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Posts Tagged ‘Portland Trailblazers’

Old bones collide.

The Playoffs are here and the high-seeded Phoenix Suns are losing to a lower-seeded team.  Gee, what a surprise.

The 3rd seed Suns dropped their first game at home against the 6th seed Blazers who are missing their best player in Brandon Roy, not to mention Greg Oden, Joel Pryzbilla, Bill Walton and Jerome Kersey.

Why do I feel like I’ve seen this movie before?  The Suns have a great season and show up in the Playoffs only to have their asses handed to them by a team that plays defense.

And without the injured Robin Lopez, the Suns are small and soft.  Every time the broadcast cut to their bench, I kept wondering why assistant coaches Bill Cartwright and Dan Majerle didn’t just suit up and get in the game.  They’re both around the same age as Juwan Howard and Grant Hill, aren’t they?

Steve Nash is a great, Hall Of Fame player and he has had a fantastic, eye-opening season, but watching him play defense is like watching your grandparents fuck:  it’s disgusting, you worry someone’s going to get hurt, and you can’t help but feel like you could do it better.

Thank you… Goodnight!

Posted by LA Dubbs

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Muscle up, lil’ babies. Western Conference semi-finals: Don’t you ever in your life, when i got a gun, come at me with a knife. A’ight?

(1) LOS ANGELES LAKERS VS. (5) HOUSTON ROCKETS

Seven games of this? Yes please!

Love will tear us apart.

BROKEASS: Houston’s got the Lakers?! What?! Oh no.

DUBBS: I know! Our bandwagon team is up against the top dog in the West. I love what Houston did in the first round. Ron found some redemption and with that Houston found its identity. But this ain’t the first round and the Lakers are not the Blazers. Houston will push them but the Lakers are too good. Sorry, Ron. Just stay in the tree of trust and keep your shrink on speed dial.

BROKEASS: Win, lose, or fight the crowd – this is Ron-Ron’s series. He’s back, baby! And he seems saner than ever. This has to be the calm before the storm. Where’s that Ron-Ron insanity we all know and love?!

DUBBS: I think Pau Gasol just dunked it over Yao. Seriously, Pau is gonna give Yao fits. He’s way too fast and light on his feet for that gnarly old tree. And he can draw him away from the basket.

BROKEASS: Yao may not be nimble or quick, but he is a rather large candlestick to jump over. And on offense, well, good luck with that Pau. The Lakers can be beaten. Hell, the Pistons even beat them once.

DUBBS: What’s a Piston? The only advantage Houston has over LA is at the point guard position. Aaron Brooks is gonna make Derrick Fisher and Jordan Farmar look like Shrimp Fest at Red Lobster.

BROKEASS: Cheesy biscuits! On paper, the Lakers seem stronger. And on the basketball court, the Lakers beat the Rockets every time they played this season. But Ron-Ron don’t care about first rounds and he DAMN SURE don’t care about regular seasons or positional matchups. He and Shane Battier will corral and harass Kobe all game long. Ron-Ron is moving in to Kobe’s head as we speak. And Ron-Ron is a noisy guest. A frustrated Kobe equals a tentative, nervous Lakers.

DUBBS: In matchups against guys like Kobe, Ron has a tendency to forget he has teammates and turn it into a game of one-on-one. And Kobe is the only guy in the NBA not afraid of Artest. Houston will try to grind but the Lakers are gonna run on them. LA is too fast, too agile and they have too much firepower. We haven’t even talked about Odom and Ariza. And Phil Jackson has spent his career peeing in Rick Adelman’s kitchen sink. Lakers in 6.

BROKEASS: If LA runs, Houston won’t catch them. But Houston’s aim will be to slow the tempo and test their trapping D against that vaunted Triangle Offense. On offense, pick your poison in the post: Yao, Artest, Scola, Landry. The Lakers softies will be overmatched. A quick PG like your boy A-Brooks will average ten dimes on drop-offs alone. No one can phase Kobe over the course of a single game, but in a series, we have seen him unravel. If that happens against the Rockets, Houston will pounce. I’m saying it, Dubbs! UPSET!!! Houston in 6.

DUBBS: Don’t tell Ron and the rest of the Queensbridge soldiers I fell off the bandwagon so quickly. Big Noyd, we meet you at the top kid! Shout to Cormega!

