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Full Court Press

Breaking News: Blazers Chief Marketing Officer Sarah Mensah has been inducted into the Corporate Euphemisms Hall of Fame today by a unanimous vote.

The Hall's voting committee met this weekend and pored over this absolutely incredible Press Release regarding the team's decision to switch to a variable pricing model for tickets.  While the committee was impressed by Mensah's use of at least five talking points or marketing slogans in one sentence ("Our fans have played an instrumental role in our success by selling out the building every night, providing our team with a true home-court advantage and leading the Rip City Uprise back to the NBA Playoffs.") her almost immediate induction hinged on the following sentence explaining the effects of the new pricing policy. 

"For the marquee games, we anticipate prices closer in alignment with market demand."

What she meant: we saw what the scalpers were doing, loved it, and plan to bleed every last dollar out of you when the Lakers come to town. What a careful, crafty way to say that fans should expect price increases; the Corporate Euphemisms Hall of Fame was almost equally impressed by how little resistance this glossy approach incurred.  

I'm all for the theoretical logic of variable pricing but let's be a little bit more straightforward about what's going to happen here. 

Switching gears...   

I'll pass along these two incredible sentences from The Oregonian's Paul Buker without additional comment. 

Sideline reporter Rebecca Haarlow of FOX sports grabbed Riley at the end of Saturday's game, apparently thinking he was winning coach Brian Kelly of Cincinnati. "I said I wish I could be the one, but I'm not,'' said Riley.

Please attempt to restrain yourselves so that the Willamette Week doesn't put out another hit piece about us. 

Kevin Pelton and I did an instant Wingcast breakdown of the Juwan Howard signing on Friday.

The Blazers organization features heavily in Kelly Dwyer's top 10 meltdowns of the decade. Aside from Rasheed, Sabonis and the Towel and Ha vs. Sinanovic, this checked in at #2...

2. Chris Mills challenges several Trail Blazers to a fight

You don't hear about this one too often, because the details behind the interaction between Chris Mills and (possibly) the entire Portland Trail Blazer roster are a bit sketchy.

Here's what we do know. During a December 20th, 2002 match between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Golden State Warriors, Chris Mills took great offense to the physical play of Bonzi Wells. The entire Golden State crowd, actually, took the same offense to the entire Blazer team, showering Rasheed Wallace (who had to be restrained from going into the stands to fight) with garbage and insults after he hit a game-winner and tried to leave the court.

For Mills, the work of his hometown supporters wasn't enough. He tried to get into the Blazers locker room after the game to have a go at Wells. After being denied access, Mills and some friends decided to park Mills' SUV in front of Portland's team bus, refusing its access to the outside of the arena, with Mills standing outside the bus shouting at the team, spoiling for a fight.

That much we do know, because Mills was suspended for his conduct a few days later. What we don't know is whether or not Mills may have been armed, as some have suggested, or whether or not he followed the Trail Blazers' bus to the airport before turning away.

Brian T. Smith quoting Nate McMillan about Martell and Greg...

Martell is hungry, he's anxious. He's facing pretty much what Greg Oden was facing a year ago, being out for an entire year and sitting around. And he wants to play and we're looking forward to him being back on the floor and seeing how we can take advantage of what he brings to the floor. Greg, again, understood this summer that he needed to really work on his game and improve and get better and work on some areas with his game. He has done that. Regardless of what happens this season, he has put in the time working on his game. We expect him to have a good year.     

More Q's and A's from Coach McMillan thanks to Brian T. Smith.

A must-read from Jerry Crowe of the LA Times about former Blazer LeRoy Ellis's battle with cancer. Link via Hoopshype.

Casey Holdahl introduces Juwan Howard.

"I hope I can have a huge impact in the locker room." said Howard. "But not only that, I also will hopefully have an impact and presence on the court, as well. I feel I can help this team on the court with my veteran (ability) and experience. I've played in over 1000 games. I've played in a lot of playoff games. That being said, I've been around, I know how to play the game, I still have a lot left in the tank. I feel I can help this team in so many ways"

That's good to hear, but if all Howard can do is rebound, play solid defense and hit the open shot every now and then, that will be enough. The Trail Blazers as currently constructed don't need much, just a savvy player with experience who can mix it up when need be.     

Mike Barrett's look at Brandon Roy...

"Nah, I've dropped some pounds," Roy laughs, and admits many people have noticed the new look. "The odd thing is, I didn't play much basketball during the summer months. In fact, it's pretty safe to say I hardly touched a ball."

So, what was the key, and why the change? After all, Roy had never been someone who was considered to be too heavy.

"After taking a little time off after the season ended, I just started swimming, like every single day. And, I really got into bike riding. After doing this for a while I stepped on the scale and I was at about 203 pounds. I played last season at about 216. I was like 'whoa,' and figured that was enough."    

Crazy Saturday in Husky Stadium. Check out this video I sent over to SacTown Royalty of Spencer Hawes and Nate Robinson going bonkers. 

Phil Miller imagines a 2004 draft do-over that nets the Blazers Delonte West, who recently was arrested carrying 3 weapons while driving a motorcycle. Brian Windhorst has an excellent behind-the-scenes account of West's last year. And here's an exclusive picture I found of West moments before his arrest.  

More money trouble for Paul Allen, writes the Portland Business Journal. with a nice recap of EuroBasket.  Turns out Team Rudy took home the championship.

Beyond Bowie has a new writer.

As always, drop any links I missed in the comments. And please frequent the FanShots.

-- Ben (