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Full Court Press

Congratulations. If you're reading this you're not a bandwagon fan. 

If you were away from the computer this weekend, it was fairly busy around here... Brandon won't miss time with the finger and Darius signed with Memphis. Also, you should buy this.

It's a little bit quiet around the Blazersosphere thanks to the 3 straight losses.  I guess these are the times that try sportswriters' souls.  

Before, we bump around the nets, check out the latest batch of Bat Phone voicemails, starring TomInHawaii, someone doing a Jason Quick impersonation and celebrity guest caller JE Skeets from The Basketball Jones and Ball Don't Lie.

Skeets issues a challenge to Blazers fans regarding Brandon Roy and the All Star voting.  Don't miss that.

Here we go...

Joe Freeman leads off this week with a very nice story about our bench.

And perhaps the most telling statistic, the one that speaks to the heart of how this team is constructed and the amount of firepower it possesses, is this: The Blazers' reserves lead the NBA in minutes played, averaging 98.2 per game.

"We feel we are, top to bottom, as strong as any team in the league," Przybilla said. "On any given night, at the end of the game there's different guys standing out and it just goes to show how good we are. Nate's always been a coach who's always had a second unit. He's always been a coach who plays a lot of guys and he's going to play the guys who are feeling it. You just have to be ready."

And so do the Blazers' opponents. When the Rose Garden faithful start chanting, "Ruuudy! Ruuudy!" at some point in the first quarter, as McMillan sends Fernandez to check in at the scorer's table, it's time to strap on your seat belts.

John Hollinger has an article about the Blazers' late-game strategy to not foul when up 3.  

The debate over whether to foul in this situation is a long-running one, and people on both sides of the fence seem to have little hope of convincing those on the other side of their position.

It's an incredibly relevant debate, too, as the situation crops up with great frequency. For instance, on Friday night, Portland was clinging to a 3-point edge in the final seconds against the Clippers, with Baron Davis dribbling at the top of the key -- a clear situation to foul.

Nate has talked in the past about how he has spent time arguing the merits of fouling vs. not fouling with Mike D'Antoni and others.  I would be very surprised if we saw a shift in strategy from Nate.  He has considered the options and reached his conclusions.  That's the impression I get.

Dwight Jaynes Honors Terry Porter on the Blazers official site.

Take it from current Trail Blazer head coach Nate McMillan, another blue-collar player from Porter's era who was strikingly similar to the Trail Blazer guard in areas of toughness, leadership and integrity for the game.

"He came to work and did his job," McMillan said. "He didn't care when other people got the attention. He played the game hard and he played it the right way. One area where I think we were alike is that he wouldn't be afraid to say what needed to be said -- whether it was to an all-star or a young guy who needed to be led."

Over and over, people say the same things about Porter. He was the total package.

"Tough mentally and physically," McMillan said. "I wouldn't say he was great in any one area but he was good at everything. No weaknesses." Honors Terry Porter with more pictures of his basketball cards, the Dairy Queen glasses, and some youtube footage.  Sheed writes...

When I think about the Trail Blazers and the era of the early 90's, Terry Porter is always one guy that sticks out. Unaffected by the weather I always remember going to my grandparent's house to watch Blazer cable in a cramped card room. Of course Clyde Drexler always was the super star but Terry Porter was the glue and the motor for that team. His numbers were outstanding and his durability with the Blazers was always a huge plus. It's hard for me to pinpoint one specific event simply because my family didn't go to any games but for me being 10 years old, it was more about the heroic figure and the overall experience then any specific moment.    

Wendell Maxey takes up the Darius talk.

Apparently Memphis saw something in Miles that led them to believe he can still play.

At this point though, any time away from the court only hampers Miles' effectiveness.

"He wasn't as in as good of shape as he was in the pre-season. It's hard to do by yourself when you've been out that long," Dunleavy continued.

"When you work a guy out you can't work him out five on five, so it's hard to make that determination. Obviously anyone who brings him on, he's going to be in practice with you for about a month before you have to make that decision."

Dunleavy was quick to admit that Miles was "interesting" and that "somebody will pick him up." Now that the latter has come to fruition, Miles is out to prove any naysayers wrong. He isn't about to hang it up. This much we know. But that's just one side of the story. The other side involves his personal history and choices away from the floor where Miles' character is always in question. He earned that stigma from his time in Portland.

Wow.  Sam Smith is kind of asking for it here, isn't he? It's incredible to me that they allow this type of thing posted on the official Bulls website.  

I know they mean well in Portland, though it's almost sad to watch how badly even the players are trying hard to make Greg Oden feel better about himself. The much overhyped center is averaging eight points and 7.9 rebounds and having almost no impact on what has been a good Blazers team. So when Oden had 10 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in a win over Toronto last week, coach Nate McMillan, despite a game winning three from Steve Blake, singled out Oden for praise. The team was said to have erupted in applause. Oden, seemingly embarrassed by it all, then played 11 minuets and had two points the next game. Then I saw something I haven't seen before, a reporter publicly apologizing for comments he made about Oden on a radio show. It was Jason Quick, who is a terrific beat writer for the Oregonian. He said how much he hates being around Oden now because of the way Oden has become so remote and morose, apparently over the pressure and his relative lack of performance. It's almost as if all of Portland lives and dies with his every move.    

Sam's email address is:

Ian Thomsen at SI has us in the running for Steve Nash.

They could package Raef LaFrentz's expiring deal along with Sergio Rodriguez and/or other young talent; they could even expand the deal while taking another expensive contract off the Suns' hands.    

Good luck with that.  Somebody from ESPN (can't find the link just now) asked KP and TP if they are looking at Baron Davis.  Eek.

KobeStoppers dropped this great paragraph in one of their running diaries...

I figure now is as good a time as any to let this gem out of my knapsack. We monitor this site using Sitemeter. It's a good program that allows us to view not only how many hits we're getting, but also how people are arriving to our site. Most visitors come to us by relatively normal means, i.e. a shameless plug on BlazersEdge or a Facebook note. One fateful day last week, however, I was blessed to discover that one visitor found his or her way to the site via a Google search for "Rebecca Harlow Nudes." I'm not sure exactly why Google felt that this would be the place that he was looking for, know, sometimes awesome stuff just happens for no reason. So thank you, random Rebecca Harlow creeper, for visiting our site and brightening our day with your hilarious Google search.    

Yup, these are his readers.

The Sports Business Journal has put out their Top 50 Influential People in Sports list.  [Link via The Big Lead] David Stern is #3, Tim Leiweke is #11, the President of Nike is #14, Adam Silver is #24 and Mark Cuban is at #35. 

Add any links that you find in the comments.  Doesn't look like most of the Power Rankings are up yet but Hollinger has us at #6. Which is very thoughtful of him!

-- Ben