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Full Court Press

Leading off this week is Brother Wendell Maxey, who found himself some plush new digs: BeyondTheBeat.Net.

Be sure to check out his article on the "All-Interview" team -- a few Blazers make his list.

Bethlehem Shoals on whether players need a position. Great graphs from Tom Ziller on there as well.

Kevin Pelton takes his similarity scoring system that we featured on BE to the big time.

Jason Quick on "Oklahoma City."

OKC blows.    

(There are some great vignettes in that piece: Aldridge and Outlaw going back and forth, Nate and Scotty Brooks remembering a decades-old fight, and more.)

Jason Quick on the playoffs.

The transformation has been so profound and the playoff accomplishment so meaningful that general manager Kevin Pritchard choked back tears Sunday afternoon.

"Coming from where we've come from, and to have this team with such good people representing the city in the way they do, it's amazing," said Pritchard, who was the mastermind behind many of the pivotal moves in reshaping the roster. "I'm proud to be a part of it."

Jason Quick on Geoff Clark and bone marrow donation.

And that's why Blazers games in Houston, such as Sunday's contest against the Rockets, have become so meaningful for Clark and Lynn Watson, a 35-year-old mother who in 2005 found herself on the losing end of a grueling chemotherapy-filled battle with acute lymphoblast leukemia.

It was Clark, 42, who provided a stem cell transplant to Watson that September, helping Watson gain traction on beating the ravaging disease. Today, she is healthy, happy and confident her worst days are behind her.

Dwight Jaynes takes a nice look at yesterday's result and its implications for a potential playoff matchup.

In a seven-game series, I'll take the most talented team every time. In playoff series, adjustments are made and all the surprises are gone. The Blazers have a little trouble defending Yao, but a game or two into a series, I believe they'd have it all figured out. Rotations become crisper. Responsibilities are well delineated.    

Also, here's Dwight Jaynes's take on the factors that might keep Brandon from receiving all-NBA recognition.

It took the NBA years to wake up to Clyde Drexler. And heck, that guy's big advantage over Brandon Roy was the whole Houston "Phil Slamma Jamma" deal. Clyde was pretty well known before he became a Trail Blazer, had made a Final Four appearance, in fact, in college. And don't forget, the voting on these things has to be finished before the playoffs - so Brandon will be a candidate without any NBA postseason exposure.

Casey Holdahl quotes Houston's Aaron Brooks regarding the potential playoff matchup.

"I think we played pretty good against the Trail Blazers," said Aaron Brooks, who finished with 14 points and one assist. "In a first round match-up this might be our most favorable one, honestly."

Mike Barrett on yesterday's news that the playoffs are clinched.

Remember the slogan picked out by assistant coach Kaleb Canales right before training camp? It was simply "15=16." They had shirts made, with that slogan on the back. It meant, simply, 15 players, one team, a complete effort, and the result will end in being one of the 16 teams involved in the NBA playoffs. It may sound a bit cheesy, but this team is always of one mind on stuff like this. If not everyone feels it's appropriate to bust loose and celebrate following a difficult loss, no one will.    

Brian Hendrickson on Sergio Rodriguez's return to form.

Rodriguez often looked confused at that time, as if he were second guessing each decision and searching for his rhythm.

But Rodriguez has rediscovered his energized form since reclaiming his backup role, and his numbers have surged ahead of his season averages.

Every minute that Sergio plays in the postseason will be an uncomfortable minute. has expanded its staff.  Their new writer A.P. got his start by commenting on Deadspin and  BE and then transitioned to hitting me up on Google Chat 653 times a day.  When Quick wrote recently, "I'm constantly trying to read when guys are getting sick of me. For whatever reason, and despite his warm greeting, I just didn't feel it with Brandon on this night" (pause), A.P. shook his head in anger and demanded a more aggressive, probing approach.  

A.P.'s big piece this week is a witty Do's and Don'ts list for bangwagon Blazers fans.  He drops this gem....

DO create an account on Make a long winded introductory post. Ignore things like spelling, punctuation and reason. You've got something to say and it's about time you said it. Disagree with everyone.

A single tear of pride falls onto my collar.  I salute you A.P.  Keep up the good work. also has another in its long series of outstanding photoshops inspired by a fanpost from BE Commenter Jorga.  Wow!

SJ from Rip City Project with a great opening line...

To quote Lil Wayne...I feel big.

Finally, the playoffs are coming back to Portland. 

Tufts University's student newspaper had an article about the Blazers by Ethan Landy recently.  The comments are funny too.

Apropos of nothing, here's a really nice piece from S.L. Price about the trials and tribulations of C.C. Sabathia that was in Sports Illustrated.  Worth your time.

Cricket Wireless, sponsor of the Bat Phone (which is still receiving messages daily by the way, which is greatly appreciated... at some point I'll get around to doing a "best of the best" post), checked in last week to pass along some good news...

Anyone who buys an O-Fon now through the end of the Blazers' season (including the playoffs) will be entered to win a private shootaround with Greg Oden.  

Here's the website.

I will be out at the Nike Hoop Summit this weekend and looking at some of the practices this week.  I know that's not everyone's cup of tea but hopefully a good story or two will develop.  USA Basketball has already done some profiles that are worth checking out. Here's John WallRenardo SidneyMike Moser.

Oh, and here's a late add: Dwight Jaynes with news that Zach Randolph has run afoul of the law.

Got more links? Drop them in the comments.

-- Ben (

PS Tonight is the NCAA Championship game. So here's a shout out to everyone who played in the BE Readers Bracket. If North Carolina wins tonight, "TheWinner" will take home the BE bracket title. If Michigan State pulls the upset, "LostInTransport" will triumph. Congratulations to both of them and to everyone who beat me... which was pretty much everyone. Also, if Michigan State pulls the upset tonight, "BE 4 Life" will win the Wheels at Work bracket... so cross your fingers and Go Sparty!