30. A Win and a Loss: The View from Dallas


The Blazers won in Dallas but lost Center Joel Przybilla for the year, thus ending any hopes whatsoever of escaping the first round to the playoffs. I've got nothing to say but: "What are the odds?"

P.S. You all do realize that when I calculated the number of incapacitating surgeries for the Blazers at 1.43 PER PLAYER if current trends continued over the course of the season a while ago, I WAS NOT MAKING THAT UP, don't you??? I'm an NFL fan and I've never seen anything like it in that sport, let alone this one...

By the way, did you notice the report that Brandon Roy is going to undergo an MRI for his shoulder when he gets back to Portland? Just thought I'd mention it...

*     *     *

This makes the 15th of these columns here at BE. I also did something like 50 or 60 more before that over at the SBN Laker blog, Silver Screen and Roll. I'm not quite sure how many — I'm too lazy to count. Point is, I've been around the basketball blog neighborhood a couple times accumulating "opposition links" for Laker and Blazer fans.

I noticed a couple people in a BE game thread commenting on the comparative "deadness" of the SBN blog for the Miami Heat, Peninsula is Mightier, relative to Blazers Edge. That point can't be argued, but it was stated something to the effect that "most SBN blogs" are pretty dead. That's not really quite correct.

I thought it might be interesting to take a trip around the two main blog networks — Sports Blog Nation (founded, I understand, by Markos Moulitsas of the left wing political blog, The Daily Kos) and TrueHoop (part of the ESPN → ABC → Disney media conglomerate) — to assess and compare the status of the NBA blogs of each.

I want to identify my biases from the top: I am not affiliated with Blazers Edge nor do I pretend to speak for Dave and Ben, but am rather just a reader and frequent poster here. I remain on the masthead of Silver Screen and Roll although I resigned there on the morning of Nov. 20, 2009. I might write again for them at some point in the future — or not. I haven't talked to Josh or Chris about that. I feel that our parting was on good terms, I like them, read them, and frequently post there as a reader. I am currently banned from two of the following blogs, Blog-a-Bull (SBN) and CelticsBlog (SBN), the former very deservedly and the latter because the moderators are stupid. I will make an effort not to let any of these circumstances affect my analysis of those digital publications. 

I've decided to make use of a color-coded rating system, as follows:

Purple_medium  PURPLE — denotes a basketball blog that is one of the standards of the genre. Superior content, frequently updated, and an expansive and active readership.

Green_medium  GREEN — denotes a fully healthy blog, generally featuring daily posts during the business week and producing intelligent analysis on a timely basis. 

Yellow_medium  YELLOW — denotes an ailing blog, with a pattern of slightly sporadic posting or of posting of hastily written and somewhat insufficient material. 

Red_medium  RED — denotes a seriously ill blog, with altogether insufficient coverage of the subject team. There is an occasional post, but the irregularity of new content makes regular readership unlikely.

Black_medium  BLACK — denotes a dead blog, which I am defining as a publication with no new content during the month of December 2009. A dead blog is one which needs to be buried and relaunched.

Teams will be listed alphabetically by team nickname, Western Conference today and Eastern Conference tomorrow. What I deem to be the better of the two blogs (SBN v. TrueHoop) for each team will be listed first. Links will be provided for each. My free time being limited, I do not read more than a few of these blogs with any regularity, and so I may be wrong about this or that particular. Please don't take anything here as gospel. This is a subjective list, okay?

On with the show...






Blazers Edge (SBN) — I don't need to spend too many words on this one, eh? "The Bellcow of SBN," a two person blog featuring long and thoughtful essays designed to provoke extended reader discussion and professional quality on-the-scene reporting from practices and home games. Not one but two podcasts and multiple daily updates. Absolutely indispensable reading for members of the Blazer Cult. Extremely active reader posting on the sidebar. Averaging over 15,000 daily visitors in December 2009.


Beyond Bowie (TrueHoop) — A pretty layout, but the publication is dead out (last post at the start of November 2009). The Blogfather is currently conducting a search for a new editor for a relaunch.





