Sunday: It's hard to look in the mirror

And not just for the normal reasons.

For some well-reasoned thoughts on Sunday's game, please head over to I Think I Know Now, the glorious and infallible blog of Kobestopper Theen.


Wed/Thurs: Four games you might not care about

What's up, maniacs? Cool, cool. Oh, what's up with me? Oh, nothing really. Well, I mean, I was on the verge of beating Super Star Wars on SNES today until my roommate's cat "accidentally" stepped on the reset button, but...yeah. OK, I'm just going to get to the game notes before I divulge exactly how I decided to murder Mr. Whiskers...


Heat at Hawks: Game 2, Atlanta leads 1-0

- Oh my God. They have a LIVE HAWK chained to some guard rail on the lower level. Is that allowed? Aren't there regulations against -- OH MY GOD IT'S F***ING LOOSE. Spirit the Falcon has now attached himself to the basket support behind the glass. What is going on? Don't they have to stop play because of this? How is this safe? Couldn't he -- OK NOW HE'S PERCHED ON ONE OF TNT'S CAMERAS. Will somebody take care of this, please? Oh my God, now the bird is actually DIVE BOMBING the playing surface, and....and...Danny Crawford is mildly amused??? Oh boy. The same cannot be said for Kenny Mauer. I pity that poor falconer.

- Did you guys like Erik Spoelstra in "The Guru" as much as I did?

- I just noticed Zaza Pachulia has the most epic back-acne I've ever seen. Dear God, TNT, cut away from it! Cut away!!!

- I want to see Mike Brown vs. Mike Woodson in a Mr. Potato Head Competition. My money's on Woodson. Joe, I know you're going to disagree, and I will gladly take your money.

- OK, you might wanna guard Dwyane Wade right about now. He's sort of destroying you and evening the seri -- annnnnd it's too late.

Hornets at Nuggets: Game 2, Denver leads 1-0

- PJ's sporting a yellow sportcoat/tie combo that would even make Jack Ramsay cringe. Yikes.

- Of course, it's hard to properly enjoy PJ's outfit when the audio and video aren't synched for the start of the game. TNT: We know five second delays on live sporting events.

- Matt Devlin: "And HERE. COMES. THE BIRDMAN!" Every time I see Andersen snarl, my ulcer eats through my stomach lining just a tiny bit more.

- Note to PJ: Clear your DAMN throat during the next commercial break. It's like listening to gravel being thrown into a wood chipper. Unless of course you're still suffering some ill effects from the Latrell Sprewell incident, in which case, my bad.

- If I have to watch one more ad for either "Meet the Browns" or "House of Payne," I swear to God I'm going to destroy my roommate's really, really expensive television.

- Birdman gathers a Billups miss and throws it down over two innocent Hornet bystanders as the Pepsi Center erupts. Hornets fans everywhere are frantically trying to come up with reasons not to pull a Chris Walken in "Deer Hunter."

- After an easy alley-oop from Paul to Chandler, George Karl makes his "Oh f***, I just saw my daughter on Girls Gone Wild" face.

- Rex Chapman in the booth! Represent! Wait, did he used to play basketball or something? The good news is, if he drops about 40 pounds, he could totally land a gig next to Berman and Golic on the NutriSystem commercials.

- I have to tell you guys, I absolutely adore "Dog the Bounty Hunter." I love his hair. I love his lady's enormous bust. I love his family of Hunters. I love that he loves Jesus and always gives the fugitives his life story when he brings them in. What? Oh, the game? Don't worry about it. It was over at halftime.


Celtics at Bulls: Game 3, series tied 1-1

- Pierce is shredding the Bulls early. He’s five-for-five with 11 points, and we’re only six minutes into the game. How much longer can he keep this up before he needs a hip replacement and/or is committed to a mental institution? This type of intensity can’t be healthy. Look at KG, for God’s sake.

- What do you guys think Brad Miller’s maximum vertical leap is at this point? Four inches? Five? I think we need to have an Old Guy Combine so we can find these things out for certain. Outside of Miller’s vert, highlights would include Shaq’s baseline-to-baseline and Jason Kidd’s shuttle drill. And we could make it really interesting by applying side bets to each competition. Like, if Kidd doesn’t beat Collin Cowherd’s time, he has to retire. Tell me you wouldn’t watch this.

- Stretching the lead to 12, Rondo channels Bob Cousy and hits Cry Baby Davis down low for an easy two with a beautiful look-away bounce pass. Vinnie calls time to stop the bleeding (T-minus 18 minutes until total depletion of allowed timeouts!)

- Scalabrine sighting! That white-on-green number 44 has never looked so sexy. My God, it’s like Danny Ainge gained 200 pounds by eating nothing but corndogs and Velveeta. If Scalabrine’s nickname isn’t already The White Whale, it should be. They should make a bio-pic about Scalabrine called My Big Fat Pale Ugly Worthless Basketball Player.

