse. The blimp was probably excited, because she just floats around the bowl then goes into her little hutch above everything. I watched her float up there once, and I watched a little tiny man pull her into her home. I hope she got some concessions.

SECOND QUARTER
God that first quarter was terrible. There was no scoring, no singing, no dancing. Christopher Walken was no where in sight. Okay, Steve Blake is a LITTLE Walken-y, but he isn’t diffuse enough by a mile. Joel Freeland is a British boy, but he’s not even a little androgynous. I mean, that’s fine for him, I hope he adapts whatever gender role he feel comfortable with, but as far as keeping myself sated while I wait for Pan to start.
Wes makes a good shot to make it 24-20. Joel Freeland runs the floor and gets a layup on the fast break. He jumps a little, but it’s not flight, he wasn’t on wires of anything. What if basketball players played with wires?
That would be pretty cool, if not exactly a “Test of athleticism and skill” that would qualify it as sports. Whatever, maybe it’s time for post-sports, like Stadium Wire Flight. The Portland String Jets.
Alan Crabbe cuts back door and catches a pocket pass from Batum, he throws it down for a dunk. It was a good play. The Blazers are catching up. If they open up a lead vein I can probably REALLY ignore this game and fully invest in PPL like my heart is crying out for me to do. Then the Pacers start to close the gaps. What if basketball WASN’T a game of runs, and team just heaped on lead after lead after lead until the other team was completely submitted and left the building in tears? Batum is playing well, for the first time in a while. He is clearly the Peter Pan of this group, because his eyes are so pretty.
Lillard makes a shot behind a Lopez screen AND IT’S EIGHT OCLOCK, BABY TIME FOR PAN.
The guy who played Von Trapp’s capitulating friend in last year’s Sound of Music production is back as the father guy. He is mad at a dog, who is an INSANELY GOOD DOG, he is big and fluffy dog. He is mad at the dog because it represents a threat to order. Is the dog possibly possessed by the spirit of Pan, a youthful anarchist if there ever was one? Even if it isn’t explicitly revealed, is it the true subtext of the work?
Is Alison’s hair too short? I think a modern Pan need long hair, like a hippie. Twitter begins to indicate that I am missing a fight in the Blazer game. Apparently Robin Lopez looks pretty furious, all stringy rage. Hey, now that I am thinking about it, Robin Lopez, that’s a good Peter Pan haircut. He lives in nature, a wildman cut. I have flipped over during the commercial, which features Sabrina the Teenage Witch shilling for Wal-Mart, which is a bad company that treats people poorly. I see that West has received a technical foul for the altercation. Lillard misses the tech free throw which, and I know this is crazy, but I really FELT like he was going to miss that free throw. It was probably a silly assumption, based on the GIGANTIC SWARTH OF TIME before the shot placing massive hooks on Dame’s shoulders. The Blazers go on a run after the tech, then Peter Pan realizes that he left Tinkerbell in a drawer. Tinkerbell is mad at Wendy because she is trying to get fresh with Peter. It was sort of like Rolo getting mad at David West.

THIRD QUARTER
Then, Peter Pan says “Come to Never-never land, so you can be our mom.” And Wendy, who is clearly into this guy is all “Okay, sure,” which, girl, you need to get your shit in order if you’re looking for a lover who will value you.” Okay so they start flying and you can see the wires, but this is THE POINT OF DOING A FILMED STAGE VERSION, THE WIRES ARE PART OF THE CHARM, and I go back to the Blazer game for a little bit. The Pacers are keeping Pace, and David West shoots a floater in the lane. It seems like the teams are getting hard as hell points, the Blazers aren’t making threes, the whole enterprise is stuck in mud. IF, Peter Pan arrived, he would give them fairy dust and they might fly, except that these are adults and they don’t have enough good thoughts to fly. When you grow up, you seem your mind is invaded by an army of garbage and it weighs on you until you’re dead. Even if you become a PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE, every boy’s dream, the joy is stripped away from the whole enterprise of sport and you see it for the cynical businesses it is as it puts you on the road for  decade and takes away your knees in exchange for mere money.
Back to Pan. Christopher Walken is playing Captain Hook. I wish no one had told me so I could have squealed with delight at the reveal. He is somehow simultaneously turned down to 3 and turned up to 50. Like, in the dancing scenes, he is definitely barely trying but barely trying with AN INSANE AMOUNT OF FLAIR, af if possessed by his own spirit.

