Snips and clips from the Minnesota camp, plus:
- Portland's "Mike Rice Statistics"
- Whistle Blowers
- Haiku Game Review
- Fried Rice
- Blazers/Timberwolves Recap
- Popcorn Machine
- The Basketball Jones
by Stop-n-Pop, Canis Hoopus (SBN)
From the opening tap you could hear the creep. No amount of "Everybody Clap Your Hands," DJ Mad Mardigan, howl-o-meter, or in game hype could mask it.
Apathy is here folks.
Even casual fans have seen this before. Second verse, same as the first.
Tonight, the Wolves reverted to mid-December form by allowing another team's average (slightly above average in the case of Wes Matthews) wing player absolutely torch them from long-distance. * * *
I've mentioned several times during the year that I have no idea how to write about this squad. It still remains the case. Everything that can be said about this team has already been said. I don't need to tell you about how or why they sink or swim. Even if they make this a close game (I'm writing this with about 4 minutes to go in the 2nd quarter), we all know what will happen in the end: they will blow it in spectacular and predictable fashion.
I suppose we could talk about how David Kahn continues to provide ammunition to those who think he doesn't have the first clue how to evaluate NBA talent. Maybe we could talk about the in game cluelessness of Kurt Rambis. What about a few examples of how Jonny Flynn doesn't know how to play basketball?
Uggh. * * *
posted by timmuggs to Canis Hoopus recap thread
10 step recipe for tonight
1. Go to cheap grocery store - no wussing out by going to Whole Foods or Trader Joes
2. Buy can of Boy-Ar-Dee spaghetti and 12 pack of PBR
3. Put in pan
4. Light stove
5. Heat for 10 minutes
6. Op en can
7. Treat fingers for 2nd degree burns
8. Drink warm beer
9. Vomit & go to bed
10. Answer call from wife's divorce lawyer in the morning
posted by Blakeley to Canis Hoopus postgame recap
Kahn is either...
C) all of the above
There are no other options.
posted by Malastare to Canis Hoopus postgame thread
3. Point. Defense. Now.
That is all.
posted by colin_k41 to RealGM Timberwolves message board
If we could just get all of these guys contributing every night we'd be a much better team. I'm not talking huge games just playing within yourself and contributing.
We have two players with roles on this team, Beasley and Love, scorer/closer and scorer/rebounder.
The rest of the guys it's pretty much a crap shoot. Every game it's different.
No wonder we have zero consistency. No one knows what they're supposed to do.
posted by LOBO 7 to RealGM Timberwolves message board
Even though we lost game, we passed the test within the game, which was to bounce back with some fierce energy and passion in the second half.
I wouldn't be surprised if Brewer starts the next game, which will have the Rambis haters fuming. There is no question Wes is physically ready for an NBA rookie, but he is just not mentally ready, doesn't know how to prepare himself to bring it every night or how to get himself involved.
Same goes for Darko lately. I know Rambis is the Zen master's disciple, he needs to get these guys meditating or something.
(7) THIS IS THE MAIN MINNESOTA BEAT REPORT OF THE GAME...
by Jerry Zgoda, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
While several Timberwolves stayed late into the night stretched over training tables for stimulation treatments on their aching hips, knees and psyches, Portland guard Wes Matthews probably needed a nice ice bath for his overworked thumbs and index fingers after the Trail Blazers' 108-98 victory on at Target Center.
The Wolves followed the season's worst loss on Wednesday with a Friday night flop, when Matthews turned the second half moot after he made seven three-point shots and scored 29 of his career-high 36 points before halftime.
After each made three, Matthews formed those thumbs and index fingers into circles and held them to his eyes, peering through the spaces in the middle as if he was staring through goggles.
It is a Blazers tradition since last season, when rookie point guard Patrick Mills popularized the gesture that playfully poked fun at pal Rudy Fernandez's apparent blurred long-distance vision. * * *
The Wolves outscored the Trail Blazers by 10 points in the final two quarters, but they allowed 63 points and trailed by 20 at halftime. * * *
posted by snoozecruise to Minneapolis Star Tribune game report comments
After the Wolves went 5 and 15 the first 20 games of the season, I thought 6 and 14 would be a reasonable expectation for the next 20. Guess I was wrong.
