An abbreviated version tonight as I'm feeling a hangover effect from yesterday's Darius ridiculousness and because the Warriors don't play defense or rebound, therefore it's hard to write meaningfully about this 113 to 100 victory, other than to say LMA killed, Brandon Roy was back and looked relatively good (he seemed quite happy after the game and is looking forward to the easier schedule just like the rest of us) and a W is a W. I'll take it.
If you're sick of the D Miles stuff, I totally understand (put yourself in my position). If you don't want to read about it, simply skip down to bullet point 7.
Random Game Notes
- As you can imagine, talk of Darius Miles continued tonight. Two storylines seemed to be floating around the Rose Garden's back corridors. First, multiple media members believe the Blazers have potentially damaged some relationships around the league, perhaps compromising their ability to conduct trade talks with certain organizations. It's quite possible that stories to this effect will emerge over the coming days and it's also quite possible that this talk dies down quickly as perspective gets re-established with the passing of time.
- Second, as I reported yesterday, multiple teams had interest in acquiring Miles. Rumor today had it that "multiple" might have actually been on the low side. I heard different takes on how many teams had expressed interest; one account had the number up to 10.
- Actually, a third storyline was out there too: it is very, very, very unlikely the Blazers will end up suing the Grizzlies or any one else over Darius. This was a unanimous conclusion among everyone I talked to (10+ people). That was my understanding going into the arena tonight based on conversations I've had and nothing tonight led me to believe that there was a good chance things will change. Of course, anything is possible; but if you want to simply call that email an epic fail and move on with your life, I think you should feel very confident in doing so. Unless the Blazers have access to a "smoking gun" (some evidence that the Grizzlies' sole intention in playing Miles is to screw with the Blazers) this legal chapter is done. And it should be: the team is better off focusing on presenting their appeal to the league. Given the circumstances, it seems like an appeal might have a reasonable chance of succeeding.
- Brandon was asked whether the Darius situation was a distraction. He pleaded total ignorance, saying he didn't even know what was going on and that the team hadn't talked about it. Asked if he expected trades to be coming down the pike, he didn't rule it out but said that he had total faith in KP to do what was best for the team and that KP hasn't sought him out for any thoughts on potential trade prospects. In the past, KP has told him in certain situations to let his teammates know that they weren't being traded, in response to false rumors being circulated.
- If Larry Miller was feeling down about the negative response to his email he didn't show it today. He was at the arena, smiling and shaking hands, as always, at least 2 hours before the game.
- KP also didn't seem to alter his pregame routine, taking time out to shake hands with a fan who made his way down to the court at one point.
- Sit down before you read this. KGW weatherman Matt Zaffino apparently has a weather calendar. And also, apparently, he was signing copies of the calendar in the Rose Garden concourse. Also, apparently, he thought it would be funny to give a full-on weather forecast on the big screen during one of the first half time outs, which concluded with the statement "it's looking snowy in section 118," followed by popcorn being dropped from the rafters onto section 118, and women ducking and covering their hair so as not to suffer damage at the hand of said popcorn. Just a mess. Who came up with this idea, Brick Tamland? Louuuudd Noooises!!!!!
- On the brighter side, the Blazers pulled off one of the funniest in-game arena setups in awhile. An old lady, Edna, was celebrating her 100th birthday at the game. On the big screen, one of the cheerleaders presented her with a cake but a fan dressed up in a Warrior jersey butted his way onto the screen, pointing to his jersey and holding up a #1 finger sign. The crowd instantly bood and really starting booing when he dipped his finger into Edna's cake and then licked it clean. The bit ended with the cake getting smashed in his face and Edna smiling happily about the whole gimmick. Pretty creative.
- Anthony Morrow: 0 for 1, 0 points. Wow. Wish he had done that earlier this season in Oakland.
- LaMarcus Aldridge is a first ballot Hall of Famer if he can play every game for the rest of his career against this year's version of Anthony Randolph.
