TRAIL BLAZERS CRAIGSLIST ROUNDUP:

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This is a roundup of all the exciting Blazers products available on Portland-Metro Craigslist. DISCLAIMER: I absolutely would not buy any of these things. I am a very, very cheap person with a spare aesthetic design sense. My dating profiles highlight my thriftiness and value as a low cost husband prospect. Owning anything this ephemeral would really mess with my brand.

Blazers glasses – Aldridge Lillard Batum Matthew Lopez glass + FREEBIE – $45 (Kruse Way area)

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This person is selling a collection of popular drinking glasses that were given away to boost attendance at games no one wanted to go to. You can buy the whole set for 250 dollars, OR you can buy every glass individually at a different price for every player: $75 for Aldridge, $60 for Lillard, $70 for Lopez, $45 for Batum and $45 for Matthews.

Do these prices make any sense? Math will tell us! The seller in question is asking for 295 dollars, in total, for the sale of these glasses as individual units. The Blazers starting five produced, by Basketball Reference’s (Imperfect, as all broad based value stats are) measurement, 42.7 wins. I have produced a Google Docs spreadsheet that tells us how accurate this seller’s pricing is:

winsharesgraph

Not that far off! I thought that Lopez’s glass would be grossly overpriced, but Win Shares seems to agree with this seller’s valuation. Aldridge was the most overvalued player by this person’s glass-pricing model, but it is worth mentioning that Win Shares are a sum stat and he was the only member of the starting lineup to miss any time this year.

If you buy all the glasses together, the seller is also offering a poster the team gave away that features every member of the roster and also what a small, feeble, bald, old man who wearing a Blazers jersey and holding a basketball.

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Who is this man? Was it a man’s last wish  to be included on this poster or is he an apparition, captured in the computer where this poster was Photoshopped? We will never know for sure.

 

Rare 1992 Basketball Tournament of the Americas – $40

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This is a program for the Tournament of the Americas, the Qualifying Tournament for the 1992 Olympic Basketball Tournament, which was played in its entirety at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland. The tournament was the public debut of the 1992 US Olympic “Dream Team.” This collection of Hall-of-Famers and Christian Laettner were forced go through the indignity of qualifying for the Olympics because of the sad-ass college players we sent over getting pantsed by Toni Kukoc and the soon-to-be-dissolved nation of Yugoslavia in the 1990 FIBA World Championships. It was a frightening time, when America had very little sense of its identity. Thankfully, the Dream Team thoroughly humiliated the competition and brought a scared nation back to the brink, setting the stage for the eight-year non-stop party that was the Clinton Presidency.  (The Bush Administration’s car wreck 2004 team and Obama’s more even footed and competitive, but not completely dominant, 2008 and 2012 teams were equally symbolic.)

I included this particular to say that my mother insists that me and my family were in attendance at one of these games. Apparently my late Grandmother, who scored tickets to all kinds of big events (I went to a lot of Disney on Ices), worked some magic. I don’t remember any of it. When I was four years old,  I was in the presence of the greatest basketball team ever assembled, and all I can recall is a sort of hazy memory of red chairs and my mother, or maybe my grandmother. I’m not even sure where that little shred comes from, it might have been a Winterhawks game or something.

MGD Trail Blazers mirror – $30 (Sandy) 

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This is a tacky mirror, meant for a bar. The prominence of teal and former Blazer player Randy Generic signify that it is from the mid nineties. Randy is not remembered by most Blazer fans. He played for the team in his only NBA campaign during the 1994-1995 season. A 6-5 shooting guard from the University of Montana, Randy was born with a very plain face and unspecific features. He always wore white socks and sneakers. An early season clerical error assigned Randy a numberless jersey. He thought about trying to rectify the issue, but the problem would have necessitated renegotiating the CBA and anyway, he was very shy and didn’t want to make any waves. He rarely got on the court in games, but in practice scrimmages, no matter how hard he tried or how many shots he took, he would always score 10 points, get one assist, and net three rebounds. Once he tried not shooting at all, and he was simply fouled in the bonus five times. Eventually, this repetition started appearing in every aspect of his life: he would eat steamed broccoli and chicken breasts for dinner every night, he woke up at 6:08 and went to bed at 10:12, he stated going on the same date with the same woman with the same conversation every weekend. Then, one day, he was in the bathroom at the  C entrance in the Memorial Coliseum, when, while he was washing his hands after his ritual 4:34 pregame poop, he looked in the mirror, had a complete break, screamed, and entered a catatonic state. Some say that he saw the depths of the absurdity of the universe down to the random movement of particles, others say that he became convinced that he was a program in a computer, and still others say his soul was taken and eaten by the Basketball devil, George Mikan.