I am now at a point where I will watch games on TV only to see players such as Love and Brewer give everything they have in the tank. Love has improved his defense, and is as consistent as the sun rising in the morning. He truly is an all star.
Darko, after signing his long term contract, apparently plays only when he feels like it and is returning to early season ineptitude. Did he even have one rebound tonight? Sometimes I wonder if he commits dumb fouls on purpose so he can go and sit down. (He gets paid either way.)
Webster must think he is Jordan or Kobe the way he hoists shots up. The dude NEVER passes.
Beasely, Toliver, and a couple others at least gave it all they had as well as Love and Brewer.
As far as winning goes, it ain't going to happen this year; 20 wins will be tough to reach and 15 might be more likely. So I will let go of any winning expectations I had, and try to enjoy the good efforts of those who come to play and actually give a rat's rear end.
A Wolf Among Wolves (TrueHoop)
This is one of those times I wish we were the Knicks. Not for their world renowned Garden, rabidly entitled fan base or sensationalistic coverage, but for Clyde Frazier. Only his effortless effervescence could adequately capture the highs and lows of the Wolves recent play. Not that I'm unappreciative of our man Jim Petersen, who does a swell job in his stead, but Jim specializes in good ‘ol fashioned straight talk. We need a man like that. However, there's also times we need to just chill and no one does chill like Clyde.
Luke Ridnour is far from a swirling dervish. There's no wheeling and dealing, nor will his ubiquity leave anyone reeling. In fact, he's perfectly average in every way. But he may be the most important player on this team. He doesn't inhale rebounds like Kevin Love or have Beasleyesque scoring binges, however he's the only Wolf who can provide some semblance of order amidst the chaos that is our offense. Occasionally I'll check out the visiting locker room for a peek at the game plan on their whiteboard. Oftentimes, I can't make much sense of the diagrams or terminology, but tonight I had no such problems. Numero uno, in bright red ink was "1st option = Dead".
Taking away the Wolves first offensive option practically sends them into conniptions. Darko panics, looking wildly about to escape both double teams and responsibility. Love conquers very little, easily taken out of his game when forced to make a move in the post or off the dribble. And as is the case with most scorers, Beasley's bravado tends to result in some questionable decision making. Everyone else is just trying not to turn the ball over. Which is why Ridnour's ability to play within himself is beneficial to the entire team. * * *
by J. Steinmeyer, Howlin' T-Wolf
Kurt Rambis has finally found a way to avoid all the late-game jitters and miscues.
The key: Just let the other team dominate from the very start. From beginning to end, complete domination.
And instead of tearing Wolves fans' hearts by letting former T-Wolf for about 15 minutes, Brandon Roy, do the damage, they allowed, no, cordially — or that's how the defense was playing — another mediocre wing player beat them from deep in Wes Matthews, and you can kiss the rest goodbye.
Like I said, complete domination from opening tip set the tone for this one. Normally we're used to a competitive first quarter from the Wolves, but instead the Blazers' offense torched the Wolves with 11 assists, a 62-percent FG% and 37 points to end the quarter. * * *
The Bottom Line:
1. Wow, that was frustrating. A little perimeter defense in the first half might make second halves actually watchable.
2. Nice effort by Corey Brewer, who's gonna be starting here shortly.
3. Love, Beasley, and HELP!!!
"Mike Rice Statistics."
"What the hell are Mike Rice Statistiics?" you may be wondering...
Awww, don't play dumb, you know exactly what I mean... Let's say you're watching a Blazer game on TV with the Portland announcer feed, which features play-by-play man Mike Barrett and color commentator Mike Rice. All of the sudden Marcus Camby goes up after the ball on a clanked Blazer shot and grabs the miss...... and our beloved-but-slightly-dotty tee-vee analyst immediately bellows, "THAT'S WHY MARCUS CAMBY IS NUMBER THREE IN THE ENTIRE NBA IN OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS!!!"
