FanPost

27. Loving It: The View from Minneapolis

Snips and clips from the Timberwolves' camp, plus:

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  • Reviewing the Western Conference NBA blogs
  • Haiku Game Review
  • Fried Rice
  • Blazers/T-Wolves Recap
  • Popcorn Machine 
  • The Basketball Jones

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(1)

No Shock

posted by bluethunder0005 to RealGM Timberwolves message board

You all can't be shocked that we turned the ball over a lot, we have all year, and will continue to do all year.

We also will continue to play bad defense because we have bad defenders playing big minutes. The team is also a whopping 21-88 since the start of last year.

We are going to get zero calls, we have to earn the respect of the refs.

 

(2)

This is an Improvement

posted by Piecake to RealGM Timberwolves message board

Well, I guess this is an improvement from last year.

Last year we sucked so bad that I simply didnt care.

This year, I do care because I feel like we are oh-so-close to getting some wins.

 

(3)

Save Our Sanity Game

posted by Fli to Canis Hoopus gameday open thread

Instead of me venting about our perimeter defense sucking so badly, I'll turn it into a game.

Gimme good answers!

Our perimeter defense is ________________________.

 


You may have already put it best — non-existent.

posted by bheidge to Canis Hoopus gameday open thread


(4)

Kurt Rambis

posted by bheldge to Canis Hoopus gameday open thread

Rambis doesnt seem to care much about the W's...

It seems he is dead set on teaching the players to do it "his way" and the W's will come.

He better start teaching some D if he wants to keep a job in the NBA

 

(5)

Latest Loss Comes After Milicic Hurt

by Jerry Zgoda, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

* * *
...When was the last time you saw somebody injured on the game's opening tip?

That and more happened Friday, when the Trail Blazers beat the Wolves for the 13th consecutive time. That streak dates to March 2007, when Kevin Garnett still called Minnesota home.

The Wolves pushed the Blazers to the final seconds before succumbing when Wolves coach Kurt Rambis might have been tempted to send assistant coach Bill Laimbeer into the game as an emergency replacement at center.

Wolves starting center Darko Milicic went up for the evening's opening tip ... and came tumbling down, turning an ankle as he landed on LaMarcus Aldridge's foot. The injury sent him to the locker room and finished him for the night. * * *

 

(6)

Tim's Game Wrap: Portland Trail Blazers

by Tim Allen, Canis Hoopus (SBN)

Tonight, the Minnesota Timberwolves were able to overcome the referees (the Wolves were called for 3 more fouls), the injuries to Darko and Pekovic and a solid performance from LaMarcus Aldridge (36 points, 10 rebounds) to get their 27th straight moral victory of the season. It was a hard fought win for the Wolves, who will look to continue their winning ways against the Denver Nuggets tomorrow night. * * *

Have you ever wanted to learn how to shoot a three point shot, but are afraid that you don't have what it takes? At the Minnesota Timberwolves' basketball camp, we can teach you how to take and make three point shots on a regular basis. Our one-of-a-kind camp gives players the basics: plenty of wide open space to shoot. All the time in the world to line up a shot. The thrill of a just-too-late closeout that gives the impression of real defense, without any actual chance of the shot being blocked or even contested.

Like Gary Neal, Dorell Wright, Reggie Williams, Channing Frye, Rudy Fernandez and a host of others, you will be a three-point shooting champion in no time.

"Before I played the Timberwolves, I could never make threes," exclaims Fernandez. "Now, I think I'm better at threes than Reggie Miller. Thanks, Minnesota Timberwolves!"

Our camp is run by Kurt Rambis, who has designed a training program based upon allowing the best opportunities for three-point shots. Rambis started his program in California but has brought it here to Minnesota and is teaching players across the country.

If you would like to enroll in the Minnesota Timberwolves' Three Point Basketball Camp, call us today at 1-800-4-THREEE (484-7333). * * *

 

(7)

 

How to Stop LaMarcus Aldridge

posted by Poor Dick to Canis Hoopus postgame wrapup

On January 7th and February 14th...

1. Organize a Canis Hoopus trip to the games against Portland at the Target Center.

2. Bring arsenal of historical and advanced statistic nuggets.

3. Every time LaMarcus touches the ball, CHers chant an insignificant threshold which he is about to cross.

"HEY LAMARCUS YOUR NEXT REBOUND WILL BREAK MAURICE LUCAS'S TEAM RECORD FOR NUMBER OF BOARDS IN A QUARTER IN A ROAD GAME"

"HEY LAMARCUS YOUR NEXT REBOUND WILL BREAK MAURICE LUCAS'S TEAM RECORD FOR NUMBER OF BOARDS IN A QUARTER IN A ROAD GAME"

"HEY LAMARCUS YOUR NEXT REBOUND WILL BREAK MAURICE LUCAS'S TEAM RECORD FOR NUMBER OF BOARDS IN A QUARTER IN A ROAD GAME"

 

 

(8)

Haters B Hatin'

(a)

Something unwritten on Rudy's face says
knock me on my ass.

posted by Flagrant to the Canis Hoopus postgame recap


(b)

+Uno
Never have I agreed with any CH comment with such vigor.

I have a problem with people who showboat beyond the retail value of their own goods, and I have a problem with punk bitches whose flopping leaves me to wonder if a sniper made his way into the lower bowl. When those things get combined into one man, and that man complains about PT and has the dumbest trademark celebration in world history, it's enough to make me want to end it all with the toast in the tub. *  *  *

posted by TheH to the Canis Hoopus postgame recap

 

Stop back later for more material as it becomes available...

 

The Bottom Line:

1. This team is on the right track but still not quite there yet.

2. Our Wolves are the youngest team in the league — do you have any idea what that's like, Blazers?

3. Nicely fought and a good game. In a year or so games like this on the road will be wins instead of losses.

 

 

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Well, it's the last Blazer back-to-back before Christmas... That means it's time once again for my second annual spin around North America reviewing blogs dedicated to specific teams of the National Basketball Association.