(2) DENVER NUGGETS VS. (6) DALLAS MAVERICKS

"Put your tongue away, Dirk. You ain't Herr Jordan."

Kenyon laughs at Dirk's Herr Jordan impression.

DUBBS: Did you see that Chauncey Billups received the Joe Dumars Sportsmanship Award last week? That shit’s like rain on a motherfucker’s wedding day, son. Denver is rolling right now but New Orleans rolled over and died on them. They have yet to be tested. This series with Dallas will show us if Denver is for real or not.

BROKEASS: Denver is real. I’ve been there. It’s in Colorado. Oh, you mean as a basketball team. Right, this will test that. But I think they can pass that test. Defense has long been their achilles heel, but Billups has changed that. Scoring was never a problem. This team can now beat you in a variety of ways.

DUBBS: Dallas is coming off of the high of beating their archrival. Chauncey Billups is a much better match-up for Jason Kidd than Tony Parker was. And the Nuggets are starting Dahntay Jones? What the fuck is a Dahntay Jones? Is that the traditional Irish spelling of Dante? Why aren’t they starting JR Smith?

BROKEASS: JR Smith comes off the bench until he learns his lesson from a disciplinary issue four years ago. These are two of the deeper benches in the NBA and the team that best utilizes its reserves will probably win. This will be a battle of JTs and JRs; Carrolls and Kleizas; Birdmen & Balkmen and Basses & Bereas. Gerald Greens. Anthony Carters. You get the picture. A battle of benches.

DUBBS: It’s certainly not gonna be a battle of Centers. Dampier vs. Nene is a wash. I’m not sure who that’s more embarrassing for. Basketball, I guess. Chauncey and J-Kidd may cancel each other out. So it comes down to who’s gonna come up bigger: Dirk or Carmelo. Carmelo is inconsistent. He only had one great game against New Orleans, and he spent the entire series being guarded by the defensive sieve of Peja Stojakovic and the sadness of James Posey. Josh Howard is a much tougher defender. And Dirk, unlike Melo, is consistent. Kenyon can’t take him for seven games.

BROKEASS: Carmelo’s inconsistent scoring hasn’t equalled anything but victories. In years past, Melo’s lack of offensive input spelled automatic doom. But this year he has blended into a balanced offense keyed on enabling the hot hand. His 34 in the N’Orleans closer reminds us that he lives for the big game, even if his pro career hasn’t been prolific with opportunities. If Dirk doesn’t shine, Dallas is probably hopeless. The same is not true of Carmelo and Denver.

DUBBS: Whatever. Carmelo’s head is emptier than the Palace at playoff time. Jason Terry will exploit JR Smith’s awful jigsaw puzzle tattoos. Josh Howard will tempt Birdman with a fattie, getting Birdman kicked out for violating the terms of his reinstatement. Dallas in 7.

BROKEASS: Josh Howard is a Star-Spangled-Banner-hating traitor. If Dallas wins, so do the terrorists. You need to quit siding with anti-American sentiment, Dubbs! Denver in 7 thanks to home court advantage and American pride.

DUBBS: Wait a sec. Dallas has Matt Carroll? Ugh. Can I change my pick?

We’ll be back with our Eastern Conference picks on Monday, assuming Boston and Chicago don’t secede from the NBA and start their own league.

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After Houston disposed of the Blazers in round one, Ron Artest sat down with the press to explain why Tracy McGrady is a puss (read between the lines) and how going into the crowd is different these days:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I love it! Ron don’t give a shit about first round victories. He’s in this for something bigger. Which is probably why they got out of the first round finally. They’ve needed this attitude in Houston for a long time.

If you’ve been paying attention to this blog, you’ve probably seen this day on the horizon. But it has arrived. We here at AF4D are officially on the Houston Rockets bandwagon and we are riding it all the way to Upset Village. Bring on Kobe. Bring on Lebron.

You heard of us. Official Queensbridge murderers.

Best. Picture. Ever.

Best. Picture. Ever.

Posted by LA Dubbs

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Who don't wanna sex Mutombo?

With all the fragile big men in this series, who guessed it would be timeless Dikembe that falls?

The Pacific Northwest is infamous for its rainy seasons, but if you felt rain drops in Portland last night, they may have come from the eyes of a giant. On Tuesday, Houston’s Dikembe Mutombo tearfully said goodbye to his playing days.

