"Thunder" Media Row Report

I should have planned ahead and left one in the chamber.  When I wrote that Memphis report I clearly wasn't thinking; I needed to save the super-sarcastic-mocking-of-opponent's-desire-and-abilities template for tonight, just in case.  

Instead, I will have to liven up this fantastic dramatic erotic report about this evening's113 to 83 win over "Oklahoma City" by over-using quotation marks with no apparent rhyme or reason.

So what "decided" the outcome of this "contest?"  "Oklahoma City" didn't bother to play any "defense," allowing "dunk" after "dunk" after "dunk" against a far superior opponent.  The "Thunder's" "stars", Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green, combined to "hit" 12 of 38 "shots."  Earl Watson "managed" 5 turnovers in just 25 minutes and "Robert Swift" (despite "rampant cheering" from Kevin Pelton) did whatever the "exact opposite of controlling the paint" is.  

Travis Outlaw "overcame" the Thunder's "perimeter defense" to lead the Blazers with 21 points.  Brandon Roy "walked straight to the hoop" for "easy buckets" on multiple occasions and then "sat down and cheered on his teammates for 3 and a half hours." Greg Oden displayed "cathartic aggression" by dunking over "anyone, everyone and no one" on multiple occasions.  "Michael Ruffin" "scored" "points." "Seriously."

Are the quotes helping make this more interesting? No?  "Crap." This post is a "gimmick," sure.  But so are the "Thunder." "No disrespect."  

But seriously, "Thunder" "fans", "it is what it is." "You know it and I know it."

"Step your game up."

"There's always next year." 

("My Bad.")

Latest Playoff Rally Information

The Trail Blazers RIP CITY UPRISE rally, in Pioneer Courthouse Square, will take place from noon-3 p.m. The event, which will feature music, contests, giveaways, video entertainment and appearances by alumni ambassadors, will be emceed by Trail Blazers play-by-play voice Mike Barrett and will feature an appearance by the entire Trail Blazers team and coaching staff at approximately 2 p.m.

Random Game Notes

  • Jason Quick comes over before the game to explain why he was laughing after the last game (it was because Brandon accidentally sprayed lotion all over Kerry Eggers, as he wrote).  Within ten seconds, I go "Hey Jason, I'm about to [use the restroom profanely], do you want to come along and take notes?"  Yes, I'm the kind of person that prepares unoriginal jokes hours in advance of telling them, laughs at his own jokes while telling them, then re-tells the jokes 20 times in real life, and then finally re-tells them once again on the internet.  Quick laughed it (me) off.
  • And he almost strained a cornea rolling his eyes when I asked, "How many times did James Joyce need to go behind the bathroom door for material?" 
  • I kid because I love.
  • Brandon described himself after the game as someone that "doesn't wear bright colors. Some people can pull it off, not me."  For the first time all season, Brandon wore a shirt that we'd seen before -- a brown aviator style shirt with Brown Chuck Taylors to match.  Interestingly, he was quick to point out, "Nike owns Converse!"  He also refused to discuss which color Converses he owns but doesn't wear because he didn't want to offend anyone that liked wearing those colors.  There is some serious MJ to B Roy's press game.  Just saying.
  • Kevin Pelton dropped this stunning line, "I'm convinced Robert Swift would have been good if not for blowing out his ACL."  Pelton, a former Sonics employee, refused to comment when asked whether Swift was drafted before or after psychological evaluations became a standard part of the pre-draft process.
  • What up to these two BE-reading heroes who crashed press row with Martell-esque joie de vivre.  I salute you.
Bereaders_medium
  • In his pregame session, Nate made the claim that "Everyone [in the Western Conference] wants to face us [in the playoffs]."  No one in the room was convinced that this is actually the case.  Was Nate borrowing a page from Phil Jackson's playbook?
  • Also of note: Nate was answering pregame questions with one eye on a television in his office tuned to the Houston vs. New Orleans game. 
  • Will someone please find the Rex 1 handed Grant Hill at Duke alley oop and put it on Youtube?  Please?????
  • Here's Rex's amazing 1 handed Grant Hill at Dunk alley oop dunk.