- Wow, while I was ranting, it seems Boston went up 59-37. Must be the Scalabrine factor.

- With Boston up 26 with 4:00 to play in the third, we are treated to a Tim Thomas Special. Here’s the rundown of events: Tim receives the ball with the shot clock winding down, takes a couple of complacent dribbles, jacks up a 20-footer that’s partially blocked by Baby Davis, falls to his backside, then, presumably to prevent the potentially deadly five-on-four advantage that Boston would have, fouls Rondo in the backcourt while still lying on the ground. I don’t even want to know many Chicago fans just screamed, “GOOD GOD, JUST GET UP OFF THE FLOOR YOU LAZY BASTARD!!!!” To any Bucks, Clippers or Suns fans who happen to be reading this right now, this is your cue to nod and smile. Tim Thomas, everybody!

- The lead is an even 30, and we have an ongoing battle of titans down on the block: Brian Scalabrine vs. Aaron Gray. If I had my way, this would be the UFC’s next main event. Can you even picture these two throwing down? It would finally answer the age-old question of “who would win if a 300-pound vanilla Snack Pack fought a goofy, effeminate polar bear?” I should probably stop watching this game now, huh?

Lakers at The Family Circus: Game 3, Lakers lead 2-0

- I feel like this picture speaks for itself:

In case you were wondering, I like the Lakers in 5. Two weeks ago, when Striker and I conceived of doing a potential playoff preview (you know, before we got lazy and abandoned the concept after we did two teams...) featuring the Family Cir...er...the Jazz, this is what we wrote:

Let's be honest here, the Jazz have been bitten by the injury bug as hard or harder than any other team in the Western Conference. First it was Deron Williams' ankle, then Boozer's knee, then Jeffy skinned his elbow, then Kirilenko, then PJ messed his diapers, then Boozer again, then Thelma caught a cold and couldn't watch the kids, even Millsap for a while. It wasn't until the last few weeks that the Jazz managed to field a full roster and they responded by posting a 12-game winning streak from mid February through March. Things were looking good in SLC.

And then they decided to visit the Rose Garden.

Hey, whose idea do you think it was to come to Portland? I bet it was Jeffy's. He's always getting into trouble without regard for potential consequences. It's OK, Jeffy, Gramps still loves you.
Although actually, in Utah's Family Circus, Grandpa Sloan probably loves absolutely no one. That's not a knock on the players; that's just a comment on the frequency with which Jerry Sloan sports his "f*** my life, we just turned the ball over again" face, which to me indicates that he's a little frustrated with his team's inability to win on the road.

Now this doesn't mean that Grandpa Sloan doesn't care for his youngsters; it just means that he's a crazy, ancient, irritable sloth who wants things done his way. But those darned kids just won't listen to him. All they want to do is head on down to the Sugar Bowl and order double-scoop waffle cones that poor old Gramps will have to pay for. And all the while, he'll have to listen to Thelma's whiny, nasally exaggerations about how talented and precocious his team is on the inside.

Oh, Billy! You mispronounced spumoni! What a hilarious misunderstanding!

I'm not really sure what that has to do with anything at this point, but I figured it would give us all another excuse to laugh at the Jazz, so....you know, there it is.

- Back to the game, and I must admit that I love, love, LOVE the way Marv Albert says "Ari
za." Try it out; it's fun. Trevorrrr UhhhhRRREEEEEEEZUHHHHH.

- I seem to have nodded off for the majority of the second quarter. I was awakened in the middle of the third period when Phil Jackson called a timeout. Now, I'll have to check my Bible, but I'm pretty sure that's one of the seven signs of the Apocalypse. Yep, never mind, pestilence is already riding out onto the court. We're all screwed.

- Wow, Jerry Sloan is actually giving Craig Sager a decent interview as the fourth quarter starts. That has to be the most informative, least "get the hell out of my face" in-game interview I've ever seen a coach give to a sideline reporter.

- Suddenly the Jazz are charging, and it's a three point game with 10 minutes to play. Don't go away on this one.

- Matt Harpring is tearing it UP. The brilliant strategist he is, Coach Jackson decides to remove Luke Walton from the game in favor of someone who can stay in front of Matt Harpring -- you know, like Bea Arthur.

- With Utah up three with 3:21 remaining, Deron Williams is called for an eight-second violation. Would you like me to repeat that, insane Jazz fans who still insist that D-Will is better than CP3? OK, fine. One play does not a season make, and Chris hasn't exactly been scorching against the Nugs, but I don't care. If I could pick one guy in the world to run my team from the point, it would be Chris Paul, and I have a feeling that just about everybody outside of Salt Lake City would agree with me.

- It would seem that the Mamba was only destined to strike at ninety-EIGHT percent accuracy and precision at maximum speed this evening. Hey, maybe this will turn into a series after all. Anything the Family Circus can do to tire the legs of LA before we face them in round two is fine by me.

That's all she wrote, maniacs. Start smearing on that war paint for tomorrow night.


