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Full Court Press

Update (11:43AM): Brief lineup notes from shootaround: The team has announced that Jerryd Bayless and NIcolas Batum are probable tonight. Steve Blake and Jeff Pendergraph will start again alongside Andre Miller, Martell Webster and LaMarcus Aldridge. Joe Freeman is reporting Batum is expecting to play about 10-15 minutes tonight.


For the better part of a year now, the Black Eyed Peas have had a feeling that tonight was going to be a good night.  Tonight, that feeling finally, mercifully becomes a declarative reality.  Tonight will be a good night.  I'm guaranteeing it.  (Stop playing the song. Forever!) Why the confidence? Because it's Blazersedge night at the Rose Garden!  Be sure to check Dave's game preview for all the details.  See you there.

Here's what you might have missed on Blazersedge this weekend...

4th Quarter Sixers Play by Play Breakdown | Celtics Recap | Pistons Recap

Another banner week for Blazers reading.  First things first, check out these pictures from a pretty radical Blazers art show at the Fresh Pot Coffee Shop on Mississippi Ave, which I'm told is staffed with nothing but Blazermaniacs.  This is my favorite shot (PG-13 language).  Here's Fresh Pot's website and their blog. Good times.

And do not miss Greg Oden's t-shirt

Click through the jump to join me in bouncing around the internet...

-- Ben Golliver | | Twitter

Jason Quick with an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the Andre Miller vs. Nate McMillan spat.

"I had to look at myself in the mirror and see what I could do better," Miller said. 

He said he saw bad body language. And a person who had not been very open to his new team. His attitude, Miller concluded, needed to improve. After all, Miller preached the importance of body language and attitude to his 10-year-old son, Duane, so why couldn't he practice what he preached? 

Across town, McMillan stewed at home, embarrassed and frustrated. Embarrassed that he verbally attacked one of his players, and frustrated that three months into the season he was still unable to reach the newly arrived point guard. 

McMillan, too, said he looked in the mirror. He said he saw an emotional, tightly wound coach who grew up during a time when teachers paddled kids for discipline and coaches yelled in the faces of their players.

Brother Wendell Maxey quotes Damon Stoudamire on gentrification in Northeast Portland...

As most Blazer fans know, Stoudamire grew up in Northeast Portland before going on to star at Wilson High School and the University of Arizona. "It looks totally different," said Stoudamire in disbelief at the general changes in the area. "There are more business and not as many minorities over here. I don't know where the minorities are at. It looks like they are pushing the minorities somewhere else. Don't get me wrong, they are still around, but it used to be predominant.

"That's not a bad thing. But as I drive through, I see changes. It's for the better. I see more businesses trying to generate more revenue and style it a little bit more."

Coup from Rip City Project caught up with Nate McMillan and Jeff Pendergraph in Boston to talk about the rookie's progress.

One term I've heard and seen bandied about with Pendergraph over the last week or so has been "Enforcer". It's ludicrous to think Jeff is anywhere close to that now, 16 games into his professional career, but the point I've seen many people making is that if Pendergraph can eventually be some semblance of that guy filling in behind Aldridge, then we have our backup four. So, I wasn't surprised at all to get an incredulous look from Nate McMillan - who spent his professional career with a very different NBA ruleset in the 90's - when I put the label, a relative term in the post-hand-check league, and Jeff's name together in the same question. For McMillan, even looking down the road, it wasn't even a thought.

Talking to Jeff after McMillan's presser, however, you can see why. Though rookies are often like this, Pendergraph was amiable and quick to flash a big smile. When asked if he was comfortable with the enforcer term, his face lit up before dispelling the notion. The interview only lasted four or five minutes, but I could tell that Jeff's locker-room demeanor, at least with the media, was distant from the club bouncer persona you think of with a guy like Charles Oakley. 

Michael Pina writing on Hardwood Paroxysm also has some praise for SNAKE SNAKE SNAKE SNAKE...

Has it been mentioned he's only a rookie? Not that Pendergraph is the second coming of Moses Malone or, heaven forbid, Kenyon Martin, but his actual game will certainly improve; with his fearless, free spirited attitude surely creating a long and productive career.

It's a timeless situation not just in sports, but in life.  Where there's a major problem, opportunity isn't far behind.  Jeff Pendergraph is a testament to it.

Marc Stein on Andre Miller trade talks...

One source with knowledge of the Blazers' thinking insisted this week that, contrary to persistent speculation, Portland has not made Miller and his cap-friendly contract (guaranteed only this season and next season) available.

Perhaps we should say not yet, but the latest signals run counter to the notion that Miller is being shopped to secure a big man to deputize for the injured Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla or that Miller's recent spat with Blazers coach Nate McMillan guarantees his exit.

Dwight Jaynes on properly crediting Nate McMillan...

You could say that in the face of all the injuries, he kept the team together, but really? Really? It seems to me that if you say that, you're saying that the character of this team somehow was so weak that these guys wouldn't have played hard if not for the coach. I don't buy that.

I think it's more the case that even though Portland has been hurt by an absolute avalanche of injuries, what's left is still pretty good. In fact, it's real good. And by lowering expectations, thus the pressure, they've prospered in an environment where they knew they had guaranteed minutes.