Clipper Blog (TrueHoop) — Established in March 2006, this is unquestionably one of the best TrueHoop blogs. Clipper Blog seems to be a two-person tag-team featuring very intelligent analysis, copious video, and a very readable presentation. Clip fans are among the most loyal in the NBA and this publication rewards their dedicated attention.


Clips Nation (SBN) — A nicely done one man show, with previews, gameday open threads, and summaries. The writing is very intelligent. Additional content is only occasional and the sidebar attracts a couple new posts a day on average. The game threads are modestly trafficked. Averaging right around 2000 daily visitors in December.





3 Shades of Blue (TrueHoop) — Multiple daily updates produced by a dedicated editorial collective. Three Shades of Blue is slightly better trafficked than its SBN counterpart, with a current readership of about 700 daily visitors. Not a particularly appealing blog from the visual standpoint, 3SOB does make effective use of "small footprint" jumps off the front page and is content heavy.


Straight Outta Vancouver (SBN) — A well done one-man show on behalf of a team with one of the lamest fanbases in the NBA. Regular and thoughtful pregames and recaps, although readership is stagnant in the very discouraging ballpark of about 250 visitors per day. Nice work for fans who honestly don't deserve it.




Hornets 247 (TrueHoop) — Two guys writing here, it seems. A pretty layout with excellent content written in a fun style. They seem to keep it quite fresh and encourage reader feedback — somewhat unusual for the blogs of the True Hoop network, which are built on a software foundation that makes give-and-take difficult. A good read for the bug fans.


At the Hive (SBN) — At the Hive is a two-man game, keeping it fresh about once daily. I very nearly scored this a "YELLOW" since overage tends to be a bit on the lite side — although I allow that's a bit understandable given the team's discouraging year. Readership is not good, seeming to be in the ballpark of 500 average daily visitors, probably a little under that. The sidebar is nearly dead, with a new FanPost once or twice a week. Needs an enthusiasm injection on the part of the editors...




SLC Dunk (SBN) — An excellent blog written by an active team of 3 with a couple others on the bench. Really good content that exceeds the formulaic pregame/live thread/recap blah blah blah that typifies most basketball blogs in general. Sidebar participation is weak, but that's no fault of the bloggers. Probably averaging about 600 daily visitors in December, which is far less than this thang deserves.


Salt City Hoops (TrueHoop) — I despise the layout of this thing, with a moving front page that looks like a lame ad. Typical basketball blog content, updated approximately daily, but a really uncomfortable thing to navigate. It's a living and active blog, by definition, although one using a format which needs to be scrapped and reconstructed from the ground up. Blech. 




Sactown Royalty (SBN) — Pretty much a two person game, done well. Some very witty writing, worth investigating even if you're a bit lukewarmish on Sactoe. Example: "Kings Lose Game of the Century, If the Century is the 1300s. You see, because in the 1300s, things basically sucked, what with the Black Death and all, so I figure there wasn't much time for basketball, so the games were bottled disaster, much like Friday's loss in Minnesota...." There ya go, that's how you do it! A well-trafficked SBN blog, in the 4500 daily visitor neighborhood. Watch this blog blow up as the Kings continue to improve — the Sacramento fanbase is akin to Portland's in their fanatic devotion to a single sport.


Cowbell Kingdom (True Hoop) — A very comfortable to read, very well written one person blog. Features lots of video and an engaging style. Sacramento fans have great blogs to help warm the world to their up-and-coming team!




Forum Blue and Gold (True Hoop) — One of the seminal basketball blogs, extremely thoughtful and well crafted. Legendary Laker broadcaster Chick Hearn didn't like to use the word "purple" to describe Laker unis, instead calling it "Forum blue" — thus the blog name. Gorgeous layout, extremely intelligent content, and ranging far beyond the formulaic same-old, same-old. One of the very best basketball blogs for any team.


Silver Screen and Roll (SBN) — A comparatively new blog, SS&R was launched just prior to last year's playoffs, filling an enormous gap in Sports Blog Nation's roster. The two editors have ambitions of building SS&R into one of the finest basketball blogs and they keep the publication tightly scheduled and refreshed multiple times daily, bringing in the voices of several others for main page content. An excellent blog with average daily visitorship of around 4500.