I've done something like 115 or so editions of this stupid little Sidebar sidebar column — 50 or 60 for the SBN Laker blog, Silver Screen and Roll, then close to 60 for Blazers Edge. In the process of putting these things together, I try to locate and visit every opposition blog out there in my search for game review snippets and links. It's a weird beat that I have carved out for myself, but it's of my own choosing and it does get me around the neighborhood. I've got a lot of bookmarks on my browser...

One thing I strongly believe is that the people doing blogs need, more than anything, not financial reward or national fame, but reader recognition and feedback. They need some acknowledgment of the hard work they put into their projects, they need suggestions for improvement, and they need "in-links" assisting the fans of a team finding their way to the blogs of a team. These annual spins around the league are meant to contribute to all of these things in some small measure.

So, if you are a fan or a particular team other than the Blazers or if you find a description intriguing, please take advantage of the links I provide here and bookmark your browser. Visit them repeatedly throughout the season and let the people behind them know that you appreciate their work — or at least that you are reading. Please observe that the title of a punk rock compilation album put out by MaximumRocknroll is fully appropriate for most basketball bloggers: "They Don't Get Paid, They Don't Get Laid, But Boy Do They Work Hard!"

On with the show...

 

A Historical Overview of NBA Team Blogging.

Basketball team blogging is a medium in its infancy. i'm not sure what the first NBA team blog was or when it was launched, but pro basketball team blogs seem to have begun to emerge in significant numbers just prior to and during the 2003-04 season.

The forerunner of today's Blog-a-Bull, a thang called Bulls Blog, was established in July 2003. In a recent email, Friendly Bulls Blogger Matt recalled only one other team blog, RaptorBlog (now affiliated with Canadian sports network The Score) as preceding his. Hornets247 was also part of the class of 2003, apparently starting in the second half of the year.

February 2004 saw the emergence of Knickerblogger.net, now part of TrueHoop. The biggest battleship in Sports Blog Nation's NBA Navy, Celtic Blog, began in March of that same year, followed by the big bopper of the ESPN Network's stable, Laker blog Forum Blue & Gold, in November.

Other comparatively long-established NBA team blogs include the Kings Blog Sactown Royalty (October 2005 — preceded several months earlier by its forerunner, SacKingsBlog.com) and the Spurs blog Pounding the Rock (October 2005). The force of nature that is Blazers Edge was established in March 2006 by Casey Holdahl ("Lance Uppercut"), which is incidentally the same month that TrueHoop favorite ClipperBlog launched.

You get the point. The very oldest NBA team blogs are younger than my dog. We are still in the pioneer days of basketball blogging, my friends...

As capitalism will do, these and other baby basketball blogs were rapidly commodified and concentrated. Two "major" blog networks emerged, akin to television channels or major record labels. The biggest network — the provider of the host computer for the material you are now reading — is Sports Blog Nation, which the company calls "SB Nation" and which I call "SBN" for short.

SBN began as a baseball-centric outgrowth of Tyler Bleszinski's Oakland Athletics team blog, Athletics Nation, launched in 2003. Bleszinski established the network together with Markos "Kos" Moulitsas Zuniga, himself the founder of the reader-based left wing political blog, The Daily Kos. Bleszinski supplied the knowledge of the needs of blogging fandom while Kos had an understanding of the software edifice necessary to bring the user-driven content of "Web 2.0" to the sports world. The network began to accumulate and launch new blogs, moving from one sport to the next and growing like a snowball rolling downhill.

SBN has subsequently expanded to include 294 sports blogs — all of which are owned by the company. It's big business, kids... SBN's CEO is Jim Bankoff, a former executive with America Online who became involved in SBN's more "entrepreneurial" atmosphere beginning in 2008. According to an August 2010 article in Inc. magazine, the SBN network currently draws 8 million unique visitors per month and has experienced a quadrupling of corporate revenue in 2009. The company maintains a paid staff of 31 and is believed to practice a sort of revenue-sharing with the editors of its various blogs. The company is based in a converted townhouse in Washington, DC.

Beginning in the middle of 2010, SBN launched a sub-network of 20 regional sports sites, tying together the individual team blogs of various cities in an interdisciplinary manner. This seems to be the wave of the future, emulating the trend toward regionalization being practiced by the competing sports blog network, ESPN TrueHoop.

TrueHoop, the internet basketball division of ESPN, is part of the ABC/Disney media conglomerate and there should therefore be no confusion about its own profit-driven agenda. As with SBN, TrueHoop owns its "Network Roster" of team blogs, exerting even more centralized control over their editorial makeup. The network's software is less adept at handling reader commentary, a shortcoming for which ESPN attempts to compensate by maintaining a parallel message board system in conjunction with it's content-driven team sites.

Other "minor" blog networks attempting to do business on the same basic model include Bloguin, Fansided, and RantSports. Previous attempts to establish viable major blog networks have included the defunct MVN and the apparently defunct Fanball.

 

The Rating System.

The same color-coded rating system that I created in 2009 will be used again here:

Purple_medium  GOLD STAR — denotes a basketball blog that is one of the standards of the genre. The blog has superior content, is frequently updated, and demonstrates a large and actively participatory readership.

Green_medium  GREEN — denotes a fully healthy blog, generally featuring daily posts during the business week and producing intelligent analysis on a timely basis. 

Yellow_medium  YELLOW — denotes an ailing blog, with a pattern of slightly sporadic posting or of posting of hastily written or somewhat insufficient material. 

Red_medium  RED — denotes a seriously ill blog, with altogether insufficient coverage of the subject team. There is an occasional post, but the irregularity of new content makes regular readership unlikely.

Black_medium  BLACK — denotes a dead blog, which I am defining as a publication with no new content during the first two weeks of December 2010. A dead blog is one which needs to be buried and relaunched.