He went down jostling for position in the post, just like he had a million times over his eighteen-year career. His leg tangled with that of Greg Oden and something gave out. It could have been either of them, and given Oden’s unfortunate health, one might have predicted it be him. Instead, it was Dikembe, falling for the last time.

“Nobody ever thought they’d be carrying the big guy out like a wounded soldier,” he said. I’m not sure that is true. Dikembe, like most players with more than a healthy supply of passion and heart, could not have left basketball any other way. They had to carry him out just to get him to leave the party.

It seems fitting that Oden was present at Dikembe’s Last Stand. Much has been unreasonably stated about Greg’s potential. He will not be the next Shaq or Kareem or Hakeem, or even Yao. If health and luck permit, he could find himself the second coming of Mutombo. This is no small praise of Greg’s abilities. After Bill Russell, Deke was the greatest defensive center of all-time.

Physiologically-speaking, it never hurt that Dikembe Mutombo was seven feet and two inches tall, with an even wider wingspan. But beyond that, he had an innate gift for tracking the ball quickest. When a shot clanged off the rim, he wasn’t just the highest in the air, he was the first. He didn’t just block a shot on length, he timed it. His patented finger wag was not just a symbol he had bested your body, but your mind.

For the better part of a decade, he was unmatched as a game-changing defender. He was also unmatched as the League’s most lovable large. Perhaps it is Greg Oden’s turn to be both. Their legs and destinies tangled last night, and the Fates decided there could be only one. The last of the old guard has fallen and the new era is fully upon us. Anyone else feel old?

Who doesn't wanna sex Mutombo?

Who wanna sex Mutombo?

Posted by BA Brokeass

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Aaron Brooks stays well-fed.

Aaron Brooks stays well-fed.

Rockets 108, Blazers 81: When I said Aaron Brooks was gonna eat, I was thinking a light meal. Y’know, soup, salad, maybe some breadsticks. But Aaron set up an all-you-can-eat buffet in the Rose Garden, going for 27 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds as the Rockets destroyed the Blazers in Portland. Yao shot a perfect 9 for 9, scoring all 24 of his points in the first half as the Rockets came strong out of the gate. This was clearly a case of one team being ready and the other… not so much. I’m sure the Blazers will find their legs.

Hawks 90, Heat 64: This one surprised me. The Hawks were motivated. When’s the last time that happened? Last year’s playoffs, I guess. Atlanta held D-Wade to 19 points. I don’t see that happening again. If it does, this series is over. On another note, I take Josh Smith’s performance from the free thow line (5-6) as a personal insult. Josh Smith was on my fantasy team this season and was a disaster from the free throw line – lots of 1 for 7 performances.

Sixers 100, Magic 98: The Magic had something to prove in this game and they failed to do it. They gave up an eighteen-point lead at home to a crappy Sixers squad. I’m still sure the Magic will win this series, but they aren’t going anywhere this year, as usual. Magic = softbatch.

Nuggets 113, Hornets 84: Chauncey Billups had 36 points, hitting a career playoff high 8 three-pointers and still finding time to drop 8 dimes. Ouch. Meanwhile…

Cavs 102, Pistons 84: Lebron James abused Tayshaun Prince (what else is new?) for 38, 8 and 8 while Tay responded with 4 , 2 and 2. No single player can really hope to stop Lebron but it’s been clear for a while now that LBJ is inside Tayshaun’s head. The one ray of hope for the Pistons in this game: Stuckey scored 20 and played fairly well. Stuckey has to play well for this series to be worth anything to the Pistons.

Bulls 105, Celtics 103: Derrick Rose blew up for 36 points and 11 assists as the Bulls stunned the Celtics in OT. As predicted, the Bulls have come to play. But I don’t think the Celtics are in trouble. Yet. Rajon Rondo put in a good one with 29 points, 7 assists and 9 rebounds.

Mavs 105, Spurs 97: The Mavs were down 11 after the first quarter, but came back to win their first road playoff game in three years. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker played well. BUT THERE’S NOBODY ELSE!! Big win for the Mavs.

Lakers 113, Jazz 100: The Lakers were ready to go. No surprise there. The Jazz’ advantage at point guard was clear – Deron Williams had 17 assists – but it didn’t matter. Trevor Ariza had 21 for the Purp-and-Gold. And Kobe did this:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Bulls-Celtics and Mavs-Spurs get their game 2 on tonight.