Some say, that during sparsely attended Winterhawks games, you can see a slight scoreboard mouthfunction: HAWKS 10 GUEST 4. Randy’s ritual score and his rebounds added to his assists in every Blazer scrimmage he ever played in.

 

PORTLAND 2013-14 TRAIL BLAZERS MEDIA GUIDE – $10 (Vancouver)

When I was writing this, I sent out this Tweet:

reviews

I did not get any responses and I have not myself read the media guide, so I cannot vouch for the guide as reading one way or another. If you are the media member who is selling this guide, please get in touch: we want to know why, and if you REALLY think it is worth ten dollars.

Vintage Trail Blazers Light Up Store Display – $95 (17110 N.E. Halsey Street)

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This light up display, featuring Rasheed Wallace and Scottie Pippen, was made for a convenience store display. But you should think about putting it the window of your used bookstore.

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See? Sheed was born to inspire a lifelong love of reading

PORTLAND ROUNDBALL MAILBAG, JUNE 10TH, 2014 EDITION

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From: Famous Writer Ben Golliver

Subject: Mailbag Question

If your goal was to go 0-82 next season, how would you configure the Blazers’ starting lineup (no positional considerations required)?

CORBIN: My answer to this question begins and ends with Robin Lopez at the point. Meyers would probably be a more popular choice here, but he is pretty athletic and has at least pretended to develop something resembling guard skills (I’m gonna shoot threes this year!). Lopez is an excellent basketball player who has gotten that way by narrowing his focus to exclusively doing big man stuff. He drops back on pick and rolls to cover his limited foot speed, he boxes out, he sets screens, and he never does anything else, at all. He doesn’t even really pass from the elbows. And that’s great! But man the Blazers could really rack up some losses if they put the ball in his hands. Just think about it: Lopez gets the ball in the backcourt, takes two VERY high dribbles, gets stripped immediately, fouls whoever stripped him on the layup, hangs his head in frustration because he is knows how out of his depth he is, two foul shots, gets the inbound, repeat forever.

At your two-guard, gotta go with Mo “Maux” Williams. Mo is out here looking around at the options here and deciding that Mo WIlliams is the key to this game. Gunning for thirty every night. Coming off staggered screens, probing for a second, backing up, and jacking up a contested mid ranger with 10 seconds left on the clock. And no one is going to stop him: he’s a veteran! He’s seen the wars! Headbands command authority! The Modern NBA’s first 30 Point, 13 PER player.

Meyers Leonard is a natural losing small forward. Your ideal modern NBA three is a Swiss Army knife — passing, shooting, cutting, defending multiple positions — and Meyers is not good at any of those things. Imagine, when the Blazers need to match up with Tony Parker, and Robin just isn’t up to the task, Terry sticks a Meyers Leonard out there above the key to slow down his penetration. We’re talking about broken ankles everywhere, multiple Meyeri emerging from the original just so they can fall down on the hardwood and injure themselves. A true bloodbath.

Allen Crabbe at power forward. He is short and it does not seem like he can jump very high. He would get blasted in the post all game and be completely outmatched on rebounds. He might turn into an actual crab under the pressure.

At center: LaMarcus Aldridge. Say what, Corbin?! Lamarcus is a pretty good option at center! He has range to stretch opposing defenders, he rebounds well and is tall and strong enough to bang in the post. Yes, I say, but he just hates it so much. After the Blazers lose their first ten games, Aldridge, the leader of the team and the Blazers’ highest paid player, would justifiably become a locker room cancer. Imagine that you are the L-Train and not only is the team a nightmarish mishmash, but you’re crushed in the post all night when you would rather be playing power forward. You would LIVE in front of reporters, complaining about everything you could think of until someone traded you (The water in the cooler is too goddamn cold!). When you are building a losing team, lack of production is important, but so is the intangible badness you get from a poisoned locker room environment.