 

Teams will be listed alphabetically by team nickname, Western Conference today and Eastern Conference tomorrow. In addition to the blogs of the two major networks, this year for each team I will also list one or two blogs affiliated with smaller networks (Fansided, Bloguin, RantSports) or independent of all networks. Each team's blogs will be listed in rank order according to what I believe their quality to be — best blog appearing first.

Links will be provided for each. My free time being limited, I do not read more than a few of these blogs with any regularity, and so I may be wrong about this or that particular. Please don't take anything here as gospel. This is the subjective list of one person, okay?

One final note: I am not affiliated with Blazers Edge nor do I pretend to speak for its editors, Dave Deckard and Ben Golliver. I am rather just a reader and frequent poster here. I formerly wrote for Silver Screen and Roll, with which I was formally affiliated until my resignation on Nov. 20, 2009. I feel that my parting was on good terms, I like them, read them, and often post there as a reader. I am currently banned from two of the following blogs, Blog-a-Bull (SBN) and Celtics Blog (SBN), the former very deservedly and the latter because the moderators are stupid. I will make an effort not to let any of these circumstances affect my analysis of those digital publications. 

 

PART 1: WESTERN CONFERENCE

 

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Blazers

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Blazers Edge (SBN) — I don't need to spend too many words on this one, eh? "The Bellcow of SBN," a two person blog featuring long and thoughtful essays designed to provoke extended reader discussion and professional quality on-the-scene reporting from practices and home games. That's the good part and it's unchanged from last year. The unfortunate news is that there has been an attenuation of quality from last season's near perfection. The Holdahl/Deckard and Golliver/Pelton podcasts have vanished. Sidebar quality has declined notably, with several of the site's best and brightest voices apparently on hiatus. While Deckard's lengthy reviews and essays on the front page remain regular and thoughtful, Golliver has become a bit more hit-and-miss, still contributing stellar "media row reports" following home games, but seemingly finding himself torn between the blog and his "real job" as a contributor of NBA content to CBSSports.com — last year's essays have become this year's mainpage FanShots. Still the best Blazer source on the internet although BE's margin of superiority over the new kid on the block, TrueHoop's Portland Roundball Society, is actually fairly slight. Averaging something like 20,000 daily visitors in December 2010.

Purple_medium

Portland Roundball Society (TrueHoop) — The newest member of the TrueHoop stable, this new publication replaced the defunct TrueHoop blog Beyond Bowie, which went dark in November 2009. As with all TrueHoop sites, this is very much in the Internet 1.0 vein — content is to be read, comments are permitted but difficult to access. Content is provided by staff writers, not by readers. These limitations understood, it should be said that this is a very fine blog indeed, with a multiplicity of voices going beyond the usual fare of pregame/postgame analysis to include regular masses of links, feature stories, post-game video, obscure video, and humor. New content is added several times a day, one of the benchmarks of quality. Analysis is inciteful and the layout is appealing. A move to a new less Brandon-centric banner would probably be advisable at this point, however. TrueHoop sites do not have a visible hit counter, so traffic is uncertain.

Green_medium

Rip City Project (Fansided) — This is, for all intents an purposes, a "previews and recaps" site, leaving the expanded content to its major network colleagues. The prose is copious, game analysis is good. The site has rather too few graphics, however, and paragraph structure is still too long to be read comfortably. I'm not finding a visible Site Meter counter at the moment, but the site is in the 400-ish daily visitor range. I recently had a more extensive review of the Blazer-related sites, so I will move along. Rip City Project is a very useful site that could stand a freshening up of presentation.

Green_medium

Bust a Bucket (Bloguin) — Bust a Bucket is one of the better sites on the Bloguin network. Preview presentation is excellent, with "Rob's Rundown" featuring pictures of first and second team players for each side and a position-by-position breakdown of forthcoming action. Sophia Brugato's post-game reviews capture fan sentiment well, although are sometimes a bit short in the realm of basketball analytics. Still, there are plenty of available sources for postgame rundowns and Brugato's writing style is entertaining and affecting. I am not partial to the site's white-text-on-a-black-background, but at the end of the day there are bigger worries in the world. The site's banner is too tall, some effort should be made to shorten things an inch while keeping the visual cool. A nice blog.

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Clippers

Green_medium

Clipper Blog (TrueHoop) — Established in March 2006, ClipperBlog is a TrueHoop institution. I gave this blog a top ranking last season, downgraded to "green" here due to a rather slower post-game response time and less compelling presentation than was seen previously. Article "jumps" are used profusely, with the mainpage showing overly long and dense single paragraphs with the invitation for the reader to click to "Read More..." Too often this is NOT going to be done, the way things are structured. I'm missing Kevin Aronovitz. Heavy in video, light in graphics, which is not the way I would play things. Reader comments sections are heavily used, indicating that this is the flagship blog for the long-suffering fans of the San Diego Clippers of Los Angeles.

Green_medium

Clips Nation (SBN) — Pregame previews and post-game analysis by "Clipper Steve" Perrin, with SBN's trademark "Game Day Open Threads" for good measure. Blogs need multiple voices to be truly compelling and Clipper Steve would be advised to find some cohorts to share the workload. Game previews are useful and seem to have been a direct influence for Dave Deckard's game summary style at Blazers Edge. Steve's propensity to use overly long paragraphs for "The Big Picture" in the pregame analysis needs to be fixed, methinks. The sidebar gets one or two new FanPosts a day on average, game threads typically draw a few hundred comments to 500 or more, and daily visits are typically in the 2000 to 2500 range, a touch better than last year.