FOURTH QUARTER
Is Captain Hook also kind of a lost boy? He’s in this world, too. When did he age? Was he once Peter Pan?  Hearing that Batum made a very improbable shot. I will watch it later. There is a taped live musical on.
Commercial Break, back to game. Portland has opened up a lead. Aldridge and Hibbert share a laugh. Hibbert drills two hooks shots. Aldridge isolates against Hibbert, maneuvers around him which. Wes rolls his ankle underneath Hibbert, who falls on his leg. Hibbert gets t’d up, and Lillard makes it. Lillard is shooting .500 on tech shots that I have watched.
Oh, police are gathering inside the concourse with riot gear on, because protesters have gathered outside the building. You see, a bunch of police officers have been killing black men for no reason for years and years and years, but recent non-indictments in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner have stoked people’s anger, so they are taking to the streets to voice their active displeasure with the police in America. This is good, protesting injustice is good. Of course, getting to the Rose Garden from Downtown Portland is really easy, Waterfront Park to the walking bridge up the path across the street. They are not letting people exit outside the main entrance where protesters are gathered. Police are wearing riot gear. Here is a picture of cops getting concessions, probably in the same booth the blimp ate at:

Wendy: “I’ll be your mother, as long as Peter is your father!”
Peter: (Puts on a top hat) “As long as it’s only pretend!”
Wendy needs to get this situation under control, her situation, I mean. This is sad.
Hook gets SO MAD that Wendy has become their mother. Doesn’t he realize that this will clearly defang the the lost boys?
Back to the game. Low scoring, Blazers up six with 23 seconds left. Foul game going on. Police staffing protests against the police is dumb. Maybe not THAT dumb because they are sort of the city’s security guards. But they probably don’t need riot gear to be security guards. Or guns, for that matter. They probably want protests to escalate.
Wendy is trying to educate the Lost Boys. It totally doesn’t work. Sort of like when a well meaning society tries to educate a police officers to be more sensitive and objective, but not really, because this is a cute play and that is real, actual problem.
The Blazers shot 19% from three. I didn’t REALLY watch the game, but that probably accounts for why they were so close with the Pacers. Part of that is that the Pacers LIVE to challenge three pointers. Now that George is out, and their offense is terrible (“I get the feeling you want to be something to me, but it’s not a mother….” “Oh it’s not for a lady to tell!” God, take some initiative, Wendy.) …and that, along with rim protection, is the only they they ARE good at this year. Part of that is also shitty luck.
Anyway, I am going to watch the rest of this musical now.
 
*alright, I only watched “Girls” once.

PACERS @ TRAIL BLAZERS PREVIEW: PINATA

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There was a 1986 movie called “Hoosiers” that was based on a true story (or the even better “inspired by a true story,” Hollywood-ese for Big Bag Of Lying Lies) about a small-town Indiana high school team becoming state champions. The movie was hailed as inspiring and timeless and such, as about one sports movie is labeled every year. The movie was fake in most details (such as racial harmony in Indiana during the period) and nobody could possibly watch it now. Sports movies are junk, people. Except “Cool Runnings,” because the screenwriter was living on a diet of heroin.

The Indiana Pacers and their fans believed that a disappointing Game Seven blowout by Miami in 2013 was only Step 2 of the fabled NBA Road To Destiny.

ROAD TO DESTINY:

1: Suck, draft superstar.

2. Make playoffs, Gain Playoff Experience.

3. DESTINY AWAITS.

As any NBA fan of any other team not currently living in that particular delusional dream can tell you, this is not how the NBA works. More than maybe any other major sports league this side of English soccer, the NBA reminds us of life’s glib cruelty. Unless you are extremely lucky you will probably have all your hopes ground into dust and pass your remaining existence wondering why you bothered. Feel bad about this if you wish.

Last season Indiana fans learned this lesson, or should have, and now they’ve had their souls covered in it. In practice for some ridiculously pointless World Basketballing Tourney Of Dancing Stars, Paul George’s cherished and exquisitely constituted physical form got mangled beyond description. He’s out for the year and will likely never be the same.

