Thursday, April 16, 2009


Wow, I still can’t believe that we got the 4 seed. Unfortunately we got Houston who is not a great matchup for

us. But I still believe the way we are playing right now we can beat almost anybody. I do not have that many fresh takes on the playoffs right now, just still in awe, so I will leave the words up to some links from around the “inter-web”. (P.S. – “writing” this post kind of makes me feel like I am in college again, cutting and pasting stuff from people who are smarter then me.)

Oh, and I know I most likely told most of you already, but I am doing a NBA playoff bracket for $5. If you are

interested please let me know ASAP so I can get you the bracket as they are due by 9:30 AM Saturday!

First, John Hollinger gives us some love in his chat:

Sudeep (Houston, Tx): Thank you Hollinger for your great articles. Do you think Houston can beat Portland without home court?

John Hollinger: (3:02 PM ET ) Flattery will get you everywhere. I think Houston is the third-best team in the West; too bad for them they're in the same bracket as Nos. 1 and 2. Rockets match up very well against the Blazers but that's a very tough building they're going into and the Rockets' place just isn't that intimidating (sorry, just the messenger) ... so that's why I'm taking Blazers in 6.

Chris (Kenmore, WA): Hi John, any reason to think it won't be a Lakers vs Cavs final?

John Hollinger: That's certainly the way to bet, though I suppose you could make an argument for Portland-Orlando. Those are really the only four teams I can see making the Finals at this point. Maybe Denver, just because of their bracket. But it's a far cry from last year when you could make a case for 8-10 teams.

Here is a link to check out ESPN’s playoff central. Interestingly enough, 6 of the 8 ESPN experts picked the Blazers to win the series.

Mike Barrett details some stuff about the Blazers, and has a nice link to a Rip City mixtape. Pretty coo stuff.

The Blazers end the season 54-28, far exceeding most expectations, and recording the 6th-best record in franchise history. They also finished 34-7 at home, and 22-4 at home against the west. They'll also head into the playoffs on a six-game winning streak. Only one other Blazer team has done that- the 1976-77 Blazers. That playoff run worked out pretty well.

Some Blazer fans are SUPER crazy and spent the night outside to get playoff tickets. But hey, I know I would have been there if I didn’t have job.

The line snaked throughout the Rose Quarter courtyard this morning, a haphazard conga line of folding chairs, blankets, sleepy eyes and bad hair.

The Blazer faithful began showing up around 1 p.m. Wednesday for a chance at 1,000 tickets available for this weekend's first-round playoff game between the Trail Blazers and the Houston Rockets.

Just a heads up, if you are missing the Oregonion’s Jason Quick and his “Behind the Locker Room Door” series (no, creepers not like that. And yes, you know who you are) then you need to catch up. These are by far my favorite articles to read

Fernandez catches my eye because he has opened one of the room's sliding drawers, and is rummaging through a plastic container. He has the look of a kid sticking his hand in the cookie jar as mom is nearing the kitchen.

From the drawer, he pulls out a thick piece of brownie and takes a big bite, closing his eyes in ecstasy as he sits to enjoy the treat. The brownies are courtesy of the Kissell's, longtime fans who have become close to the team.

As Fernandez enjoys his brownie, Outlaw turns on some hip hop music, and Fernandez starts clapping in rhythm. Soon, Fernandez becomes more animated, raising his hands above his head and pointing his index fingers downward.

Sitting in the swivel chair, with a mouthful of brownies, bopping and pointing like a rap star in a video, Fernandez notices me watching him.


Fernandez was the main source of The Garden's energy Wednesday, hitting a career-high 6 three pointers to break Kerry Kittles NBA record for three-pointers in a season by a rookie by one three pointer. Fernandez finished the season with 159 threes, the third most in a single season in franchise history.

"The brownies,'' Fernandez said after the game. "The brownies are good for me to make three-points.''

