Sunday, December 24, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
The Nuggets v Knicks brawl will attract a lot more headlines, but the medical consequences of this little altercation could be a lot worse for Andriuskevicius.
Monday, November 20, 2006
The mistake? People were finding it too easy to bundle him with Darius Miles and the whole "Jail Blazers" identity. The thing is, Z-Bo makes some knucklehead, immature decisions from time to time off the court. Sure he does, he's a millionaire in his early 20s. Many of us would do the same.
However, he works like crazy on the training court and has clearly come back this season with a vengance. Even better than he has been before.
Check the numbers this season: 26.0ppg (12th in NBA), 10.9ppg (7th), 47.4% FG, 83.3% FT.
Offensively he is a powerhouse. He is shooting a fantastic percentage given the pressure he has on him and the lack of supporting cast on offense. His two key supporting offensive players, Brandon Roy (temporarily) and Darius Miles (long-term) have not been able to go due to injury, making Z-Bo's performance even more impressive.
Two things he definitely needs to work on: his ability to pass out of a double team (they are plentiful) and his turnovers. But hopefully these things will come. I was just reading this great post at True Hoop, analysing Zach's game. A good read if you haven't already.
I don't think so many people are sleeping on Z-Bo any more.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
And it couldn't have happened under closer circumstances -- only 1 point. I guess those sports betting line-makers know their stuff.
"I feel bad for the people who have fantasy teams, but that's about it," Brand said after taking just eight shots. "We're winning the ball game. Tonight I didn't hit much, but before tonight I was shooting over 56 percent from the field, so when I did touch it, it's going in."
"I didnt get hurt tonight," Roy said. "I have been having some difficulty lately. A bone next to my Achilles' is bothering me.
"It just hurt too much to play. The doctor said I needed to rest and get it looked at. I
am going to have an MRI tomorrow when I get back to Portland."
With Joel Przybilla and LaMarcus Aldridge already out, this is a major loss for the team. Let's hope that Roy will be back in action soon to continue the promising form he has been showing.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Ime Udoka: great Oregonian article on his emotional story here.
Joel Przybilla and Raef LaFrentz out with injuries.
Preview of the Clippers game tonight.
Another recap of the 88-86 victory over the TWolves -- from Blazers.com -- including podcasts.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Anyone remember when Ricky manufactured his own triple double (or tried to anyway) by shooting at the wrong basket to get the rebound? That's a roach if you ask me...
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Portland comes in with a completely new lineup. Questions appear everywhere, including:
1. How will Brandon Roy handle the pressure of leading the team at the point when asked?
2. Has Zach Randolph really worked that hard in the off-season?
3. Who will get the majority of the minutes alongside Z-Bo -- LaFrentz, Magloire or Przybilla?
4. What effect will Darius Miles' injury have on the team -- good or bad?
5. Martell Webster, Travis Outlaw and Jarrett Jack: ready or still developing?
Seattle on the other hand, still will be relying on the existing keys to their success in Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. The questions in Seattle revolve around the supporting cast:
1. Luke Ridnour or Earl Watson at the point?
2. Chris Wilcox or Nick Collison at power forward?
3. With Robert Swift's injury, how will rookie Mouhamed Sene and Frenchman Johan Petro perform?
Portland Trail Blazers
PG Jarrett Jack
SG Brandon Roy
SF Travis Outlaw
PF Zach Randolph
C Joel Przybilla
PG Dan Dickau
SG/SF Martell Webster
PF/C Jamaal Magloire
PF/C Raef LaFrentz
PG Luke Ridnour
SG Ray Allen
SF Rashard Lewis
PF Chris Wilcox
C Johan Petro
PG Earl Watson
SG/SF Damien Wilkins
PF Nick Collison
C Mouhamed Sene
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
The media will have you believe that this off-season has been as with any other in Trail Blazer recent history -- unrest, upheaval, lawlessness and fractured personalities. These Trail Blazers might just surprise a few of the pundits.
Joel Przybilla is talking playoffs. "It's a change. I can tell. I can sense it. We've got a lot of talent on this team. There's no doubt in my mind we can make the playoffs. Why wouldn't we?"
He's right. Why wouldn't they?
There has to be good reason as to why Przybilla, a highly sought-after free agent this past Summer, didn't sign with San Antonio or Detroit (amongst others). He could have been combining with Tim Duncan or Rasheed Wallace and looking at instant title contention. Obviously he saw something more in Portland -- the chance to build something great with a team from the bottom up.