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Grizzlies

Green_medium

3 Shades of Blue (TrueHoop) — The 3SOB website was down when I was writing this review, but Matthew Noe was on the job with a recap up when the Blazers recently played the Grizz, so I don't expect that the problem is permanent. Then again, given the Grizzlies pathetic home game attendance, all bets are off in the continuity department, eh? A year ago the site was drawing about 700 daily visitors, one of the few looks into TrueHoop network traffic which I've ever had — not really impressive, by any stretch of the imagination, but about twice as big as the blog's SBN counterpart. Sorry this is so incomplete, but I can't review what I can't see.

Red_medium

Straight Outta Vancouver (SBN) — We've got problems here, the last mainpage post came on December 5, reading in full: "Not much of a preview for this one. The Grizz have looked great at times and horrendous in others lately — expect a write-up on last week coming sometime tomorrow." By my rules of the game this one gets a red box instead of a black box, but this baby looks like a goner. It's easy to see how having to cover the Grizzlies, with their idiotic front office and their anemic home crowds, could be an exercise in frustration.

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Hornets

Purple_medium

Hornets 247 (TrueHoop) — One of the pioneer NBA team blogs, dating back to the halcyon days of 2003, when a dollar was worth a dollar and George Bush the Lesser was President... Still one of the best blogs out there, for my money, with an easy-to-read layout and a fun writing style. What looked like a two man team last year now looks like three, with Joe Garrity, Michael McNamara, and Ryan Schwan splitting duties. They've got a podcast, they've got a heavy readership that chimes in with comments, it's the place to be if you're a fan of Chris Paul, David West, and the kids. It could stand more pictures, but we won't hold that against 'em — they're doing the blog thang right. Good work, guys!

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At the Hive (SBN) — At the Hive narrowly dodged a "Yellow" box last year but seem to have found their legs this season, with several active writers adding to the usual melange of previews and recaps with internet links and feature stories. Nice use of graphics, too. They're working on a project listing the "30 Greatest Hornets" — including #30, Dan Dickau, no kidding! — and seem willing to venture into feature story material. A jersey contest, too. In short: this site is showing big improvement over the past year. Traffic is in the ballpark of 1000 visits a day.

Green_medium

Swarm and Sting (Fansided) — A nice source of previews and recaps, copiously illustrated. This seems to be a one man show conducted by the talented James Grayson. The logic of the situation for him is to add additional writers to help shoulder the burden and build a community or to join one of the two already extant blogs, which are both quite good and will certainly suck all the air out of his effort in the long haul. Here's hoping Batman finds his Robin and Batgirl to help him take his excellent blog to the next level.

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Jazz

Green_medium

SLC Dunk (SBN) — An interesting read, with lots of pictures and video and stuff. The internet is not paper, one can use color and movement and sound free of charge, and these guys do it. Basketball John is still the franchise player, carrying the ball for a cool regular feature called "The Downbeat," an entertaining collection of stats, trivia, video, and newsy news worthy of the highest compliment — emulation. Reader participation is sort of pissy though, with a nearly dead sidebar and a low comments-per-post factor. The Jazz faithful need to step it up, because they have a first rate team with this first rate blog. What's the problem? Traffic is banging around in the 1500 to 2000 daily visitor range.

Purple_medium

Salt City Hoops (TrueHoop) — I made a special point of singling out the bouncy-flouncy structure of the Salt City Hoops site for criticism last year. This year, mercifully, it is fixed. Don't ask me to describe last season's memorable disaster, let's just say that things are now more conventional and more usable this time around as the former navigational catastrophe has been abandoned. The site has a new regular column called "Take It To the Court," adding thickness to this blog's work in the paint. Graphics are large, colorful, and capture readers' attention. Feature stories up the wazoo, such as a recent statistical comparison of Chris Paul and the great Deron Williams. This is not your grandpa's previews and recaps site, buckos, this is meaty and relevant. I'm giving this a gold star for its extreme originality and quality of craftsmanship, even though I'm listing it second since Salt City Hoops is, to me, a supplement to the main course. If I had an award for Most Improved Blog of 2010, here's your winner...

Green_medium

Purple and Blues (Fansided) — This is a well-crafted previews-and-recaps blog, heavy in the use of graphics and featuring intelligent writing that gets to the point. As is the case with most of the blogs of the Fansided network, there are not yet enough cooks in the kitchen to produce a full menu, but Lee Tawil does a great job of cranking out tasty entres. It is pretty clear to me now that Fansided has overtaken and surpassed Bloguin as the #3 basketball blogging network. The software behind this and other Fansided blogs is readable and attractive; the deficiencies of this and other Fansided blogs are related to their youth and the lack of full TEAMS of writers, which is a characteristic of all the truly first-rate examples of the genre. Still, this is a fine piece of work worthy of frequent visits by aficionados of the hardwood work of Jerry's kids.

Kings_medium

Kings

Green_medium

Sactown Royalty (SBN) — Tom Ziller of Sactown Royalty is a basketball blogging pioneer and a guy who has rightfully gained something of a national following. Ziller's writing is witty and intelligent. This is, however, more or less a standard issue Sports Blog Nation affair, with previews, recaps, and the good ol' Gameday Open Thread. They can still put up 1000 open thread comments on a good night, which is one sign that this blog remains extremely relevant to the disheartened fans of the slumping Kings. Sidebar activity is way off from desired levels however, with something like one new FanPost a day seeing light. Traffic is excellent, as these things go, bouncing around in the 6000 to 8000 visits per day range.

Green_medium

Cowbell Kingdom (True Hoop) — A nice job, heavy in stats and featuring original interviews, such as a recent one with Kings head coach Paul Westphal. Nice use of graphics and a large amount of content outside of your typical preview-and-recap gunk, which is the trademark of quality as far as I'm concerned. 