Tuesday: Hail to The King - The Natural

It was prophesied by the ancient ones that one day a savior would descend upon Rip City from the uncharted northern territories to deliver them from the darkness that had devoured their once prosperous land. It was said that this Warrior of Time would possess the strength of 10,000 mortal men and wield strange magic capable of defeating any foe. Citizens of Portland, the time of deliverance is upon you. For the one they call Roy has fulfilled his destiny. I give you The Natural:

Game 2 was a dogfight. Houston fought us tooth-and-nail for 48 minutes, but each time they made a push, Brandon whipped out his shotgun and his chainsaw and started screaming, "Okay....who wants some? HUH? How about you? YOU want a little? HUH???? HUH???!!!!"

I can't wait to bounce somebody else's grandchild on my knee and tell them about the time Brandon Roy put the team on his back and scored 42 points to even the series at a game a piece. I'm positively giddy about the fact that I now have new Blazers stories to tell. I couldn't be happier with how Brandon stepped up and hit big shot after big shot, despite getting virtually no whistles at the rim.

That said, it wasn't ALL about Brandon last night (only 80-85% about Brandon, I'd say), which is why I have a few game notes for all you maniacs:

- I gotta show LMA some love. Way to step your game up, big man. I was begging for that fade-away over the right shoulder all during Game 1, since Scola was clogging up the lane so nicely. The L-Train did not disappoint, rolling for 27 and 12 on 11 for 19 shooting. The scoring was nice, but the rebounding was huge. Without that effort, Houston definitely wins the rebounding battle and possibly steals the game.

- Joey Crawford gives calls to the road team out of spite. I think he's obsessed with proving that he doesn't feel pressure from the fans to make calls for the home team. I'm convinced of this, so don't try to tell me any different. I will hear no more arguments.

- In a battle of Old Lion vs. Old Lion, Greg asserted his dominance as the oldest player on the court and snatched the cobweb-covered torch from the worn and wrinkly hands of Dikembe Mutombo. In all seriousness, it's really unfortunate that Dikembe went down like that. He's done a ton for the game and a ton for his country. He exemplifies everything that a pro athlete should be. You know when a guy goes down and every one of his teammates runs out to check on him that the injured player is important to his team. Dikembe has said that he will need surgery and that his playing days are over. What a shame. Thanks for the memories, big man. I, for one, will be extremely disappointed if you are not courtside for next year's All-Star Weekend.

- Derrick Stafford, you are a prince. Your whistle was the second most important factor in keeping us in that game next to Brandon being the new Jesus.

- When Brandon hit that three-pointer to close out the first quarter, I stood up and started screaming profanity without discretion at Ron Artest. Seriously you guys, I'm pretty sure half the stuff I yelled isn't even in Webster's Cursing Dictionary. So, you know, don't let me hang out with your kids, I guess.

- I was loving the Twin Towers for all THREE MINUTES they were allowed to be on the floor at the same time. What a joke. My good friend, Mambasucker T, informed me earlier today that Houston fans were actually complaining about the officiating being unfair to Yao. To that, I will say this: Greg fouled out for playing the EXACT same type of defense as The Great Wall, whereas Yao could have pulled a gun, taken four spectators hostage and executed one of them at midcourt, all while spraying bullets at anything in a white jersey, and he wouldn't have picked up that fifth foul. So just shut up, OK?

- I liked the energy Rudy brought to the floor. I would really like to see him running off more picks away from the ball. It seems to me that Houston is excellent at packing the middle and playing on-ball defense. Away from the ball, however, shooters are getting free. Rudy found some gold coming off of picks, as did The Natural. I hope to see much more movement away from the ball so that Brandon doesn't have to do an MJ impression every night in order for us to win.

- We were finally able to run against this team, and it payed off big time. No doubt that we have a much easier time scoring after a defensive board than when we're constantly pulling the ball out of our own net. Houston is so physical on D that it helps to have a little chaos in the half court, which is exactly what happens after a failed fast break attempt. In other words, most of the time we get a better look in the halfcourt after we don't score on the break as opposed to walking it up. The moral of the story? Defense leads to offense.

- Houston is making a lot of difficult shots, especially AB and RonRon. Don't get me wrong, both are getting plenty of good looks at the rim, but there are also a fair share of shots that probably make Rick Adelman want to pull that goatee right off his face. Both of these guys are playing at a high level right now, but those off-balance jumpers that hang on the rim for seven seconds can't continue to go in with the frequency they have for the first two games. They're going to have an off shooting night at least once while they're at home. When that happens, we've got to seize the moment and step on their throat.

- I've also heard some clamoring from the other side that Pryz is a flopper. You know what, Rockets fans? What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Scola and Yao put on Oscar-worthy performances every night they hit the hardwood, so don't start crying about Pryz drawing Yao's fourth foul with that Barry Horowitz-level sell job.

