Here's the stat of the week for you: If World Star Hip Hop's self-reported pageview count is to be believed (and checking some third party traffic reporting sites, it seems well within their ballpark), more than twice as many people saw Greg Oden's naked pictures in the first 24 hours after they were posted than voted for Brandon Roy for the All Star team. Man, that's depressing.
On to happier topics: here's what you might have missed on Blazersedge over the weekend...
Rockets Recap | Start Batum? | Andre Miller Went Off | Mavs Recap
Speaking of Miller going off, here's the youtube of all 52 points courtesy of thomasikehara in the FanShots.
Also don't miss this great story from Blazersedge night.
Click through to go around the internet for reactions to Andre Miller, great looks at a number of key Blazers role players, a local beat writer trolling twitter for love (?) and much, much more.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter
Jason Quick with the locker room reaction to Andre Miller's 52 point blast off...
"Think about it,'' Aldridge said. "Usually when a guy scores 50, he's hitting a lot of threes. Andre had one. They are going to get a stat sheet tomorrow that says 60 points in the paint, and Andre Miller had 52 of them.''
At one point, Miller scored 14 in a row in the fourth quarter, and 20 of 22 during a stretch in the fourth and overtime.
"And the thing about it is, he wasn't trying to score after a while, he was trying to pass,'' Aldridge said. "We were trying to force him to shoot it. He was trying to run plays for us, but we were like, no, you are killing them, keep killing them. But that's him, he's unselfish.''
Mike Barrett on Andre Miller...
Miller scored 25 points in the fourth quarter, and then started overtime with a three pointer. He hit clutch free throws, had a hook shot to force overtime, and had key steals.
During games like this, and moments like this, of course I love the fact that I'm courtside calling the game on TV. But, I also would have loved to have been in a sports bar in downtown Portland, or been a fly on the wall in someone's man cave, watching fans go nuts. I usually leave my phone on the press table in front of me during games, and occasionally check for texts during time outs. Tonight, during breaks, I'd scroll down the many messages I was receiving from friends, and my wife, who was pacing the floor at home. It's very cool to be so far from home, and so far away from friends, yet be enjoying an experience with them (and all of you), and even having a role in delivering the message. (I know that was off the subject of the game, but it's a very neat part of all of this).
Tom Ziller on Andre Miller...
When things weren't going well between Dre and coach Nate McMillan earlier this season, Miller's quiet confidence was seen as disruptive aloofness, as if the reserved and perturbed Miller upset the team's once marvelous chemistry. Now? It's egoless contentment, and no doubt Miller would be fine with 10 FGAs in the next game. Amazing how circumstances change perception.
Sean Meagher on Andre Miller...
If Miller's 43 points 47 minutes into the game weren't enough evidence he had it going, his sweeping, fall away hook shot that bounced off the front of the rim, off the glass to the right side of the rim and rolled in with :14.8 left in regulation was. It was one of those rare nights with a rare player performance. The type you just sit back, shake your head in amazement at what you're watching and enjoy the show.
Kelly Dwyer on Andre Miller...
And, for someone who essentially had the ball in his hands in every Portland possession, Miller's two turnovers in 42 minutes of play might be more impressive than the 52 he gave Kidd, et al.
"Might be." Those 52 points, as a guard who has bounced around, working for a new team that has involved him in trade discussions for the last month and a half, for a player who will turn 34 in two months, against a team that prides itself on its sound defense? This was a bit of a jaw-dropper.
Coup from Rip City Project on Andre Miller...
Who said Andre Miller looked worn out....he shot 22-of-31 from the field but what really made his night was the 7-of-11 he shot from 16-23 feet out. You know what's amazing, NONE of those 22 field goals were assisted. I don't have a way to check the history on this, but I imagine that feat puts Miller in even rarer company than he already was in.
A great analysis from Blazersedge poster Royster digging into LaMarcus Aldridge's late-game performance...
Yes, anyone expecting LA to score at Brandon Roy levels in the 4th is delusional, even with Roy out. Big men that account for a lot of their team's offense do seem to see a slight dip in their production in the 4th quarter. HOWEVER, even with this dip, LA's 4th quarter decline appears to be much greater than we would expect given his large role in the offense throughout the rest of the game. How much of this is on LaMarcus is definitely debatable, however, given our playcalls, our other options, etc., etc. Still, the data definitely point to this being a somewhat unique situation for the Blazers, in the sense that one of our primary offensive options was largely ignored during the 4th last year (and presumably this year, when 82games finally releases the stats) compared to the rest of the game, big man or not.
Tim Booth writes about the Blazers' stop-and-go courtship of Seattle fans and gets this great quote from Nate McMillan...
"It's different here than it was in Seattle, where the fan base here is all about the Blazers. And I knew that when I was in Seattle. We would play Portland and they would have just as many fans as we do at games. It was almost like a cult," McMillan said. "Rip City, that is the identity of who this team is."
How you like us now, KP2?
Brian T. Smith has announced that The Columbian will be doing a new all-Blazers page every week in the newspaper, and it's found its way online too. The inaugural edition features a nice interview with Blazers assistant coach Kaleb Canales...
Job description: "It starts with film in the morning. Film preparation, and that goes right into practice. And then the development phase with the guys after practice. And then at nights, coming back with Jerryd and LaMarcus (Aldridge), when they need extra shots."