JOE: I would actually leave the standard lineup the same, but over the offseason I would bring them all to the IKEA in Renton, Washington, because the IKEA in Renton, Washington, has a restaurant at which a person get 15 delicious meatballs, mashed potatoes, some kind of cream sauce, and lingonberries, all for $4.99. Hopefully I would even take them there around the time of some Swedish holiday when the IKEA in Renton, Washington, sells some kind of fun Swedish holiday drink that tastes a lot like if you poured a Coca-Cola into a glass, put that glass in the refrigerator, forgot it was in there, then thought it was bacon grease and tried to cook something with it on the stove, then when you realized it was Coca-Cola, you put it back in the bottle and drank later to celebrate some fun Swedish holiday. The point is, Ben, the team would eat that delicious meal and realize that the pinnacle of human experience costs $4.99, and they would lay down their basketball arms to happily go 0-82 and spend their time at the IKEA in Renton, Washington. They also have a 99-cent breakfast plate which I’ve never had but I assume it’s great and there’s a Baja Fresh like a short distance away and its maybe a top-8 Baja Fresh, of the Baja Freshes that I’ve been to.

From: Dane Hansen

Subject: Question

Portland possesses the lyrical talents of Damian Lillard, and yet it’s been 15 years since Bust A Bucket. What’s up with that? Is the front office committed to bringing fans a Grammy or not?

JOE: Hello, Dane. Thank you for your questions. Before I answer them, I would like to first point out that the Blazers did, in fact, release an EP in the time since “Bust-a-Bucket.” In 1999 I believe, the Trail Blazers, in conjunction with Z100 and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Portland Metropolitan Area, released an EP titled Can I Get A Headband?, which featured the hit title track along with the b-side “It Ain’t Easy,” as well as extended mixes of both, and a fifth track simply titled, “Headband Fan’s Mix,” and for the life of me I have no recollection what that final track contained (I have a vague memory of listening to “It Ain’t Easy” and it being pretty forgettable).

Also, “Bust-a-Bucket” was performed almost entirely by someone called Dan Reed. Granted I hadn’t even begun elementary school at the time of the release and this was the early ‘90s, so weird dudes with cutoff t-shirts tucked into jeans could very well be professional athletes, but I’m pretty sure that Dan Reed was not a player on the Blazers. Therefore, not counting the choral section of assorted Blazers, the only player who truly performed on the song was Jerome Kersey, who delivers a stirring vocal solo with the commitment and gusto of a man who clearly knows his way around the Boyz II Men anthology. By contrast, “Can I Get A Headband?” is performed entirely by players, but since you forgot that one, maybe having players perform a song isn’t really the way to achieve success.

To answer your second question: no, I don’t think they’re committed to bringing fans a Grammy. They are a basketball team. They probably haven’t even discussed what’s required to win Grammys.

CORBIN: I have never heard “Bust-a-Bucket” OR “Can I Get a Headband” before I got this question, I have basically no interest in ephemeral radio-promotional music, I am afraid. I think coming to this cold gives me a fresh perspective. “Can I Get a Headband” is very bad, but it MIGHT feature the lyric “A Robot of God/Who said he was homeless”. As far as the Blazers’ stubborn refusal to bless us with a sequel to the slightly better “Bust-a-Bucket,” men like Dan Reed who wore black tank tops and sang weird fake-y rap songs over electric guitar riffs and drove the local novelty sports song economy all sublimated into gas the second Malkmus bought a house here.

From: Yoni Rapaport

Subject: Mailbag question

If the blazers were a rap crew, which one would they be? Who would be in what roles?

CORBIN: The Allman Brothers Band, circa 1971. Damian is Duane, Lamarcus is Gregg, Nic is Dicky Betts, Wes is Berry Oakley, Robin is Jai Johanney Johnson, Barton is Butch Trucks. Brandon Roy is Elizabeth Reed.

JOE: Corbin just answered the question with precision so I have nothing else to offer, except a couple runner-up analogies.

Public Enemy

Chuck D = Aldridge, Flav = Lopez, Terminator X = Lillard, Professor Griff = Matthews, the S1W = Barton and Robinson

Wu-Tang Clan

RZA = Lillard, GZA = Aldridge, Raekwon = Matthews, Ghostface Killah = Batum, Method Man = Barton, Inspectah Deck = Robinson, U-God = Mo, Masta Killa = Freeland, ODB = Lopez

A$AP Mob

Rocky = Aldridge, Ferg = Lillard, Yams = Stotts, Ty Beats = Olshey, Bari = Ben Falk, Illz = Batum, Nast = Matthews, and the rest of the Mob can be Claver, Crabbe, CJ, and Dorell Wright.

From: Douglas Corpron

Subject: Questions bout stuff?