But Henry Abbott thinks Nate should be in the Coach of the Year discussion...

 The Blazer fan in me is still making a case for Nate McMillan. No Greg Oden. No Joel Przybilla. (No centers!) No Travis Outlaw, Rudy Fernandez or Nicolas Batum for long stretches. Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Steve Blake have all been in and out. Now Jerryd Bayless is hurt. McMillan himself can barely walk after a ruptured Achilles. He's leaning hard on players who didn't expect to play much this season -- right this way, Juwan Howard, Jeff Pendergraph and Dante Cunningham.     

Joe Freeman notes that Nicolas Batum's playing time is now in Nate's hands.

McMillan, who last week watched All-Star Brandon Roy return too soon from a strained right hamstring and has seen his players rack up 205 missed games because of injuries, is understandably gun shy. Before Saturday night's game, McMillan called Batum's return "doubtful," but said he planned to meet with Batum, Jensen and general manager Kevin Pritchard sometime Sunday to make a decision.

Joe Freeman also finds Martell Webster in the aftermath of his career night in Detroit.

"When he gets it going, he really gets it going," Aldridge said. "And I feel like people are really starting to see what he can do when he finds his rhythm. I think that as he gets older, as he matures and as he learns the game more, the sky is the limit."

Casey Holdahl gives a blow-by-blow account of Patty Mills' D-League call-up.

At this time, Mills is at the airport in Denver with the Stampede preparing to board a plane to Albuquerque for a game on Saturday night against the Thunderbirds. The Stampede will be staying a few nights in Albuquerque, and since United, the airline the Stampede are flying with, charges for checked baggage, Mills only packs a carryon for the trip.

Around 9:30 PM, Mills gets a call from Buchanan telling him he's been recalled and that he needs to meet the team in Detroit for Saturday night's game against the Pistons. Mills later says that he was literally getting his ticket out of his bag when he receives the call and that the only reason he even answered was because the call came in with a 503 area code.    

Mike Barrett makes a confession...

I have to admit that I'm even one of those people who has been half expecting the wheels to totally come off. I keep thinking that one of these emotional losses, like the one in Washington, or the one in Boston, will sink this team so low they'll start to question their belief. It hasn't happened. After the last week I'm fairly confident in saying that it won't happen now.

Two months ago we started calling this current state of mentality "survival mode." Well, we should probably think up a different term, because "survival mode" has a temporary ring to it. Help is still on the way, but the injured list has been like a revolving door. One person comes back, and another one goes down. No matter what happens the rest of the way we're never going to reach a stage where this team is declared "healthy" or "full strength." I guess that doesn't really matter.

Brian T. Smith asked Kevin Pritchard about this recent report from Ken Berger.  Pritchard issued a non-denial denial...

Pritchard advised: "Don't read too much into that."

"Paul and I talk or e-mail just about every day," Pritchard said. "I always report back to him."


Pritchard said time remains to pull the trigger. But he is balancing the team's long-term needs with short-term goals, and added that he is "happy with where we're at."

Sophia Brugato of BustaBucket and Nathan Begley of Portland Roundball Society discuss LaMarcus Aldridge. Begley notes...

His True Shooting and effective Field Goal Percentages are as high as they've ever been, as well as his defensive and total rebounding percentages. He's blocking a lot fewer shots, but his offensive rating has never been higher and his defense has never been better. He's also passing better. While it's true that Aldridge seems to start slow and then end the season on fire, we've also asked him to change roles a lot. We first had him playing farther out on the perimeter and less in the post to make room for Oden, then Oden went down and we asked him to play in the post a bit more. Then Przybilla went down and we asked him to be our only force in the middle at both ends. Aldridge has done very well for what he has been asked to do. One reason I believe that his blocks are so low is because he absolutely cannot afford to get into foul trouble. As I said before, Aldridge does not foul much which is important because he's out only player over 6'9" that is not in a knee brace. I expect Aldridge, barring a trade for a big man, to reach a career high in rebounds this year and finish with a PER of over 19.

Wendell Maxey, always looking ahead, asks a good question...

If Roy is cleared to play with a healed hammy and if he is selected as an All-Star reserve, will he - should he - make the trip to Dallas or opt instead to take more time off?

It's never too early to ask the question, even if we are still a few weeks out from All-Star Weekend. It's part of trying to read what's going on with Roy's health and how bad that right hamstring really is.

Ian Thomsen looks at some of 2010 prospects. Check this quote from a quote regarding Evan Turner from Ohio State.

But the other side of it is that you could put him at the point and, if he refines his skills, you could wind up with a guy who is bigger and tougher than Brandon Roy-- like Brandon Roy on steroids, a beast. Now, part of Roy's beauty is that he never tries to do what he can't do, he plays within himself and he's a smart player. This kid is like Roy unleashed, so watch out because he plays on emotion and he can be his own worst enemy. No matter what, he's not going to slip far because of all that talent."

The Blazers happen to be very, very high on Evan Turner and have been for awhile. Not that they have a real chance to draft him.

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Drop anything I missed in the comments. And please frequent the FanShots.

-- Ben Golliver | | Twitter