Mavs Moneyball (SBN) — This blog has improved a great deal this season, matching the improvement of Cuban's kids on the court. Previously this felt like a bit of a struggling one man show at times (albeit with a really fun and well-appreciated gameday open thread). For 2009/10 there seem to be more voices and more content (multiple daily updates on busy days) and the publication is on a clear upward trajectory. Traffic floats in the 800-1000 daily visitor range of late, which is surprisingly low, given the product.


The Two Man Game (TrueHoop) — "The Two Man Game" is actually a star running an isolation play — but he does it well and scores the ball. I dig the layout mightily (I see in the footer that credit is to Josh of SS&R), even if the typography is about 2 points too small for my aging eyeballs. My NRA-member co-worker mentions that there's an ongoing ammo shortage in America and I think I've figured out the reason: all the bullets are used in this blog. Still, that's an easy and fun way to absorb information. Good stuff.




Denver Stiffs (SBN) — The SBN incarnation was formed a few months ago when an independent "Denver Stiffs" blog was merged with the existing SBN Nuggets blog. Damned if I can remember the old name... Whatever... Denver Stiffs is the worldwide leader in "small footprint" front page layout — each post has a graphic and a short, short lead that reads almost like a tweet. You want the article? You have to click in. The theory is that this keeps stories alive with readers longer. At the other end of the spectrum is Blazers Edge, with its articles that are sometimes 3 or 4 screens long with no jump — good luck finding that article that was published 10 hours ago, it's now under 12 screens of prose! I think there is a happy medium between these two extreme approaches, something most blogs seem to have learned through trial and error... Denver Stiffs is the more timely and comprehensive of the two Nuggs blogs, but I have to admit that I do have trouble getting past the radical layout. Active sidebar. Traffic in December has been bumping around in the 1500-2000 daily visitor range.


Roundball Mining Company (TrueHoop) — My previous chief complaint with this blog is the fact that has been SLOW to get game recaps up. Upon further review, I see that this relates to the fact that it's a one-person blog (never a good idea with these time-gobblers) and updates aren't anywhere near daily in pace. I dig the layout, but the chief editor, columnist, and bottle washer needs to find a few buddies to help lighten the load and make this the sort of blog that Nuggets fans will start visiting daily.




The Dream Shake (SBN) — All T-Mac all the time these days, they do have their controversy brewing. Houston is a really unusual situation in the Western Conference, with this being the alpha and omega of team blogs and much of the other energy being absorbed by an independent message board called "Clutch Fans." A good spread of content here beyond the usual yadda-yadda (pregame/open thread/recap). Traffic seems to be averaging something in excess of 2000 daily visitors for December, which isn't massive but doesn't suck either. A good blog.


Rockets Buzz (TrueHoop) — This one looks like it's on the ropes. Rockets Buzz was useful during last season's playoffs, but frequency of content has fallen off the table — the last post showing is for December 7. Yikes. As I mentioned above, Houston is a strange circumstance, with intense fans being sucked into one strong message board rather than the blogosphere. Not sure why. I am sure that Rockets Buzz needs remedial help fast or it risks going down in flames.




48 Minutes of Hell (TrueHoop) — A very, very nice two man game. Super pretty layout, which is something you just can't have with the generic, cookie cutter SBN software. Don't get me wrong, the SBN software does certain things that the TrueHoop gear can't (live game threads and FanPosts, anyone?) — but it looks....... generic. 48MOH is not only pretty, it's really well-written and smart, making good use of video to drive its points home. One of the two 48MOHers is the half-brother of TrueHoop's Kevin Arnovitz, so maybe it runs in the family. Excellent!


Pounding the Rock (SBN) — Very good to excellent content, delivering the full measure of the usual (pregame/game thread/recap) and a fair bit more. The pregame player-by-player matchup analysis is exceptionally good. The sidebar is reasonably active, as these things go, with something new up there every day or so. There are 11 names on the masthead, so you get to hear more than one voice again and again. Traffic is decent, as these things go, hovering right around the 2000 daily visitor mark on most days this month. Spurs fans have two good ones.




