Random Game Notes
- The pregame song tonight was chosen by Channing Frye: T.I's "What up, What's happenin."
- The Blazers video team debuted a new starting lineup introduction video featuring Storm Large. Scrap it. I don't know what Storm Large's demo is but it's not me. Turn that thing over to DJ OG1. As soon as possible.
- Ike Diogu came on the court to offer a pregame message to the crowd: "Thanks for coming to help us celebrate the life of the late, great Martin Luther King." Ike seems like a cool guy. The team should do a tie-in with the "Rip City Row" where Ike and/or Channing sits with the kids during the game to help celebrate their birthday party.
- During one of the first half timeouts, Coach Nate had a recorded spot on the big screen where he talked about Martin Luther King and the "opportunity" that he represented and the challenges that still face us. Like communication among the races about sensitive subjects. There was a halftime tribute to MLK as well. It was a really solid showing from the team on the holiday.
- Best sign of the night: "J Bay All Day." Except not today. For all my Rex cheerleading, I've got to give it up to Sergio tonight. Wasn't a great shooting night from the field but he led the team, took care of the ball very well in extended minutes and stuffed the box score with rebounds, assists, you name it. Gave Nate plenty of reasons to keep him in that starting spot throughout Blake's absence.
- Postgame, a reporter asked Greg how he felt after having such a big game. Greg responded, "hungry."
- Indeed, Greg was the headline story -- 24 and 15. Those are numbers he should put up going against a frontline like the one the Bucks trotted out there.
- Postgame, Quick pointed out to me that he thinks Greg has lost considerable weight. Greg does look a lot more solid and sinewy, particularly in his abdomen. This description is getting a little sketchy isn't it? OK, I'll stop before Eddy Curry signs up for SBN to leave a comment. Anyway, it's a safe bet Quick writes on Oden's physical development here in the near future (if he hasn't already by the time I post this). When asked how he feels about his development, Greg said "I'm in the least shape on this team" and admitted that he gets razzed during video sessions "for running like Shaggy on Scooby Doo." Hilarious.
- Anne Peterson asked Greg whether he was going to watch the Obama inauguration tomorrow morning (Brandon said that Coach postponed practice so the players could watch it live in the morning with their families). One of Obama's most vocal supporters in the athletic community, Greg surprised the media group by saying, "I won't be up by 9" in the morning so he wouldn't be watching history being made live. That scene was basically written for a Tivo commercial so hopefully their marketing folks are reading this.
- Brandon said his hamstring is still not 100% but said it wasn't bothering him enough to throw his game off. He didn't seem to be in any pain after the game which hasn't always been the case lately.
- There's no way that Michael Redd is one of the best 12 American basketball players. I realize he was a role player on the Olympic team so I was withholding judgment on that since the summer but, after tonight, forget it. Is he even top 20?
- Overheard pregame (paraphrased): "As long as pro sports have existed, media people have been arranging for sick kids to have tickets to games. What's changed is that apparently some reporters now want to receive public notice for doing so. What happened to doing the right thing because it was the right thing, not because it makes good copy and shines a light on the writer?" You take it from there.
- Can't remember if I've mentioned this yet or not but, for your information, Brandon Roy rocks the Blackberry Bold. Same phone as me, which means you can now feel free to mention us in the same sentence. Seriously, please mention us in the same sentence. Any sentence.
- What I definitely haven't written about yet, though, is that Brandon rocks his phone on one of those cell phone hip belts (pictured below), which I guess makes him the coolest person in the world to own a cell phone hip belt or someone who just doesn't care. Or both.
- Yes, I'm on amazon looking to buy a hip belt right now.
- I meant to do this a long time ago but a BE reader and fellow writer hooked me up with my BB Bold in November. Need a phone and want to keep it in the BE family? ... Email Jeff at email@example.com. "Tell him Ben sent you"... lol
- Caught up with Torrid Joe at halftime. He was live-blogging the game from the Lexus Club Level. That is so 2009!
Nate's Postgame Comments
Nate on Greg Oden: "Great game for him tonight, I thought he was really active tonight, moving his feet, both ends of the floor, just very active, those are the things we are looking for from him. Now looking for the carry-over, to carry that over into our next game."
Nate on the big men: "I thought our bigs, it was a team effort, but I thought our guys did a good job tonight of executing, getting deep post position, but getting them the ball. There have been times where our bigs have had deep post position but we're not getting them the ball timely. Tonight we got them the ball and they finished. We had matchups down there with the small lineup and I thought we took advantage of that."
Nate on the huge rebounding advantage: "It was a team effort. Everybody was on the boards, Sergio had 7, Brandon 6, Batum 8, LaMarcus 9 and Greg with 15. Outlaw with 8. So it was a team effort. Tonight, on the boards, and again those are things we have to do collectively, recover to that paint, help those bigs with the boards tonight, I thought we totally dominated that."
Nate on whether it was a nice rebound from the loss to Charlotte: "Yeah. Getting back home, protecting home court, we have 5 of our next 6 games at home. What we talked about was trying to protect homecourt, we get tonight's game and now we'll prepare and get ready for Cleveland on Wednesday."
Nate on whether LaMarcus is an all star: "There's work to be done. He's doing some good things. I think he can be better. LaMarcus has the type game that he can be effective on both ends of the floor. The offensive end as well as the defensive end. Rebounding. Tonight: 22 points and 9 rebounds. I think he can do that pretty much every night. Double doubles."
Nate on Greg's key tonight: "One of the most important numbers is the 2 fouls. He did a good job of getting deep post position, scoring and rebounding the ball. This is one of the first games where he has finished a quarter with 1 foul. He was productive in that first quarter. The 3rd quarter same thing. He did a nice job playing both ends of the floor without getting in foul trouble. It gets back into moving his feet. I thought he was really active tonight in moving his feet and not getting caught standing up trying to guard penetration, slowly rotating to the ball. I thought everything tonight was early, quick, and he was great."
Nate on what's next for Greg: "Now we want the carryover. We will have a good tape to show him some of the things he did well, as far as rotating to the ball, being big, blocking shots, playing on his toes, offensively getting deep post position and making good decisions with the ball."
Nate on the team picking up with Brandon not scoring much: "It's nice to have other guys step up and have other options. Tonight Greg and LaMarcus did a nice job of establishing themselves in that post. We had some other guys who scored. Brandon is still searching for his rhythm. He missed some free throws throughout this game. We missed 10 tonight. There are going to be nights where Brandon doesn't have his rhythm, that ball is not falling for him, and we have other guys that we can go to and tonight they were pretty productive."
Nate on why LaMarcus sat during much of the fourth quarter: "We had a combination that was working. Greg was the big, Travis was the power forward with Brandon, Sergio and Rudy. That lineup was working for us."
More Nate on Greg: "You've got to be able to stay on the floor to do that. With 2 fouls tonight he was able to stay on the floor. I thought he was active tonight, I love his aggressiveness, being alert and rotating quick, he wasn't late to rotating penetration tonight, he wasn't late rotating out to the screens, I thought he was pretty patient in the post with the smaller players. They tried to flop and draw some fouls on him and he was just under control, he knocked down his free throws. Just a really good game by him."
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-- Ben (firstname.lastname@example.org)
First time I've photographed LMA's new kicks. I say "new" but I guess he's had them for a few weeks; Casey tells me I'm wayyyyy late on these.
Scott Skiles pregame, in jeans.
Here's a serious question: Does Nate McMillan own a pair of jeans? He has at least 25 pair of warmup pants in black/red/white/grey. But jeans? I'll have to do some checking on that and get back to you.
-- Ben (email@example.com)