Alright, here we are, the day after. You know you make me feel so good. You know you make me feel so good.
Before turning this over to the random game notes and Coach's postgame comments, I want to make a quick observation about Coach McMillan. Last night, he was as happy as I can remember seeing him in awhile. With good reason. That was an important win at an important time. Like many of us, he was really surprised and grateful that Brandon's last shot went in. His body language showed it. His shoulders were loose. He was smiling and shaking his head.
Then the Portland Tribune asked him about whether the team might let up tomorrow against Minnesota after this tough early schedule.
A switch flipped.
Back was the Mt. Rushmore seriousness. Back was the pinched neck muscles Nate. Back was the reality of coaching a young team. It happened instantaneously and it was crazy to watch. The mood in the press room shifted palpably for the duration of his answer. He snapped me back from cloud nine. I was floating no more.
The press conference adjourned soon after and it was, immediately, back tocare-free happiness and discussions about where this shot ranked in the all-time Blazers moments.
This episode taught me something: Nate can really, really, really flip a switch. And he is crazy focused right now.
Random Games Notes
- Brandon chose the warm up music: Western Union by Dubb Union. This was a new song to me.
- Cop it while it's hooottt, cop it while it's hottttt: Steve Francis's clothing label: We R One Clothing. Yes. They have an outlet store. How did you guess?
- Cricket Wireless had a green screen set up so you could take pictures next to "Greg Oden" and they also handed out Greg jersey t shirts. I hope their network coverage is more reliable than Greg (kidding).
- Local boy Aaron Brooks was getting so many daps pregame that it was hard for him to get in any jumpers.
- Houston's marketing slogan this year is "Get Red." Is this the first another sign of a Chinese takeover?
- Jerryd was working on a cool power dribble drill with Caleb Canales pregame. Basically, Jerryd would dribble with one hand while Caleb put his entire body weight on Jerryd's off arm/side. Entire body weight. As in, almost off the ground piledriver style. Then Jerryd would switch hands. I suppose this helps dealing with bumps and such during drives to the hoop.
- My pregame prediction for the over/under on number of times that Tracy McGrady patronizingly touched Violet Palmer to make her feel special was set at an all-time high of 13.5. I think the under won but VP showed her man some love tonight, didn't she?
- Nic just looks like a pro. He even has the little mannerisms down like high-fiving and pointing at the refs before the game. He's been watching tape.
- Jerome Kersey was in charge of honoring Kevin Duckworth. He is not exactly the world's best public speaker. But he did a passable job. He said... "It's a great honor to be here tonight. As you all have seen, the team is wearing the double 0 patches on the jerseys and that's a great thing... we want to dedicate this season, the entire season, to Kevin Duckworth. Have a great night. Go Blazers!"
- This was followed by a standing ovation for Maxine Duckworth, Kevin's mom. She waved to the big screen.
- There were a few video tributes to Duck as well. One of them with the theme song "It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday" and shot in soft focus black and white. It was really well-produced but maybe, just maybe, a tad too much.
- Brooks was killing us. Surprised that Jerryd didn't get a crack at him at some point.
- Speaking of Bay Bay, he was on the big screen wearing a Burger King crown for some promotion. Never ever ever thought I'd see that from the man that rocks Italian suits like he's trying to stave off the recession single-handedly.
- There was an announcement about "Blazer Alumni Ambassadors": Harry Glickman, Dale Schleuter, Jerome Kersey, Chris Dudley, and Brian Grant. Grant received a standing ovation as the group gathered on the court during a timeout.
- The Alumni Ambassadors then took t shirt cannons and shot them into the crowd. Chris Dudley, a Yale man, couldn't figure out how to operate the gun.
- There was a Kiss Cam on the scoreboard: Blaze was tonguing down Violet Palmer pretty good.
- If Blake was left any further open, his man would have been in the 5th row of the stands.
- Remember when I said that Sergio has a knack for making passes that lead to layups and dunks for both teams? I'd like to update that to say that Sergio is a walking, talking "plus/minus" stat. When he's on the court, it seems like EVERY basket is the result of one of his passes. It also seems like every opponent's basket is the result of an improper defensive read by S. Rod. He was struggling with Yao's picks last night something fierce. But a solid performance from him overall. They should rename "plus/minus" to "Surg."
- That solid performance from Sergio sure was followed by lukewarm timing by his agent, eh?
- Best sign of the night: "Charles Barkley is right; Portland has the best fans."
- Rudy hit Barry with a crossover that I thought was going to send him straight to retirement.
- Some drunk idiot behind me broke out this line on Violet Palmer, which he thought was extremely clever: "it's a great game, ref. Maybe you should see it?"
- Another nice sign: "Do it For The Duck."
- LaMarcus came out of the showers yelling, "Roy Wonder!!!!!!!!" and "We Believe in Roy!" as Brandon was mobbed by the media. Love it.