Hey PRS,

Which Blazers are the most talented?  But not like basketball talent, u want to know about the real talents- who is the best singer, best dancer, best at writing poetry, who tells the best jokes, and other important talents.

Thanks!

JOE: If anyone with the Blazers is reading this mailbag, then this is a good time to mention that should you credential us going forward, these are the kinds of journalistic tidbits that you could expect us to uncover: who on the team is most talented in the most important ways. As it stands now, we have very little first-hand experience (I saw Meyers Leonard waiting in line at Salt & Straw once, he was very tall), so we have to speculate.

As for the speculation though, I think the obvious candidate for talents is Nicolas Batum, since he’s French. But, given that he’s French and that we still haven’t seen much, if any, of his off-court artistry in really any fields at all, I think we have to look elsewhere. For that reason, I think Victor Claver would have to be most talented. Still European so he presumably possesses the same continental flair for art history and music critique and the culinary arts, but because he’s Spanish he doesn’t fit the easy stereotype of a Frenchman, which is why we haven’t seen these talents. We haven’t been looking for them. Granted, he’s not the most talented at basketball, but he’s actually pretty good at all basketball tasks if taken in isolation, so I imagine that his well-rounded skill-set carries over into life as well. I imagine he has basic shoe-cobbling knowledge, for instance.

CORBIN: I would say we have at least a little evidence that Robin Lopez is the team’s most accomplished writer though I wouldn’t be suprised if Wes was an on the D/L poetic soul. I was reading the Marquette University student written literary journal in 2007, where I encountered a blank verse work by “John Basketpoem” (A pseudonym; records do not indicate any Basketpoems attending Marquette at the time) that interested me deeply:

THE LIFE:

Compete everyday

And try to get better

 

That’s how you do it

How you step up and put the ball in the bucket

 

Get me on the block coach

And I will build a castle fit for basketball gods

 

Certainly SOUNDS like Wes, though I wouldn’t want to presume.

From: Brian Richter

Subject: Question

Did Bill Walton love disco?

[insert image of Disco Stu chart]

Cheers,

Brian

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CORBIN: Probably not. I think we have a pretty comprehensive knowledge of what Bill Walton’s taste in music is and it’s mostly weedy jam-rock blues stuff. Gotta imagine he wasn’t one of those veiled-homophobic “Disco Sucks” dickheads, though. I’ll bet he would like LCD Soundsystem if someone turned him on to it, though he might think it was a little arch.

JOE: The chart is strong evidence, though I have a hard time accepting on faith that Bill Walton is purely responsible for disco sales booming in 1977. Even if the Blazers were, at some level, responsible, how do we know it wasn’t Bobby Gross, or Lionel Hollins, or even the fierce Maurice Lucas, who loved the sweet sounds of disco music? Poring over Disco Stu’s raw data would be necessary to make any statements with certainty.

From: Tim Sartori

Subject: Yo, guys

Hey, I’m Tim Sartori (@Tim_NBA on twitter, we have had some humorous interactions a few times).

Just wanted to submit a question, if you’re still taking those?

There’s been a lot of talk about those ‘you have $15 to build the best team you can’ things, and I’m basically wondering, who is on the Blazers’ one of those?

Keep up the great stuff, I’ll be looking out for this post.

CORBIN: First off, excellent job pushing your Twitter handle, this is high grade social media strategizing at its finest. I would never answer a question like this using subjective whims, so I went into Basketball Reference, looked up every position, sorted them by descending total Win Shares produced for the Blazers, and arranged them here:

POINT GUARD:

$5: Terry Porter (79.3 Win Shares)

$4: Damon Stoudamire (37.7 Win Shares)

$3: Rod Strickland (32.7 Win Shares)

$2: Dave Twardzik (21.8 Win Shares)

$1: Damian Lillard (15.4 Win Shares. Given, in two seasons. I didn’t say this method was perfect!)

SHOOTING GUARD:

$5: Clyde Drexler (108.7 Win Shares)

$4: Jim Paxson (50 Win Shares)

$3: Brandon Roy (37.5 Win Shares)

$2: Larry Steele (28.2 Win Shares)

$1: Wesley Matthews (24.9 Win Shares)

SMALL FORWARD:
$5: Jerome Kersey: (59 Win Shares)

$4: Calvin Natt: (34 Win Shares)

$3: Kiki Vandeweghe (33.9 Win Shares. Neck and neck with Calvin Natt!)