Look, first, I want to just say I just got some news that a fan of ours who I met, Katie Shearer, is not doing well and our thoughts and prayers are with her tonight. I had an opportunity to meet her a couple of weeks ago. She's a huge fan and she knew this was coming but she's not doing well and we just want to say that we are thinking about her tonight.
Nate on whether the team was distracted by the Darius situation...
It didn't seem that way. The first half was just... we needed energy, we were getting good looks, we couldn't put anything in the basket, the defense was pretty good but we just couldn't get anything to go for us early. Then we were able to get that run in the second quarter to put some points on the board but I thought tonight we did a nice job of executing the gameplan, not turning the ball over, rebounding the ball, attacking them, winning the free throw line and keeping them off the free throw line. We were able to beat this team, a scrappy team that causes all kinds of problems, but we made the adjustment and were able to control the game for most of the game.
Nate on what sparked the increased tempo.
Transition defense. We wanted to make sure that we had 3 guys back at all times tonight and I think they only had six fast break points. We kept them out of the paint early. In the second half Corey [Maggette] puts his head down and goes to the basket 3 straight times, to the free throw line, so we wanted to make sure we kept them off the free throw line. They are the second best team in the league as far as free throw attempts and free throws made.
Nate on whether the team was looking to run.
We didn't want to get caught up in the run and gun game. There would be opportunities for us to run but if we didn't have anything going to the basket we wanted to setup and run our offense and go inside. We felt like we would have opportunities but not jacking up quick shots. We played in the middle of the clock last game, we shot the ball a lot between 20 and 15 seconds on the clock and that's the game they want that type of tempo.
Nate on Brandon's game.
I tried to keep him around 20 to 25 minutes [much laughter as he played 30+) and he said he felt better and he wanted to continue to play and he just gave us a bounce. He was able to help us close the fourth quarter. We needed that. They got within 5 and we gave him the ball and allowed him to make plays. He got to the free throw line which really broke the ice and that allowed us to get a basket and get the crowd back into the game.
Nate on Brandon's health.
Right now he feels ok. I talked to him right after the game. He said he felt good. As the game went on he felt better and wanted to play. Rudy same way. Basically, [trainer] Jay [Jensen] was telling me we needed to pull him but he started to make plays. Those guys play through it.
Nate on LaMarcus's game.
I think he's a big key to us having success. I told him that, going through him in the post, LaMarcus establishing a low post presence force is very important. He's been able to do that these last few games and tonight he did a good job getting to the basket and scoring in the paint and forcing them to have to double team and mix up their defense against him. He's our number one option as far as establishing how we want to play.
Nate on whether it was difficult to cut down the rotation.
No. We get back to what has worked for us. The faster we can get to that rotation so these guys can be comfortable with their roles again the better we'll be. Once Brandon came back, Rudy moves to the back up 2 and we go to our 4 guard rotation. I was able to slip Bayless in there a few minutes tonight but it's about getting the guys out there that are going to give us the best chance. We know we have some guys that are capable but tonight I did shorten the rotation because Travis played more 4 than 3 and I want to continue to look at that.
Nate on six guys in double figures.
We made shots. The first quarter we didn't make any shots, we had some good looks in the paint, on the perimeter. I thought in the second half and the second quarter we did pretty much the same thing, we made our shots, got stops defensive and was able to get some easy baskets. Everything we shot in that second quarter went in for us.
CLICK THROUGH FOR IMAGES OF KICKS AND TATS.
-- Ben (firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Barrett entertains senior citizens Mike Rice and Dick Bavetta.
Free Darko's favorite son Anthony Randolph. Defense: you're doing it wrong.
Anthony Randolph has huge feet. You have a dirty mind.
Jamal Crawford's goofy Reeboks.
My bad, I forgot whose these were again.
Jermareo Davidson's calf tattoo. "Like Father Like Son" ... "General Still Standing." Still standing is no joke, you might remember the tragedies he suffered during college.
Some of you have asked how I get these kicks and tats pics. Please see Biedrins picture. To my left is Mike from Blazers.com and to my right is Sheed from Bustabucket. BAB was there because they scored a hot pregame interview. Check their site for that in the next day or two.
-- Ben (email@example.com