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We'll kick things off this week with Bustabucket.com, who snagged their first exclusive interview and got a big fish: Mike Rice.  A great video and lots of good questions (very cool that they took reader-submitted questions too); just wish they had asked Rice whether he realizes how many people he has offended with his portrayal of Confucious.  Anyway, my favorite exchange..

BAB: Have you talked to Javie since [he ejected you from a game]?

Mike Rice: No, We have not talked since that day, it was probably 12 years ago, 10 years ago something like that, we have not talked since.

That's crazy.  

I kept waiting for Jason Quick's take on Darius but it never happened.  Instead, JQ delivered a really nice piece on the team's new sleep strategy.

Flight departures were altered. Morning shootarounds canceled. Curfews relaxed.

All so the Blazers players could get better sleep.

At the seed of the changes was Dr. Charles Czeisler, a gray-haired professor who works at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital and heads Harvard Medical School's Division of Sleep Medicine. Czeisler, who has also worked with NASA astronauts and the U.S. Olympic Committee, stresses the importance of getting enough sleep each night and keeping the body's internal clocks in sync by maintaining consistent sleep patterns. Inside the Blazers locker room, he has become known simply as "The Sleep Doctor."

Brian Hendrickson's latest takes a look at the team heading into the road trip.

"It's different basketball," Roy said. "There's more pushing, more elbowing, guys are cutting harder. ... It's that time of the year."    

Rip City Project looks at the road trip.

So what are the expectations? I think the absolute worst the Blazers do is 2-2. East Coast trips are tricky and scare me because weird things happen. Each of these teams have guys who can explode, for some reason I imagine Devin Harris going to work and Gerald Wallace having one of those type of games that just make you shake your head. Call me a downer, I'm just thinking out loud here. 2-2 is the worst-case scenario both in my mind and on the court. I don't see Portland going 1-3, too much talent, pride and Nate gets them too ready to let that happen.     

Torrid Joe broke my heart by discovering the "Bayless Hex"!

... it seemed like the moment he stepped on the court all hell broke loose, and the moment he left the wind shifted back again. Golden State plays a hectic but loose style, and I think Jerryd was just too slow to keep up mentally. His brain couldn't tell his body what to do quickly enough. It just made him sloppy and out of balance. But those were team failure moments. It's just coincidental that he was the clarion call of disaster, and amusing that apparently Nate noticed as well.

Dwight Jaynes found an interesting article by David Aldridge.

One source has told me that the Blazers raised questions about Miles to his team during the offseason. And no one seems to know how word of Miles' impending 10-game suspension leaked out.    

I think we all know how that news leaked out.

John Canzano delivered a piece about KP in the aftermath of Miles-Gate that sent you guys into an emailing frenzy.  

It's not lost here that Pritchard is also a rabid Blazers fan. He reads every word written by local and national media about the team. He comes home from games and pores over the fan message boards, too. And on Saturday he admitted that he even posts on the Internet fan forums under an alias, because he simply can't help himself.

Y'all got really excited about this. I'm starting to think you might not be reading every word we write on here.  We broke this news on October 2nd. More than 3 months ago.

Instead, other league executives are asking stuff like, "Did that (bleep) really coin (the phrase) 'Pritch-slapped' by himself?"

(No. He didn't. The term was born in the mind of a Blazers fan after a series of Pritchard personnel moves. But you get the idea.)

This time travel backwards through Bedgeworld is disjointing.

As for this blog entry, it's hard to tell whether Canzano's joking when he writes...

In looking around the Portland locker room, and listening to the whisper on the street, Channing Frye feels like the Blazers player least likely to be a Blazer after the Feb. trade deadline. Keep an eye on this.

By "whisper on the street" was he referring to the 6,700 fanposts that have run on the subject over the past six months, every single Marc Stein chat since the draft, 1 out of every 3 callers to every sports radio show in the city, or, perhaps, the front page story in the Willamette Week entitled "Here Today..."? 

All jokes aside, both the Pritchard piece and the blog entry felt a little bit forced to me while this Katie Shearer piece (must read) felt a lot more natural. Maybe JC's just more comfortable writing about that side of the team?

As for Canzano's thesis that Pritchard might have hurt his reputation around the league, Wendell Maxey reports a different take.

According to one NBA league executive who spoke to HOOPSWORLD on the condition of anonymity, there remains "no long term repercussion", despite some front offices harboring negative feelings towards Portland.

"I don't think it matters too much," the league executive said when asked if teams would refrain from negotiating with the Blazers with the trade deadline looming.

Lowposts.com wasn't so happy about Canzano's coverage of the Miles affair.

Canzano's disconnect with the reality of the Darius situation and the Blazers overall status with the league was put on display Sunday when he was shocked to learn that Pritchard is not well liked in the elite fraternity of NBA GMs and owners. 

...

this incident taught us who NOT to trust when it comes to news regarding the Blazers.    

I love it when blogs get scoops.  Ryan McNeill of HoopsAddict got a chance to talk to both the Celtics and the Grizzlies about Darius Miles.

Despite being dejected after a tough loss to the Toronto Raptors on Friday, Mike Conley Jr. burst into a huge grin when asked about Miles.

"Darius (Miles) was a fun guy. He was a guy who has been around the league and knows a lot about the NBA. He understood the game and from the time he was with us he tried to give us some knowledge about how hard we need to play. He's been on good teams and bad teams, so he knows different ways teams can handle situations. He made sure our heads were right and focused. He did a good job of explaining that to us."

JE Skeets at Yahoo! has a nice Miles roundup.

Some of you guys (prezofdeath, norsktroll, bustabucket, etc.) might be looking at this in your future.

Power Rankings

  • Hollinger -- #8 (same from last week)
  • Stein -- #9 (up from 12 last week)

If all goes right, tomorrow we should be delivering a short interview with the biggest name we've ever had here on Blazers Edge.  Speculate away.

-- Ben (benjamin.golliver@gmail.com)

PS One final explosive nugget from that Canzano column that you deserve for reading this far...

Afterward, Pritchard left the Rose Garden arena with his girlfriend, Marlene, a teacher and former Blazers dancer.     

Blazers Dancer Marlene.  Where have I heard that name before?

BallHype: hype it up!