Fanshots

Eggers: Is The End Near For Blazers Coach Nate McMillan?

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Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune writes that it is starting to look like Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan might not last the season. ------------------------- When I heard a colleague observe on a Monday radio show that McMillan could get fired before the end of the season, I thought the comment premature. Would an owner who goes an entire season without an interim general manager fire a coach at midseason? I figured if McMillan didn’t get the Blazers out of the first round of the playoffs again this year, yeah, maybe his time would come. But after watching Tuesday’s debacle, I wonder if his demise could happen sooner. ------------------------- He also drops this gem from Blazers point guard Raymond Felton. ------------------------- "Look at Jeremy Lin," Felton said. "Some people’s systems are for players. D’Antoni is one of those coaches where people excel in his offense. He’s a great offensive coach. "But I’m not going to sit here and knock anything Coach Nate has done. We’re all fighting together, trying to figure this thing out. Being his point guard, I’m with him." ------------------------- On Tuesday night, I discussed the situation facing McMillan and some of his strange behavior recently. On Wednesday, Dwight Jaynes wondered aloud whether McMillan was still calling the shots. -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

Concepcion: Thoughts For Basketball Elitists

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Jason Concepcion has some interesting thoughts for so-called "basketball elitists" on SBNation.com. --------------------------- Hey hoopheads, let's play a game called "You May Be A Basketball Elitist". If you have ever used Synergy Sports as a talking point in an argument: You May Be A Basketball Elitist. If you have ever used PER as a talking point in a blog post or Twitter conversation: You May Be A Basketball Elitist. If you have Basketball-Reference and Hoopdata bookmarked in your browser: You May Be A Basketball Elitist. Now, there is nothing wrong with being an elitist. Elite consumers of NBA basketball often have a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the game. That understanding can lead to a greater enjoyment of -- and greater disappointment in -- teams, players and coaches as they execute or improvise, they work within the framework or freelance, and when they call a smart set or badly bungle a late game situation. But the informed mindset of the hoophead also creates its own particular myopia: a distinct inability to realize that we are very much in the minority. --------------------------- -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

Jaynes: Did Blazers' Lineup Changes Come From Above McMillan?

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As noted on Tuesday night, Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan did a surprising about-face, opting to insert forward Nicolas Batum into the starting lineup in place of Wesley Matthews one day after letting out some frustration at reporters who were second-guessing his lineups. Dwight Jaynes of CSNNW.com surveys the scene and wonders whether McMillan is making his own lineup and rotation moves or if someone else is making those calls for him. ---------------------------------- I'm not sure if McMillan just changed his mind, wanted to hide his lineup switch from the opposition or got a late-in-the-day phone call from someone above him on the food chain telling him to make the move. Certainly, McMillan didn't seem anxious to explain. ... Nolan Smith -- remember him? -- played in the first half alongside Jamal Crawford. Where did that come from? Again, is someone pulling McMillan's strings for him? ---------------------------------- -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

"A source has informed CSNNW.com that Nicolas Batum will start at two-guard in place of Wesley...

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"A source has informed CSNNW.com that Nicolas Batum will start at two-guard in place of Wesley Matthews tonight vs the Washington Wizards." -Chris Haynes

Link.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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Happy Valentine's Day!

Jay Jensen named trainer for West All Stars

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nothing against Jay here, but the jokes almost write themselves, don't they?

Blazers Fan Proposes Marriage To Blazers Fan On The Basketball Jones

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Back on Jan. 24, a young woman named Amber proposed to a young man named Jeremy on the Rose Garden jumbotron during a game between the Sacramento Kings and the Portland Trail Blazers. I wasn't sure that could ever be topped. It might have happened already. You be the judge. Blazers fan Maddison Bond, he of the incredible Luke Babbitt Chalupa Man drawing, among others, took to The Basketball Jones on Tuesday, Valentine's Day of course, to propose to his long-time girlfriend. Here's a link to the video. Fast-forward to the 17:30 mark. "This is a very special video for Amy on her birthday," Bond says into the camera. "I know this isn't the jumbotron at the Blazers game but this is Canadian cable television. I'm hoping this is a big enough spectacle for you and I'm hoping this turns out alright. But I've already asked the dogs and I already asked your dad, so now I'm going to ask you: Will you marry me?" Amy said, "yes." Incredible congratulations to both of them. A few weeks ago, Maddison and Amy let me know on Twitter that they had plans to attend Tuesday night's Wizards game at the Rose Garden for her birthday and I noted that no good birthday is complete without a free Chalupa coupon. OK, so an engagement is probably a little bit better. The best part is that the two aren't mutually exclusive. It's possible -- actually, likely -- that Amy walks home tonight with a future husband, a Blazers victory and a free beef-ish salmonella delivery package. It's all downhill from there. -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

Latest column--TJ's Complaint: What's Wrong With the Blazers?

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After last week, I had to vent...column appears at The Breakdown Show, website of Canada's best NBA radio program!

Pelton: Blazers Approach Decade-Worst Performance In Close Games

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Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus explores the Portland Trail Blazers' strong point differential, noting that the team is both winning many blowouts and losing virtually every close game that it is in. This really jumps out... ----------------------------- I now have data on close games for a full decade, and just one team in that period has fared as poorly in games decided by five points or fewer as this year's Blazers have thus far. The 2009-10 New Jersey Nets went 1-13 (.071). But those Nets were a dreadful team that briefly threatened the record for fewest total wins in a season. My research has found that better teams do tend to win more close games, albeit less decisively than in lopsided games. The other squad to win less than 20 percent of its close games (the 2008-09 Sacramento Kings) was similarly poor. Among 500 teams, the worst record in games decided by five points or fewer belongs to the 2006-07 Indiana Pacers, who won 41 games and reached the playoffs despite losing 22 games by five points or fewer (going 8-22, .267). So it's clear that Portland will end up doing better in close games. The key matter is how much the Blazers will improve. Portland fans will point out that the team's woes in close games can be connected to the poor play the team has gotten from its point guards. There are two problems with this argument. The first is that decision making, while more stable than outcomes, is affected by sample size as well. A handful of plays loom large in the indictment of Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton in the clutch. ----------------------------- I believe this article is subscription required. If you don't have a subscription to BP, you're doing it wrong. -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

Report: Joel Freeland Agrees To Contract Extension With Unicaja Malaga

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A little more than a week ago, the agent for for international Portland Trail Blazers big man Joel Freeland was quoted by Spanish publication La Opinion De Malaga saying that Spanish club Unicaja Malaga was close to inking a contract extension with his client. On Tuesday, La Opinion De Malaga reports that the agreement is "practically closed." A Sportando.net translation provides the following details... ------------------------------ Joel Freeland has agreed with Unicaja Malaga to extend the contract with the Spanish team, according to La Opinion de Malaga. The new contract of the British big man with Unicaja Malaga will have a €2.7M buyout clause. The deal should be official after Copa del Rey who will be played till Sunday in Barcelona. His agent, Falo Calvo, said that Joel Freeland doesn't want to play in any other team different from Malaga, not even an NBA team once he will sign the new agreement. ------------------------------ Freeland, 25, has been a standout for Unicaja Malaga this season, winning ACB player of the month honors before suffering an ankle injury. Ed: Many thanks to Meru for posting this. Headline and text updated. -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter
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