01. Flipping the Switch: The View from Phoenix




By way of introduction.

Well, it's another year, I figured I'd get my fan fire amped up by reigniting my idiotic sidebar schtick. I can hear the groans already... Buck up, Blazermaniacs, you don't have to read this crap. If you don't like it, move along, nothing to see here...

Since there are new people coming and going all the time and this is the first time I've posted in about 9 months, a few words of history are probably in order. "The View" started as a regular front page thing on the (then new) SBN Lakers blog, Silver Screen and Roll. The beat that I staked out for myself was covering the blogs and mainstream media of the opposition press after every Lakers game, trying to pass along to the purple-and-gold horde a reckoning of the previous game's action through other fans' eyes.

I began each column with a little introduction. At first I wrote a short game analysis. Before long I was writing up other games around the league and snarking and barking about sundry hot issues around the NBA. I regularly added links to a couple of my favorite basketball sites, as well as a steaming heap of extraneous gibberish, and played around a little coming up with a certain graphic "look" for the thing.

Like the gelatinous buttocks of a professional chocolate taster, things got fatter and fatter. Finally the founding editor of SS&R grew weary of my dog, pony, moose, elephant, ostrich, and dancing squirrel show and canned me from the front page. This was fine, I can take a punch. Problem was, The Boss also told me that if I wanted to keep doing what I was doing on the sidebar I'd have to delete my old columns as each new one appeared so that reader contributions wouldn't be drowned out by my stuff.

Well, I'll readily grant many consider my prose to be literary effluent, but I still don't wanna flush it — sorta like Randy Marsh and his magnificent poops... So I hit the road. I just changed the color of my logo from purple-and-gold to red-and-black and toodled home to BlazerSedge and kept it rolling with the Blazers as the object of focus instead of the Lakers.

It remained pretty fun for quite a while. However, after a few dozen columns, it became pretty clear that people were burning out. I was also getting pretty sick of basketball in general and the dubious competitive intensity of Brandon Roy in particular and began to feel ike it was all a waste of time. So I pulled the plug at the end of January 2010.

Not too long after this, the founding supremo of SS&R exited and a new regime came to the fore. The New Boss and I talked about bringing back "The View" over there for the playoffs with a renewed Laker focus, but as the D-Day approached I still felt burned out on basketball and ended up bailing.

Truth be told, I actually didn't even watch the championship series; I was roadtripping to Michigan at the time, camping with my dog. The good guys won, I hear. Yaay.

Well, now you're up to speed. I'll keep doing it as long as it stays fun and it seems like at least a few people are interested.


Football starts with "F" for "Fun."


I had a really swell time Monday night, watching MNF on ESPN. The Dallas Cowboys were on, you see, and that's a team that has me slobbering venom like one of Pavlov's pooches in front of a plate of porkchops while the old Russkii is clanging a dinner bell... And here's the good part: Dallas was coming into the game 1-and-4, their season effectively on the line.

Those of us who came of age during the 1970s don't swing both ways on this subject. You either worshipped Staubach and The Hat and their last-second heroics or you would have been willing to pay cash money to see that team lined up at midfield and run down by a drunk driving a snowplow. No middle ground permitted, it was an A or B decision.

It's a little difficult to explain their vibe to kids who weren't born yet, but it goes something like this: take the smarmy git-ness of NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon and cross it with the saccharine prefabrication of a Disney movie, add the entitled obnoxiousness of Texan football fans, and there you have it.

Here's another way to look at it... You remember Woodstock and the sex, drugs, and rocknroll of the 1960s American counterculture? Ending the war and unwashed egalitarianism? Thinking for oneself instead of mindlessly reciting platitudes? Multiply all that by -1 and that was the Dallas Cowboys headed by Tom Landry.

The Aikman/Smith/Irvin Cowboys of later years were an Evil Empire, sorta like the Yankees in baseball or the Celtics in basketball. They were a legitimate sports dynasty and were fun to hate, too. But that was make-believe hate. The real passion behind pathological Cowboy-hate goes back to that smug prig Tom Landry and his pretty boy gol-shucks quarterback of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Roger Staubach.

Anyway, on Monday night Baby Manning spotted the Cowpies 10 quick points off a couple tipped ball picks in their own end. 

"This game looks like it's gonna be a Dallas blowout or a high scoring thing," my old man said to me. He doesn't like Dallas either, an old 49ers fan, he. Then again, he's getting a little silly in his old age, he was looking forward to "Dancing With the Stars" coming on at 8 pm and hoped the game would be decided by then...

After the first quarter I bid him adieu and wandered home with Bingo Bill the golden retriever.

I flipped the TV on just in time to see Tony Romo get planted like a potato into Jerry Jones' $1.2 billion rug. He was down bad. Unfortunate, but that's football. And who was his backup? Ah, too much joy for words! It was Rusty Jon Kitna, wholesome mediocrity defined, a man who had subjected me to so many miserable Sundays as an inept Seahawk. And Kitna sucked and sucked and sucked until he found his sea legs, by which time the Giants had not only mounted a comeback, but racked up an insurmountable lead.