$2: Nicolas Batum (32.2 Win Shares)

$1: Bob Gross (30.4 Win Shares)

POWER FORWARD

$5: Rasheed Wallace (61.3 Win Shares, three lifetimes worth of dominance over squares)

$4: Lamarcus Aldridge (60.8 Win Shares)

$3: Buck Williams (50.4 Win Shares)

$2: Clifford Robinson (46.8 Win Shares. Cliff’s position is up for debate, but whatever, positional revolution, man.)

$1: Mychal Thompson (39.9 Win Shares. So is Mychal’s, but moving him to center wouldn’t have gotten Lucas on so I didn’t bother.)

CENTER

$5: Arvydas Sabonis (47.3 Win Shares. Pretty impressive, considering he started his NBA Career at 31 and was injured a lot.)

$4: Bill Walton (26 Win Shares)

$3: Kevin Duckworth (25.5 Win Shares)

$2: Joel Pryzbilla (20.5 Win Shares)

$1: Chris Dudley (R, Oregon. 12.6 Win Shares)

Did this method leave Maurice Lucas in the cold and suggest that Sabonis had a better Blazers career than Bill Walton? Absolutely! But science is not an affair, it is a marriage and even you you get a result you may not approve of, you don’t just take her to court and split up your beautiful family.

JOE: I would like to submit Corbin’s “objective” monetary assignments as an example of the fake objectivity and false promise of equality that are inherent in capitalism. Any list that says Jim Paxson is more valuable than Brandon Roy, while also ignoring the contributions great WORKERS like Walt Williams and Greg Anthony and Stacey Augmon, is clearly the work of fascist neoliberal militaristic oil magnates and I for one will not consent to their rule. Para todos toda, para nosotros nada.

CORBIN: How dare you call me a neoliberal. I don’t need to answer to scum like you, but here is PROOF of my progressive economic bonafides:

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From: David Brown

Subject: Re Hi

Hai, we want u in our team!!! Thankss.

CORBIN: When Joe told me this was a spam email, I was crushed. I have always wanted to be a part of a team.

JOE: I actually don’t know for sure that it is a spam email. There was no ask for a reply, or a link, so it’s possible David Brown is an enthusiastic fan of the blog who wants us on his team.

From: e

Subject: s

Beloved Family of Ira Curry announces their donation of the sum 600,000.00 USD to you. Send

Name—

Address—

Mobile #—–

Age—–

Occupation—–

Have a wonderful day

JOE: My name is Joseph Swide and I don’t really have any of that other stuff right now. But if Ira is so inclined, I like to eat breakfast at Fuller’s, near the park blocks, so maybe he can find me there.

CORBIN: NAME: Corbin Aquamaniac Smith. ADDRESS: 1245 NE ProudToLiveInClarkCounty Circle, Vancouver, WA 98685 MOBILE #: 3604206969 AGE: 15 OCCUPATION: Very successful blogger on the topics of women and plant trellising.

From: Famous-But-Not-As-Famous-As-Ben-Golliver Comedian Ian Karmel

Subject: where my subnglasses is

 

*suglases
*sunglasses

JOE: Corbin, I don’t want to make jokes about this one. Clearly, this came from a man in crisis. We need to find this man’s sunglasses. Many comedians have dark inner lives and right now Mr. Karmel’s is a bit too brightly lit. The clues here are in his type-ohs. Let’s examine the first one, “subnglasses.”

CORBIN: Probably indicates that they are on a submarine.

JOE: Or a submarine sandwich, maybe one that was served on a submarine. Maybe the Blueback down at OMSI. Do they serve sandwiches?

CORBIN: No, but they do serve comfort food cooked by southern women who call young men, like Mr. Karmel here, “Sug.”

JOE: And a summer day in which he would wearing sunglasses might take him to OMSI, a place many summer loves have been kindled. Yet the most revealing part of this email is that not only did he start by typing his message into the subject line, but then when he made a mistake, he didn’t delete it. He just typed the correction in the message field, then made another mistake and did the same thing, again not going back to delete it. Clearly, this is a man who lives his life fast, like a meteor hurtling through the atmosphere, a fireball that doesn’t look back. So while he probably left his former sunglasses at OMSI, probably on the submarine, those sunglasses are in the past, behind him, and so they are no longer his. His sunglasses must be in front of him, not yet purchased, sitting on the rack at a 711 out towards Gresham, the ones with flames shooting down the sides, of course, just like he lives his life.

