Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Greg Oden’

Trail Blazers Knicks Basketball

Remember earlier in the season when Portland’s intensity level was often in question? Well, the Blazers pretty much killed that theory within twelve minutes on Tuesday.

On a night when Portland desperately needed to show a division rival like the Utah Jazz how legit they are, the Blazers accomplished that and then some. They started aggressive, were active and efficient – essentially providing a glimpse of how good this team really is.

The Blazers 39 points in the first quarter was the most in the opening period this season and tied a team mark for the most in any quarter.

Intense. Exactly how Portland wants to play with the playoffs approaching.

And it went a little something like this….

10:53: Brandon Roy jumper

10:29: LaMarcus Aldridge alley-oop

10:01: Steve Blake three-pointer

9:03: LaMarcus Aldridge lay-up

8:24: Brandon Roy three-pointer

8:13: Steve Blake three-pointer

7:20: Brandon Roy fade away jumper

6:46: LaMarcus Aldridge jump shot

6:24 Brandon Roy dunk

5:49: Brandon Roy lay-up

5:03 Nicolas Batum dunk

4:47: LaMarcus Aldridge freethrows (2-2)

4:13: Greg Oden freethrows (1-2)

3:59: Brandon Roy jump shot

3:33: LaMarcus Aldridge freethrows (2-2)

1:42: Greg Oden freethrows (2-2)

1:02: Greg Oden dunk

0:05: Sergio Rodriguez three-pointer

Three quarters later, Portland finished off Utah with a 125-104 win – their third straight victory of 20 plus points.

Who would have thought Portland would be sitting a game and a half back of the number two spot out West? Crazy.

Now if the Blazers can only show up on the upcoming road trip to Oklahoma City, Houston, Memphis and San Antonio.

—————

The Latest: Oh, how the shameless plugs pile up….let me count the ways.

Plenty of Western Conference playoff talk go on over at HOOPSWORLD, and guess who has received those assignments?

 And finally….while the Phoenix Suns are quickly fading in the postseason picture behind Dallas, questions about the offseason are already taking place.

Will Grant Hill return? Will Alvin Gentry be back?

After speaking to both guys, it’s clear they want their journey in Phoenix to last.

 pic via: washington post

Read Full Post »

shaq

It’s tough to beat a good Shaquille O’Neal story. It really is. Even having covered the guy a number of times before, I’ve learned if Shaq is going to talk, then you better be around to listen.

After Portland put the hurt on Phoenix last night at the Rose Garden and on TNT, Shaq held court with a handful of us around in the Suns locker room.

He waxed poetic – in his signature mumbling fashion – and comical about the game for a few minutes and Portland center Joel Przybilla, whom he has history with. They’ve mixed it up before. Plenty. (check out HOOPSWORLD for his take on Joel and “flopping”.)

Somewhere in the middle, I asked what he thought of Greg Oden.

The kid’s been playing nice of late – the last two games that is.

Now, I knew Shaq would be Shaq with the reply. But you have to ask, just for the sake of getting the response from Mr. Quotatious himself. I mean, we are after all talking about Shaq here.

“I don’t,” he said when asked what he thinks of the Blazers young center.

Shaq didn’t even look my way, at least until he repeated himself first.

“I don’t.”

“I’m a Shogun. You can’t ask me about a low level ninja. I still have to worry about Yao Ming, Dwight Howard.”

Classic.

Minutes later Shaq wraps up the postgame interview and we all disperse. As I’m heading out of the Suns locker room, I hear this low, deep, mumbling voice right behind me.

“You can’t be asking me about no ninjas.”

Didn’t think he was talking to me until I turned around and there’s Shaq smiling. I turn around letting Shaq know I had to ask, even though I know full well the routine.

“Don’t be asking me about no ninjas,” Shaq said driving home the point, again with a smile.

Okay, I get it. But I had to ask. Now I know.

Don’t ask about no ninjas – and never miss the chance to speak with the Shogun.

—————–

The Latest: With all the playoff talk floating around Portland, you have to think the Blazers could be one of those teams prepared to pull an upset once they do reach the postseason.

Got into this the other day at HOOPSWORLD – the key to shocking Rip City and actually advancing to the second round.

pic via: takegreatpics.com

Read Full Post »

er

The last place I thought I’d find myself on St. Patrick’s Day morning was the emergency room. Guess that’s what I get for not wearing green – or drinking enough liquids before and during working out at the gym: a little dehydration.

So after some dizzy spells, nausea, a little vomiting, almost passing out, a quick bumpy ride in the ambulance to the hospital, I found myself being pumped full of fluids during about two hours worth of steady contemplation.