Bright Side of the Sun (SBN) — Don't try this at home, kids: one person doing a basketball blog up right. You see, there aren't enough hours in the day. Your loved ones will abandon you. Your dog will go unwalked and start crapping on the rug. I don't know how this guy does it, but he does. First rate content, everything you expect from a team blog and a little bit more. The sidebar is reasonably active, a new FanPost or two a day, and traffic is in the 2000-2500 daily visitor range, which is decent.


Valley of the Suns (TrueHoop) — Another one-man game and another good one. Get some help and save your lives, guys. Valley of the Suns is brilliantly written — I'm sure you've seen lots of examples of bad writing in your days of blog-reading. This feels like it has been written by a professional journalist. I wouldn't doubt it, because this cat does the Golliver, albeit a bit less obsessively. Two terrific blogs for the Phoenix fans.




Daily (TrueHoop) — Nice. Very nice. Frequent and well-written new content here. They make good use of video (something you see more frequently with the TrueHoop blogs than the SBN blogs) and the pregame summaries are concise and informative. This is the best OKC blog by a length and a half.


Welcome to Loud City (SBN) — Pretty much the typical fare: links + previews + live threads + recaps. It's a young team and consequently a young blog, so I'm inclined to give it a pass and move along. Lots of room for improvement, shall we say. The rooks need to take their game up a notch and probably have the talent to do it. I do really like the front page "Who's going to win tonight?" polls though — SBN bloggers would be advised to check out that little schtick and rip it off. They're fun. December traffic is a discouraging 300 or so average daily visitors, so that has room for improvement, too.




Canis Hoopus (SBN) — I like this one a lot — a wide range of voices on the front page, saying more than the usual, getting video incorporated into the presentation. I mean, you do have to love video of the loathsome KG going verbal on live television... He is truly a charming, charming man... This is another up-and-coming blog for an up-and-coming team. The sidebar has a new thing or two every day. Traffic is 1500-2000-ish these days, which is pretty decent considering the team's struggles on the floor. If the GM ever puts anything but PGs and PFs on the team and they advance from doormats to the threshhold, this blog is gonna blow up big and fat. Quality, daddio. Quote me.


Howlin' T-Wolf (TrueHoop) — I haven't really seen this one much. I'm not really sure why. Howlin' T-Wolf is nicely written, with lots of stats and graphs and discussion fare that moves beyond the daily grind of basketball blogging with all its prognostications and reviews. The layout is clean and fresh and generally superior to the SBN cookie-cutter look. This is yet another good example of two terrific blogs for a single fanbase, a terrific luxury for a team playing games to a lot of empty seats.




Golden State of Mind (SBN) — After looking at 15 SBN layouts in succession, it becomes quite hard to feign enthusiasm in the generic look. Blogs running on that platform more or less all look the same, whether the posts are very very long (Blazers Edge) or very very short (Denver Stiffs). GSOM has lots of material outside of the usual — discussions, polls, organized rumor-mongering, and so forth, which probably makes it a lively read for Warrior fans, who are among the NBA's most faithful.  For the casual reader with no particular allegiance to the team, this comes off rather disjointed in feel, featuring as it does a multiplicity of voices free-ranging the content. Excellent traffic, as these things go, banging around in the 6,000 average daily visitor range in December.


Warriors World (TrueHoop) — Okay, I like my video as much as the next guy, but this blog goes off the deep end of the pool. This feels more like a YouTube links page than a sports blog. The layout is further objectionable for its particularly narrow width of the content band and particularly small type size. This baby is lots of show and not very much go, sorry to say.


Okay, let's score it...

SBN with 9 better blogs in head-to-head matchups; True Hoop with 6 better blogs in head-to-head matchups. True Hoop also has 3 team blogs that aren't "Green or Better," while the SBN network is achieving basic competence for all teams.

Stop by for the Eastern Conference blog rundown tomorrow, assuming I can find the time...


Channel Surfing.

Monday, Dec. 21.


Cleveland Cavaliers (20-8) at Phoenix Suns (18-9).