Green_medium

A Royal Pain (Fansided) — The silly name of this blog sort of captures its essence. It's a Fansided blog, so the editorial crew is extremely limited — in this case a single individual by the name of Bryan. Fortunately for all and sundry, he's a pretty funny dude, willing to curse on the mainpage and not taking himself too seriously. The life of a Kings fan this year is one of pain and suffering, a little levity can work wonders. See, for example: "Former Bee columnist Scott Howard-Cooper is reporting that Tyreke Evans may begin skipping games to deal with his numerous injuries. This right on the heals of the Hassan Whiteside to the D-League move makes it TWO, count ‘em, TWO smart moves in the past week by the Kings. Sweet Jesus, go buy a lotto ticket!!" Yes, we have somebody who is not only a superfan, but a cat that knows how to entertain while breaking down the losing efforts. That is NOT easy my friends! Solid work, good on ya, mate!

Lakers_medium

Lakers

Purple_medium

Silver Screen and Roll (SBN) — I can not tell a lie — Chris Clark and Dexter Fishmore and their cast of characters have knocked off the king this year, emerging as the most informative and entertaining Laker blog on the planet. Both of these guys know how to write, and I'm not just blowing smoke when I say that. Think: Dave Deckard when he's on a roll — and that's the benchmark level of commentary. The Gameday Open Threads are a real joy to participate in, just the right size of crowd with a copious number of smartasses and a worship of site-specific memes. While sidebar activity is not what it should be, even this has its moments, such as the running thread of lame excuses for losses. There is a boatload of daily writing about the Lakers on the internets and the daily links articles cranked out every day do a wonderful job of assembling an easily clickable list of stuff to read. Although only 18 months old or so, this outstanding blog continues to blossom. Average daily visitors are in the 5000 range, bounding skywards like Shannon Brown on a breakaway dunk when they get some good in-links. Often hilarious, always good. I love these guys.

Green_medium

Forum Blue and Gold (True Hoop) — There's a new regime at this venerable blog, longtime blogging guru Kurt seems to be gone with the wind. Darius Soriano does a worthy job continuing the FB&G tradition of thoughtful commentary on one of America's premiere sports franchises. The layout is very fine indeed, with easy-to-read text and tasteful use of graphics. It's still a nice piece of work, although no longer one of the legendary NBA blogs.

Green_medium

Lake Show Life (Fansided) — Another in the set of high quality one man shows that are typical of the Fansided blog network. Lake Show LIfe features the writing of Chris Shellcroft, a guy who is bold enough to dispose of the game previews that nobody reads in favor of think pieces about the team, sprinkling in recaps as garnishing. Graphics are light, which I reckon is a demerit, but the content is first rate. I'd almost bet money that Shellcroft ends up jumping to SSR or FB&G at some point in the game, where his considerable writing talents will be more accessible to the hardcore Laker fanbase. Be that as it may, this site is well worth regular investigation by Laker loyalists for its content above and beyond the usual previews-and-recaps crap that stuffs the internet.

Mavericks_medium

Mavericks

Green_mediumMavs Moneyball (SBN) — This blog remains an outstanding source of postgame commentary for Mavericks fans, thick in video and graphics and after game quotes from the coach and team. Editor Bryan Gutierrez and writer DOH in particular do terrific work in breaking down the "What Happened and Why" for Mavs fans in this season of dreams. Postgame analysis often appears in multiples, giving readers different views of the same action. Previews are there for those who like such things (I don't) and there is some effort at additional thematic writing. Sidebar activity is damned poor, a couple new things a week. Traffic is up a little from last season, bouncing around in the 1000-1200 daily visitor range of late.

Green_medium

The Two Man Game (TrueHoop) — What I wrote last year remains true: "The Two Man Game is actually a star running an isolation play." Rob Mahoney is great, his regular postgame recaps aren't the main deal, they are the supplement to his statistical analyses and think pieces. Mahoney makes extensive use of bullets to get across his points, which makes for an easy read. He's a smart guy on top of the game and he takes original angles rather than reacting to the work of others. This is a gorgeous piece of work, really, considering that doing an NBA blog is about a 5 person job and this is the result of one guy rowing the boat.

Nuggets_medium

Nuggets

Green_mediumDenver Stiffs (SBN) — The SBN incarnation of Denver Stiffs was formed in 2009 through the merger of an independent blog by the same name and the existing SBN Nugget Blog, Pickaxe and Roll. There are only so many ways you can tweak the SBN layout. One can use long, long essays interspersed with mainpage FanShots, like Blazers Edge or one can use shortish leads with graphics and fast jumps. Denver Stiffs from its inception has given a radical spin to the latter approach, using microscopic leads and substantial graphics with huge jump sections. Its visually unique among the SBN blogs, which is not to say that it is stylistically good... Denver Stiffs provides timely recaps and hosts hopping Gameday Open Threads, but it is very difficult to see this as much more than a run of the mill exercise in previews and recaps. Good enough for what it is, but man, I want more. What do I know, their traffic is up significantly from last year, riding in the 3000 to 3500 range of late.

Yellow_medium

Roundball Mining Company (TrueHoop) — These guys are annoyingly slow with their game recaps, which pretty much renders the site useless from my narrow perspective. It annoys the hell out of me, actually... I put up a little yellow square last year and, damn it, I'm gonna do it again. That may seem a bit harsh, but cranking out timely recaps is the mandatory minimum for a team blog, methinks. Jeremy is still working at the mill, cranking out those intelligent and lengthy recaps that are too late to be of use to me or of particular interest to anyone else.This is a graphics-free blog that really leaves me flat. More speed + more pictures = more readers.

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Rockets

Green_mediumThe Dream Shake (SBN) — The Houston Rockets represent a unique situation in the internet world — coverage of the team is dominated by an independent message board called "Clutch Fans" rather than conventional content-driven blogs. There are a couple solid Rockets blogs, however, including the SBN-affiliated The Dream Shake. Previews and recaps deluxe, done well by a variety of voices, with additional coverage for the long-suffering Rockets faithful of their ongoing injury travails with star players (this week: Yao Ming with another stress fracture) and the scrambling efforts of the brilliant Rockets GM Daryl Morey to attempt to staunch the bleeding. Baseline for the blog is in the 3000 daily visitor range of late, spiking up to more than twice that, which represents a healthy increase over last year.