The NBA wants these international tourneys to sell more merch. Players who refuse to participate are criticized as being “selfish” or, in extreme cases, “not proud of representing America.” Let’s make up some numbers and imagine how an NBA player could possibly decline the opportunity to Play For The USA. Say, a tourney generates $4.5 million more in NBA revenue. That money gets split, roughly 50/50, among players and owners. The 30 owners (or ownership groups) would haul in $150,000 a pop, not money they need, but no rich asshole ever said no to more money. There are 450 NBA players, which means that revenue averages to, vis-a-vis contracts and bargaining agreements and such, $10,000 per player. So a guy like George should risk his livelihood, perhaps his passion, for $10K, plus, no doubt, a per diem. Every Pacers fan understands how stupid this is; I’m explaining it to you because I assume you’re not especially a Pacers fan. I may be wrong.

If the NBA season wasn’t so mind-numbingly, joint-stressingly long (it’s the longest of any season in any major world sporting league), maybe the NBA could have top teams participate in a world tourney of top teams from other leagues, that might be fun. Or, hell – just switch the world’s best non-US team with the NBA’s worst team every year. You wanna tank, Sixers? Fine. You get that high lottery pick, and your players get to spend the next year in Madrid or Rio. A silly notion, to be sure, but less silly than reforming the NBA lottery via some incomprehensible Fate Wheel.

Or ruining the Pacers by having Paul George break himself in twenty pieces so the NBA can expand its international jersey-buying customer base.

The Blazers should win this game by 30 points, but they’ll be lazy and only start trying when Indiana forces them to. You know this. I know this. The Blazers players and coaches know this. Aliens picking up and deciphering our wireless transmissions thousands of light years away will, in thousands of years, know this. It can’t be helped. I’m sure Terry Stotts has experts on call and strategies to peruse telling him how the Blazers can be more motivated against shitty teams. Maybe ten messages from Paul Allen daily. None of that stuff will ever work. This is sad but not as sad as life’s glib cruelty, so that’s a relief.

TRAIL BLAZERS 105, NUGGETS 103: MUSIC FOR 18 MUSICIANS

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10

shotchart

Look. I have been saying it forever, and this shot chart proves it.

You.

Win.

With.

Midrange.

Shooting.

The copious amount, insane amount, upsetting number, of missed three point shots by the Blazers tonight might SEEM like the kind of thing that would have killed them on any other night. But what they were was a blessing. Because it forced out heroes, and they are heroes, into the middle range, where they were able to twist the knife into the sadass Denver Nuggets and their leader, and figurehead, JJ Hickson.  The Blazers learned the magic formula tonight, the one that the old gods knew

.The Blazers will now storm into the playoffs and hoist the Larry O’Mitchell trophy. Congratulations to them on this historic night.

1

Look, this was the junkiest game of the year. The Blazers looked altitude tired. They committed approximately a thousand fouls. Both teams were posting up like someone was going to hand them gold bars as a reward for playing stagnant basketball after the game. The Blazers missed a (does calculations, consults graphs) “shit-ton” of threes.

Lamarcus Aldridge was voluminous, at least, with 39 points on 30, as in T-H-I-R-T-Y shots. That is so many shots. That is more shot than years old I am, and I am entirely too old to be writing a basketball blog for no money. He didn’t take all of these shots because he was yanking the ball out of his teammates hands, or anything, he took them because he was open. Very open. Open on purpose. The Nuggets were all “Nahh, we’re good, and even if we weren’t, JJ Hickson is guarding him and covering a guy in midrange isn’t a way to get a rebound so he probably won’t do that anyway. We pay JJ Hickson money because we have a deep contempt for the game of basketball.”

Robin Lopez scored a game winner on a VERY GOOD DIAGRAMMED PLAY by Terr-Bear that CALLED FOR LOPEZ TO GO TO THE BASKET and received a pass from Aldridge that he would shoot over, y’all guessed it, J-J H-I-C-K-S-O-N, the scourge of the 2012-13 Blazers, “JJ Sucks” carved deep into my armskin, “Death to the double-double” spoken in ink by a massive tattoo of Applejack across my back.

JJ Hickson committed THREE GOALTENDS in this game. Three! On his own! Entire games go by without goaltends! Teams can play a whole week and not commit a goaltend!

Also he dunked on Kaman, but who cares. It didn’t make him good at basketball. Here is a drawing of Kaman dunking on Hickson.