Phoenix faced a big challenge in this one, meeting one of the Eastern Conference's elite teams on their home floor, a place where they stood a perfect 10-0 prior to this one. The Suns currently have the win-loss record of an elite team, sure, but anyone who has seen them play more than once or twice is aware by now of how to beat them: work the ball low on offense, getting Amar'e Stoudamire in foul trouble, and drive them off the 3-point line on the other end of the floor. It's a pretty simple formula, a plan of which the Cavs were well aware.

The game played as evenly as a game can play in the first have, with 18 lead changes and 15 ties in the first half alone.

It's a bit shocking how bad Shaquille O'Neal looks these days. "Slow" doesn't start to describe his porcine and unathletic sluggishness. It's a real pity that Greg Oden didn't get a chance to play against him a few times this season so that he'd have stories to tell his grandkids about how he took the Hall of Famer to the hole again and again and again. I will be shocked if the $20 Million man is back next year. Zydrunas Ilgauskas isn't much better. They're both benchwarmers these days. However, celebrate not, Cav haters, for Anderson Varajao is the real deal center for LeBron & Co. — athletic and energetic with a nice soft touch on offense and good rebounding technique.

Phoenix made a push in the 4th Quarter, fighing back to get the game tied, but the Cavs cranked up the effort, swinging the ball hard and fast to get open looks on the perimeter and driving the paint for easy scores at the rim. Amar'e couldn't handle Varajao, let alone squeezably soft Charmin Frye, who is temperamentally and physically unsuited to the task of guarding any real Center in the paint of any floor in any situation. On one play Frye inadvertently smacked Varajao in the face going for a block, a hard foul which drew a glare of such ferocity that little rivulets of yellow were seen running down the Chan Man's quivering legs. He was never seen in the pit again. Cavs put a 15-0 run on the Suns in the 4th. Good night, Alvin.

It's hard rooting for the Cavs, but I sucked it in for this one night at least. I remain convinced that the Suns are the one team in the West currently occupying a Top 4 seed which it doesn't deserve. It will be interesting to see if the Blazers can get healthy, get hot, and catch them. Don't bet against it. Cavaliers 109, Suns 91.



Sacramento Kings (12-14) at Chicago Bulls (10-15).

I started watching the hustling haoles but they went down double digits early in the first quarter and then found themselves massively behind at the half so I invested my time elsewhere. Wow, what a comeback. I need somebody to catch me up... Who, I wonder?

Oh, I  know! It's time to pay a visit to ( -1 x Disneyland ) = Blog-a-Bull (corporate motto: The Angriest Place on Earth.™®)  Catch me up, Blog-a-Bullies!!!


best quarter of the season by far
by Daniel Satan on Dec 21, 2009 5:34 PM PST

let's hope they can keep this momentum going
i want a 20 point lead at halftime so the kings think they have no chance heading into the 3rd

by patagonia on Dec 21, 2009 5:35 PM PST


I come home from work
i walk in and the tv is on the game, my first sight is kirk catching the ball, no hesitation...HINRICH 4 THREE!!!!!!


40 pts in the first quarter...we arent the worst team in the league after all

by piccolomair on Dec 21, 2009 5:40 PM PST


but, can they keep the lead?

that's my question.


if they win by 20, i'll be happy.

if they win by 7 or less, i'll be frustrated.

if we lose, fire VDN.

by Revlution4ever on Dec 21, 2009 5:45 PM PST

With about 8:30 left in the 3rd Quarter, the Bulls led the Kings by THIRTY-FIVE (35) POINTS!!!


The starters are gassed
Why? Because the bench is clown shoes.

by Curtain Jerker on Dec 21, 2009 7:09 PM PST

Bulls can't sleepwalk with a lead they're not that good

by SoulEater7 on Dec 21, 2009 7:13 PM PST

giving up 23 points of a 35 point
is horrendous. part of the blame has to go to the coach. they need to get the ball in rose's hands and slow this ball game down.

by leeac on Dec 21, 2009 7:15 PM PST

        by Revlution4ever on Dec 21, 2009 7:16 PM PST

                by Revlution4ever on Dec 21, 2009 7:18 PM PST

This is unreal, could they actually los a [obscene emphatic] 35 point lead?