Green_mediumRed 94 (TrueHoop) — Replacing the defunct TrueHoop blog Rockets Buzz is the much better Red 94. This blog actually launched in October 2009 and which was brought into the ESPN TrueHoop fold in December of that same year. The blog includes a Mandarin language page, which may ultimately prove to be short-lived given the unfortunate injury history of the Large Chinese Man. Regardless of that fact and in spite of the goofy name of the blog, Red 94 is gonna be around with game analysis, trade discussions, and commentary on various issues of importance to Rockets fans.

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Spurs

Purple_medium48 Minutes of Hell (TrueHoop) — They do the stats, they do the recaps, they do a podcast, they sit in press row, they write the essays — all in a clean-looking and easily accessible package. Yes, my friends, this is a basketball team blog the way it should be done. They've got a full house of talented writers doing their thing, which makes all the difference in the world. So what's missing? Graphics are a little light, that's one thing. Reader commentary is as good as it gets on TrueHoop's software, nothing to hold against them. Hey, I'm nitpicking at this point — this is one of the benchmark blogs, by which all others are judged...

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Pounding the Rock (SBN) — Previews and recaps and quick recaps and previews and stats and recaps. Everybody wants to write about A game, very few people seem to want to write about THE game. This is not a particular shortcoming of the venerable Pounding the Rock, but it is rather a general complaint applicable to dozens of NBA blogs. Give us photos, features, unique takes, new perspectives to go with the mashed potatoes and vaguely warm milk of recaps and previews... PtR actually is not the worst offender in the monotony department, they've got a fairly vast number of editors and writers. I suppose this makes it a little worse though — there are 10 writers on the masthead, yet not a single new mainpage post on Friday, December 17 outside of a midnight game recap. How can that even happen? Top quality network blogs like this one should be held to a higher standard. Get with it, gang!

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Air Alamo (Fansided) — Fanside blog Air Alamo was improved this year by the infusion of talent from the late, great independent blog Spurs Underground (Motto: "Where Objectivity Goes to Die.") Now Spurs Underground's B. Diddy and Air Alamo's Mike are shopping for additional writers. Good for them, that's how you grow these things — get together five or six people, delegate beats, and keep it fresh daily. A "Help Wanted" sign is a good thing when there are two serious bloggers back of it... Air Alamo does the recaps, yes, but they're eager and anxious to delve into additional fare like think-piece essays. They do a little of the video thing, not enough of the pictures thing, and if I had to bet money, I'd be banking that this terrific blog is going to be even bigger and better next year.

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Suns

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Valley of the Suns (TrueHoop) — Last year this was a one man show written by a guy that came off sounding like a sibling of Ben Golliver. This year the burden is spread to four primary voices, which makes all the difference in the world. Instead of just the never ending blahblahblah of previews and the recitations of game highlights, now there is time and energy and space for writing on topical themes. Updates on players, coverage from practice, articles on bigger topics like team chemistry and such. It's a much better read, even though the "hard reporting" of last year is mixed with softer fare. Video heavy and graphics light, this now looks to me to be the better of the two Phoenix Suns blogs — although the margin is slight.

Green_mediumBright Side of the Sun (SBN) — Thank god the one man show of last year has become a team effort, because doing a basketball blog right is about a 5 or 6 person project. Sure, you can have your dedicated discussion leader and your ultra-driven journalist on the rise hold down the fort quite well — but really DOING THE JOB means spreading out the work to avoid the demon burnout. This year's model of Bright Side of the Sun has 8 names on the masthead, of which at least 4 are carrying serious water to thirsty Suns fans. Previews and recaps and the Gameday Open Thread, sure, but also an effort at topical coverage going above and beyond the basics. The sidebar is reasonably active with a couple new FanPosts a day and the traffic levels are up from last year, banging around in the 3000 to 4000 daily visitor range of late.

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Suns Zoo (Rant Sports) — Suns Zoo is a one man show that is part of the new Rant Sports Network. Posts are too infrequent to catch more than the incidental passerby, although this one seems to have a guy behind it that is of serious mind. But really: until Rant Sports gets rid of the crap auto-play video advertisements, I refuse to take this network seriously. BEYOND ANNOYING and it's not selling anybody anything, you yoyos...

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Thunder

Green_mediumDaily Thunder.com (TrueHoop) — Daily Thunder is a one man show featuring the writing of Royce Young. Yes the dude can write, and reader commenting is very heavy, solid testimony both to the quality of Young's presentation and to the devotion of the Oklahoma City fanbase. Yep, previews and recaps and links pages and the occasional topical essay — all written by one guy. It's a quality package but take some sage advice: You are headed for Burnout City, my friend. Get helpers now!

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Welcome to Loud City (SBN) — Previews and recaps and links, oh my! They've got 8 writers on the masthead — time to use them... Still hovering in the 300 to 350 daily visitor range, which may well relate to the fact that nobody reads previews, one can only stand to read a few recaps, and links aren't good for much unless there is traffic and discussion which makes them seem like ornamentation around the room of the real party, which is being hosted by the blog in question. Welcome to Loud City is still on the short side of having achieved critical mass. Its editors and writers are encouraged to hit the links to take a look at what others are doing around the NBA and then to steal from the best to make things fresher, more provocative, more compelling.