Finally Dave over at Blazersedge had a game recap

The guys who busted this game open for us were Sergio Rodriguez and Rudy Fernandez. Sergio was amazing. This is what we've waited 217 games to experience. I've seen kids bump full-on into a hornets nest and not cut as hard or run as fast. They were expecting a butter knife. Sergio was a Cuisinart. He passes! He penetrates! He hits shots! Do you like your Nuggets sliced, diced, blended, or pureed? Rodriguez ended up with 12 assists in this game. Denver had to compensate for the havoc Sergio and his moving targets caused, so they decided to go with the percentages and leave the perimeter free. Enter Rudy. Fernandez took 9 shots tonight, all of them threes. He hit 6, putting himself in the record books as the rookie with the most threes hit in a season. He also stuffed the Nuggets so far down a hole that they were looking up at a white rabbit's behind.

All in all I think it is fair to say that this city has Blazer fever and the only prescription is more cowbell. And by cowbell I mean a trip to the 2nd round. It’s definitely achievable, and as Kevin Garnett shamelessly plugged for Adidas last year after Boston won the championship “ANYYYTHINNGG IS POSSSSIBLLEEE!!!!”

What do you guys think?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Nuggets Preview

First, I wanted to point out my other post from this morning, check it out and leave a comment if you feel so inclined.

Also Bill Simmons just released his MVP breakdown for this year. Check out what he had to say about B-Roy:

Think of all the under-25 guys we watched over the past two decades get thrust into a "You're a little young for this, but you're our franchise player, so um, how 'bout you be our leader?" and flounder miserably. We are talking about DOZENS of guys, a few of whom had more talent than Roy, but only five rose to the challenge without veteran help: KG, Chris Paul, LeBron, Wade and Roy. That's the complete list. (Unless I forgot someone. Which I'm sure I did.) To Roy's credit, some believe Portland is THE playoff sleeper and it's mainly because he's turned into such a killer closer. Stay tuned.
Nice praise for our boy. But onto the game preview!

Game Preview

Tonight’s game most likely will mean the difference between home court advantage or not in the playoffs. Like many sports personalities believe, we need to take our destiney into our own hands, and get a win tonight. But that won’t be easy with Denver trying to make sure they lock up the number 2 seed. So what can we expect from the Nuggets tonight?

JR Smith has been on a tear lately. He dropped 45 points on Kings last game, going 11-18 from deep. We need to make sure and reign him in. When he is hitting shots Denver is tough to beat. Carmelo has also stepped up his scoring as of late, and as always that is a difficult matchup for anyone in the league.

The Nuggets are attempting to take fate into their own hands as well tonight. With a Houston loss or Nugget win, they lock into the 2 seed. So know that this game is just as important to them as it is to us.

I personally think the Blazers know the importance and have been playing with a swagger as of late. I feel that it will be a close game, but the Blazers will pull away late like they always do, and wind up winning by 8-10 points. Here are my keys to the game.

Keys to the Game:

  1. Crash the Offensive Boards
    1. Denver is 23rd in the NBA in defensive rebounding rate (number of rebounds they get as a % of total rebounds in the game). That means the door is open for us to get second chance opportunites.
  2. Get Their Bigs in Foul Trouble
    1. This kind of goes hand in hand with crashing the offensive boards. Just be aggressive overall. After Kenyon Martin and Nene, their backups are Chris Anderson (not too bad for a meth-head) and Renaldo Balkman. Pryzbilla, Aldridge, and Oden need to abuse these guys on the block.
  3. Our Guards Need to Board
    1. I know, a lot of talk about rebounding but it is one of our pillars. Denver takes a lot of jumpshots, that means long rebounds. Our guards need to do their part and board it up.
  4. Forget about the Houston and San Antonio Games
    1. We need to put those games out of our heads, and focus on ours. We control our own fate, so lets go out and take care of our business.

Arguably THE biggest game of the year. I have a strong feeling the Rose Garden will have a very playoff atmosphere tonight.

Gambler’s Corner

Blazers -7.5

Over/Under 198.5

I am going with the Blazers and the under. Blazers have been rolling lately and I see them riding that momentum right into the playoffs.


I'm doing this post off the cuff. No structure, just a fancy "post" if you will.