CORBIN: The life of a road comedian. Tragic stuff.

(HEY if you want us to answer YOUR QUESTION about the Blazers or whatever (Corbin know a lot about plant maintenance, for instance.), shoot us an email at portlandroundballsociety@gmail.com

 

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.

TRAIL BLAZERS VS. SPURS GAME 5 PREVIEW: A PILLAR OF SALT

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-In game four, with their season and their pride on the line, the Blazers did some things differently that worked. Nic Batum, the Blazer’s finest defender of point guards, finally got the call to check Tony Parker for the whole game and held him to 14 points on 12 shots. The Blazers also got an out of nowhere career performance and nearly 30 minutes out of Will Barton and good work from Thomas Robinson. Parker had one assist, which probably didn’t really have much to do with what the Blazers were doing, but a really poor 3-18 three point shooting night from the Spurs. There’s no particular reason to believe the Spurs will shoot that poorly from three again.

-A brief word on the “Hey, someone has to come back from down three! It happened for the Red Sox and it’s happened four times in hockey!” I really honestly doubt it will happen in a basketball series where someone didn’t get injured. baseball and hockey are significantly more variant on a game to game basis than basketball. Also, except for the Game 4 shooting slump, the Spurs have really beat on the Blazers like it’s their calling in life. It would be really cool if the Blazers hadn’t swung their last punch on Sunday, but how do you kill a biological robot without a heart?

-Next year, if there is a next year and the Blazers aren’t disbanded, one certainly hopes that the bench plays more, either because the Blazers signed more reliable bench players or because the ones they have get better or that they’re not better but playing them over the course of season makes them good enough in time for the playoffs. The Spurs’ dumb ol’ “Multi Scenario Depth” made for matchups that the Blazers couldn’t handle, especially with two very small and bad defensive guards on the perimeter. Side note: isn’t McCollum old? If he’s good, shouldn’t he already be good? Because he has not looked very good.

-Another thing the Blazers did in game 4 that worked was not force feeding Aldridge like their lives depended on it. It was an AWESOME idea in the last series, because the Rockets had to choose between Terrence Jones getting absolutely lit or playing an untenable two center offensive lineup, but the Spurs have no fewer than 3 appropriately sized and fleet-footed defenders (Timothy, Tiagothy, and Baynesothy) and also Boris Diaw who is not appropriately sized but is a pretty heavy dude with a low center of gravity and quick hands. He’s like a fluffier version of Chuck Hayes.

-Speaking of Chuck Hayes, I have a theory regarding Chuck Hayes that is completely unrelated to this game. I think now that people are not letting their sons play football, we are going to see more Chuck Hayes-y players in the NBA. Look at this picture of Chuck Hayes:

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That is a 6 foot 6 inch (in shoes) dude who weighs 249 pounds. He has good hands and quick feet, good on screen and an extraordinary post defender because of his ability to leverage his weight against taller defenders. Remember watching Aldridge try and take him when the Blazers played Toronto? The Chuck Wagon wasn’t having it.

In how many universes does a six-foot-five American athlete with quick feet and a special gift for leveraging his not insignificant weight NOT end up playing lineman on a football team? Hayes himself has even said that he has defensive lineman’s legs. The fact that he is in the NBA is probably a cosmic accident, but the future Chuck Hayeses will come from a world where concerned mothers are pulling their children out of football. MARK MY WORDS.

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.

TRAIL BLAZERS VS. SPURS GAME 4 PREVIEW: PILE OF GOLD

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TEN PARAGRAPHS REGARDING TOMORROW’S GAME, OR NOT REGARDING TOMORROW’S GAME:

1. We’re all going to die someday. It doesn’t matter that we had good lives, ate good food, listened to good music, watched a hell of a ballgame, someday it’s going to end and we’re going to die. The Blazers, now facing a 3-0 deficit against a team that has thoroughly dominated them, are also almost certainly going to die. Once they’re gone, people will only mention this disemboweling in passing. They will instead talk about the crazy Houston series and Lillard’s game winner. Remember the good times.

2. The Blazers have outrebounded the Spurs 132-127 in the series. If anyone ever tells you that any one aspect of anything is the key to find success in that thing, kick them in the shins. Things are very complicated, as a rule.

3. The Rockets went undefeated against the Spurs in the regular season, 4 multi-possession wins. Howard would have done a better job guarding Parker off screens and Harden gives San Antonio fits. The Spurs probably lucked out with this matchup.