Or say Andre Miller makes a sweet lob pass to LMA in the paint, which the big Texan finishes with a crushing jam. This elicits a shrieking cry from Our Ricey, "THAT'S WHY ANDRE MILLER IS NUMBER THREE AMONG ALL ACTIVE PLAYERS IN THE ENTIRE NBA IN ASSISTS!!!"
You get four or five of these a game if you're listening closely: "THAT'S WHY LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE IS NUMBER TWO FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER IN DUNKS!!!" or "THAT'S WHY THE BLAZERS ARE NUMBER ONE IN THE ENTIRE NBA IN SECOND CHANCE POINTS!!!" And so on and so on and so on...
I'm completely making the above factoids up — don't hold me to those specifics — I just wanted to give you an example of what I mean by "Mike Rice Statistics." These are nothing more than statistical rankings that are screamed really loud at some vaguely appropriate juncture. They are usually constructed according to the stock formula:
"THAT'S WHY [team or player] IS NUMBER _____ IN THE WHOLE NBA IN [statistical category] !!!"
Well, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at some statistics of the 2010-11 Portland Trail Blazers to see how they stack up against other teams in the NBA and to pass along that information. Then you, kind reader, will have some "Mike Rice Statistics" of your own to bellow at the TV whenever the Blazers do anything good or bad.
Proviso One: This is a heavily Timboized version. As regular readers of these words of wit (borrowing a little ball of toilet stall doggerel that I saw once) realize, I don't pay much attention to the Eastern Conference of the NBA at all. They've got 4 good teams and one of them will emerge triumphant, that's all you need to know. Portland is competing in the West, baby, there are FOURTEEN other teams they are trying to get past to go best-of-seven against that ONE team which will emerge from the playoffs in the East. Keeping up with the teams of the West is therefore, if you follow my somewhat skewed logic, about 14 times as important to the Blazers as keeping track of teams in the East. So I'm not gonna give you Mike Rice Statistics "FOR THE ENTIRE NBA!!!" but instead I'm gonna give you numbers "FOR THE WESTERN CONFERENCE!!!"
Second, much like Mike Rice, I'm a basic stats guy, not an advanced stats guy. I don't care about adjusting for pace, although balancing some things out on a Per 36 Minutes basis makes sense to me. So does tweaking the published Field Goal Percentage numbers a little bit to consider chucks from downtown as a separate phenomenon. But in honor of the esteemed Coach, I'm gonna concentrate on absolute numbers and per game figures, which are easier to shout about since one doesn't have to explain them.
Okay, now we're all on the same page with the concept and the parameters, so let's start digging!
Paul Allen is one of the richest men in the world and Blazer fans pay among the highest ticket prices and the highest concession prices in the league, so let's start with the one thing nearest and dearest to the Vulcanized Blazer organization — money.
- "I CAN'T BELIEVE THE BLAZERS ARE SO SHALLOW, SINCE THEY ARE NUMBER 5 IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE IN TOTAL SALARY!!!"
- "THE BLAZERS NEED TO GET SOME PRODUCTION OUT OF BRANDON ROY, SINCE HE'S NUMBER 13 IN SALARY IN THE ENTIRE WESTERN CONFERENCE!!!"
- "CAMBY IS A GREAT VALUE AS A REBOUNDER, CONSIDERING HE'S ONLY NUMBER 10 AMONG BIGS IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE IN SALARY THIS SEASON!!!"
Meh, screaming about salaries is pretty boring. I'll leave that to Paul Allen and his buddy Bert and their little drone buddies in Seattle...
Let's get serious, snark snark...
Okay, try these out... All this stuff was true as of breakfast time on January 7....