by Ozzie Montana on Dec 21, 2009 7:19 PM PST


Holy [obscene emphatic] [barnyard epithet] — I can't believe this

by DRose#1 on Dec 21, 2009 7:19 PM PST

                        by Granny Waiters on Dec 21, 2009 7:21 PM PST

by Playboy_Bull on Dec 21, 2009 7:21 PM PST

                                by Granny Waiters on Dec 21, 2009 7:26 PM PST

the gun is in my mouth
by Trey23 on Dec 21, 2009 7:23 PM PST

hahah seriously, the luvabulls were cheering after evans hit that shot
by Daniel Satan on Dec 21, 2009 7:26 PM PST

Kirk is so [obscene emphatic] bad at basketball. I can't believe we didn't trade his [barnyard emphatic] [crude anatomical phrase] for expirings.

by Ozzie Montana on Dec 21, 2009 7:28 PM PST

by SoulEater7 on Dec 21, 2009 7:32 PM PST

fans are pissed
I can actually hear them

by RogersPark Kris on Dec 21, 2009 7:32 PM PST

that's me
yelling from my living room

by leeac on Dec 21, 2009 7:33 PM PST

That was the most ridiculous thing I ever saw in basketball
by JustAnotherFan on Dec 21, 2009 7:34 PM PST

Thanks, Blog-a-Bullies! Biggest comeback in Sacramento Kings history... I watched the second half and it was all jumpshots and turnovers by the Bulls in their 8 point (!!!) 4th Quarter. And it wasn't all Tyreke Evans for the Kings, as the media likes to reduce things — PF Jason Thompson also came up big. Kings 102, Bulls 98.


Tuesday, Dec. 21.


Portland Trail Blazers (17-12) at Dallas Mavericks (20-8).

I can't remember the last time that I've bailed out of watching a Blazer victory once I sat down to see a game. It has been a couple years, at least — I have a really good sense of impending doom and I usually stick it out until the fork is in the turkey, because every once in a while you'll see an amazing comeback and a cool finish.

This time was different. The Blazers lost their 2009/10 season in the first half, when Center Joel Przybilla went down for the year with a severe knee injury in the 1st Quarter. Despite Portland being up 11 points at the half, 44-33 (!!!), it was a case of the Blazers being somewhat less crappy than the Mavs, rather than better. Portland hadn't won in big D since Brandon Roy was a Washington Husky, way back in 2003. What were the odds of them averting a second half comeback? Not good.

The feeling that I had was more or less general among Blazer fans at the half, approaching universality in the 3rd Quarter when the Large German Man and his cohorts rapidly erased the Portland lead and took one themselves. You can't win without a Center in the NBA, see, and LaMarcus Aldridge is now The Big for Portland. Yes, LMA — he of the silky soft shot and the temperament of the warrior's younger brother, who wisely embarked on a career as a Wall Street securities analyst rather than a warrior, since that's where the bucks are and since warriors generally get their butts shot off (or their patellas munched, as the case may be).

So I ran up the white flag and made myself some dinner. I was in no mood to watch the Remaining Blazers get beat in Dallas — and thus I missed it when they didn't.

Well, let's whip out the trusty old Popcorn Machine GAME FLOW SUMMARY and see what happened, shall we?

Observation 1: Blazers lost their 11 point halftime lead when they found themselves on the FAIL side of a 22-6 run in the 3rd Quarter. During this period the Mav starters scorched the PDX starters, with Juwan Howard filling in for Pryz at the Ostensible Center position. JJ Barea and the Large German Man each had 11 in the quarter, with Erick Dampier adding 7. The visitors managed just 14 points combined.

Observation 2: Jeff Pendergraph scored his first points in the NBA as part of his nearly 4 minute stint at the end of the 3rd Quarter. Good for you, Jeff, many more are needed this year... He was also Minus-5 on the +/- during that stint, which tells you the direction things were headed entering the final frame.

Observation 3: Momentum completely reversed in the 4th Quarter. Nate played 5 guys for the more or less the entire quarter: Binky, Rex, Roy, LMA, and Howard. That's where you assign the credit for the unlikely 17-3 run that Portland dropped on the shocked home team. Roy had 10, Blake had 6, and Bayless had 5 in the quarter. Dallas Head Coach Rick Carlisle tried a little bit of everything during the meltdown, getting production only from the big blonde guy with the bad hair.