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Timberwolves

Green_mediumCanis Hoopus (SBN) —Things are happening with the T-wolves; at least the Canis Hoopus sidebar is perking and that's indicative of something. Host of the show Stop-n-Pop is a swell toastmaster in the Dave Deckard vein. There are a wide variety of voices populating the mainpage and taking things above and beyond the usual wall of preview/recap blahblahblah. Although the T-wolves have a 4th rate GM, are sporting a 3rd rate winning percentage, and are saddled with a 2nd rate roster, Canis Hoopus is truly is first rate blog, albeit marred by the SBN cookie-cutter software. Traffic has more than doubled in the past year, bumping up over the 5000 daily visitor mark with great regularity. What I wrote last year remains true: "If the GM ever puts anything but PGs and PFs on the team and they advance from doormats to the threshhold, this blog is gonna blow up big and fat. Quality, daddio. Quote me."

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Howlin' T-Wolf (TrueHoop) — Drop dead gorgeous layout — a pretty package which makes Sports Blog Nation's preposterously generic output look like 10 year old output of Adobe PageMill. There are gobs of graphics, video to spare, and the writing is thoughtful and intelligent. This must have been produced by a team of half a dozen coordinated fanatics, yes? Actually, ummm, no — this is the work of one person: J. Steinmeyer. Ho-leee crap! I wanna buy stock in that guy, that's for damned sure; he's not only a professional, he's seriously driven and he can juggle! Get some help, friend, don't burn yourself out. A fabulous resource for Timberwolves fans!

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Warriors

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Warriors World (TrueHoop) — Last year I was critical of the way this site overused video. This year I am stunned and wowed by the way the mainpage content scrolls over the frozen image in the background. It is very unique and different and SO COOL that I feel the need to use an obscene emphatic or two. Seriously, click the link just to scoll this one... Pants back on, here's the scoop: lead writer Rasheed Malek is good, the use of graphics is excellent, and the site has significant content above and beyond the same old-same old. Second writer Ethan Sherwood Strauss is even better, writing fewer posts but making use of a fresh and highly readable writing style.

Green_mediumGolden State of Mind (SBN) — I tell ya, after one subjects oneself to about 50 blogs in succession, one is left with a vaguely numb feeling by the time the Warriors roll around. What is there to say that hasn't been said? Gameday links and recaps are the main fare here, There are an amazing 14 names on the masthead, one would think this would, could, and should be one of the most dynamic and content-packed basketball blogs on the internet with that many people pulling in the same direction. It's not, sadly. Traffic is excellent, in the 8000 sort of neighborhood, testament to the loyal fans of the Oakland team. A decent blog, without doubt, but one that needs to take three big steps forward.

 

Okay, let's score it...

SBN with 8 blogs that I feel are best-of-the-team and True Hoop with 7. Gold stars for 4 TrueHoop blogs and 2 SBN blogs. One SBN blog near death and one TrueHoop blog that annoys me.  A pretty even division, it would seem.

Stop by for the Eastern Conference blog rundown tomorrow, assuming I can find the time and energy...

 

 

*   *   *

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This ain't Brandon's team

Other guys wear the colors

Free of fetters now

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Here's some more wackiness from the twisted tongue of goofy Uncle Mike...

Friedrice_medium

Does Rice not like Steve Javie, perhaps?

MB: "Johnny Flynn will get a delay of game for coming in without having his jersey tucked in and being ready to go. Steve Javie all over that call..."

Rice (with enormous sarcasm): "Well he would, it's such a big call!"

 

Rudy having a career half...

MB: "Rudy for 3!!! — 18 points in his first 11 minutes tonight!"

Rice: "He's going to wear the goggles out tonight!"

 

Rice makes it all sound so easy...

"If you don't get sloppy against them, you can score, Minnesota, but if you start getting sloppy against them, THEY can score."

 

Now Wesley Matthews is hurt...

"Do you have the phone number for Luke Babbitt? Can we get him here for the 4th?"

 

 

Game 27.

Timberwolves 102 at Blazers 107.

December 17, 2010.

Blazers' record is now 13-14, the T-wolves are 6-21.

1. Blazers with 4 turnovers at the first commercial break, and that projects to, ummmmm, let me get my calculator.... 32 for the game. Fortunately, LMA kept the Blazers in the game with 12 points to open, out of a total of 12 points scored by Portland. Hmmm, are we noticing a pattern here? Marty Blazer came in around 4:30 and promptly got to the rim against a sleeping defender before ripping a long J on the next possession. Is losing him for Adam Babbitt a demerit on the scorecard of Idiot Cho or Kevin Pritchard? The latter, I think. Portland hung in and even took a small lead. PDX 25, MIN 24.

2. I thought the Blazers were classy for setting up a thank you celebration to honor Andre Miller's 632 consecutive game streak that was shown in the pregame, but it turns out that teammate LMA conceived and executed the whole plan, including the slick custom-printed T-shirts. It figures — "Classy" and "Blazers" are two words seldom seen in close proximity. Rudy was back, scoring 9 points and making a gorgeous steal which Patty Mills failed to convert in his first 6 minutes of action. Marty Blazer played with ferocity, anxious to give Paul "Octopus" Allen a souvenir that he could shove sideways straight up his leaden, poxy nose. (That sounds so much better with Full Contact Verbiage.) Blazers without Roy are more exciting than the Blazers with Roy, can anybody possibly doubt that now? If Roy were to shut it down for, oh, let's say the next half decade, I think I would be okay with that. Speaking of the physically unable to perform list, it looks to me, as a connoisseur of low post play, that Joel Przybilla is finished as an effective NBA player. This makes me sad. Kevin Love is an amazing rebounder, maybe the best in the NBA. He took a missed Minnesota FT off the rim before LMA even realized that the ball had left the shooter's hand. It was incredible. LMA with 20 points and Rudy with 18 points in the first half. That's amazing, too. PDX 61, MIN 54. Brandon, who? Blazers shot 64% for the half.