- Finally, I've been a little disappointed that Young Nicolas hasn't affected the series more. RonRon had a huge first quarter on Tuesday and got plenty of good looks in Game 1. Maybe we need to see The Dragon Emperor covering Brooks in Game 3, with Brandon defending Artest? No matter how you slice it, these Rockets are scoring effectively against our D. Come on Nicky, I want to see you flying around out there like a wasp on crystal meth. Steals, blocks, hands in faces, transition threes, whatever you can do to make a difference. It's time for Boom Boom Batum to make some noise.

That's all we got for you, maniacs. Check back for more playoff coverage as it develops, and keep the faith. Friday, we shake up the world.


Monday: Celts, Spurs fire back

What better way to kill time waiting for Tuesday than to watch some hoops on Monday? Let's not waste any time and get right to my game logs.

Bulls at Celtics

- The first quarter comes to a close. Cue "Thunderstruck." Why is TNT so desperate for their audience to be middle-aged white men? Crank. Dat. Souljah. BOI.

- Jada Pinkett Smith Smith as a sexy, compassionate nurse who bends all those bureaucratic hospital rules to help her patients????? Why, that sounds like the most original idea for a TV series that I've ever heard. Sign me up RIGHT NOW.

- Mikki Moore's hair makes him look like a super tall, gangly, black John Travolta in "Battlefield Earth."

- Both Kevin Harlan and Doug Collins are insisting on referring to Lindsay Hunter as Lindsay LEE Hunter. Like that's going to make us forget that he's both bad at basketball and is the only dude in the room who turns his head when you say, "Hey, Lindsey." Right.

- Watch the guy on the left.

- Wow, I have to admit. I am impressed. Kevin Garnett is absolutely giving Dikembe Mutombo a run for the money in the Sideline Cheerleader department. TNT just held a 17-second shot of KG calmly talk-shouting something into Mikki Moore's ear from roughly one inch away. I can only assume he was telling Mikki that mercy is for the weak and instructing him to sweep somebody's leg. Wow.

- OK, that Popeye's commercial was slightly less racist than Fuzzy Zoeller but slightly more racist than OJ's TIME cover.

- Charles sticking his tongue out like Jabba the Hutt at halftime was the stuff of legend. Now we KNOW who's bringing sexy back.

- I swear to God, KG's head is going to explode, "Scanners" style.

- "Ben Gordon is a flame thrower!" Well put, Kev. As an added bonus, we got to see Ben make that little monocle gesture and say the word "motherf***er" in super slo-mo as we went to commercial.

- Great shot by Ben Gordon. Great shot by Ray Allen. Great job by Vinnie Del Negro to be out of timeouts at the end of two straight playoff games. Give yourselves a round of applause, gang!

Mavs at Spurs

- It's official. Marty Snider is the heir apparent to Craig Sager. Good Lord.

- Who else misses the Alamo Dome? We all need a little more hot pink and turquoise in our lives if you ask me.

- Shot clock violation on Dallas. Coach Carrey makes the same face he did in "Liar Liar" when Audrey tried to take Max away to live in Boston with Carey Elwes.

- Pop is so angry with Bruce Bowen after two missed assignments that his beard spontaneously combusts into flame, reducing his once-glorious mane to mere ash. The viewing public rejoices.

- In case you were wondering, yes, Drew Gooden still sucks.

- Bowen nails a corner three. Honestly, the dude is dangerous from ONE SPOT on the floor. How do you lose him??? Are you wearing blinders? Have you been drinking? Are you Stephon Marbury?

- Just as I come to the conclusion that Roger "Clarence" Mason has turned into a quite a good role player, I notice that this game has gotten uglier than Kurt Thomas and decide to flip on over to "Mythbusters."

- Oh my freaking God, you guys. They're building a f***ing speedboat out of nothing but ice and newspaper. I'm not even joking.

That's it for now, maniacs. Before I go, though, I want to extend some sincere well wishes to Chuck Daly. You're a hell of a coach, Chuck, and I wish you a speedy recovery.

Hope Houston is ready for a fight, because I have a feeling we are...


Mamba invades NBA Playoff Sunday

In an effort to distract myself from what transpired on Saturday night, I've decided to share my notes from Sunday's playoff games with you fine folks. Prepare to snicker like you've never snickered before. Up first:

Jazz at KOBE

- "The time I realized I was better than everyone else was my senior year of high school." Wow, Kobe, I never would have thought that about you. I mean, you do such a great job of hiding how great you think you are. YOU ARE THE KANYE WEST OF BALLPLAYERS. Ten-to-one says that Kobe dances to "Goodbye Horses" in front of a full body mirror like Buffalo Bill before every game.

- Nine straight points by Utah coming out of the half, and still Phil Jackson refuses to call timeout. You know, there's something endearing about his stubbornly hands-off approach to coaching. Even when Rambis was filling in for him, no timeouts were called. It's like Phil was lying there with his leg all swollen, going over the game plan with Kurt, and he instructed him to never ask for time. Rambis is all worried about getting Kobe enough touches and how many minutes he should play Bynum, and Phil is like, "No. F***ing. TIMEOUTS. Got it?"