After the game, it was a battle of philosophy. From my perspective it was a clear example of Football Karma: Dallas is hosting the Super Bowl this year and every single person, from the owner to the waterboy, in the Cowboys organization has been certain, absolutely certain that they'd be in it and winn ing in. Well, don't mess with the universe, Texans, because random events are a bitch...

The Cowboys, on the other hand, were predictably braying like God's Chosen Team had been dealt a minor setback. Tony Romo wasn't despondent, being racked up for 6 or 8 weeks or whatever was just "part of God's plan," as he phrased it. He still had faith in the righteous victory of the holy Cowboy cause behind the steady hand of his friend and mentor, Jon Kitna.

I've never understood the philosophy which deems the wondrous and inscrutable participation of deities rather than missing blocks on blitzing linebackers causes broken collarbones. That said, it's good to know that the former Mr. Jessica Simpson and Kitna approach the sport from the same metaphysical place. It's just so right that the Cowboys see themselves as God's Chosen Team and just so funny that they're gonna be missing the playoffs altogether. I'll tell you this — it beats them being a Dynastic Evil Empire and dancing at the Super Bowl in Big D. Yeesh!

Cowboys are now 1-and-5 and realistically have to close on an unrealistic 8-and-2 romp to make the playoffs.

Good luck with that.

*   *   *









New season begins

Bucketload of suck for three

Cue the D and Nic






Uncle Mike wasn't too nutty for the opener, better luck next time...


After a nice oop from the perimeter:

"Once again Camby is the only one who looks for Batum underneath. Everyone else thinks he has a rash or something..."


Replay shows Roy missing the rim by 6 inches for a 24 second violation, which MB notes. And Rice proudly chimes in:

"We as announcers will admit that that didn't hit the rim!!!"


*   *   *


Game 1.

Phoenix 92 at Portland 106.

October 26, 2010.

Way too close for way too long, that's all I have to say. The Phoenix Suns were no juggernaut last year and this year they lost superstar Amar'e Stoudamire. Lessee, that leaves them with Jason Richardson, a 52 year old PG that's losing his hand-eye coordination, the most overpaid player in the NBA, the ghost of Grant HIll, Brook Lopez's less talented brother, squeezably soft Charmin Frye, and a couple schlubs that Steve Kerr jammed on the roster because they were cheap and available.

We're talking about one of the worst teams in the NBA West, people, and they were beating the Blazers by 5 in the Rose Garden in the 4th Quarter.

Holy crap. Somebody pull the fire alarm or something!

Fortunately, Brandon Roy didn't need to come up big in the final frame because Nic Batum had that covered, thank you very much. He had the nets singing, swishing clutch 3 balls like one of the big kids.

Brandon quietly finished team high with 24 points, which was a nice turn from his lackadaisical and lackluster preseason performances. Nic's 19 and 11 boards in less than 27 minutes of burn was far more pivotal.

Portland laid a 18-1 run on the Suns to make the result look like a decisive victory.

It wasn't.


Let's take at this thang graphically, shall we?


Ya gotta click THIS-HERE LINK to see the swell graphs, that's the way these things work... Ready? Set??? GO!!!

Now here are a few observations about the Popcorn Machine material from me to you:

A. Sweet Wesley was +22 for the night. Noice!

B. Three and a half good quarters for Phoenix and then it dropped off the table for them. That sort of happens to teams on the road on the tail end of back to backs sometimes, but this was the first game of the season, after all. Out of shape or just too thin?

C. Turkoglu had zero points in almost 10 minutes of 4th Quarter run. That's not the stuff of which legends are made. I asked in the BE open thread whether his not being signed was the best break Portland caught in the last five years. I honestly can't think of a bigger one. Turk finished with 6 big points for the evening, which might suffice on a really good, really deep team — which Phoenix isn't.

D. Squeezably Soft Charmin Frye: 3 points scored in 25 minutes and -19 in the +/-. I'll bet that contract isn't looking so good this morning.

E. LMA was neutralized very well by all the Phoenix double teams, with just 8 points scored in 38 minutes. He's been claiming he learned a lot from the Phoenix series in the playoffs last year and has taken his game up a notch to avoid being snuffed again... Didn't see it.


Here's the real point of the exercise, snippets and links to the other team's bloggers and press...



Portland TrailBlazers Down Phoenix Suns 106-92 Behind 18-1 Fourth Quarter Finish

by Alex Laugan, Bright Side of the Sun (SBN)

* * *

Listen, through the years the Suns have been competitive with one big and four smaller players. Last playoffs, the Suns outrebounded this same Blazers team with Amare as the only productive big. This time it's Robin.

So what happened to everyone else? Turkoglu didn't get enough boards. Neither did J-Rich. Neither did Grant Hill. Neither did Childress (though he has a good reason with a broken finger). Neither did Dragic, or Lopez or anyone else on the damn floor. Not one guy exceeded expectations in this area.