Observation 4: LMA played the entire second half. He scored exactly 2 points in those 24 minutes on the floor, shooting 1-for-3.

Observation 5: Dallas did their part to make it a fabulous finish, but Portland managed to hold them off at the end. Credit to Andre Miller for his highly productive 6 second stint at the end, sinking 2 free throws.


Well, let's take a little trip to the Great White North to spend a little time with our buddies Tas and Skeets, shall we? Please join me in imbibing in  coffee, a croissant, and psychotropic drugs as we watch together the latest installment of THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD:


And just in case you missed it, here's Tuesday's episode...

Well, enough potatoes... Let's get to the meat of this meandering mess, a visit to the journalists and bloggers of Cuban's kingdom for their assessments of the Maverick meltdown...



Home Sick: Dallas Mavericks off target in loss to Blazers at AAC

by Eddie Sefko, Dallas Morning News

The Mavericks may be as good as anybody in the Western Conference not named the Los Angeles Lakers. But at American Airlines Center, they have been dismal in the last week, losing two of three games.

The nadir came Tuesday night when they were trampled in the fourth quarter like it was some kind of grandma getting run over by a reindeer as Brandon Roy and the Portland Trail Blazers stole an 85-81 victory.

Roy had 10 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, including a key jumper that put the Blazers up, 83-75, with three minutes left. But it was an alarming and confounding lack of energy on offense that sabotaged the Mavericks. * * *



Jet Says He'll Be Fine

by Eddie Sefko, Dallas Morning News Mavericks blog

Jason Terry shot 2-for-13 Tuesday night, including a botched drive to the basket with under 10 seconds left that came with Jason Kidd lying on the floor at the other end of the floor after a nasty fall and the Mavericks down 83-81.

Terry was trying to be aggressive and the Mavericks did not call a timeout after collecting the rebound at Portland's end. He can live with that.

"Nine times out of 10, I'm going to make that shot,'' he said. "I'm not second-guessing myself. If we get a timeout, do we score? We don't know. Maybe next time we'll call a timeout. But me, I'm sprinting down there and trying to attack the basket. It was an aggressive play. It didn't go our way tonight. And you feel bad. But it's one game. Let's go on to the next one." * * *




Blazers' Run of Injuries Puts More Pressure on Aldridge

by Eddie Sefko, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The Portland Trail Blazers have been dealt a rotten hand this season with more injuries than anybody deserves. It's even making life tough for the healthy guys, including Seagoville product LaMarcus Aldridge.

The 6-foot-11 forward has spent the last two seasons hoping to become a Dirk Nowitzki starter kit. And every time he gets rolling in that direction, Greg Oden gets hurt.

For Aldridge, it means his role changes again. He poured in 17 points against the Mavericks in a first half when he looked like the best forward in the game.

The Mavericks adjusted and shut him down in the second half. But he made his point. He's got all the tools to be like Dirk. He just doesn't have the help or experience. * * *




Mavericks Fall Late to Portland, Lose 85-81

by zdgmans, Mavs Moneyball (SBN)

* * *
After all my talk of how the Mavericks have become a team that closes out the fourth quarter strong they blow what could have been a tying basket in the fourth quarter due to two bad decisions (noted below). I can understand why Jason Terry thought it was a good idea to push the ball up the floor and try to catch Portland sleeping but with a loss on the books it obviously was a gamble Dallas shouldn't have taken.

Both teams came out in the first quarter with atrocious shooting but things quickly picked up in the 2nd quarter for the Blazers while the Mavericks continued to sputter. Give the coaching staff credit here as the Mavericks stay motivated coming into the second half even when they are down. A furious 3rd quarter barrage of baskets and tough defense put Dallas in a position to win but they couldn't capitalize.