- Mark my words: AK-47 can still be a dangerous player for somebody, especially since nobody's going to pay him when his contract expires in two years. I have a feeling that some team is going to steal him off the wire for dirt cheap in 2011. That is, if he doesn't get traded before that and experience his resurgence just in time to sign another huge contract. The NBA: where trying hard during contract years happens.

- "Mama, there goes that man." You guys couldn't see it, but Mark Jackson just made that little cross with his forearms from the broadcast booth when he said that. Sick dunk by the Mamba, though. I gotta admit.

- Also, as a little bonus, that clip depicts Deron Williams earning the Jazz a moral victory by denying those soulless Laker fans free tacos. Also, the Jazz came back and kept it competitive enough to make Phil play Kobe in the fourth quarter. Good stuff.

76ers at Magic

- Why do networks insist on hiring the WORST coaches as color commentators? I mean, I realize that typically the bad coaches are the ones in the unemployment line, but PJ Carlesimo? Really? You couldn't find Brian Hill's number in the ol' Rolodex, huh?

- Actually, never mind. PJ just said, "Not in my hood!" after Dwight Howard swatted Andre Igoudala. I love him now.

- Tony DiLeo is pulling out what little hair he has left after his team allowed Humpty Dumpty Anothony Johnson to go coast-to-coast for a dunk. On the plus side, we all learned that Anthony Johnson is capable of dunking a basketball today. Sources informed me that Otis Smith had to be restrained so he wouldn't sign Johnson to a six-year, $90 million deal.

- Hmmmm...there must be some mistake. I see JJ Redick on the floor. Um, Stan? It's only an 11-point game. You might want to hold off on giving your ball boy minutes until you've regained a little more momen -- oh, never mind. You lost.

Heat at Hawks

- *Insert mandatory "Erik Spoelstra looks like he's going to a middle school dance" joke here.*

- Looks like Cheryl Miller has recovered from her street brawl with Scot Pollard. Frankly, I'm a little disappointed that the situation didn't escalate further than it did. I would pay SO MUCH MONEY to see them go at in in Thunderdome. Man, I wish they had played that game of one-on-one. What if Pollard just backed her down and shot layups all day? There's no way she could stop that. I want Scot Pollard to become the Andy Kaufman of one-on-one hoops. I can just see him building himself a belt out of cardboard and Bedazzler rhinestones that reads "World Intergender Basketball Champion." Then, out of nowhere, Reggie busts onto the set to defend his big sister's honor by challenging Pollard. Incredulous, Pollard hisses like Gollum and shouts, "I do not play against MEN!!!" Tell me you wouldn't watch that.

- Yeah, um, sombody might want to put a body on Josh Smith around the basket. Might be helpful.

- Considering the game was a curb-stomping, I switched over to G4 and caught a couple episodes of "Human Wrecking Balls." Could you have guessed that in the Man vs. Airplane and Man vs. Office Building competitions that Man would kick ass BOTH TIMES???? I love this show.

- Another advantage to watching G4? I was bombarded by a mind-numbingly idiotic debate about whether robots or zombies would be first to take over the world. Clearly, the answer is robots.

Hornets at Nuggets

- I want to see Antonio Daniels face off against George Hill in the World Series of Inadequate Backup Point Guards. I'm taking Hill as a slight favorite. I think he's just a TINY bit more worthless than Daniels.

- Chauncy vs. CP3 is going to give Rose vs. Rondo a run for the money. I love the playoffs.

- If Chandler and Birdman don't come to blows at least once during this series, I'm chalking it up as a disappointment.

- JR Smith just hit the lane out of control and threw the ball to somebody in the third row, causing George Karl to make his "Hooo boy, I should NOT have ordered that jambalaya" face.

- With the game well out of hand, JR hits another heavily contested shot and begins screaming like a mad man. I do not know exactly what he was saying, but I know that it was definitely profanity-laced. The NBA: It's for the children.

That's all for now, maniacs, but there's plenty more where that came from. So make sure to keep on coming back to Uncle George's Jambalaya Hut for all the worthless, snarky playoff coverage you can fit on your plate.


Trail of Tears: NBA Playoff Saturday

In hindsight, I guess it could have been worse.

Brandon's skull could have bounced off the hardwood instead of RonRon's shin, rendering him concussed and consequently unable to play in Game 2.

Honestly, I haven't seen this team play that poorly since before the All-Star break. Take nothing away from Houston (or Dikembe Mutombo. Did you SEE him?! He's setting the bar at like 7'8'' for all other potential playoff sideline cheerleaders. If we weren't getting smashed so badly, I would have absolutely loved it). They came into our house tonight and took our heart right from the get-go.