- "THE BLAZERS ARE NUMBER 3 IN FREE THROW PERCENTAGE IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE!!!" (.789)
- "PORTLAND IS NUMBER 2 IN FEWEST TURNOVERS PER GAME IN THE WEST!!!" (13.5)
- "THE BLAZERS ARE NUMBER 2 IN THE WHOLE WESTERN CONFERENCE IN NUMBER OF STEALS GIVEN UP PER GAME!!!" (6.7)
- "PORTLAND HAS THE SECOND LOWEST AVERAGE WINNING SCORE OF ANY TEAM IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE!!!" (99.4)
- "LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE IS NUMBER 2 IN THE ENTIRE WESTERN CONFERENCE IN MINUTES PLAYED THIS SEASON!!!" (1385)
- "LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE IS NUMBER 5 IN MINUTES PER GAME PLAYED IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE!!!" (38.5)
- "LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE IS NUMBER 6 IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE IN NUMBER OF FIELD GOALS MADE THIS YEAR!!!" (287)
- "LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE IS NUMBER 4 IN OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS IN THE WHOLE WESTERN CONFERENCE!!!" (131)
- "MARCUS CAMBY IS NUMBER 3 IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE IN DEFENSIVE REBOUNDING!!!" (269)
- "MARCUS CAMBY IS NUMBER 4 IN THE WEST IN REBOUNDS PER GAME!!!" (11.5)
- "MARCUS CAMBY IS NUMBER 1 IN TOTAL REBOUND PERCENTAGE IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE!!!" (24.1%)
- "MARCUS CAMBY IS NUMBER 6 IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE IN BLOCKS PER GAME!!!" (1.79)
- "ANDRE MILLER IS NUMBER 6 IN ASSISTS IN THE ENTIRE WESTERN CONFERENCE!!!" (254)
- "ANDRE MILLER IS NUMBER 7 AMONG POINT GUARDS IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE FOR REBOUNDS PER GAME!!!" (3.6)
- "ANDRE MILLER IS NUMBER 10 AMONG POINT GUARDS IN THE WEST IN POINTS PER GAME!!!" (12.6)
- "RUDY FERNANDEZ IS NUMBER 4 AMONG INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE IN THREE POINT BASKETS MADE!!!" (52)
- "NICOLAS BATUM IS NUMBER 5 AMONG INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE IN TWO POINT SHOOTING PERCENTAGE!!!" (.542)
- "NICOLAS BATUM IS TIED FOR NUMBER SIX IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE IN DOUBLE-DOUBLES BY SMALL FORWARDS!!!" (4)
- "DANTE CUNNINGHAM IS NUMBER 1 IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE IN FEWEST TURNOVERS PER GAME!!!" (0.5)
- "BRANDON ROY IS NUMBER 10 IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE IN FREE THROW PERCENTAGE!!!" (.873)
- "ARMON JOHNSON IS NUMBER 3 IN 3-POINT SHOT PERCENTAGE AMONG ROOKIES IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE!!!" (.455)
and a couple not-so-happy tidbits...
- "THE BLAZERS ARE NEXT TO LAST IN AVERAGE NUMBER OF POINTS SCORED PER GAME IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE THIS YEAR!!!" (92.1)
- "PORTLAND IS NEXT TO LAST IN FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE IN THE ENTIRE WESTERN CONFERENCE!!!" (.439)
- THE TRAIL BLAZERS ARE NEXT TO LAST IN THE WEST IN PERCENTAGE OF THEIR SHOOTING ATTEMPTS ENDING WITH FOUL SHOTS." (27.4 FT/100 SHOTS).
- "LUKE BABBITT IS THE WORST FREE THROW SHOOTER IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE AMONG ROOKIES!!!" (.286) (Actually, that's true for the whole NBA for any rookie that has taken a foul shot!)
There are fewer defensive stats out there than there are offensive numbers, but here are a few..