My first thought – should have drank more water. Brilliant.

Second thought – hope I don’t worry my pregnant wife of seven months and two year old daughter too much.

Every thought while trying to get some rest went a little something like this:

Wonder if my brother Patrick is waiting for me to call him back to wish him a happy birthday…..

Will Greg Oden (who is now listed as a “game time decision”) play Wednesday at his homecoming in Indiana?

It’s freezing in here….

This is seriously cutting into my research time on a story I’m attempting to write for a sports magazine in Seattle…..

How much is that ambulance ride going to cost me exactly?

Do the beat writers in New Jersey ever get exhausted by the small Asian media horde that follows Nets forward Yi Jianlian from town to town?

Do I still have to paint my daughters bedroom pink today?

Should I even bother asking if I can move to a room with a TV….

When should I call to arrange an interview with that one pro wrestling icon….

Will I see Nicolas Batum have another career night the rest of this season….

Can a brother get some Jell-O?

Now I know what Rudy Fernandez felt like – minus the bruised right chest, right hip-pointer, staying the night in the hospital, and visits from Sergio Rodriguez….

Wonder what my dad thought about when he was in and out of hospitals when he was sick with cancer….

Wish I had a book…

Do I still need to meet those three deadlines I have waiting for me at HOOPSWORLD this week?

Can I leave now?

I am blessed with the best wife in the world.

pic via: wikipedia

Read Full Post »

Brush It Off….

greg

Every time I see an ant hill, I can’t help but think back to when I was in high school. I was a sophomore. Maybe a junior. All I know is there must have been a couple hundred ants crawling all over me and I hated it.

It was in Nebraska. I was working with my dad trying to repair a driveway culvert at the feed and seed lot one of my older brothers and my dad ran. The culvert had a hole in it. I was selected to try and fix it. Had no choice actually. My dad – likely after a long day of work in the hot summer sun – asked me to lay down on the gravely driveway to see about a hole in the culvert.

I laid down, discovered the hole and stood up to tell my dad about it.

As I did, I got a tingly feeling all over me. I had rested right on top of ant hill. I was covered with ants. Covered with them. They were on my legs, my arms, my neck. I was freaking out.

I imagine news of Greg Oden’s latest gimpy knee problem has hit a lot of people in the same way. If nothing else it is part of his injury prone legacy.

Oden missed the NBA rookie-sophomore game last night after experiencing some swelling on his left knee. The MRI revealed a chip fracture on the patella. Now every Blazers die-hard or Oden fan across the league suddenly has this creepy crawly feeling all over them. It’s like every time you think this kid is healthy, you are swarmed with discomfort.

Makes it even worse after Kevin Durant did what Kevin Durant does.

I mean, forget the ants. The injury bug feeds on this guy like he was Old Country Buffet – the wrist, the knee, the ankle, the knee.

But let’s look at the big picture here. Had Oden played Friday night in Phoenix, it would have been the back end end of a back-to-back-to-back outing. If anyone needs a break in Portland it is this kid. What truly matters is that he get some rest and be healthy for the second half of the season, not go-down in an exhibition game that doesn’t count.

No need to freak out.

As I stood there covered with ants, I’ll never forget how calm my dad was. He simply walked over to me, told me to stand still and started brushing the ants off of me.  Felt like a lifetime. But it was over before I knew it.

That’s all Oden or his fans in Rip City can do right now.

Remain calm, brush it off and move on.

—————————

The Latest: When All-Star weekend always rolls around, I can’t help but be envious of those other writers who take advantage of their three-day-weekend. No such luck for me. While I didn’t make the trip to Phoenix, we have a strong HOOPSWORLD contingent on the ground.

Luckily, they are spooning me some interviews.

Just didn’t know one of those clips would allow me to tell how happy Allen Iverson is about this coming summer. He’s got free agency on his mind – all while having one foot out the door in Detroit.

Stay tuned….will have a feature story on Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley, as well as one on Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford running later today.  

Enjoy the weekend.

pic via: brouser

Read Full Post »

teamDoc Rivers sat in his office in the visitor’s locker room at the Rose Garden staring at the sheet of paper. It was hard to tell if he couldn’t believe the black ink popping off the page or if he was trying to memorize it. Either way, Doc wasn’t happy.

Rivers was quick to credit a Brandon Roy-less Portland after the Blazers beat his struggling Celtics team of late. But Doc still couldn’t get over a call the refs blew (or called brilliantly depending on the team you represent) right before the half on Tuesday night.