However, now that I've had a few hours to digest that peanut butter and sadness sandwich that Houston served us, I have a few points to offer in our defense:

1) My personal favorite broadcasting duo wasn't calling our game tonight. Although Doris Burke and Dave Pasche aren't scrubs (see Mark Jackson, pg. 932), they certainly aren't on the level of Dan Shulman and Jon Barry (The ChromeDomes, as I like to call them). This could have thrown us off. Unlikely, you say? Poppycock.

2) We got off to a lousy start. Call it what you want - nerves, jitters, paralyzing fear of failure....No matter what it was, it's out of our system now. No worries.

3) Yao was absolutely perfect, and the Rockets shot something like 75% from the field. Great job by them tonight, but they can't sustain that type of production once we get our sea legs under us.

I also would like to mention the low-lights of the evening, just so we're all on the same page:

1) As we were making our final push, Brandon went to the rack strong and tried to throw it down with his left hand. Dikembe Mutombo, fresh from 1996 apparently, proceeded to climb out of his time machine and swat the attempt like it was a gnat trying to mack on his coleslaw. As the giant, gravel-voiced African waved that familiar finger at the Rose Garden faithful, I threw up in my mouth a little bit.

2) Brent Barry packed down an uncontested jam on the baseline midway through the third. Not only that, but they showed it again in slo-mo as they went to commercial. Former slam dunk champ or no, I don't want Brent F***ing Barry dunking on my f***ing team.

3) I noticed lots of empty seats in the lower deck before the final whistle blew. That one really stung.

4) Jeff Van Gundy is one step closer to his evil prediction of a Rockets romp becoming reality. This must not happen, if not for our sake, then for the rest of the sports viewing public. If Van Gundy's head got any bigger, it'd have its own atmosphere.

Now, the positives:

1) Adelman did not bring back the mustache. Had he done so, I'm not sure there would be any light at the end of this initially depressing playoff tunnel.

2) In the middle of the third period, just as I had advanced to the bargaining stage of the Seven Stages of Getting Blown Out In Game One Of A Playoff Series, I stopped promising to never go out with Madonna again long enough to notice that Greg was actually playing pretty well. This continued through the third and into the fourth, and I have no reason to believe that he won't show up for Game 2.

3) Part of me thinks we needed to get our butts kicked. Forget about this series for a second and think about the next 10 years of Trail Blazer basketball. Remember how MJ got bounced from the playoffs by Isiah three years in a row before finally exacting revenge and winning the title? He needed those frustrating losses to those physical Pistons teams in order to become the greatest winner of the modern era. I know it's not the easiest thing in the world to hear, but whether it starts on Tuesday or next fall, we will never forget how it felt to get our butts kicked on our home court, and overcoming that adversity will make us better in the long run.

4) Brandon Roy is a champ. He carried us as long as he could, but at some point he needed some help. In an unrelated bit of speculation, my spider-sense is informing me that if the back of Brandon's jersey had somehow magically read "WADE," he would have gotten to the line about 15 more times tonight without changing how he played one iota. I'm just sayin'.

Notes from the other three ballgames:

at Celtics

- I greatly enjoyed watching the Rose vs. Rondo duel for "Best PG whose name begins with an R."

- Bennett Salvatore is a horrible official. As questionable as some of the calls were in our game, I thank God that we didn't have Salvy, Eddie Rush and Mike Smith (the Cerberus of horrendous officiating) calling our game.


- Derrick Rose is a freak of nature.

- STARBURY!!!!!11

- What's worse than having Vinny Del Negro as a head coach? Why, having Del Harris as an assistant coach, that's what!

- Tyrus Thomas is the new Travis Outlaw. I had a freaking heart attack every time that man touched the ball in the fourth quarter.

- Absolutely abysmal post-game interview with Rose by Nancy Lieberman. Just...EPIC how bad that was. I award her no points, and may God have mercy on her soul.

Pistons at Cavs

- I have to admit that Mo Williams has a pretty stroke. He's the new Derek Fisher. Damn him.

- In Van Gundy's fantasy "Superstars '09" competition, I think that LeBron would finish in the top three of every single event. Sprints, high jump, discus, tug-of-war, cow milking, whatever. BronBron's going to win the damn thing, OK?

- The Cavs are taking that series in four games. Any doubt in my mind was removed after today's performance.


Jalen Rose is terrible at his job. While describing Paul Pierce's potentially game-winning free throw, he busted out something along these lines:

"Yeah, you don't want to over-analyze too much after the fact, but if Paul makes that free throw, then it's probably over."

Really? You think so? Think they would have been safe being up one with two seconds on the clock with Chicago totally out of time outs (Nice one, Vinny!)?

Jalen Rose: pretty good ballplayer, woefully bad studio analyst.

Mavs at Spurs

- Methinks the aging Spurs are running on fumes at this point. I'm not counting them out of the series, but they looked tired in the second half.

- How exactly do you get beat by Dirk off the dribble, anyway? Wear concrete shoes? Eat a lunch composed entirely of ball bearings and buttermilk pancakes? Matt Bonner, I'm sorry man, but that's like losing a foot race to James Gandolfini. Shame on you.