- "PORTLAND IS TIED FOR 1ST IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE IN FEWEST ASSISTS ALLOWED PER GAME!!!" (19.4)
- "ANDRE MILLER IS NUMBER 10 IN STEALS PER GAME FOR THE WHOLE WESTERN CONFERENCE!!!" (1.71)
- "MARCUS CAMBY IS NUMBER 1 IN THE WEST THIS SEASON FOR FLAGRANT FOULS COMMITTED!!!" (2)
- "LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE IS NUMBER 3 IN STEALS PER GAME BY POWER FORWARDS IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE!!!" (1.06)
- "LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE IS TIED FOR NUMBER 10 IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE IN PERSONAL FOULS COMMITTED!!!" (109)
- "LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE IS NUMBER 12 IN BLOCKED SHOTS IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE!!!" (47)
- "DANTE CUNNINGHAM IS NUMBER 18 IN THE WEST IN STEALS-TO-TURNOVERS RATIO!!!" (1.05)
- "THE BLAZERS ARE NUMBER 3 IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE IN LIMITING THE AVERAGE NUMBER OF POINTS ALLOWED TO THEIR OPPONENTS THIS YEAR!!!" (96.7)
- "PORTLAND IS NUMBER 5 IN THE WEST IN LIMITING THE 3 POINT SHOOTING PERCENTAGE OF THEIR OPPONENTS!!!"
Complaining about a tough schedule is always appropriate. Here are a few nuggets...
- "THE BLAZERS ARE TIED FOR NUMBER 1 IN THE ENTIRE WESTERN CONFERENCE IN THE TOTAL NUMBER BACK-TO-BACK GAMES THEY PLAY THIS YEAR!!!" (22)
- "THE BLAZERS ARE NUMBER 1 IN THE WHOLE WESTERN CONFERENCE IN BACK-TO-BACK GAMES PLAYED ON THE ROAD!!!" (18)
- "THE BLAZERS ARE NUMBER 2 IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE IN THE NUMBER OF BACK-TO-BACK GAMES ALREADY PLAYED THIS YEAR!!!" (10)
- "THE BLAZERS HAVE THE THIRD BEST HOME WINNING PERCENTAGE IN THE ENTIRE WESTERN CONFERENCE THIS SEASON!!!" (.800)
- "THE BLAZERS HAVE THE EIGHTH BEST ROAD WINNING PERCENTAGE IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE THIS YEAR!!!" (.333) (That's not so bad, is it?)
Well, that will keep you bellowing at the tube for a while... Have fun!!!
* * *
Didja ever wonder who the most "foul happy" refs are? Or the ones that are the most inclined to "let them play"? The website NBAStuffer.com actually has constantly updated stats for referees, including the number of fouls called per game in which each referee participates.
Top Ten NBA Whistle Blowers (most fouls called per game officiated, as of 1/6/11)
- Michael Smith — 47.8
- Tre Maddox — 47.3
- Eli Roe — 46.6
- Scott Foster — 46.3
- Dick Bavetta — 46.2
- Scott Twardoski — 45.8
- Curtis Blair — 45.2
- Nick Buchert — 45.0
- Derrick Stafford — 44.8
- Derek Richardson — 44.7
Top 10 "Let 'Em Play" Refs (fewest fouls called per game officiated, as of 1/6/11)
- Kevin Fehr — 36.5
- Bennett Salvatore — 38.0
- Tom Washington — 39.0
- David Gutherie — 39.4
- Mark Ayotte — 39.5
- Tony Brown — 39.6
- Ron Garretson — 39.6
- Derrick Collins — 39.8
- Bill Spooner — 39.9
- David Jones — 40.0
* * *
Long shots rip the nets
Matthews cannot miss tonight
Not bad for a scrub
Here's some more wackiness from the twisted tongue of goofy Uncle Mike...
Here we go...
Rice: "How did Darko get that tip?"
MB: "We're through the opening tip and he hasn't gotten injured yet, so he's already doing better than he did last game in Portland..."
Andre gets bonked in the face by Love and heads to the bench, rubbing his mouth...
Rice: "I've never thought that big guys throw inadvertent elbows."
MB: "That's because you were a guard that used to throw elbows once in a while..."
Rice: "I had five teeth knocked out in a game once."