Should Dallas have been in this situation? Do you get a better look at the basket if you take a timeout in that instance? These are the types of questions Dallas inevitably tries to answer as they prepare for their game on Saturday. * * *



Another Day, Another Season-Ending Blazer Injury...

posted to the Mavs Moneyball Gameday Open Thread

poor Blazers fans
by shostag on Dec 22, 2009 6:00 PM PST

The Blazers are feaking cursed
by mg4tx on Dec 22, 2009 6:01 PM PST

I hate to see players go down.
I like the trailblazers too, so this sucks.

by bruce182 on Dec 22, 2009 6:01 PM PST

He practically landed in a jazz split. Look it up if you dont know what that is. I'm a girl. deal.
by LJRotter on Dec 22, 2009 6:02 PM PST



Portland Trailblazers 85, Dallas Mavericks 81

by Rob Mahoney, The Two Man Game (TrueHoop)

If I didn't know better, I'd suspect that the Mavs were simply fated to lose last night. It was an event eons in the making, and as all the planets aligned and all of the matter in the cosmos was just so. And then, through a nearly infinite number of events all happening in perfect sequence, the Mavs' weaknesses were brought forth in four dimensions for all the world to see.

But I do know better, if only a little bit, which is why I can tell you this: even though the Mavs failed in multiple basketball dimensions last night, their coincidence was nearing on aberration. It was almost comical how many of their flaws the Mavs chose to expose, and though the final margin was not only delightfully close but decidedly winnable, there likely does not exist a light that illuminates last night's offensive performance as anything deserving of praise.

There were bright spots, sure. But first let's dwell on exactly what ails the Mavs. For one, the Maverick offense remains overly dependent on the scoring of Dirk Nowitzki. To his credit, Dirk came through (27 points on 10 of 13 shooting, albeit with six turnovers), despite the lingering pain and discomfort that goes along with ramming your elbow full speed into Carl Landry's mouth. It was enough to keep Dirk out of the game entirely on Sunday, but Dirk's jumper looked clean and healthy against the Blazers. The turnovers are certainly unusual, but given the rest of the team's struggles on offense and the extra attention afforded to Nowitzki as a result, the true wonder is that it wasn't any worse. Dirk has had to carry the Mavs on plenty of nights during his career, but rarely has a Dallas outfit looked so terribly hollow on offense. * * *



Mavs' Kidd Asks, "What Happened?!" Portland Beats Dazed-And-Confused Dallas

by Mike Fisher, Dallas

"What happened?!" asked a dazed-and-confused Jason Kidd in the final seconds of Tuesday's home meeting with the Blazers. "What happened?!"

Mavs trainer Casey Smith, tending to the Dallas quarterback after a frightening fall, provided a cursory answer, probably not getting to all the details about how defender Kidd has been flattened with 14 seconds remaining and Dallas down two, about how teammate Jason Terry had collected the ball and rushed upcourt, hurrying a difficult shot when they was no sense in hurrying ... in fact, when there was no sense in Jet shooting at all, as the Mavs inexplicably passed on stopping the clock to set up a final possession, leaving Kidd on the floor behind them, to instead try to score 4-on-5.

"Why," Kidd then asked Smith, "didn't we call a timeout?"

That's a dang good question, J-Kidd. And the best answer I've got is that with you lying motionless on the floor, this team's brain was unplugged from its life-support system.  * * *



Never More Inconsistent

posted by "Johnny Firpo" to Real GM Mavericks message board

Who would have thought our offense would become like this... Unreal. Our offense never been more inconsistent, at least not in the last couple of years. Turnovers, missed easy opportunities, cold shooting nights...

Let's think about this way. At least our FO will stay awake, and they will know we need one more major piece. We just need more help if we really wanna win. Marion made our D a lot better. Now get somebody who can give us back our offensive identity.


The Bottom Line:

1. Yeesh. Somebody hide the cognac bottles from these guys. That was ROTTEN!

2. Dirk is a superstar, but that doesn't mean he should have to do everything. A little help, guys!

3. Sorry about your Center. Man, KP must have done something very, very bad to piss off the basketball gods like that.


Time for more '70s rock, dooode. Here's England's favorite ginger kid, Johnny Rotten, to get your blood pumping...

Sex Pistols lip synch music video from 1977. (MTV wasn't even started until 1981, by the way...)


"God Save the Queen" + "Anarchy in the UK"