Posted by LA Dubbs

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Go West, young man, and grow up with the country. It’s time for our Western Conference picks!

(1) LOS ANGELES LAKERS VS. (8) UTAH JAZZ

"Hey, Kobe! Tickle, tickle."

"Ronnie, I said tweak it and blow on it, not palm it!"

BROKEASS: Utah didn’t pick the best time to start playing their worst basketball of the season, but they should be better and I think they will be better. The Lakers clearly are better. In virtually every way. That being said, I think the Jazz are being prematurely written-off. Deron Williams is going to annihilate Derek Fisher and Utah is historically brutal for visiting teams. But those factors will only serve to delay the inevitable. Lakers in 6.

DUBBS: Utah has a lot of talent. And a good coach. And the most awful fans in the League. But they’ve been sucking it lately. And the Lakers are too good – easily the best in the West. Lakers in 4.

BROKEASS: Utah has some chemistry issues, but the playoffs can often resolve that. Ask Rasheed Wallace. Besides, Boozer, Memo, and Millsap need to have strong showings if they hope to earn big free agent paychecks. The Lakers are cocky right now, as the result of too many people declaring them de facto Champions of the West. I think they’re going to be tested.

DUBBS: The Lakers are too deep, too versatile, too good and too Kobe. The Lakers may be tested, but it won’t be by this mötley crüe. A team is not going to have an epiphany and suddenly find themselves while playing a juggernaut like the Lakers. They are going to suddenly find themselves getting crushed. And, as Cleveland found out, if you have to rely on Carlos Boozer, you’re in trouble.

BROKEASS: How dare you? Carlos Boozer is the type of guy you trust with your kids.

(2) DENVER NUGGETS VS. (7) NEW ORLEANS HORNETS

"James, I can feel the baby kicking!"

"James, I can feel the baby kicking!"

DUBBS: Denver can be an up-and-down team. But Chauncey will give them the stability they need in the playoffs. Chris Paul will certainly pose a lot of problems for him but he won’t abuse Le Chaunce the way he did J-Kidd in their matchup last playoffs. And Billups is too big for Paul on the offensive end. He should be able to get what he needs. Mostly, the Hornets are just way too thin. Denver in 5.

BROKEASS: Sure, Mr. Big Shot is nice, but what about Big Game James Posey? I think this series goes to 7 because, while neither team floors me, I like the clutchness of both. CP3 will be singularly good enough to stretch it, but not win it. Carmelo at the buzzer, Denver in 7.

DUBBS: Wow, you’re calling it down to the buzzer!? Neck tattoo to Neck tattoo. I like it. I don’t see it, but I like it. Also, Big Game James has to be the least-maintained nickname since Mr. Big Shot. Carmelo Anthony will roll right over him.

BROKEASS: Fine, forget about the dagger-thrower James Posey. Get ready for the epic resurgence of Tyson Chandler!

DUBBS: They sent Chandler to the OKC Thunder and the Thunder sent him back! They have like three guys on that team. Nothing but roster spots. And they returned his ass! One last reason Denver will win: The Birdman is gonna fly!

(3) SAN ANTONIO SPURS VS. (6) DALLAS MAVERICKS

Who will survive the standing-8 count.

Who will survive the standing-8 count?

BROKEASS: This is one of those series where home-court doesn’t matter. And not just because the teams play down the road from each other. No two teams understand each other better than the Spurs and Mavs and I expect every game to be tightly contested. This battle won’t be as epic as previous ones, but it stands to be one of the better match-ups in a pretty weak crop of first-round pairings. In the end, I am picking San Antonio, because they just don’t know how to lose this early. Plus, my knees creak when I think about what Tony Parker is going to do to J-Kidd. Spurs in 7.

DUBBS: The Mavs are playing well. Dirk is Dirk. Jason Terry is instant offense off the bench. Yes, TP will undoubtedly torch Jason Kidd. But Carlisle has done a good job with Kidd this season. He’s hidden him well enough on D and worked him less on O, so he’s actually shooting the best he has in forever. And Jason Kidd is a lot of things but choke artist isn’t one of them. Ginobli is out. The Spurs ain’t winning without their Big Three. The Mavs have too much firepower. Mavs in 7.