The building blocks are in place. The Blazers have the perfect coach to suit a young team looking for structure in Nate McMillan. His defense-first, strict approach will ensure that the wayward young minds of the future cornerstones of this team's success are put in the right places.
A young low-post scoring presence in Zach Randolph. Randolph has once again worked incredibly hard over the off-season in losing weight and honing his body into the 20-10 player he should be on a nightly basis. He has shown over the pre-season that he is ready to roll. Take all of the media hype surrounding late night sexcapades and police pulling his car over with a grain of salt. Media hype is often just that -- hype. The boy may have made some questionable decisions off the court, but he certainly has been working hard on it.
A potential superstar and rookie of the year in Brandon Roy. Roy's style perfectly complements the inside skills of Z-Bo with a pentrating, creative guard who is just as comfortable manning the point as scoring at the two spot. It's too early to expect too much from the rookie, but early indications have a lot of people excited in Portland. Numbers like 15-4-4 this season are far from outrageous estimates.
A solid stable of big men with differing skills to ensure that Portland will never be wildly outmatched down-low, no matter who comes to town. Przybilla provides a legitimate center who can block shots, rebound and knows his limitations. And as his off-season signing shows, he has commitment to the Trail Blazer cause and wants to make this team win. Jamaal Magloire's acquisition in the off-season from Milwaukee means a big body can be brought in off the bench with a scoring touch and an ability to rebound with the best big men. Magloire has proven that as a starter he is a double-double waiting to happen. He will get plenty of opportunity to prove himself in Portland. Raef LaFrentz's acquisition from Boston gives a different look again, as he can hit the outside shot. This gives either Magloire or Randolph to work in the low block, spreading the floor on offense.
LaMarcus Aldridge is the almost forgotten factor this off-season. The #2 overall pick in the NBA Draft, at 6'11" provides an exciting future for Portland. His shoulder injury and subsquent surgery is a setback to his start, but given the depth the Blazers have up front, this season is likely to be a learning process more than anything for him regardless. Most lottery picks are thrown in at the deep end with outrageous expectations, but Aldridge's tutelage will be more of a battle for minutes. His time to play will come in the near future and he will have had the right amount of 'on-the-job' training to be ready for it.
Martell Webster and Jarrett Jack are perhaps the two biggest unknown quantities on this team. Both will be given significant minutes -- likely as starters -- in which to shine. Jack's ability to handle the point will often determine how the Blazers fare from night to night. So far he looks like he will be solid. Just what this team needs. Webster's outside shooting brings a balance to the squad's inside power and similarly, his form will have a big effect on the Blazers' fortunes.
Darius Miles is another of the media's poster-boys for all that is wrong with the Blazers. He comes into the season injured, meaning that Webster and Travis Outlaw will take most of the minutes at small forward. When his head is in the game, Miles is a spectacular scorer. There is still every chance that the Blazers will look to trade him where possible.
Two young backup point guards in Sergio Rodriguez and Dan Dickau, give the team some other options should Jack be unsteady. Meanwhile, the feel-good story of the off-season, Ime Udoka has made the roster for opening night. On the form he has shown in the pre-season, he may well be given minutes at the three. Canny scorer Juan Dixon provides another threat off the bench at shooting guard -- a luxury the Blazers may not need to employ too often if the youngsters are doing their thing.
All of this makes for a very well-rounded team. Are the playoffs out of the question this season? Not at all.
The Blazers may possibly manufacture one of the best re-ascensions to prominence in recent NBA history with a move from last place to a playoff berth in 2006-07. The way I see it, there is really one spot in the Western Conference eight that is up for grabs and Portland may just have their eyes set on it.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Seeing Big Ben on the cover got me wondering: what expectations have Bulls fans set on him? Chicago has a recent history of being used to winning and the city is really looking for a return to that. That massive contract Wallace got comes at a price -- wins. So I thought I would ask the fans at Blog-a-Bull what their thoughts are. We'll see what answers come from it.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
A loss is by no means normally a positive for the team, but the way in which the Blazers finished OT, after being down by 11 with 6 minutes to go certainly bodes well for the character of the team. Key notes from the game:
- In contrast to the first pre-season game, Jamaal Magloire started at C (with Joel Przybilla on the bench). This was likely due to the smaller lineup the warriors had, running Troy Murphy at C and Mike Dunleavy at PF. It would still appear that McMillan's preferred rotation would involve starting Randolph and Przybilla at the power positions, with Magloire getting about 20 minutes off the bench backing up both and Zendon Hamilton getting the remaining scrap minutes (LaMarcus Aldridge to replace him when healthy).