That's not gonna get it done. * * *



Portland Trailblazers 106, Phoenix Suns 92

by Alleyoop, Suns Locker

The Suns were outscored 31-11 in the 4th quarter to doom them in this game. This was not pretty as the Blazers pushed them around outrebounding the Suns 48-30 and it's almost impossible to win that way.

Steve Nash did his best to try to help his team win as he finished up with 26 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists. Jason Richardson also had a solid game with 22 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. * * *



Phoenix Suns lose season opener to Portland Trail Blazers

by Paul Coro, Artizona Republic

PORTLAND - The Suns played better than they had all preseason and that had to be one of the more discouraging parts about losing their season opener.

The Suns shot the 3-pointer fantastically for three quarters, defended better with activity, and led on the road in the fourth quarter. But the team that has taken pride in outlasting opponents with their up-tempo game in recent years hit a wall in the fourth, giving up a game-ending 18-1 run in Portland's 106-92 victory at the Rose Garden on Tuesday night.

Familiar preseason concerns of being undersized on the boards and sloppy with the ball stuck around for the regular season. With 19 Suns turnovers and 18 Trail Blazers offensive rebounds, Portland was afforded an extra 19 shots that are like spotting Usain Bolt a head start in a race. * * *



I Was Prepared for a Loss at the Beginning of this Game.

posted by Dragic is Magic to Bright Side of the Suns (SBN)

I did not expect us to have pulled it together so quickly...

So when I saw us playing Suns basketball again, last year's instinct kicked in and I expected a win, just like I would have last season.

And that's why I am so frustrated.

I can only hope that Steve learned a lesson tonight and saw that this team can be good and can make the playoffs.

Hopefully, what we saw tonight with him won't happen again. *  *  *



The No Amar'e Era -- Is Anyone Practicing Together?

posted by Stat32qmo to Planet Orange message board

Lopez-Warrick-Hill-Richardson-Nash is the best lineup for us.

Defense, defense sumthing Fyre and Hedo can care less about. DA*N I'M SICK OF THAT SORRY A** PERFORMANCE BY THE TWO OF THEM BUT THEY KNOW HOW TO CASH A CHECK...

I am disgusted with just about everything that Sarver has done to this team...

Nash and J-rich played way too many minutes and we all saw the effect in the 4th quarter -- 11 points, blown out!!


Why Suns Lost

posted by Ferrari6969 to message board

* * *

1) Out rebounded (48-30) especially on the offensive boards (18-7).

2) More team effort/better point guard play by Portland (31 assists to only 15 by Suns).

3) Better defense by Portland (Suns committed 19 turnovers to only 9 by the Blazers).

4) Steals by Portland (11 versus 3 by the Suns).


Portland Trail Blazers 106, Phoenix Suns 92 - Offensively Bad Fourth

by Michael Schwartz, Valley of the Suns (TrueHoop)

* * *
For a Suns team that has been the best in the NBA offensively during the Nash era to go half a quarter of crunch time while only scoring a single point is unheard of. It just never used to happen, and that's because when the Suns knew they needed a bucket in the past they would run Nash-Amare pick-and-rolls down the opposition's throats and that would usually open up something.

This cold spell started with three turnovers in four possessions and also included three Steve Nash missed shots. By the time Jason Richardson hoisted up a pair of long misses, the Suns trailed by 11 and would have needed a miracle to come back. * * *



After One Game, Feel Sorry for Nash

by Matt Petersen, Deep Purple (Fanster)

* * *
Two plays provided a revealing glimpse into the difficult transition Nash and the Suns are currently undertaking. Both involved Nash and Channing Frye -- you know, the guy Phoenix was more comfortable overpaying than Amare Stoudemire.

The first play, Frye set a high screen for Nash. Nash obliged by using the screen, driving right, then flipping his patented behind-the-back pass to a rolling Frye - except Frye hadn't rolled. He'd stayed at the three-point line.


The second play showed what Nash thought of Frye when the former UofA product offered another screen. Nash immediately waved him away, dribbled to the other side, and motioned to Hakim Warrick that he set the pick. * * *



Roy Helps Trail Blazers Rally To Cool Off Suns 106-92

by Stephen Rhodes, Suns Gab

A lot of teams, when they face the Portland Trail Blazers, have this habit of ignoring forward Nicolas Batum. While it is true that Batum doesn't play a ton of minutes, he maximizes his production while he is out there.

The Phoenix Suns found out on Tuesday night just how lethal Batum can be. Batum burned the Suns with three 3-pointers, allowing Portland to take the lead for good in the fourth quarter and thrash Phoenix 106-92 at the Rose Garden. * * *


The Bottom Line:

1. We had ya for three quarters. That's better than we expected going in...

2. Eleven points in the 4th Quarter? Are you kidding?!?!?

3. We've gotta get rebounds and stop turning the ball over for starters. Otherwise, this is going to be a long season.



Finally, let's gather round for another installment of THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD, eh?

Bit of NSFW language here, naughty Skeets...




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