3

I have placed this drawing, and no other things, in a locked box that will resist fire or nuclear attack, and buried it deep underground. When civilization had ended, the history of the NBA has been lost forever, and the next species that rules Earth is excavating Hazel Dell, they will find this drawing. And the only thing they will know about the NBA is that, one night, JJ Hickson got mad dunked on by Chris Kaman, and that he was very tiny and wore short shorts and ate candy bars during games, like a child. History will laugh at this silly man for all eternity. His story will be retold in man reiterations, “The Man Who Got Dunked On” will be the tragic retelling, “The Silly Man’s Foolish Challenge of the BeastHuman” a comic retelling, “The Tradagidee of Kris Kamans and the Man Who Killed Him Because he was Embarrassed by how Bad he Got Sonned on a Night in December” a six act play with some, frankly, anti-semitic undertones. I regret that my creator will be used for these purposes, but I do NOT regret that my work will be used to shame the memory of JJ Hickson until the day the sun burns out and the Earth floats off into space until it gets hooked on to some other star’s gravitational pull.

Why was Hickson in!? Is Brian Shaw not hip to this “He is apocalypticly bad at defense”

Kaman was pretty bad tonight. This also happened at a point in the game where the Blazers decided to just go at JJ in the post over and over:

I will blame it on the mountain air.

Wilson Chandler had so many goddamn open shots. Oh my god, there were so many Blazers passes that just, whoosh, saaaaaaailed out of bounds on the baseline. The Blazers did not play well, at all. Yow know how many threes they missed? Me neither but they made four and they take a lot, so it was (A lot)-4 Also the Nuggets play “Push It” in their arena, and that is a song about sex and it made me very uncomfortable. There are children present. NBA teams should do more to make games family friendly.

4

69

I guess Rondo’s version was a LITTLE more extreme. Batum had a heaping of assists, because Aldridge was wide open all night. But he shot pretty poorly, and is still shooting poorly. Lots of back iron tonight. He was definitely passing out of good, open shots. At one point he passed up a pretty open three to shuttle it down to a posted up Joel Freeland, who missed the shot something fierce.

God, there were so many post ups in this game. Wes, Afflalo, Hickson , Kaman, Lopez, LMA, everyone. Is this what basketball was like in the 90’s? I am not sure i like it.

Mike Barrett lost his voice and there was absolutely no one else who could do his job, so he scratched his way through the broadcast and had Rice read the ad copy, which was very silly. A gutty performance.

In conclusion, junkiest game ever, and Robin got a game winner over Hickson. 8.75/10, would watch again.

TRAIL BLAZERS 107 – TIMBERWOLVES 93: RICHARD CONWAY REPORTING

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baseball_bobs_burgers_chain_link_fence_gene_belcher_Wallpaper_2560x1600_www.wallmay.net

(Helo! Since this was a Sunday game, tonight’s recap will be a visual depiction of the game prepared by the author during the contest. He would see something happen, draw it, then watch again until something else happened. He noticed and drew a lot of things, but missed many others. The drawings are presented in chronological order.)

FIRST QUARTER

1-1

(Rolo turns it over on the baseline)

1-2

(Mo Williams, returning to Portland in a new uniform, makes a pair of long two pointers. He has been drawn as a friendly dog.)

1-3

(Lamarcus, depicted as a pillar of water possessed by his spirit, makes a long two pointer.)

1-4

(Mo-dog, a ghost this time, makes another long two)

1-5

(Cory Brewer, depicted here as a giant rubber band, makes a shot at the rim.)

1-6

(Wes, drawn as a pair of lines that symbolize the arc of his body, misses a long, stepback three pointer.)

1-7

(Cory Brewer, still a rubber band, loses the ball. His body makes a “SPROING!” noise.)

1-8

(LMA makes a jumper through contact from Thad Young. LMA is a pillar of water reaching all the way to the rim, Thad is a tall chicken who is getting wet.)

1-9

(Mo, now a dog with aiming scopes for eyes, makes a three point shot.)

1-10

(Cory Brewer bricks a turnaround jumper.)

1-11

(Kaman gets his near the basket. The group of players who hit him are depicted as an asteroid.)

SECOND QUARTER

2-1

(Shabazz Muhammad, depicted here as an old man who is being perused by death*, dunks the ball.)

(*remember him lying about his age? GET IT!?)

2-2

(Kaman gently tips the ball in, like a baby in a crib.)