- JJ Barea is now offically nicknamed Speedy Gonzalez. No room for discussion on this one.

- I have a feeling the Mavs absolutely CRANKED some Hoff in the locker room during halftime. Think about it.

Well, that's it for now, maniacs. Lick those wounds and heal up for Tuesday. Come back strong, and we'll make it a series. Also, stay tuned for coverage of tomorrow's matchups.



Houston, we have a problem, and other cliches

At approximately 7:27 PST on Wednesday, I was a happy man.

I had just watched the Dallas Mavericks recover from a 14-point second half deficit behind the fourth-quarter shenanigans of Jason Terry to defeat the Rockets in the final game of the regular season. A few minutes earlier, I had watched an ESPN in-game update showing Chris Paul dishing a ridiculous spin move assist to David West which put the Hornets up 5 with less than a minute to go. I giddily began sending out celebratory text messages to the tune of: "Lakers don't want us in the second round? Try the WCF!!"

My bad, guys.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm still happy. A 54-28 record, home court in the first round, and the first Blazer playoff run in six years seemed a far cry from reality a few month ago. It was just that, for the moments before I saw that cursed tying three by Michael from Lost (Why are you hitting threes? Walt just ran off into the jungle after his dog! Go tell Locke to stay away from your boy!) I was looking forward to playing the New Orleans Hornets.

Alas, it was not to be. Instead, the Blazers will face the formidable Houston Rockets in the round one, leading us at Kobestoppers to question...

What if the 08-09 Houston Rockets remade Apollo 13?

Let's start at the start here. No matter how epic of a storyline a movie may have, no matter how skilled a director may be, no matter how effective an ad campaign is, every great blockbuster film and basketball team needs a star. For Houston, that star is:

Yao Ming as Captain Jim Lovell

The similarities between Yao and Tom Hanks’ character Jim Lovell are almost eerie. Both are perfect captains to spearhead a mission to the moon or the NBA title. Both have spent endless hours dreaming of their ultimate goals and training for those moments. Both are fantastic team players who simultaneously motivate, coach, and reassure their teammates. Both have gigantic, square heads and a 7’5” wingspan.

The point is, there is no one better suited for leader of this mission than Yao.

Averages: 19.7 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.95 blocks, 55% from the field, 87% from the line, 34 mpg.

Now they just have to find a spacesuit that will fit him…

Tracy McGrady as Ken Mattingly

Two days before the launch of Apollo 13, the crew was shocked by the news that Ken Mattingly had been exposed to German measles. Despite Mattingly's attempts to overrule the doctors, his place on the mission was eventually given to Jack Swigert (see below) and Mattingly was forced to provide aid to the astronauts from the NASA base in Houston.

Remind you of anyone?

Tracy McGrady is the perfect fit to play the role of the unfortunate crew member who was unable to help his crew on their mission.

Ron Artest as Jack Swigert

A late addition to the squad, Ron Artest is built for the role of Jack Swigert. Not only does "Swigert" sound like something Ron-Ron would croon about in one of his songs (DJ Swigert, anyone?), but Swigert is also the character asked to stir the cryogenic oxygen tanks, which leads to the explosion which rocks the ship, ultimately dooming its initial intent to land on the moon and endangering the entire crew.

Could Artest stir the Rockets' proverbial cryogenic oxygen tanks, sending them into a dangerous tailspin? Time will tell.

Shane Battier as Fred Haise

Like Battier's game, Fred Haise is soft-spoken and mild-mannered. Haise is meticulous and excellent at what he does, but the results of his work often go underappreciated. He's the perfect compliment to Jack Swigert, although the two of them may butt heads in terms of style (such as when "in a fit of rage, Haise chastizes Swigert's relative inexperience as the cause of the accident").

When these two personalities can work together, they can make magic on the court and on the screen. When they clash, sparks (and points for the other team) fly.

Rick Adelman as Gene Kranz

Flight director Kranz is the architect and taskmaster for Apollo 13. He prepares the astronauts for their mission pre-launch and is their main source of communication once things go awry. An expert at keeping control of a situation and juggling multiple personalities at once, Kranz's own temper has been known to flare up at times. That said, no one doubts this man's experience and leadership in the clutch.

Aaron Brooks as Barbara Lovell


Luis Scola as Marilyn Lovell

There are no real parallels between these last two, other than Luis Scola looks kind of like a girl with horrid facial hair and they both look funny with their faces pasted on women's bodies. OK? Sheesh...cut us some slack.

Semi-Serious Analysis
by BladeTron6000

Oh, you thought that was all? Not even close my friends. Can you believe we're back in the playoffs??? I'm absolutely losing my freaking mind over this. My excitement level is such that I've actually been peeing fire for the past 31 hours. I would go to a doctor, but I'm secretly hoping that this is a new God-given superpower bestowed upon me in response to my rabid Blazer fandom over the years.