MB: "...And had two of them replaced by a drunk dentist! We need to tell more of these stories sometime..."
MB hasn't seen what I've seen...
Rice: "David Kahn, the Minnesota GM, says that Darko is going to be an All Star..."
MB: "You mean in Korea?"
MB gives the French pronunciation of "Nicolas" — "NEE-ko-luh."
Rice: "Nikolai knows better than that... I'm gonna make him into a Russian..."
Ricey's guide to ice fishing...
Rice: "They have a hole in the ice, they have a Jack Daniels on the rocks..."
MB: "Well I don't know about that!"
Rice: "You've gotta if you go out in those little shacks..."
Rice doesn't like the cold much...
"When you look outdoors and its zero degrees, you've got nothing to do but watch TV and eat."
The replay truck doesn't recall Rice calling 108-101 for this game in the pregame (which he did) and Ricey talks trash...
Rice: "I did, too, I said it in the pregame. I will bet THREE DIGITS... I will bet THREE DIGITS..."
MB: "You don't bet on things like that."
Rice: "The truck never knows what's going on, they have lunch breaks 8 times. They have to take naps."
Blazers 108 at Timberwolves 98.
January 7, 2011.
Blazers' record is now 20-17, the Wolves are 9-28.
1. Wesley started the game looking sharp, finishing a run out and hitting a bomb, both. Beasley and Love were the money men for the Wolves, both hitting well from range, scoring the first 13 points for the home team. LMA also got it going a little, finishing AND ONE on a svelte Andre pass. Blazers were shooting 60% at the first commercial break and lead by 3.
Wesley runs to the corner and hits a quck three, giving goggles. Then a gorgeous kickout by Andre for another Matthews bomb. Then he dropped ANOTHER one on Beasley's head. MB calls Wesley "Webster" during a replay of the third bomb — I guess it's not just me that sees a certain similarity. At the second commercial it was Blazers by 10.
Ridnour broke ice with a three at 3:30, first Minny points scored by Wolves not named Beasley or Love. Wesley answered with a FIFTH bomb, 17 points in the quarter. Dante picked up two fouls in less than a minute, bringing in Pryzzy... Rudy made it 6-for-7 from downtown for the Blazers, with Love accidentally elbowing Andre in the mouth. Przybilla embarrassingly picked on the defensive boards and fails to control the ball, with the ensuing scramble resulting in a LMA foul. Ugly. Wesley ended up on the line, make that 19 points for him in the quarter, 6-for-6 from the field (5 from distance). END OF THE FIRST QUARTER: PDX 37, MIN 27.
2. Rice: "There are a lot of guys who don't box out in there, Martell is one of them..." Ouch. Patty stopped a break with a foul and Jonny Flynn obliged by missing a pair. Mills then drained on the other end. At the first commercial break it was Blazers up by 14, powered by the speedburner Marmitey Mouse. Blazers were 6-for-9 from the arc and were still shooting 57.7% for the game.
Beasley went sky out of the timeout for a backdoor dunk and drew contact from Dante. The corn-rowed freak landed very, very hard on his hip, sliding into the padding around the standard. Ouch. During the delay to allow for his recovery, Comcast showed a 30 second package of Patty Mills highlights instead of the replay — nice job, tards. Beasley was back shooting within seconds of his miraculous recovery. Wesley returned at 8:18. Beasley tweaked his left ankle in the open floor and headed for the bench, having a rough night. Wesley dropped another bomb, tying a Blazer team record for treys in a half with 6. More goggles for the Minny fans... LMA schooled Kosta Koufas, stretching the Blazer lead to 16. Wes hit two more FTs to bring his total for the half to 24. With Wesley so hot, the Wolves were unable to double down on LMA and he made them pay. With a time out it was Blazers by 16, with MB doing his best to work up some urine flow so he could get full value out of his Depends.™
Wesley missed his first shot, a three-ball, but Andre corralled the tap out rebound and Wes hit a long J on the second try. With Minnesota turning the ball over with gusto, Portland ran and cut and stretched the lead back to 20 again briefly.
Coming out of the final scheduled time out, Wesley did it again from the arc for a new Blazers' record for 3s in a quarter, making 29 points for him for the half. Blazers screwed up their chance to hold for last shot when Rudy got picked. T-wolves got last shot, with Andre fouling Love on a putback attempt with 0.7 seconds remaining in the half. Love got his double-double by the half, 15 points and 10. Typical Blazer finish, but it's hard to be bitchy about a 20 point lead. HALFTIME SCORE: PDX 63, MIN 43.
HALFTIME ENTERTAINMENT: Buddy Holly "Peggy Sue" (live, 1957)
3. Portland had possession to start the second half and Darko supplies a quick foul. Blazers turned over, Wolves hit a wide open 3 out of a scramble. MB was very, very concerned. Rice: "I can tell Kurt Rambis got into them at halftime, they're going to come out hard here and they don't care if they foul or anything." Minnesota hits a few longballs to cut the lead to 15 and the wheedling commences for our esteemed play-by-play man as Nate calls time with 8:18 showing.
Minnesota ramped up the defense, with Corey Brewer all over Wesley Matthews. "He could be arrested in this state for what he's doing," Rice remarks. Credit to the Wolves, their defense was exponentially better in the second half. Sweet passing by the Blazers with a lightning fast hockey assist, Andre to Camby to LMA for the flush. Minnesota made a few buckets, Portland answered the charge, with Patty Mills cashing in breakaway layin as the game went to its final TV commercial of the 3rd Quarter. Blazers were up by 18.
Blazers turned the ball over 4 times and the lead receded to 14. Much wild running around and the THIRD QUARTER SCORE: PDX 88, Min 72. MB sheepishly acknowledged that for all his panic and worry, Minnesota only shaved 4 points off the Blazer lead in the period, a rate of just minus-2 points per soiled undergarment.
4. I CAN NOT WAIT until the idiotic Ducks football game is finished. I couldn't care less who wins, I'm working on an unprecedented string of zero college football games viewed this bowl season... I'm just sick of all the ridiculous hype. Minnesota was methodical in their offensive attack, with Kevin Love getting his 20 over LMA. MB announced that Rudy was down for the night with the dreaded "flu-like symptoms" in the locker room. Blazers played tough defense, which one does see periodically from this team. The Blazers were fighting the shot clock, unable to find a look, their lead down a comparatively paltry 13, when LMA made a big jumper against the 24 second buzzer. It was a big shot and stabilized the Blazers in the game. At the first TV break of the 4th Quarter, and Portland retained its 15 point lead.
Rice: "I like the way Minnesota is moving the ball, they're not forcing shots..." They are definitely a team on a rise, just a couple years off is all... Przybilla was capped badly in the paint and seconds later he botches an offensive rebound out of bounds. He's finished, I think. Portland couldn't hit a shot, but with Kevin Love on the bench, the Timberwolves couldn't buy a rebound. The rebounding edge was 42-30 for Portland, with Love garnering half of the Wolves total. Anthony Tolliver ripped a long jumper and at 5:15 the Blazers called time, the lead down to 13 points. Portland was 1-for-their-last-8.
Love was back out of the break, which shut down the Blazers' offensive rebounding circus. Marty missed a trey but Love was there to rebound and follow. "The clock is killing Minnesota," Rice noted, which was true. Andre got his double-double finding Nic in the key. Kevin love beasted, scoring AND ONE in the paint, cutting the lead to 10 with 3:43 showing. Love was sitting 25-and-17. At 3:32, the dinged Michael Beasley re-entered the game for Marty. Portland was playing tight, having trouble finding a hoop. Minnesota kept fouling, giving Portland extra seconds to burn. LMA hit a fadeaway 14 footer to end a critical possession, which was followed by a Minnesota turnover on an offensive foul. At the final TV timeout it was Blazers up by 12 with the ball.
Coming down the stretch, Blazers were shooting just 5-of-17 in the 4th Quarter. Blazers had 17 offensive rebounds, which was one story of the game, the 17 Minnesota turnovers the other. LMA had a putback jam, Beasley a long J. Andre got his 16 with one of his patented crafty moves in the lane, Ridnour answered. Brewer stole and Love got an easy trey to cut the lead to 9 — a critical error. Nic was capped, but Camby hustled coming back and broke up the Minnesota break with a great steal of his own. LMA was fouled and he did not lamarcus his crunchtime shots, for a change. The Portland lead was 11 with 1:04 showing. Kurt Rambis needed time.
Camby picked Love out of the time out. "Blazers are doing what they have to do to win this game, and that's the main thing," says Rice. Portland swallowed 24 seconds and turned the ball over on a time violation. Corey Brewer did an outstanding defensive job in shutting down Matthews, holding Wesley to just 3 points. Tolliver landed on Nicolas' back going up for a board, causing Andre Miller to take heated offense, picking up a technical in the process. Kevin Love drained two foul shot after the T and the lead was 8 points with 27.9 seconds remaining. Nate called time out to advance the ball.
Minnesota was in a position where they had to foul and Portland had to miss for any chance at a miraculous reversal. Wesley took the in-bounds pass and Corey Brewer gave him a hard foul, his 6th of the evening. He was buh-byed. Wesley calmly stepped up and hit two for DAGGER. Minnesota elected to play it out, down 10 with 25 ticks on the clock. Kurt Rambis called time out to advance the ball as the arena continued to empty. Beasley missed a long 2, the Wolves rebounded and put the ball in the ring. A little diddling around, sending Wesley Matthews to the line, but that was pretty much it. FINAL SCORE: PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS 108, MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES 98.
Fourteen straight wins for Portland over the Wolves. Wesley had a career high 36 points. Andre was 16 points and 10 assists, while LMA was 28 points on 11-for-20 shooting with 10 boards. Somewhere in California, Mr. Snake was heard moaning, his world crashing down around his feet.
First back-to-back road wins for Portland since October 27 against the Clips.
Let's take at this thang graphically, shall we?
Well, pull up a chair and have a little CLICKY CLICKY to see some Popcorn Machine pix... Do it now, brah!
Here are the funny animals that I see in the inkblots...
A. Mike Barrett had about half a dozen panic attacks, but this was pretty close to a wire-to-wire romp for the Blazers. The only serious run the Timberwolves mounted in the second half was a 12-4 thing in the 4th Quarter, during which both coaches substituted heavily.
B. Wesley Matthews had an epic 29 points in the first half before being shut down for 7 in the second half (the last 4 of which were late and fairly low pressure free throws).
C. LMA's 18 second half points were just as important as Wesley's big start. Once again, it is Mr. May LMA being the October World Series closer for the Blazers, a sign that he has indeed become a changed player.
D. Kevin Love: 30 points, 18 rebounds. Too bad Portland didn't find a way to draft that guy, he's special.
E. Nic played over 40 minutes in a big win and still finished Minus-4 in Plus/Minus, the only Blazer in the red for the evening. I have no idea what that all means or even how the heck that even happened...
F. Wes Johnson got absolutely torched by Wesley Matthews, en route to finishing with 0 points on the evening. Corey Brewer shut Matthews down with some of the best perimeter D that I've seen this season.
G. Patty Mills was very effective, racking up 10 points in just 16.5 minutes of action.
H. Joel Przybilla was terrible again in his nearly 9 minutes on the floor, collecting 2 rebounds but making a couple bad flubs of boards that he normally would have gobbled. He is not right — really, really not right.
Finally, let's gather round for another installment of THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD, eh?
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.
"Mike Rice Statistics" Sources:
Storyteller's Salary Site. http://www.storytellerscontracts.com/
Yahoo Sports. http://sports.yahoo.com/
Photo Credits: Mike Rice Face: Stock photo, Portland Trailblazers. All images heavily tweaked in Photoshop by Tim Davenport.