2-3

(Chase Budinger, depicted as a volleyball, commits a foul.)

2-4

(Batum, a cool dude in a beret, blocks Budinger, a volleyball, at the rim.)

2-5

(Crabbe hits a three!)

2-6

(Old man Shabazz tips in Volleyball Budinger’s miss.)

2-7

(Wiggins, a tall and friendly bear, misses a long two.)

2-8

(Friendly dog Mo juuuust misses a shot. Here is his human taking his food away.)

2-9

(Steve Blake serves up a an assist to powerful water golem Lamarcus Aldridge t end the quarter.)

THIRD QUARTER

3-1

(The Mikes mention that Lillard might be sick and I half hear it and draw a picture of sick Lillard)

3-2

(Terry, with a mullet and a purple suitl talks to the team.)

3-3

(Water golem LMA grabs a rebound.)

3-4

(Rubber Band Corey Brewer dishes an assist to Gourgi Dieng, who is the world’s worse looking corgi.)

3-5

(Old man Muhammad misses a put back.)

3-6

(Old man Muhammad catches Lillard looking and cuts to the rim for a dunk.)

3-7

(Mo-dawg misses a three pointer and a tricky squirrel.)

3-8

(Robbie Hummel, a big, white blob, enters the game.)

3-9

(Batum hits a two with his foot on the line. “Where is my third baguette?”

3-10

(Kaman fouls Dieng. I didn’t have the heart to draw the Corgi. It was horrifying in my mind.)

3-11

(Crabbe misses a three, and is turned into soup.)

3-12

(Wes Matthews, here an Iron Robot, makes a three pointer.)

FOURTH QUARTER

4-1

(Lillard just misses a three pointer. It left the party right as he arrived.)

4-2

(Kaman takes a free throw, from the bank.)

4-3

(Volleyball Budinger makes a layup by throwing himself into the rim.)

4-4

(Lillard, a floating hand, avoids contact, a brick, and makes a shot at the rim.)

4-5

(Robin loses a jump ball.)

4-6

(RoboWes makes a baseline jumper.)

4-7

(Lopez flails, as if shocked with a power line.)

4-8

(Batum breaks up a play on the fast break. This is a picture of him crumbling the word “PLAY” like bread crumbs. Does that make sense?)

4-9

(Water Golem LMA is fouled on a tip in.)

4-10

(Robin Lopez pushes Budinger in the back, spikes the volleyball that represents him.)

4-11

(Lillard picks off a long pass.)

4-12

(Mo dribbles the game out. Blazers win!)

GRIZZLIES 112, BLAZERS 99: AS IF YOU DIDNT KNOW THAT IT WOULD STING

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porco

DID YOU GUYS read about the pig that good therapy pig that got kicked off the plane today? I will be brief and explain what happened. There was a lady who was friends with a pig. A doctor gave her the pig because she was nervous all the time and the doctor knew the pig would keep her safe. This little pig wore a suit of armor and occasionally drew his little sword on the enemies of this lady, so she could be safe all day. One of her enemies on this airplane was an angry child who was setting off firecrackers in the cockpit. The pig lept out of the lady’s arms and drew his sword and held it to the child’s throat, which, inappropriate, but the kid WAS lighting firecrackers inside the cockpit and he was the creature best equipped to deal with that. Anyway this nice pig and the lady were shipped off the plane because this kid was a brat who loved firecracker, then the pig was arrested and is standing trial for threatening a human like Lassie in Son of Lassie.

Tonight I will be rating the performances of the players on this horrible, horrible team that has disappointed everyone and left many young children and old adults crying in a big building on a Friday night on a one to five good little warrior pigs scale:

DAMIAN LILLARD: TWO GOOD WARRIOR PIGS

Damian had good points on okay shots, I thought he was good. He missed two transition threes in a row, which was not warrior pig-like and disappointing but sometimes even good warrior pigs die in heated combat.

WES MATTHEWS: THREE GOOD WARRIOR PIGS

Wes has good points on great shots, I thought he was very nice, like three warrior pigs diverting a school bus full of children away from an old folks’ home and into an ocean, where there are 100 lifeguard pigs to rescue all of the children.

NIC BATUM: NO WARRIOR PIGS!!!!!!!!! NONE AT ALL!!!!!!!!