Anyway, I've been discussing our opponents for Saturday with my friend (and occasional easy lover) Striker, and we've put together the most comprehensive playoff preview post this side of Blazers Edge.

Actually, I'm going to ramble about the Rockets for like 300 words, and then we're just going to screw around for the rest of the time. What? You were expecting something different?

The Rockets are an athletic squad that we've matched up poorly against in the past. Yao always gives us trouble inside, and Ron Artest typically causes problems for Brandon on the perimeter. There are a few keys to success that we must follow in order to win the series. They are as follows:

1) Box the EFF out

Houston is not a lights-out shooting team from three, but they will absolutely murder you if you give them second chances at the rim. Lost rebounds translates to defensive confusion translates to open looks. This cannot happen. Do not let Luis “See, I’m much better than Fabricio Oberto” Scola beat you.

2) Protect the paint

Houston is most dangerous when getting to the rim. Make them chuck it from the cheap seats with a hand in their grill. This goes for everybody but Battier, Barry and the bigs (obviously). Wafer and AB can be dangerous if they get hot from outside, but I’ll take my chances considering both those guys can run a suicide in about 3.1 seconds.

3) Be strong with the ball

No matter what’s working for us, we have to hold on to that rock. Whether we’re ice cold from outside and trying to make a living at the line, or we’re having success with the drive-and-kick game, Houston is going to slapping at our arms. It’s the playoffs, fellas. Expect this physical team to get even more physical, possibly resulting in “Mean” Chuck Hayes pulling an Ariza on Sergio.

Sidenote: Seriously, doesn’t Chuck remind you of an old school bad-guy pro wrestler? I keep expecting him to walk out on the road scowling at fans and then finish off some poor small forward with a heart-punch. He’s like the Bad News Brown of the Western Conference. I want him to form a tag team with Reggie Evans called the Ghetto Blasters. Oh, was that mildly racist? Oops. My bad.

Hang on to the ball and don’t expect whistles. Go strong to the rack and don’t take no guff off nobody.

4) Take ‘em deep

We have enough energetic youths on standby to conduct a Presidential fitness test at halftime, so why not push the pace? Especially at home, we should have Houston sucking wind by the second period and feeling like they donated a lung to charity when the final whistle blows. There’s no way they can match up with us athletically. Not that Chuck Hayes and Carl Landry aren’t fine specimens or anything. It’s just a different kind of athleticism. When Chuck climbs between those ropes, you KNOW somebody’s going to get choke-slammed. It’s a given. He’s a dominator, a high-impact – oh, damn. I did it again, didn’t I? Crap. My apologies, everybody. Last time, I promise.

5) Help Brandon, and win Game 1

This is probably the most important of the keys. We’re braving new territory as a team, and our supporting cast can’t afford to shrink from the moment. The Natural’s going to have either A) RonRon or B) Battier guarding him for the entire series. That is an absolute nightmare for anybody not named LeBron. Everybody needs to step it up:

- L-Train, I’m looking at you, buddy. You can shoot over anybody they’re going to put in front of you.

- Travis, you’re most likely going to draw Von Wafer. Break him.

- Nicky, it’s time for you to show everybody why you’re the next Scottie. Fly around on D and wreak some havoc. Unleash the Dragon Emperor.

- Greg and Pryz, I got two words for you guys: bash brothers.

- Serge and Stevesie, move that ball. Stagnation in the half court means Brandon firing one up with the shot clock winding down. Not cool beans. Take control of the game and manage the offense.

- Rudy, get your feet set and let it fly, amigo.

- Channing, replicate your performance from Wednesday, and I will personally see to it that you get at least 10 minutes of run.

If we can win Game 1, I think we've got the series locked up. Game 1 will tell us the story of the series.

6) Rick Adelman’s facial hair

OK, forget what I said about number five being the most important. Adelman knows what to expect from the Rose Garden faithful come playoff time. He knows we have that all-important edge, which is why I fear he’ll try to even the score by bringing back the vaunted mustache that led Portland to two NBA finals appearances. God help us if that happens. Pray to The Schonz it does not.


Chuck Hayes
's free throws : Basketball :: Charles Barkley's golf swing : Golf

I couldn't watch this all the way through either, but it's worth it to just skip to 0:51 for Scola and 1:15 for Mutumbo

Aaron Brooks does a surprisingly good Dikembe Mutumbo

Quality shot selection leads to buckets. That's what I believe.

RonRon's got Old Greg's back, baby. That's respect, right there. Real talk.

Ron Artest: rapper, vocalist, crazy person.


The Daniel Laruso We’re Not Gonna Take It Anymore Award: Joel Przybilla

The Bret Michaels Oh Wait He Can’t Actually Sing Or Play Guitar Award: Beno Udrih/Marko Jaric

The David Wooderson Making That Face Does Not Change The Fact That You Hang Out With High School Girls Award: Chris Andersen

And we'll leave you maniacs with this link, which has been making the rounds.