I detailed the 10.3 seconds remaining right before the half here after the game courtesy of HOOPSWORLD’s “Courtside Blog.” Tough break Doc.

Here’s the thing: Had that call gone against Boston; had the Celtics scored with six men on the court; had Boston been on the receiving end of that bucket, Portland would shut down like another snow storm hit the city.

Bedlam.

No, that’s not how the Blazers beat the Celtics. But let’s be real.

Portland showed up to play while Boston arrived and failed at playing their typical brand head games Kevin Garnett style. The Beantown jawing in early December when the Celtics manhandled the Blazers may have worked then, but Greg Oden – and particularly LaMarcus Aldridge – weren’t having it in Rip City with or without Brandon Roy. And in this case it was “without” Brandon Roy.

A huge win – the last of 2008. 

What a way to go out.

(Portland’s “six-on-the-floor” :48 seconds into the highlight.)

pic via: si.com

Read Full Post »

travisIf back-to-back games are the killer of an NBA schedule, than the Portland Trail Blazers are deadman walking. It’s bad enough to drop a game in always tough Utah. But now you have to come home against a rested Los Angeles Clippers? Brutal anyway you look at it.

“I think the back-to-back thing is by far the most overblown excuse in the NBA,” Jeff Van Gundy, who now calls action for ESPN said once.  “Why should games on consecutive nights be a problem? Because the other team’s more rested? That’s no excuse.”

Portland’s about ready to find out if he’s right. Next up Zach Randolph and the Clips – yes, the same Clips who recently worked out Darius Miles on Tuesday. Hmmm….Either way, it’s been one of those weeks for the Blazers.

Not only have they lost two-straight games – first to Orlando and then Utah – but it’s the way in which they’ve suffered those defeats.

One was a heartbreaker. The other, a head scratcher. How does Brandon Roy go for two-straight 30-plus games, resulting both in losses? How can LaMarcus Aldridge produce two of his more impressive outings of the season and Portland not come away with wins to show for them? How does the bench go from having four guys (Rudy Fernandez, Travis Outlaw, Joel Przybilla and Sergio Rodriguez) all score in double-figures to barely mustering 19 points as a group?

It’s not an excuse. It’s an unsolved mystery.

———————————

On Monday, I launched into a quick flashback about Greg Oden and Dwight Howard – the whole “Greg as Dwight” angle. Appreciate those who chimed in with some thoughts by the way…..really good stuff.

Took the story and ran with it….was interested in delving deeper into comparing their rookie seasons, complete with thoughts from Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith. The end result was “The Oden and Howard Debate” currently running over at HOOPSWORLD.

pic via: esmas

Read Full Post »

jerryThere have already been four head coaches fired eight weeks into the regular season. No wonder the unemployment rate is soaring in this country. But there is one guy who seems to always have job security: Gerald Eugene Sloan.

“I know how volatile this business is,” Jerry Sloan said recently. “I just think how lucky I’ve been to be here for so long.”

You win, you stay.

It’s that simple and Sloan – despite a couple losing seasons in his 21 years coaching in the NBA – perhaps knows that better than any coach in this league. You don’t become the first coach in league history to reach 1,000 wins with one team by throwing junk against the wall and hope that it sticks.

There has to be a commitment to what you believe in and how you carry that message out.

It’s no wonder Nate McMillan considers Sloan a blueprint for his coaching style. Right now McMillan has coached in 641 games, posting 306 wins and 335 losses. Okay, so he doesn’t have John Stockton and Karl Malone. But he does have Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge….and that Greg Oden fella. Only 694 more wins for McMillan as head coach of the Blazers and he’ll join Sloan in a distinguished class.

Then again, Sloan will probably have another 1000 wins under his belt by then.

Can Portland rebound on Thursday night at Utah? Or will the heartbreak from Hedo Turkoglu hang over their heads?

———————————

Shameless plug time: We – and when I say we, I mean HOOPSWORLD – rolled out a new feature series this season called “Life As A Rookie”. Jerryd Bayless shared his story last week, and this week it’s Courtney Lee of the Orlando Magic. I got with Lee on Tuesday night and it’s easy to see why he’s a natural fit in Orlando….

In other “shameless plug” news…..

For you boxing purists and history buffs, the Northwest Examiner is running a feature I wrote on former heavy weight champion Jack Dempsey, who in the mid-1930’s stepped off a passenger train in Portland to fight four guys in one night at Multnomah Stadium.

The story is available in PDF (sorry, but that’s how the NWE rolls) and begins on page 13.

pic via: drunkenboozer

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »