Snips and clips from the San Antonio camp, plus:
- Western Conference Power Rankings
- Haiku Game Review
- Fried Rice
- Blazers/Spurs Recap
- Popcorn Machine
- The Basketball Jones
posted by GMac14 to Pounding the Rock Quick Cap thread
What was the bigger reason we lost? Tony with 6 or Aldridge with 40?
Inability to guard the pick and roll, so... Aldridge with 40.
by ramirezm315 on Feb 1, 2011 9:34 PM PST
Aldridge with 40. We defended him horribly.
by shost on Feb 1, 2011 9:34 PM PST
posted by Tim C. to Pounding the Rock Quick Cap thread
posted by SinCitySpur to Pounding the Rock Quick Cap thread
DeJuan Blair with 14 points, 11 rebounds at the half.
DeJuan Blair with 14 points, 12 rebounds at the END OF THE GAME!
(4) * * * THIS IS A REALLY SOLID PIECE, BE SURE TO CLICK THROUGH * * *
Unsigned, 48 Minutes of Hell (TrueHoop)
In the NBA, bad games are to be expected. You can't play at the highest level every night. Eventually, you're going to find one game where every person is struggling. But enough about the refs, the Spurs didn't play very well either in a 99-86 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Personally, I'm against blaming refs for a loss. The attempt at a creative lede aside, the refs never decide a game. There are always so many other factors at play. But it has to be acknowledged that the officials in this game were not at their best.
The Spurs ended up committing 20 fouls in the game, one-and-a-half more fouls than they're averaging on the season. The Blazers committed 17 fouls, more than three under the 20.4 they're averaging this year.
But the way the Spurs defended was a huge factor in why they were whistled for so many fouls in Portland. It reminded me of the first half of the game against the Raptors a couple of weeks ago. The Spurs were sluggish in their rotations and just a split second late.
Not necessarily lazy - although there was some of that too - but they just weren't sharp. In the NBA the difference between being sharp and not can be the difference between a foul and good defense. * * *
by J. Alexander, San Antonio Express News Spurs Nation blog
Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge scored a career-high 40 points and the Trail Blazers dominated the fourth quarter to beat the Spurs 99-86 on Tuesday in the first game of the rodeo road trip.
The Blazers outscored the Spurs 28-15 in the fourth quarter. * * *
(6) * * * This is a really fun game review * * *
by Silverandblack Davis, Pounding the Rock (SBN)
[inside the Spurs locker room]
(looks at his feet)
(checks locker to see if there are any more alfajores left)
(staring at RJ, trying to play jedi mind tricks)
("Damn... why's Timmy lookin' at me like that?" /cold sweat)
"... ... ... LOL."
"THAT DOES IT! If nobody wants to play defense, then we're not going to play defense. Buncha wussies... " /walks out, slams door
by Paul Garcia, Project Spurs (Bloguin)
"He had a decent game, didn't he? We held him to 40 or 35. I stopped counting. He was great." Those were the words from San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich regarding Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge.
After starting the game with a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter, the Spurs looked like they were beginning their annual Rodeo Road Trip on the right path. Little did the Spurs know, a former Texas product would lead his team to a 99-86 victory over them.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 40 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in what he considers the Trail Blazers (26-22) best win of the season. "It has to be. This is the best team in the league. This is big for us, coming off two losses."
Aldridge could not be stopped. Whether it was hitting his consistent 18-foot jump shot, grabbing an offensive rebound for a simple put back, or effortlessly using his height and athleticism to catch easy lobs over the Spurs smaller defenders. * * *
by Mike Monroe, San Antonio Express-News
* * *
Tied at 78 with 8:15 remaining, the Spurs were outscored 21-3 and accused by their coach of giving in when things got difficult.
"We've had a good year by playing aggressively and executing well for more minutes than our opponents, but tonight the Blazers did that," Popovich said. "They sustained in the second half better than we did. They kept on working at it and their aggressiveness, their physicality, their execution wore us down, and we didn't keep it up.
"They went out and took the game in the second half and we folded, to some degree."
Portland hadn't played in five days after back-to-back home-court losses, and Aldridge said the rest helped him.
"I told my teammates I actually had some energy tonight," he said. "I felt fresh. It kind of showed." * * *
The Bottom Line:
1. Well, you knew that sooner or later our Spurs were going to have a bad night.
2. Yo, Tony Parker — did Nic Batum get you drunk last night or what?
3. Lakers are tomorrow night and that game counts worth three. This one was no big deal, we've got 40 wins already.
* * *
1. San Antonio Spurs (40-7)
Rank Last Month: 1
January Record: (12-3)
January Wins: Thunder, AT Pacers, Timberwolves, AT Timberwolves, AT Bucks, Mavericks, Nuggets, Raptors, Knicks, AT Warriors, AT Jazz, Rockets.
January Losses: AT Knicks, AT Celtics, AT Hornets.
Comments: As much as it pains me to say it, the San Antonio Spurs remain the best team in the Western Conference — by a good margin. While Timmy Duncan slides towards AARP membership, the team has been carried forward by frequent stellar performances of Manu Ginobili, ably assisted by PG Tony Parker and the skilled low post play of DeJuan Blair (passed on 1-2-3 times in the draft by Kevin Pritchard). Even Richard Jefferson has been relatively unsucky this year, while George Hill provides pop off the bench. Plus they also have Pop on the bench. The team finished January a mortal 5-3 on the road (beating the bad teams and losing to the good teams), but didn't suffer a single mishap at home. Dropping Ls on the heads of teams like the Thunder, Mavs, Nuggets, and Knicks does count for something. Still, color me unwowed about either the quality or depth of this team. They're not an unstoppable juggernaut by any stretch of the imagination — it's just their main competitors in the conference have demonstrated themselves to be even more unjuggernauty in the new year.
2. Los Angeles Lakers (33-15)
Rank Last Month: 3
January Record: (10-5)
January Wins: Pistons, AT Suns, Hornets, Knicks, Cavaliers, AT Warriors, Nets, Thunder, AT Nuggets, Jazz.
January Losses: Grizzlies, AT Clippers, AT Mavericks, Kings, Celtics.
Comments: Laker fans are a peculiar lot. While Blazer fans root for misfortune to befall the Jazz or the Nuggets or the Grizzlies in the race for the postseason, Laker fans keep two eyes on how Boston or Miami are doing. The "real season" begins for the purple people come playoff time, advancement to the NBA Finals is considered nearly axiomatic. The regular season is all about minimizing losses so as to have home court advantage all the way through the Finals... That's the annoyingly self-assured side of Lakerdom. But for this yin there is a yang — a thinly concealed gnawing self-doubt as to whether the wheels might be coming off the wagon at last. Andrew Bynum is back: a third straight World Championship is assured. No wait, Pau Gasol can't do anything right, Kobe's body is starting to break down, Derek Fisher couldn't guard 60 pounds of river rock dropped at midcourt in a burlap bag, Ron Artest is an incompetent chucker, and the bench players represent four flavors of FAIL: all is lost. The truth lies between these poles of mania and depression, of course. The Lakers have the potential to get hot and destroy all comers in the West. They could also fizzle and fade. I'll get back to ya on that as the 82 game second pre-season moves along... For now, a 10-5 January is good enough to bump 'em ahead of the fading Mavs into the #2 slot, methinks.
3. Dallas Mavericks (32-15)
Rank Last Month: 2
January Record: (8-8)
January Wins: AT Cavaliers, Blazers, Lakers, AT Nets, Clippers, Rockets, Hawks, Wizards.
January Losses: AT Bucks, Thunder, Magic, AT Pacers, AT Spurs, AT Grizzlies, AT Pistons, AT Bulls.
Comments: The Mavericks without Dirk are absolutely done for. Let's be absolutely clear about that from the top. When the Large German Man went down to injury in January, the Mavs not coincidentally went into a tailspin, losing six consecutive games and 7 of 8. With the LGM back again, the team closed the month with 5 straight wins. The loss of Caron Butler has single-handedly knocked Dallas from its place as a favorite to win the Western Conference Championship, but Mark Cuban is a billionaire with a serious hobby, so don't count on another six or eight million dollars' worth of luxury tax stopping him from making a move if he sees one. Dirk isn't getting any younger and Jason Kidd is so far past that stage of life that he's getting a Golden Years discount from the Mavericks' fan shop, so time is of the essence for the Mavs. January turned out just as bad as it could be for Dallas, marked by losses to such non-powers as the Bucks, Pacers, and Pistons. Prospects of a Top 2 finish in the conference and a clear path to the Western Conference Finals are slipping and Dallas clearly needs to rediscover its mojo.
4. Oklahoma City Thunder (30-17)
Rank Last Month: 4
January Record: (7-6)
January Wins: AT Mavericks, Grizzlies, AT Rockets, Magic, Knicks, AT Timberwolves, Wizards.
January Losses: AT Spurs, AT Grizzlies, AT Lakers, AT Nuggets, AT Hornets, Heat.
Comments: I'm slowly warming up to the idea that this Kevin Durant guy might be okay. I always considered him an Allen Iverson-type volume shooter, inefficiently racking up huge scoring totals through huge shot totals and killing his team in the process with the plethora of misses and the offensive energy-sapping long jumpers that he favors. Upon further review, his statistical numbers aren't heinous — quite good, actually — and he seems to have, you know, IT. There aren't a lot of players with IT and he has IT, so there you go. This team is still short at least two bigs from serious contention, but they're young, way under the salary cap, and the world is their oyster. Hmmm, where have we heard that before... Young, star-laden, under-cap basketball team??? Hmmm... Russell Westbrook is actually the main cog that drives the wheel, don't ever forget that. Jeff Green's season has been non-superstariffic, but Serge Ibaka has picked up the slack, and then some, helping the Thunder to outperform the expectations of doubters such as myself. The Thunder were just 7-6 in January, but not one of their losses was a "bad" one, with five coming on the road. They seem to be headed for a Top 4 finish.
5. New Orleans Hornets (31-18)
Rank Last Month: 7
January Record: (12-4)
January Wins: AT Wizards, Sixers, AT Nuggets, Magic, AT Rockets, AT Bobcats, Raptors, Grizzlies, AT Hawks, Spurs, Thunder, AT Warriors.
January Losses: Warriors, AT Lakers, AT Kings, AT Suns.
Comments: It has been the tale of three seasons for the New Orleans Hornets. The first version of the team came out of the gates smoking, slaying all rivals and looking very much like an elite team in the Western Conference. New Head Coach Monty Williams had his guys buying in to a defense-first mentality. Then towards Thanksgiving the Bees went into the mother of all swoons, dropping 13 of their next 20 games and looking every bit like the lottery fodder that many people expected them to be this season. Attendance dropped and the team looked like it was on the ropes, maybe forever in New Orleans. The third period began on New Year's Eve with a dramatic 83-81 victory over the Boston Celtics on the parquet floor. The team went 13-4 from that date, featuring an impressive 10 game win streak that included victories over the Nuggets, Magic, Spurs, Rockets, Thunder, and Hawks. Back up the table of ranks they move. I'm not sure whether this is a Top 4 team in the West, but I'm now convinced that the Hornets are playoff bound.
6. Denver Nuggets (28-20)
Rank Last Month: 6
January Record: (10-7)
January Wins: Kings, Rockets, Suns, Heat, Cavaliers, Thunder, Pacers, AT Wizards, AT Pistons, AT Cavaliers.
January Losses: AT Clippers, AT Kings, Hornets, AT Spurs, Lakers, AT Sixers, AT Nets.
Comments: Between the heaven of serious Western Conference playoff contention and the hell of an unscheduled visit to the lottery there is the limbo of Carmeloland. The iron logic of the situation indicates that Carmelo Anthony and the Nuggets will complete a sign-and-trade deal with the New York Knicks prior to the trade deadline. One would hope for his sake that Anthony isn't stupid enough to trust his future income to the vagaries of a still unwritten new Collective Bargaining Agreement... It is difficult to envision the Nuggs attempting a rent-a-player deal with one of their Western Conference foes. Nor would a GM with any sense at all ride the Melo wave in to the beach and park the surfboard, losing the All Star without compensation. Who in the East might be interested in a Melo rental for the stretch run? The Chicago Bulls, perhaps? It's a weird situation and one that has gone on entirely too long for the taste of Head Coach George Karl and the Denver Nuggets front office. The Nuggets continue to win and win despite it all, but until the February trade deadline passes it will be difficult to tell which end is up as far as Denver's future is concerned.
7. Utah Jazz (29-20)
Rank Last Month: 5
January Record: (7-9)
January Wins: Grizzlies, Pistons, AT Rockets, Knicks, Cavaliers, Timberwolves, Bobcats.
January Losses: Hawks, AT Grizzlies, AT Wizards, AT Nets, AT Celtics, AT Sixers, AT Lakers, Spurs, AT Warriors.
Comments: If Portland falls out of the playoff picture, nobody will be surprised. There will be much tut-tutting, to be sure, about overbearing fans and pretentious front offices counting chickens before they're hatched, etc., and there will be sympathetic sighs about the fragility of the human knee and the cruelty of the bitch goddess Fate. But if the Utah Jazz fall out of the money into the ping pong pool — what excuses will be made? That the Blazers robbed them of Wesley Matthews because they didn't want to get pushed into luxury tax land two years in a row by Paul Allen and his minions? That they kept the wrong guy in Paul Millsap while letting Carlos Boozer get away? After dropping 7 of their last 9 games in January, the prospect of the Utah Jazz fading and falling out of the playoffs altogether becomes a realistic concept. The Jazz have seemed rather........unSloanlike.......this season, with some games marked by pathetic defense and a lack of effort. Andre Kirilenko got outjumped in a jump ball by Steve Blake in a blowout by the Lakers, there ya go... Deron Williams remains an All Star, but his accompanying cast is thin and this team seems headed the wrong way fast at this juncture.
8. Memphis Grizzlies (25-24)
Rank Last Month: 11
January Record: (11-6)
January Wins: AT Lakers, Thunder, Jazz, AT Pistons, Mavericks, Rockets, AT Bucks, AT Raptors, at Sixers, Wizards, Magic.
January Losses: AT Jazz, AT Thunder, AT Bobcats, Bulls, AT Hornets, AT Nets.
Comments: You know, if I ever get kicked off of Blazers Edge for alleged crimes against the state, I'm not going to write about the Blazers on another blog. Nor is it likely I shall toodle back to Silver Screen and Roll with my tail between my legs since the "2 Column Rule" that prompted my departure is still in effect there. No sir, I'm gonna blog about a team I couldn't care less about — the unloved and unlovable Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies have it all: a team statistical leader named Zach Randolph, the living embodiment of a hilarious punchline. They've got a horrible General Manager, Chris Wallace, truly one of the most inept in the business — prime snark material. They have a free agent-to-be Shooting Guard with steroid-related issues that reminds me quite a lot of a robusto version of Kobe Bryant. They've got a criminally underappreciated superstar named Rudy Gay who is really fun to watch. They play their games in a multimillion dollar vacant barn of a building, which they share with the real basketball squeeze in town, the Memphis Tigers — joke possibilities galore. Their bench sucks, but this team is gonna make the playoffs because they've got real stars on the floor. Moreover, their SBN blog is virtually extinct and their fanbase consists almost exclusively of ushers and employees of the team store. It's a perfect storm for me to work my schtick, really it is, and I eagerly await my next writing challenge. I may head for Elvisland under my own volition at the All Star break, who knows... Oh, the team? Yeah, they're gonna be in the playoffs this year, I already said that, right?
9. Portland Trail Blazers (25-22)
Rank Last Month: 8
January Record: (8-6)
January Wins: Rockets, AT Rockets, AT Timberwolves, Nets, Timberwolves, AT Kings, Clippers, Pacers.
January Losses: AT Mavericks, Heat, Knicks, AT Suns, Kings, Celtics.
Comments: As January came to a close, the plucky surviving handful of Our Blazers clung to the #8 seed in the Western Conference with their little piggy fingers as they prepared to absorb the final two of a series of four successive beatdowns. What could have been a successful January had been fizzled away when the bottom dwelling Sacramento Kings came to town and put a 15-point hurt on the Good Guys. With Marcus Camby on the shelf the Frail Blazers had reached the point of critical scrawniness, their anorexic roster nearing collapse. Then in the last game of the month Nic Batum badly bruised a knee, forcing the insertion of the completely-useless-at-any-speed 2010 draft sensation Luke "Deadeye" Babbitt into the playing rotation. The end of the team's 2010-11 playoff run seems to be drawing near. Depending largely upon whether Camby can get back expeditiously and whether other rotation players can stay healthy — two VERY big IFs — the Trail Blazers could end up as high as the #7 slot in the Western Conference. Alternatively: implosion and flames and a finish as low as #13. It is hard getting too excited about the team's prospects at this juncture as the Blazers seem lost in the swamp of mediocrity and appear one serious injury away from abject catastrophe. Pinned against the luxury tax line by Brandon Roy's dead dog of a contract, depleted of tradable players by 18 months of front office ineptitude, burdened with a meddling owner and an unproven rookie GM, the buzzards are starting to circle...
10. Los Angeles Clippers (19-28)
Rank Last Month: 13
January Record: (9-5)
January Wins: Nuggets, Warriors, Heat, Lakers, Pacers, Timberwolves, Warriors, Bobcats, Bucks.
January Losses: Hawks, AT Warriors, AT Blazers, AT Mavericks, AT Rockets.
Comments: I spend a lot of time watching the Blazers and the Lakers. That doesn't leave too much time for other NBA games, but I must confess a sweet tooth for the San Diego Clippers of Los Angeles. Mind you, I'd rather eat dog dirt buck naked in the front yard than break bread with Donald Sterling and I earnestly dislike the game of Baron "Chuck It If Ya Got It" Davis... But Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Eric Gordon are the primary colors of fun on the basketball floor. If it weren't for the team's Crock-o-Crap™ start to the season (they began the year 1 win and 13 losses, but who's counting?) this team would be a betting man's favorite to make the playoffs. Gordon's recent hand injury put the kibosh on whatever lingering hopes remained to sneak into the 8th seed this year. Now the intrepid Clips face the horrible visage of February, the numerals 666 etched upon its boil-ensconced forehead... The team plays 12, count them 12 road games and just 2 home contests in the month. The home games? Try the Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics. Have a nice day. If the Clippers manage to win 10 of their 14 February games, David Stern should just unilaterally award the Clippers a playoff birth and let the rest of the Western Conference fight it out for the other 7 slots. That sounds fair to me. I have grown to love Ralph Lawler's play-by-play calls, he's the sweetest and most honest homer out there. Do yourself a favor and check out a random Clipper game sometime...
11. Phoenix Suns (22-24)
Rank Last Month: 10
January Record: (8-7)
January Wins: Cavaliers, Nets, Blazers, AT Knicks, AT Cavaliers, AT Wizards, Celtics, Hornets.
January Losses: AT Kings, Lakers, Knicks, AT Nuggets, AT Sixers, AT Pistons, Bobcats.
Comments: I don't like the Phoenix Suns. They were sort of fun to watch when Mike D'Antoni was the boss in a run-and-gun, this-is-really-different sort of way. Now they play a little defense and are utterly charmless. Steve Nash remains a big time scorer when his team needs a bucket or three and could always pass the rock with the best of them, but the lost little boy on the side of his milk carton has long since been located, grown up, and gone to graduate school. If the NBA ever follows professional golf and starts a Senior Circuit, Steve Nash and his timeless teammate Grant Hill will be hooping effectively into their middle-60s, without a doubt. The Suns made a super genius trade with the Magic which got rid of the self-inflicted Hedo contract but which somehow managed to render their squad even worse. "Who is Robin Lopez?" is a future NBA for $500 answer to the question "He is All Star Brook Lopez's twin brother who also once played in the NBA." Channing Frye is a highly compensated 6'11" Shooting Guard that incompetent opponents sometimes forget to cover. Goran Dragic has regressed from PGOTF to PGWTF. That's a lot of bad pieces on this undersized and aging team. No chance whatsoever that this mess is playoffs bound. Book it.
12. Houston Rockets (22-27)
Rank Last Month: 9
January Record: (6-11)
January Wins: AT Celtics, AT Hawks, Bucks, Knicks, AT Timberwolves, Clippers.
January Losses: AT Blazers, Nuggets, Blazers, AT Magic, Jazz, Thunder, Hornets, AT Grizzlies, Magic, AT Mavericks, AT Spurs.
Comments: Daryl Morey, we salute you. It has been a tough sled this season for the Houston Rockets — they unsuccessfully bet the ranch on oft-injured All Star Center Yao Ming just like the Blazers will soon be putting the farm down on the health of Greg Oden. Morey managed to steal Kevin Martin from the reality-challenged GM of the Sacramento Kings, former Blazer Geoff Petrie, and still had Luís Scola and Shane Battier and the speedy former Duck Aaron Brooks in the arsenal. Things looked good. Things turned out poorly. January was a bit of a mess for the Rockets, with the team dropping 7 of 8 to open the month and 4 of 6 to bring it to a close. Now 5 games under the .500 mark, this Texas tribe seems too far behind too many to grab the 8 seed. A really rasty first half of February faces the Rockets as well, with 5 of Houston's first 7 opponents probable favorites in the betting line and another meeting with the always dangerous Memphis Grizzlies a push. Unless they beat the odds in the first half of February, Houston will be tits-up by the All Star Game. On the other hand, if Adelman's crew can somehow put together a winning streak against the forthcoming formidable foes, things loosen up after the break and the team might go on a little run leading to a final push for the playoffs. I'm doubtful.
13. Golden State Warriors (20-27)
Rank Last Month: 12
January Record: (7-8)
January Wins: AT Hornets, Cavaliers, Clippers, Nets, Pacers, Kings, Jazz.
January Losses: AT Heat, AT Magic, AT Clippers, Lakers, AT Clippers, Spurs, Hornets, Bobcats.
Comments: Monta Ellis is good at basketball. That's where all commentary about the Oakland Warriors should begin. The Warriors are really tough when they come out to play at home, that should be point two... Widely regarded as a crap team by the East Coast basketball intelligentsia, the Warriors are actually a dangerous middle-of-the-pack sort of outfit featuring lights out perimeter scoring by Messrs. Curry and Ellis and the versatile midrange game of new addition David Lee. Short a tough inside Big and a Corey Maggette-type slasher/shooter, the Ws are as good as their shooting night. If the jumpers fall, they can blaze anybody; if they don't, they'll lose to circus clowns. January wasn't an altogether forgettable month, including a win on the road at NOLA and a reasonably successful defense of the home floor, with only a late loss to the Charlotte Bobcats resembling a Easter egg. February should be a good month for the East Bay wonders, as they have only 3 road games, all potentially winnable. Unfortunately for them, they're gonna need big suitcases in April. Barring a February-and-0 winning streak, you can pretty well stick a fork in Golden State's playoff hopes for the 2010-11 season, but you've probably done that already anyway.
14. Sacramento Kings (12-33)
Rank Last Month: 15
January Record: (6-10)
January Wins: Suns, Nuggets, AT Knicks, AT Blazers, AT Lakers, Hornets.
January Losses: AT Nuggets, AT Hawks, AT Raptors, AT Wizards, AT Celtics, AT Pistons, AT Hawks, Blazers, AT Warriors, Bobcats.
Comments: Last year: overachievers. This year, deprived of scoring sensation Kevin Martin in one of the worst trades since Kevin Pritchard's Zach Randolph dump, the Kings have struggled to find their way. After making the first part of January a Super Sucktastic Suckabration of Suckiness with a 1-7 run, the Kings rolled into the Rose Garden and handed the depleted Blazers their bottoms, medium rare on a silver platter. After a miscue to the Bobcats on the back-to-back, Tyreke & Co. then partied in Staples Center, holding a luau featuring Pau on a spit with a pretty red apple in his mouth. Then they beat the streaking New Orleans Hornets at Snake Oil Pavilion, capping a mediocre 6 win month with a flourish. The team's new Designated Artest, crazypants headcase rookie DeMarcus Cousins, fueled the effort, contributing 52 points and 22 rebounds to the last two big wins. Sorry, Timberwolves, mediocre is better than you.
15. Minnesota Timberwolves (11-36)
Rank Last Month: 14
January Record: (3-11)
January Wins: Nets, Wizards, Raptors.
January Losses: AT Celtics, Bobcats, Blazers, AT Spurs, Spurs, Magic, AT Blazers, AT Clippers, Rockets, Thunder, AT Jazz.
Comments: The Timberwolves have Kevin Love. You might have heard of him. They also have Kevin Love, Kevin Love, and Kevin Love. Did I mention that they have Kevin Love? Yes, KEVIN LOVE... Do you hear me, THEY HAVE KEVIN LOVE!!! If the NBA were fantasy basketball — and addled Wolves GM David Kahn may well think that it is — the Timberwolves would be racking mad fantasy points each and every night based on Kevin Love's season averages of 49 points and 76 rebounds. Kahn might even win his league and a large, ugly trophy — Kevin Love is just that amazing putting back misses and gobbling garbagetime boards in 20 point blowouts. Kevin Love is really something, that Kevin Love. He shoots the long ball well, too. The team Kevin Love plays for — the Minnesota Timberwolves? They suck. Yes, they really, really suck. The Wolves had three wins in January out of 14 games played, managing to beat up New Jersey, Washington, and Toronto at home. None of those teams play in the Western Conference, I note. Meet your new cellar dweller.
* * *
Rodeo Road Trip
Spurs run roughshod over foes
But hogtied tonight
Here's some more wackiness from the twisted tongue of goofy Uncle Mike...
Rice wants more unanimity in the foul calls...
Rice: "I really wonder if Orlandis Poole's whistle is working — I haven't heard it yet."
The shooting is so bad that the refs take the unusual step of switching game balls, which helps Portland's cause, as a graphic illustrates...
Rice: "22 to 11 since the new game ball — they're working in the truck!"
(I hope I got that SAS score right...)
Tonight's KIA Card ........ Chris Johnson!
MB: "...He looked pretty good!"
Rice: "Yeah, he didn't get hurt or anything — he's got lots of length."
Dental hygiene is important.
Rice: "Pop all over Orlandis Poole. I hope we have some gum, he's all into his breath."
MB and Rice debate the merits of the refereeing profession... Rice thinks it'd be an OK job...
Rice: "I'd be like Joey Crawford..."
MB: "A little salty?"
Rice: "A little salty — or like Steve Javie, calling technicals on everybody."
Andre Mlller falls down, gets up, resumes dribbling (?!?), bounces off two people and lays it in, barely getting the ball over the rim...
Rice: "That had to be the ugliest two points of the year."
MB: "Hey man, when you've shot 39% as Portland has the last two games, you'll take it."
Spurs 86 at Blazers 99.
February 1, 2011.
Blazers' record is now 26-22, the Spurs are 40-8.
As Black Humor Week continues, this review will be written exclusively in idiotically bad doggerel, scrawled on the fly...
1. One possession to start for old San Antone. Five chances to score — the RG fans moan.
2. One thing for sure and I haven't a doubt — PTB shoots like crap, but they won't be shut out.
3. Four minutes are gone and they're 0-for-5. Maybe I'm wrong, they look more dead than alive.
4. Old Andre Miller finally breaks ice. Points on the board — isn't that nice?
5. Eventually the shots start to fall. Lead cut to three, Pop calls time out to bawl.
6. Timmy the Turtle is old, grey, and slow. Aldridge turns on the jets and scores on the go.
7. One minute left, Oregonian presses stop. Deceived by my eyes?!? Portland is on top!
8. End of the quarter, a standing ovation! Finishing 8-for-11 amps up Blazer nation.
9. One in the books, LMA with sixteen. I'd mention Duncan again, but that would be mean.
END OF THE FIRST QUARTER: PDX 24, SAS 22.
10. Chris Johnson is inserted into his first NBA game. If Nate had used Babbitt that would have been lame.
11. Blair scores down low, he scores points to eat. He blows through Chris Johnson like he he's a little Thabeet.
12. Johnson's in the books with two charity makes. That'll cost ninety bucks for the ball that he takes.
13. Crafty Andre Miller sees paint clogged by a wall. He slips past better athletes and lays up the ball.
14. Ronald McDonald slaps five, dishing coupons on TV. He's the clown with red hair, plus two Mikes makes three.
15. Blazers botch a 2 man breakaway run. Back upcourt Blair schools Pryzzy, isn't that fun?
16. Portland once again is late with a perimeter close. Bald Richard Jefferson puts the trey up their nose.
17. Joel can't stop Blair, that's plain to see. The math? Zero ACLs beats one ruptured knee.
18. Pittsburgher Blair pushes a back in the paint. "That's a foul!" says the ref; DeJuan differs: "No, it ain't!"
19. Spurs led in the half by as many as 9. Blazers think that a 5 spot will suit them just fine.
HALFTIME SCORE: SAS 52, PDX 47. (DeJuan Blair: 14 points, 11 rebounds. Kevin Pritchard: 0-for-3.)
HALFTIME ENTERTAINMENT: REM "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" (live)
20. Przybilla tips to himself to garner a board. "He's not himself," Mike Rice says about what's no longer ignored.
21. Wes on the baseline shoots against the clock. Nothing but net, Portland is back on top.
22. The Spurs really know how to crash the boards. I don't have a good rhyme for that one, sorry.
23. Dante Cunningham to the line and he fires a brick. "Hit the shot!" bellows Rice, who's about to be sick.
24. Time running out, Manu with the ball. He ties the game with a three, his shot's starting to fall.
END OF THE THIRD QUARTER: PDX 71, SAS 71.
25. Blazers just 1-for-8 from outside the arc. Spurs do their work in the paint, more close to the mark.
26. Nate decided to go smallball and was followed by Pop. Portland retook the lead and the Spurs wanted to stop.
27. Four fouls on Blair — did Pop have a choice? He growled at the refs, and maxxed out his voice.
27. LaMarcus lamarcuses, oh no, not again, please. MB says free throw misses are like a disease.
28. Smallball strategy has been real kind to Nate. LMA playing Center puts games away late.
29. "Depleted not Defeated" was scrawled on a card. Former yes, latter sometimes, when they decide to play hard.
30. 5:35 left, home team by six. Rudy burns a 30 before the refs count five ticks.
31. Pop went with bigs, which suited me fine. Aldridge pushed on an oop and went to the line.
32. Four minutes left and Blazers by 8. Then cockroach traveled, comeback had to wait.
33. Andre drained a setshot, a 14-2 run. Beating overhyped Spurs is always tons of fun!
34. Pop dumped his bench with 2:12 on the clock. Was it a white flag? The Mikes started to talk.
35. LaMarcus Aldridge with 40 big points. Is he an All Star? Mike Rice anoints.
FINAL SCORE: PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS 99, SAN ANTONIO SPURS 86.
San Antonio's first loss against the Northwest Division this year. How about that?
Let's take at this thang graphically, shall we?
Well now, I'll bet you all want to have a little CLICKETY-CLICK to see the graphs of this game, eh? Well do it then!
A. Look at that! A 21-5 Blazer run in the 4th Quarter to win going away against the team with the best record in the NBA (as opposed to the best team in the NBA, which the Spurs most assuredly are not).
B. Let's all sing together the Village People's "Macho Man" for LaMarcus Aldridge, who put up 22 second half points after two straight 4th Quarter failures. Good on ya, mate!
C. Wesley Matthews had 17 second half points, which is almost as good. When he can start putting up numbers with consistency instead of doing the Rasheed Wallace 22-tonight-and-6-tomorrow routine, we'll be cooking.
D. DeJuan Blair: Very little burn and zero points in the second half due to foul trouble.
E. Let's anticipate Skeets' "Whoa Boy" for LMA tomorrow: A career high 40 points on 16-for-23 shooting, 8-for-9 from the line, an astounding 1.48 points per shot used (exact method of calculation), 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 1 block. Wow. Somewhere in California, Mr. Snake was heard moaning, his world crashing around his feet.
Finally, let's gather round for another installment of THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD, eh?
Here's Tuesday's show, in case you missed it...
And here's Monday's show...
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.