What do you guys think about the Blazers making a run at Raymond Felton this off-season? He is an unrestricted free agent, and in this market I am guessing could be had for relatively cheap. Bill Simmons raised a great point on him. His career arc so far looks just like Chauncy Billups. Check out the numbers from their first 4 years:



They are very similar, and are built the same. As you can see Chancy was not an amazing 3-pt threat when he came into the league, but developed into one. Granted he was still better the Felton, but I am confident that if the Blazers coachs can turn Outlaw into the shooter he is, then Felton will be easy.

Check out this article from the Oregonion's Joe Freeman on the Blazer's improved 3-pt. shooting.

So would Felton be worth 8 mil a season (twice what Blake makes)? That would bump Blake to the backup, but wouldn't he just become the Przybilla of the backcourt? A guy who is good enough to start, but is a high quality backup? Don't all championship teams need a few guys like that?

Another question is what does this do for Bayless? Is he doomed to rot on the end of the bench? Does he come in and play the 2 next to Blake, move Rudy to the 3, and Travis at the 4? What about Martell? What about Batum? All interesting questions, which I would like to hear your guy's opinons on.

I personally think if you can get a guy like Raymond Felton for 8 mil a year, you do it. If Bayless is truly good enough to beat someone out, then he will do it in training camp or in practice. The NBA has a way of allowing the best players to float to the top.

Lastly, what if Felton becomes the Chancy? Wouldn't we be kicking ourselves for not locking him up for 7-8 mil a year?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Playoff Talk & More

So here it is, our last game of the season. And it’s for home court in the playoffs. Let’s take a moment to reflect. Do you remember the beginning of the season when we were unsure if we were going to even make the playoffs? We almost completely wrote off the fact that we would even stand a chance at getting out of the first round. Now we are on the verge of securing home court advantage with a strong possibility that we get out of the first round? And what’s more, one of our “Big 3” is so far from his true potential that he comes off the bench! This team and it’s future is scary good. Like, if things stay on track, like 3-peat good. Our two best players are only in their 3rd years in the league. We have 3 rookies that play significant minutes for us. And have a great set of role players. I get chills just thinking about it.

Moving forward, I thought I would take a quick sec to give you a breakdown for tomorrow night’s game and it’s implications. It’s kind of confusing so stay with me. Denver is currently 1 game ahead of Houston in the standings. Houston plays the Mavericks at Dallas tomorrow night at 5pm west coast. The Blazers tip off at 730. IF Houston loses to Dallas, then the Nuggets can punt tomorrow night’s game versus the Blazers to rest their starters. If Houston wins, then Denver will need the win to secure the 2nd seed in the playoffs. My guess is that no matter what, Denver will throw everything at us, but that’s just a guess. So it will be interesting to see who they march out there for the starting lineup.

In some other Blazer news, John Hollinger from gave BRoy a little love for Most Improved Players:

I nominated Brandon Roy for most improved player in our award votes Tuesday, and I suppose I should explain that pick. I've been an ardent Devin Harris supporter in that category for nearly the entire season, but when I looked over the full body of work one more time before submitting my vote, I realized Roy's improvement was just as large in player efficiency rating terms. And although Harris slumped a bit after the All-Star break, Roy kept chugging along.

Two other players -- Kevin Durant and Danny Granger -- have had PER improvements in the same ballpark, so it has come down to two factors for Roy. First, he isn't a second-year player, while Durant is, and I'm normally reluctant to put second-year guys in the discussion because so many of them make huge strides in Year 2. (In fact, Jeff Green was arguably more deserving than Durant.)

Second, although Roy's improvement in PER terms was no better than Harris', I would argue he did it at a more difficult level. Going from borderline All-Star to full-blown superstar, as Roy did, is a more substantial feat than going from a quality regular to an All-Star, as Harris did, in the same way that a leap from 55 wins to 65 is much more difficult than a leap from 35 wins to 45.

So after endorsing Harris all season, it was clear to me that Roy was the right pick.

Nice to see a little love for the Blazers.

Thanks for all of your comments on the Blazers potential opponents. I have also started leaning towards the Spurs. I guess I didn’t’ realize how hobbled Duncan was until we played them last week. With a weak Duncan, I think that would heavily favor the Blazers. I want to leave with one last thought. If we get the 4th or 5th seed is it means we would see the Lakers in the 2nd round. Can you imagine how crazy this city would be?