4. The Blazers run a sort of weird bastardized Indiana defense, where the big man (Lopez) drops down to protect the rim and they all but concede log two point jumpers. But they don’t have Indiana’s defensive talent and a player like Parker, who shoots well from midrange, can burn them. Batum did a better job following Parker around screens than anyone else so far.

5. The Blazers have a crummy bench filled with young players who never play. Should they send players down to the D-League to get playing time more often? Should they give give worse players NBA minutes to try and develop them? How much does playing young players help them get better, really? How many wins should a team sacrifice to improve prospects? The Spurs have a good bench, what are they doing? Are rhetorical questions annoying?

6. LaMarcus Aldridge is an overgrown apple tree, Tim Duncan a stately pine, Robin Lopez a cherry blossom, Tiago Splitter an olive tree, Boris Diaw a cactus, Aron Baynes a log cabin.

7. Blaze the Trail Cat should obviously be a salmon. I will write more extensively on this topic over the summer, but it’s important to plant the seed in the ids of my readers before then.

8. Part of the reason players sign for under market value for the Spurs so readily is that they don’t have to pay income tax. If the Blazers really want to compete in this league, Oregon has to completely blow up their tax structure, absolutely it is worth it, how dare you think anything is more important than sports (I am a Washington resident).

9. Last night I was taking a shower and my bottle of Bronners soap was clogged up. I squeezed the bottle really tight and it shot me right in the eye and burned super duper bad. If you tole me the Blazer could come back and win the series, if only I would pour a bottle of soap in my eyes, I would probably say, “Nahh.” that really hurt a lot.

10. HOPS PREVIEW: The Hillsboro Hops are the Portland Metropolitan Area’s finest half-season A Level Professional Baseball team and their season is going to start on June 18th. Does Elvin Sotto have what to takes to bring Hillsboro’s finest to the promised land in your opinion? Oh boy, I am bushed from writing that Hops preview.

GAME 3, SPURS 118 – TRAIL BLAZERS 103: ALL HANDS ON THE BAD ONE

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Tonight, the Portland Trail Blazers gathered around their table for a nice turkey meal. They had not been home for five days, and they were looking forward to eating the turkey Coach Sotts had cooked. They sat around the table on which the turkey, fully cooked and stuffed and golden brown was ready to be eaten. They said grace, and right when Coach Sotts was about to make the first slice with his sharpened serving knife, the doorbell rang.

“I wonder whoever that could be?” Said Wes. He got up from the table, walked to the door and opened. It was San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker.

“Oh, hello Tony.”

“Ello’ Wezzley.” Tony was clearly quite drunk. “What are you eating in there?”

“Well, Tony,” said Wes, “The team is sitting down for a home cooked turkey meal.”

“MMM, Turkey!” Replied Parker, his eyes wide open with malevolent lust, “I love turkey, I am going to eat that right up!”

“I’m sorry, Tony,” said Wes, “This is our turkey, at our house, and we are going to share it as a tea…”

Before Wes could finish, Tony charged at the turkey. Wes tried to stop him, when all of a sudden, quiet as the night and without a single wasted movement, future first ballot Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall-of-famer Tim Duncan crashed through the back door and stood right in Wes’s path. Wes ran headfirst into the man-become-brick-wall and cleared a perfect lane for Tony to grab the turkey with his bare hands and eat and eat and eat. Tony attacked the turkey from everywhere:

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Soon enough, every member of the Spurs was in the Blazers’ house, taking bites out of the turkey and screening anyone who tried to stop them. Tim Duncan took little nibbles, so perfect it was as if his bites were made from science and God at once. Boris Diaw took big ol’ bites. Manu Ginobli made herky jerky motions then fell right into a perfect bite. Patty Mills, once a member of this very family, now a traitor, danced and jutted around and just drilled bites over everyone. At one point, Tim threw the turkey across the room and Kawhai Leonard grabbed it with those gigantic mitts of his and he took a big old bite even as Damian tried to stop him with all his strength.

The Blazers kept dropping the turkey on the floor, and the Spurs kept taking advantage and getting big ol’ bites out of it.

The Blazers tried everything to stop them: even VICTOR CLAVER jumped into the fray, but he was so rusty after a year of sitting in the corner (184 minutes played all year) and chewing on saltines that even when he got free bites, he totally bricked them.