BATUM NEEDS TO GET IN TOUCH WITH HIS INNER WARRIOR PIG BECAUSE HE IS NOT MAKING ENOUGH SHOTS ESPECIALLY THREE POINT SHOTS TO MAKE THE TEAM. IF A TEAM IS A CARRIAGE BEING PULLED BY WARRIOR PIGS THAT HAS A SICK OLDER PERSON INSIDE OF IT ON ITS WAY TO THE HOSPITAL AWAY FROM THE YOUNG PERSON WHO IS TORMENTING THEM AND ONE OF THE PIGS IS ALL I DON’T WANNA PULL THE CARRIAGE AND HE STARTS TO NAP HE WILL BE STOMPED TO DEATH BY THE OTHER PIGS MARCHING FORWARD IN DUE DILIGENCE TO THEIR DUTIES AS WARRIOR PIGS AND LEFT BEHIND FOREVER WHILE THE CARRIAGE WITH THE NICE OLDER PERSON INSIDE OF IT DRIVES INTO THE OCEAN BECAUSE THAT PIG WAS A GOOD NAVIGATOR. NAVIGATING IS A METAPHOR FOR PASSING HERE.

LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE: ONE GOOD PIG, BUT NOT A WARRIOR

Lamarcus had points on same shots which is not good. He is a good pig but he cannot save his country from young person terrorists who want to invade America, our home, and murder all old people and eat their bones in lentil soups.

CHRIS KAMAN: A BAD HUNTER MAN

Chris Kaman is not a good pig, he is a bad hunter man who spent the night being beaten, ruthlessly, by a big, scary spanish pig with surprisingly soft hands. After he was beaten and bruised by the king og Spanish pigs, the King walked past his beaten body and said to gathered old people “You know your life could be better if you were to give me all of your money, like in a scam,” and they did it, they gave the Cruel God of Spanish Pigs all their money and he bathed in it and was covered in the filth of money for the rest of his life.

ROBIN LOPEZ: A WARRIOR PIG WHO HUNG OUT ON THE BENCH

Robin was like a Warrior pig who kind of sucks at post defense so they didn’t have him play against Gasol in the stretch. He is a warrior pig who can jump in the air but he can’t be a rock that stands in front of a lava flow that is approaching the old folk’s home and save them, so warrior pig commander made him sit on a warrior pig bench instead.

STRAY THOUGHTS:

-Warrior pigs are not fast enough to make shots in transition against violent lava pigs from the south, and took a lot of transition threes that they missed.

-There were more good, solid lava terrorist pigs on the court than warrior pigs, because they are better at recruiting and drafting pigs for their cause.

-Warrior pigs shot bad shots out of lots of shots from three. The violent lava pigs were covering and that was part of it, but god pig blocked some of the shots, too. Also Tony Allen made a three. God pig was deeply involved in this game.

-Lava Pigs are MAYBE the best team in the west and they have traditionally made work of warrior pigs so this isn’t that bad of a loss.

-The next five or Warrior Pig Skirmishes are against bad teams, many from the East. Warrior pigs have been eating cupcakes lately and getting fat, sooner or later they will have to try to metabolize these cupcakes into powerful wins against better opponents on, like the road and it might start to get a little harder to keep the old folks’ home from being destroyed by invading pirates jumping off sailboats and brandishing razorblazes.

 

BLAZERS 105, HORNETS 97 WE BROKE ITS NECK

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blizz5

If this game were a play, and the Blazers were the protagonist, this was a terrible, lumpy pay that didn’t make any narrative sense at all. Look at this:

blizz1

No goddamn sense at all. If you were trying to make this a compelling contest, you would rearrange these quarters like so: 1, 3, 4, 2. Trading buckets in the first, 28-26, that makes sense. Introduce you to the characters, get a good idea of what is going on, appreciate the weird floor. It’s great. THEN, in MY version of the game you get a second quarter where the Blazers are flexing, looking dominant, making shots, they look like golden gods out there. Then in the third, they trade buckets again, and the Hornets come out in the fourth and almost take the game, but the Blazers manage to hold them off. See how compelling that shit is? Or what if we went 1, 4, 2, 3. that’s a comeback right there, everyone is grooving to that comeback. Or if it was just 4, 3, 2, 1, that’s a tight game that the Blazers manage to pull out in the end. Or 1, 2, 4, 3, Blazers come roaring back at the end to take the game from the sad-ass Hornets.