BROKEASS: Dirk is Dirk, yes, for better and worse. Meanwhile, Timmy D is always Timmy D and that equals money in the bank. Rick Carlisle may be able to hide Kidd’s weaknesses, but not his own. Pop will straight-up father him. If these games stay close, and you know they will, are you betting the farm (ranch?) on the provens or the dis-provens? If Dallas was a youthful, athletic team I might pick them against the step-slower Spurs. But Dallas equals San Antonio in decrepitude. They expended too much fuel fighting for that 6 spot, and a half-tank of gas won’t get them out of San Antonio.

DUBBS: First of all, Dallas has beaten San Antonio before. Second, Timmy D ain’t always Timmy D. He’s aging. And without Manu there to extend and break down the defense, Dallas can key in on Duncan a lot more. Are Parker and Duncan gonna run pick-and-rolls every single play? The Spurs have two guys. That’s it. Are you really going to take Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Gregg Popovich’s pre-season beard against Dirk, Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, Josh Howard and a serviceable bench? And while I would never argue that Rick Carlisle is as good a coach as Popovich, he’s certainly a better coach than Avery Johnson. Everyone keeps saying you’ve gotta pick the Spurs until they lose. Well the Spurs have lost. Their supporting cast, like Manu’s hair, gets thinner every year. (The NBA: Where Zing! Happens.) Until they inject some young blood into that squad to support their Big Three, it’s over.

BROKEASS: You have no idea what Matt Bonner is capable of.

(4) PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS VS. (5) HOUSTON ROCKETS

Fighting in party stores, fighting in the paint.

Big Tree Fall Hard.

DUBBS: I really like Portland. They’re a gutsy young squad, with one of my favorite players in the NBA (Brandon Roy), a guy I really want to see succeed (Greg Oden), and a good, tough coach. But… Houston is a really good defensive team. Ron Artest and Shane Battier are gonna eat these young boys’ lunches. The two-headed power forward beast of Luis Scola and Carl Landry will swallow LaMarcus Aldridge up. And while Yao has trouble against smaller, more agile big men like Amare, he’s gonna play really well against Oden and Joel Pryzbilla. Plus, Tracy McGrady’s out – another point in Houston’s favor. I want Portland to win. But I’m picking Houston. In 7.

BROKEASS: Yao will be the best big man on the court, but Portland has plenty of bodies to throw at him. Przybilla and Channing Frye are lacking individually, but combine to provide a nice complement of skills and fouls. I predict Greg Oden makes serious noise in these playoffs. Let’s not forget, everyone questioned him in college until the Tournament. Then no one questioned him. Some guys are just built for this shit. I think Yao might be the McGrady to Oden’s Tayshaun Prince. Brandon Roy will have difficult match-ups, but is another guy who seems built for the playoffs. He was born with a veteran’s swagger. This should be a solid series; each team holds a few advantages. Portland secured home-court advantage by winning one more home game than Houston, and that will be the same difference in this series. I want Portland to win too…And they will. Blazers in 7.

DUBBS: If Greg Oden were “just built for this shit,” he wouldn’t keep breaking down. Oden is like the reverse Benjamin Button. The matchup between him and Yao is the immobile object vs. the unmoving force. Who will shatter into a thousand pieces first? Seriously, those dudes might break each other. They’re gonna finish the series playing wheelchair ball. Also, nice 2003 Tayshaun vs. McGrady reference. Way to broaden our readership.

BROKEASS: I thought 2003 was relevant in this series, since it was the last time Houston had a point guard. Seriously, who is their PG? Aaron Brooks? Kyle Lowry? Steve Blake is going to own those punks…And that line has never been written ever! This Houston group has never made it out of the first round for good reason: They are always a piece or two short. This year is no different. Of course, if Ron-Ron shows up in rare form (either as a player or an asshole), all bets are off. But I can’t wager on a team with so many question marks.

DUBBS: If Aaron Brooks is given a place at the table, he will eat! It only makes sense that Houston would finally get out of the first round without McGrady. It’ll allow his spiral of depression to continue to run its course. And too much is being made of Portland as the only team in the West that can challenge the Lakers. They haven’t even been in the playoffs since they were the Jailblazers. Jumps like that don’t happen in the NBA. It’s more of a steady progression. And Houston is ready to take that next step.

That’s it for the First Round. Check back throughout the playoffs for more tomfoolery.

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