  • Believe it or not, before the game Kevin Durant couldn't miss.  He knocked down something like 12 out of 13 three pointers at one point.
  • Here's a picture of Kevin Durant's signature shoe in the White/Red colorway. I don't dig too deep into the post-season awards but I consider these the single best game-shoe in the NBA this season.  Durant was wearing a White/Orange version today.  Jeff Green was wearing a White/Blue version as well.
  • After the game, there were a bunch of people circles in the locker room trying to determine the playoff matchups.  Blazers PR man Collin Romer deduced that Dallas is no longer a potential playoff opponent for the Blazers.  
  • Ooh, late add... Here, Brian Hendrickson wrote up all the playoff scenarios.  Dave will check in later on the topic as well, I'm sure.  Don't look at me for help on this; I listen to Nate and take it one game at a time. 
  • Bill Schonely sang a patriotic medley before the game.  Nice voice on that guy. 
  • Nic Batum caused a serious panic by not starting the game. People. Love. Nicky. Barnes.  His current status is day-to-day with "flu-like symptoms," according to the team.
Nate's Postgame Comments

Nate on the result: "I'm just happy. I thought our guys came with a professional approach. We talked about not giving that team any confidence at all from the start. We held them to 31 points in that first half and then we wanted to try to get our guys no more than 2 or 3 quarters of play.  I was able to rest some guys."

Nate on why he pulled Brandon early: "I pulled him because I thought we wanted to get him out and play some other guys."

Nate on the emphatic nature of the win: "It's great. It's really good for us right now. We have some guys that need that time. We have some guys that need time on the floor.  I was able to get Brandon out of there pretty quickly. Losing Nic right before the game forced us to have to shorten the rotation. It was good to get Frye and Rudy and Greg and those guys some minutes."

Nate on Nicky Barnes: "He was feeling under the weather right before the game and wanted to give it a go. Once Doctor Reese came in and looked at him and basically said he needed to go home, so we sent him home so he could rest. Hopefully he'll be ok and ready for Wednesday's game."

Nate on defending Durant: "Travis and Nic had that assignment.  Basically we wanted to get them ready and focus off of guarding that type of scorer. Not allowing him to get anything easy. Just making him work for his catches. Work to score.  We had some schemes that we wanted to run, as far as where we wanted him to go. Tonight was about trying to execute, come up with a gameplan, and execute with that gameplan."

Nate on scoreboard watching: "We know that a few teams won, Denver won tonight and San Antonio is up pretty big right now. There's still going to be a lot of scenarios that could play out on this last game.  We're going to come to play.  It's not resting guys, we want to finish this season off strong."

Nate on whether he has taken stock of the recent success: "Not really looking back. I'm looking forward. I'm looking at the next game. We've been able to win a stretch of games and get hot and just focus on the game in front of us.  Coming out and playing better. We've been pretty much saying this for the last month, we're just trying to win every game, take it one game at a time, and win every game. We've been able to have some success the last couple of weeks."

Nate on Rudy: "We need him. He's done a good job of giving us another option, bringing that energy and scrappiness to that second unit.  With him and Travis, it's a one-two punch. Greg is doing some good things. Our bench has done a nice job. Not only Rudy but that whole second unit. You need that. You need that type of spark coming off the bench."

Nate on how hard it is to scout for the playoffs: "Nearly impossible. What we have told our guys is that we want to get the game in the last 2 weeks because all of the teams in the playoffs have played each other. Just start to break down film on all the teams pretty much.  Because other than the Lakers there's a chance we could play any of these teams.  That's what we've done.  We'll know right away on Thursday after the game who we are playing but we have to get tape on everybody."

-- Ben (benjamin.golliver@gmail.com)
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