- Magloire was largely uninspiring with zero FG attempts, 6 turnovers, 5 fouls and 3 blocks in 17 minutes.
- Despite fouling out -- and picking up a tech foul -- Jarrett Jack replicated his productive performance of the Seattle game with 16 points (5/7 FG, 6/6 FT) and 4 rebounds in 20 minutes.
- Webster came off the bench to play the majority of the minutes at SF (33 min) and did not disappoint. 25 points (6/11 FG, 3/6 3PT, 10/12 FT), 3 rebounds and 2 steals including a very strong close to the match before fouling out, inspired the Blazers and no doubt will do no harm to his playing time heading into the regular season.
- Roy seemed to play exclusively at SG during the game, despite bringing the ball up on occasion. With Jack, Sergio Rodriguez and Dan Dickau totalling about 72 minutes on court, there was no great need for the star rookie to switch to the point. Offensively Roy showed a strong all-round game once again, with 19 points and 9 rebounds, displaying leadership and ability to get to the rack along the way.
- Randolph was impressive. 27 points on 10/17 FG and 7/8 FT, to go with 12 rebounds and 3 assists showed that his off-season conditioning work has paid off. He certainly looks like he has slimmed down and toned up, regardless of any off-court distractions reported in the media.
- Travis Outlaw played a solid yet unspectacular complimentary role, starting and playing 36 minutes. His 12 points and 6 rebounds is likely what the team needs, but I'd like to see more on the defensive end from him, as I'm sure McMillan does.
- Juan Dixon appears to be well and truly on the outer. He only entered the game in OT after Jack, Webster and Roy had fouled out and a shooting guard was needed. McMillan definitely wants to promote the future of the team and sadly for Dixon, who was a good scoring option for the Blazers last season, he doesn't fit the mould. Whether he stays around past the all-star break will be interesting.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Now Luke Walton has come out and said the the Lakers will be in the finals this season. "I expect to be in the Finals this year. We could've done it last year," said Walton. Comments like that make you wonder how much weed Bill Walton smoked when he conceived young Luke. Maybe call it the misguided confidence of youth. Need I remind Luke that the LakeShow is still going into this season with Kwame Brown as its starting power forward and with Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom as its only viable scoring options. Surely he hasn't fallen for the Andrew Bynum hype too? When his dad is commentating on the games and screaming "Get the ball to the big guy!" who will they be throwing it to? Certainly not Brian Cook or Chris Mihm I hope.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Alonzo Mourning is ready to go for the coming season continuing to fulfill his fate, destined as he has been since he was drafted second in 1992, backing up Shaquille O'Neal. There was speculation that Zo would retire at the end of last season with the Heat's Championship success, however that Zo competitive spirit does not allow him to quit. Mourning is definitely a key to the Heat's title defense as he provides a solid backup when Shaquille increasingly plays less minutes with age, in addition to his value as a replacement starting centre when the inevitable injured pinkie toes come along for the Diesel.
Over at ClipsNation, they've analysed the ill-fated moves of Clippers draft picks in past seasons.
I thought it was worth a look at the history of the McDonald's Open (otherwise known as the World Club Championship) which pits top club teams -- including NBA and Europe -- against each other to determine the top club team in the world. To date, the NBA squads have been perennial winners. However given the tidal shift in world basketball, I would venture to say that it is only a matter of time before a non-NBA team goes on to win the Open.
Barcelona Winterthur became just the second European team to defeat an NBA squad, as they beat the Philadelphia 76ers 104-99 in Barcelona on Thursday.
There is a highly detailed report of the match here:
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
I was just reading over at this German blog, HoopNation that Eva Longoria and Tony Parker are no longer... as Tobias, the author said, he has always wondered why someone as ugly as TP had a woman like Eva. Well, wonder no more. This of course is an opportunity for some gratuitous Eva Longoria photos, so here goes.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
The Portland Trail Blazers announced today that due to a mid-ankle sprain, Aaron
Miles did not pass his team physical today and therefore the club is unable to
tender him a contract at this time. Miles is expected to make a full recovery
within two weeks.
The most sensible option at this point would be to try and snare an experienced backup like Anthony Carter. Stay tuned for what happens next.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
I was reading over at True Hoop that Kwame Brown "hates" the new ball and basically thinks his overall performance will decrease with it. Look out Laker fans! If Kwame is going to become more unco-ordinated with this new ball, that's a scary sign.