Any way you look at it, it was not an optimal arrangement of quarters for an exciting game. If you have to show this game to someone who doesn’t watch basketball turn off the sound and crop out the score and rearrange the quarters to make it more exciting for them.

If you were looking to disprove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there was no such thing as momentum in sports, I would start with this game. Just some randomass crap fung together into a manila envelope and slapped down on your desk and your boss who has cigar in his mouth is all “READ IT, PLEASE” so you do.

Lamarcus was very, very bad, here is a picture of how bad he was:

blizz2

3-18 for 9 points, or, .5 points a shot, which is very bad. The Hornets were giving him the long jumper and he was missing it. His scope was off or the strings of the universe were yanking his arm, choose whatever lines up with your opinion about the operation of the universe. The Blazers didn’t manage to pull away from Charlotte until they went away from LMA late in the third and in the fourth. He did manage a whopping 14 rebounds, though, so it’s not like he was a total noncontributor. He also kneed Kemba Walker right in the hip, Kemba was fine but it looked like it hurt like a motherfucker.

Thankfully, pretty much everyone else was good and efficient. Wes has 28 points on 28 shots, six three pointers and a battering ram post up on Lance. Lillard wene for 22 points on 18 shots and 7 assists, a line I will call “The Lillard Lamarcus,” because Lamarcus has had a lot of 22 point 7 rebound games, but lillard did it with assists, so it’s the Lillard Lamarcus, the Lillard Lamarcus. The Lillard Lamarcus.

The Lillard Lamarcus

blizz3

Do you guy get it yet? It’s like Lamarcus’s customary line, but with assists, and Lillard does it instead of Lamarcus. It’s not that complicated.

Lopez had two blocks in the first and one in the fourth. The more I watch basketball the more I think you’re completely not in control of how many blocks you get in a given night and it just has to do with how many times someone who sucks as driving to the rim drives to the rim on a given night. This isn’t to say rim protection isn’t a skill, it it, it’s just RAW blocks, you get those on the whims of your opponents.

Brian Roberts lit the Blazers in the ass in the first half, but he stopped doing that in the second. Batum didn’t make a single three point shot and hasn’t had a big scoring game yet. If the Blazers were losing I would be like “Hey, C’mon, man, get it together,” but they’re not so I don’t care. They used him as the initiator twice in the beginning of the game. He is good that that and they should have him do it more so he can be more involved in the offense.

PJ Hairston, who is just trying to get by in this ol’ NBA, had a flop in the third that was yum yum delicious. Basically, Wes was posting up on him and he FLOPPPPEEEDDD, like it wasn’t even close to being not a flop and his legs flailed so high that he kicked the ball right into Wes’s jaw. The result was, Wes got an offensive foul, but they called a tech on PJ for kicking the ball (I think, you can’t get a tech for a flop yet.) so Wes took the shot and made it.

blizz4

Lopez, traditionally vulnerable in the post, was not really taken there that much by Al Jefferson, who is a larger, skilled gentleman who can usually do damage down there. This worked for the Blazers, because if it had been a problem they would have had to take him out for Joel, who is better at post defense but worse at everything else. So thanks, Hornets?

Chris Kaman drove to an open basket and couldn’t pack it home. It was a hard moment for me and my family, we wept when the man didn’t dunk the basketball, I brought my kid to this game so he could see a man dunk, and we left angry and disappointed. My son, my beautiful son, he turns to me in the car on the ride home and he says “Daddy why didn’t the big man dunk the basketball” and I says, I says, “Well, uh, he just couldn’t get a good angle on it, son” and my son he weeps, he weeps a whole ocean in my car and he looks at me with those eyes, those big, brown eyes and he says “Papa, if the big man cannot dunk, how will I ever dunk?” And I said “Well, son if you work hard and study up and exercise every day, maybe you will dunk someday,” then he says “Papa, I cannot believe you would lie to me like this. I will never dunk, ever. My dreams are withered on the vine and I feel not hope for this or any future. I will live the rest of my life with eyes forward, until I can devote my meaty body to the cause of being shot in a war for my coutry, because I have no hope left, because the man didn’t dunk on the semi-open rim.”

So thanks a lot, Kaman.

The Blazers play the Grizzlies next. Whoever wins the game is going to the finals.