Halftime Entertainment: The Bouncing Souls "I Like Your Mom" (audio only, 1994)

3. It took Mike "Nattering Nelly" Barrett exactly 46 seconds and precisely 1 missed Portland shot to raise the specter of the Blazers' 2nd half shooting slump. Neither Nic nor Camby were in the lineup or on the bench to start the 3rd Quarter, and nobody knew why. Eventually Terry Porter figured out that it was Camby with a shoulder bruise and Batum with a shoulder strain — both out for the night. MB points out that the Batum injury is to the same shoulder that he injured last year, which is double not good. LMA has suddenly turned into a beast with several very impressive jams. Noice. MB was once again disappointed that both teams score repeatedly in a basketball game. "Every time the Blazers go on a little run, the Timberwolves.....come.....right......back....and....score." Well, no duh, welcome to the NBA, sir. Come on, MB, quit whining, you're better than that... I've never seen a 105-22 game yet, although the glory days Ralph Miller Beavs went 2-for-1 a couple times. Then with 53.1 seconds remaining, Wesley Matthews got tangled up on a break and went down hard at 85 MPH, getting called for a foul in the process. He stayed on the floor for quite a while before getting up and limping to the locker room. Nate was forced to play his Least Favorite Blazer, Armon Johnson, who drilled a trey to make it a 4 point Blazer lead at the break. PDX 82, MIN 78. Minnesota was 1-for-11 from distance, which was a killer, Portland shooting 53% through the 3rd.

4. Wesley was back for the 4th, which was a good sign. Then inside of the first minute, Przybilla came down on Michael Beasley's foot and tweaked his ankle. He stayed in the game, but Portland had to burn a time out to figure it out. Despite the body count, Portland maintained intensity and showed no sign of going into an offensive drought. LMA got to his 30 at the 9 minute mark draining two FTs. He was 12-for -18 to get those points. Somewhere in California, JKSnake was heard by his neighbors moaning, his world having come apart before his eyes...  Then there was a one-handed LMA jam posterizing Beasley for a 10 point Blazer lead. More audible moaning... Kudos for Dante Cunningham's aggressive defense against the criminally underrated Kevin Love. Rudy pulled a highlight drive and jam for his CAREER HIGH 26 and let me say this now, loud and proud:

I DON'T KNOW WHO WINS THIS GAME, BUT THE BLAZERS PLAYING THIS STYLE AND LOSING IS A SUPERIOR FAN EXPERIENCE TO THEM PLAYING GRANDMA-ROY-OH-GOLLY-I-CAN'T-TURN-IT-OVER NATE BALL AND WINNING.

On cue, the Blazers went into a scoring slump, with Minnesota cutting it to just a 4 point Portland lead at the 3 minute mark. But the T-wolves are young and undisciplined and they bailed Portland out. Ridnour fouled Patty Mills and he had a commercial break to think about it. Rice comes back and starts bebbling about Brandon Roy. Patty drains two anyway. Dante fouled by Love on a rebound, splitting the pair to make the lead 7. Rice: "Kevin love is unbelievable..." Yes, he is. One of the greatest rebounders, in fact. Matthews threw up a missed 3 against the shot clock, but LMA skied for the board and put it back for his CAREER HIGH 36 just outside of the 1:30 mark. This is the All Star we thought he could be — can he keep it up? Minnesota time out, Portland holding a 103-96 lead.

Out of commercial, Beasley was sent to the line to shoot 3 on a delusional shooting foul call on an attempted steal by Wesley Matthews. Beasley potted all three, cutting the lead to just 4 points. On the other end, Rudy got into the paint and kicked it to LMA, who got Love flying and was sent to the line. Predictably, he missed both. It was 103-99 Portland and Kurt Rambis called time with 1:15 showing.

Out of the timeout, a play was called for Kevin Love, who missed an 18 footer. On the other end, Wesley missed a trey, but LMA came up with his 10th board and Blazers ran clock. Wesley got the ball back again and hit a runner at the shot clock buzzer, putting the Blazers up by 6 with just 27.5 remaining. Minnesota once again took time, their last time out. Hasta la vista, Timberwolves!

It was still just two possessions. Martell forced a bad 3, Portland rebounded but Dante was whistled for traveling. On the inbounds Michael Beasley hit a closely guarded trey to cut the lead to just 3 points with 13.9 remaining. Portland called time, needing 1 point for an effective dagger. 

Nate inserted Andre for the finish. Unable to get the ball inbounded, Portland was forced to burn its last time out. Wesley took the ball and was fouled hard, inadvertently rolled up the leg by Beasley. He wasn't hurt and potted the first for DAGGER. He made the second as well. Full court press, Chinese fire drill. Sorry, Minny. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS 107, MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES 102. LMA was 36/10 and 5 blocks.

 

"it was really a team win. Everybody came in and chipped in and produced."    Wesley Matthews, postgame

 

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

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Who wants popcorn? I do, I do. CLICK THE LINK and see...

A. A pretty ugly 1st Quarter before the Blazers went on a little 13-2 run to get back into it. The run largely coincided with the insertion of Rudy, Dante, and Patty into the lineup off the bench.

B. A bizarre game flow, with starters Nic Batum and Marcus Camby contributing a total of 2 points in their 13 and 15 minutes of action, respectively.

C. Joel Pryzbilla missed out on several potential rebounds (boards he would have hoovered before his injury). He was gooseegged — no points, no rebounds — in his 8 minutes of action. And he got hurt doing it.

D. Wesley had a quiet 21 points tonight. He is looking more and more like a start in this league, which just might save the Blazers' bacon.

E. Michael Beasley had 33 points and I wouldn't have him on a team of mine on a bet. There is something about that dude that really gets my backhair up.

 

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

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The Basketball Jones is a NBA blog and video/audio podcast, written and recorded five times a week by J.E. Skeets, Tas Melas, Jason Doyle and Matt Osten. Assume that there will be a couple Not Suitable For Work words used in any given episode.

 

 

Sources: Lou Dubois, "The Evolution of Sports Blog Nation," Inc. magazine, Aug. 20, 2010.

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