Working at night: "Obviously, the (practice) facility is open 24 hours a day. And what's happened is these guys get into their routines where they feel comfortable. And over the years, guys like Brandon, LaMarcus and Jerryd have kind of built their routine by coming back at night. ... Maybe if it's just 100 (made baskets) or 100 free throws. Nothing too strong, because obviously they're in the season. But it just keeps their touch and their routine going."
Brian T. Smith also with a long summary of Martell Webster's season...
Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge stated that part of Webster's recent success comes from new knowledge. After years of trying to adjust and adapt, Webster has found his calling in a league where a bounty of talent often forces players to find a niche if they hope to survive.
And while Webster said he was not "boasting or bragging," he referenced Boston's Ray Allen and former 3-point expert Glen Rice as players who built long, respected careers off their ability to consistently knock down long-range shots.
"Being able to shoot, that makes you somewhat dangerous," Webster said.
Art Garcia on Juwan Howard....
It also doesn't shock one of Howard's oldest friends. Chris Webber has known Howard since they were 15, and they later starred together as part of the Fab Five teams at the University of Michigan.
"I'm really not surprised because his game has never been above the rim," said Webber, an analyst for TNT and NBA TV. "He's always been very cagey with the way he's scores and plays defensively. I always knew that he can outsmart any player that was across from him."
Howard has outlasted his Wolverine buddies thanks to his preparation, work ethic and a game that's aged gracefully. His vertical leap is virtually unchanged in 16 years, to put it kindly, but he works angles and anticipates. He just knows how to play.
Jason Quick got LaMarcus Aldridge to speak frankly about his two missed free throws down the stretch against Dallas...
Miller had 52 points to help the Blazers beat Dallas 114-112 in overtime, which went to the extra period in part because Aldridge missed two free throws with 59 seconds left and the score tied at 99.
"If we lose that game, I would have been on suicide watch,'' Aldridge said.
Andrew R. Tonry from Portland Roundball Society on Martell Webster...
It's important to note that Webster's cold-streak began the very game Nic Batum returned to the line-up. It's been long suspected that Webster is a player who has a tendency to let his thoughts get the best of him. Despite saying all the right things in interviews, Webster does not always feel like the most stable Blazer, psychologically speaking. He over-thinks things, and one must wonder if the current streak of poor play is a result of this inward force? Surely Martell was on a fine high a week or two ago, playing the best basketball of his career. Now, suddenly, he begins worrying about losing his starting spot to Batum; who is a quiet contributor at worst, a Durant-esque superstar at best. Here's where Coach McMillan must come in and quickly assuage Webster's fears and crisis of confidence. Indeed, this is where coaches earn their stripes.
Sheed from BustaBucket.com on Nicolas Batum...
Regarding Nicolas Batum, I think something special is going on here. His play since returning has been nothing short of awesome. His shot looks better, his confidence and demeanor are different, he is ready to be a real part of this team. The time he spent in the starting line-up last year and the tremendous work he did in the Eurobasket has created a player who can always contribute because he's good at so many different facets of the game. If he has a bad shooting night, who cares, he'll have a few steals, rebounds, and play superior defense. I'm excited for his emergence, stay tuned people!
Blazerguy.com on Nicolas Batum...
I think Bayless, Fernandez, and Oden all have the potential to become very good NBA players, maybe even All Stars in the best case scenario. But if they never become much more than they are now, that also wouldn't surprise me. But Batum is different. I feel virtually certain that, barring injury, Batum will continue to improve and will have a very successful NBA career. I think his floor is a solid starter. His ceiling is as high as anyone his age in the league. We'd be nuts to trade him.
Jason Quick continues his look at the top 40 Blazers with an in-depth update on Brian Grant, #24 on his list.
"It's been a tough two or three years," Grant said. "To go through retirement, through depression, through bad stuff with my wife, to finding out I have Parkinson's. But I'm still getting up in the morning. There's days when I have to tell myself it will be a good day, but I usually find it is good. I still have my kids, and I still have my health. So I get up and go."
The other profiles: 21. Zach Randolph | 22. Calvin Natt | 23. Rod Strickland | 25. Lloyd Neal
- Timbo had a great run. Here's hoping he calls it a comeback.
- Portland Roundball Society's Nathan Begley was in the Blazers locker room in Houston.
- Ian Thomsen is always a must read but he delivers in a big way here, outlining some of the issues surrounding the new CBA negotiations. His colleague Frank Hughes adds more.
- 24 straight one-sentence paragraphs to start a column. And it wasn't even John Canzano. That's simply amazing. Like when Baxter ate the entire wheel of cheese.
- Really disappointed in the TalkHoops.net podcast crew, who, while always bawdy, crossed just about every line, including racial ones, in their discussion of Greg Oden. RATED R.
- Channing Frye will be in the 3 point shootout. Sweet.
- Two Blazers point guards made Kevin Pelton's list of biggest all-time all star snubs.
- Sounds like Jeff Foster is no longer a viable trade target.
- A funny encounter between Dwight Jaynes and Bill Walton.
- Some offers are so laughable I wonder why a totally connected guy like Marc Stein even bothers to write them. Hopefully he's just dictating them to a personal assistant over the phone.
- This was too funny not to mention: a local beat writer doesn't quite understand how twitter works and sends a tweet to everyone that's following him, scolding a spam bot for being a "shill" and asking for some personal information. Of course, the bot's avatar is a pretty woman. That is doing it wrong.
- Hollinger: Blazers are 12th
- Schuhmann: Blazers are 11th
- Parker: Blazers are 9th