Wes and Nic got good chewing in, they came ready to eat, but Damian and LMA were all over, missing bites at the plate and trying to take more and more outlandish bites as this nightmare went on. For a while in the third, partially because Nic used his long arms to keep Tony from the turkey, but mostly because the Spurs were missing bites, the Blazers looked like they were going to make a meal out of this mess. But in the third, the Spurs descended and chowed down while coach Pop just sat outside, sipping on five hundred dollar wine and occasionally yelling things like “Hey, Danny! You can chew better than that! Stop getting gravy on your shirts, you dummies!”

By the end of the night, the Spurs, full for now but still not quite satisfied, returned to their hotel to watch a movie on TV. The Blazers just sat in shocked disbelief around a turkey carcass they just couldn’t get a good bite out of. Their floor was covered in grease.

THE HALL OF INDIGNITIES:

LAMARCUS SHOT CHART:

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That’s a few misses at the rim, NBD, didn’t make ME cry I am a big strong man. I think he had one rebound in the second half. Was not a great night for the ol’ L-Train.

EARL WATSON: FIVE MINNUTES, 0 POINTS, ZERO REBOUNDS, ZERO ASSISTS, ZERO STEALS, ZERO BLOCKS, one personal foul never change Earl.

The Spurs went 25-25 from the line. Not only did the Blazer not play well, the Gods were aligned against them.

Victor Claver missed four foul shots, but hey, he got fouled twice.

Tiago Splitter hit a long jumper.

CJ McCollum was isolating on the very last play and couldn’t get a shot off in time. Very depressing stuff.

Meyers Leonard had one defensive rebound and was a +2. Worst game ever.

 

TRAIL BLAZERS VS. ROCKETS GAME 3 PREVIEW: THE COLD PART

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Here is a list of numbers: -8, -11, -20, -24, -15, -11, -46, -20, -14, -19, -23, -17, -6, -37, -12. The average of these numbers is -18.86. The median is -17.  These numbers represent the sum of the point differentials of the first two games of every series where a team down that was two games in a 7 Game series and came back to win. Think about it like a measure how badly each team was getting beat before they came back to win.

The Blazers’ point differential after two games is -39. If they were to win this series, it would be the second biggest two game whoopins that a team recovered from. Some people will tell you that this miracle is on the horizon, son, but let you dad set you straight; it probably won’t. The largest comeback, the 1995 Drexler/Dream Rockets ousting Charles Barkley’s Suns, happened in part because Barkley was limited by a leg injury in game seven a game Houston won by a single point. Then Houston went on to win the title. If that piece of information makes you optimistic, you’re very superstitious.

The last team down two games to win in the series was the Thunder, against the Spurs, in 2012. If this makes you optimistic, you’re weird, because Kevin Durant and James Harden, who was an absolutely matchup nightmare for that particular Spurs team is not on the Blazers. This series has really exposed the Blazers’ lack of depth. Not because they are heaving rotting corpses off the bench and telling them to play basketball and win, but because the Spurs (A product of good GMing or providing suitable developmental minutes and structure to sketchy players or both?) are putting out lineups that the Blazers just have no answer for.

The Blazer are slightly out rebounding the Spurs in the series so far, which is good! But the Spurs have 42 points on 24 offensive rebounds, which is bad.

In the last game, Wes Matthews switched on the Parker and did a much better job than Lillard, who efforts his way into picks like it is his job. Writers in this Publication have previously called for Batum to guard Parker, but they forgot that this would place Wes on Kawhi Leonard, who is very big and could probably post up Wes and make points from with his massive wizard’s hands. Then again, Wes is pretty strong, maybe they should give it a try.

Mo Williams is injured, Earl Watson will probably get his backup point guard minutes, which is cool, because Earl is cool as hell and he loves foulin’ dudes. Will Barton, of all people at all times, has played well in this, of all series, and could probably end up absorbing the minutes Williams plays at shooting guard. Lamarcus Aldridge, is not playing, like, super great? He had sixteen on twenty-three shots on Thursday, which is bad, and the Spurs aren’t doubling him or which keeps Blazer shooters covered.

The Blazers are shooting 40.6% from three, which is not bad, so you can’t say something like “They’re just not going in!” Although, the Spurs are shooting 60% from three, so that should regress and help the Blazers get one or two. There were five (5) Spurs rotation players who shot more than 40% from three on the season, Jesus that is so many, they make these guys in a factory in darkest Europe, I tells ya.

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!