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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 7, 2007 12:22 AM. The previous post in this blog was Guess who else is fudging his gift reports. The next post in this blog is Torture Airlines revisited. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Game report: Suns 109, Blazers 102 (OT)

The worst losses are the games that you had in the palm of your hand, and let slip away. That was the story for the Blazers Tuesday night, as they fell to the Phoenix Suns in overtime. The Suns played without MVP Steve Nash, whose old shoulder injury is suddenly acting up, and so it was an even matchup with the Portland squad. The Blazers dug themselves a hole early, brought it back to a close game throughout the second half, tied it up at the end, but just could not quite get over the hump. A healthy-size crowd at the Rose Garden was thrilled, but in the end disappointed.

Blazer forward Travis Outlaw had a fairly wide-open layup with the score tied and around three seconds to go in regulation time, and he flat-out missed it. That was pretty much the story for the Blazers as they battled the high-flying, high-scoring Suns. The Suns don't play much defense, and the smaller Blazers (especially Jarrett Jack) seemed able to get to the hole with relative ease, but when they got down there, they met Amare Stoudamire and Shawn Marion, two big, athletic guys who don't fool around. It was no wonder that Outlaw was hearing footsteps when he went in for that crucial layup.

Another guy who was hearing things out there tonight was rookie tall guy LaMarcus Aldridge, who was a real liability. As much as I love him, the bigger, more experienced Suns ate him up. The kid needs 15 pounds and some NBA smarts. It may be a while.

On the bright side, Zach Randolph (33 points, 10 rebounds) is an unstoppable force of nature this year. No one in the league knows what to do with him, and the Suns had nothing new to offer. This is an enormously talented basketball player, and he's working his tail off on the floor. If we can keep him out of jail, we need to learn how to love him.

Rookie sensation Brandon Roy (27 points) also had a fine night. At times it seemed that the best thing for the Portland squad to do was to give him the ball and get out of his and Zach's way. Four years in the Pac-10 was time extremely well spent for Roy, and he deserves the accolades he's getting.

Ime Udoka was also solid, and Jamaal Magloire contributed, albeit modestly, on the positive side. The big Blazer letdowns of the night were the absence of Sergio Rodriguez, who's still got a banged-up ankle, and the subdued presence of Joel Przybilla, who in less than seven minutes on the floor contributed nothing and seems like the odd man out. Martell Webster got a lot of minutes but didn't do too much with them. He landed a gorgeous three-pointer just a fraction of a second after the third quarter ended. If he had gotten the shot off before the buzzer, the Blazers most likely would be celebrating right now.

Phoenix is a good team even without Nash. Backup point guard Leandro Barbosa (25 points, 7 assists) killed the Blazers by raining down three-pointers in the second half and the overtime. Stoudamire scored 36 and snagged 9 boards. Marion scored only 12, but he had 13 rebounds and 5 steals -- his usual one-man-fantasy-league-team self. Raja Bell scored 15. About the only player in purple whom the Blazers didn't allow to get going was Boris Diaw, who ultimately fouled out with 8 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists -- not a bad night by a lot of guys' standards, but perhaps a little flat for him.

After my last visit to the Rose Garden, I was talking playoffs. Now, following three close losses in a row for the Blazers, two in overtime and one by 2 points, I'm ready to concede that that is not going to happen this year. But what kind of year will it wind up being? The team that was on the floor tonight can win lots of games in the NBA. They have a lot of heart, and they are playing with enormous discipline under Nate McMillan. I think they'll play hard this season, right down to the end. I plan to see them do so at least one more time.

And now, on with the out-of-focus pictures. I was at the game on my own dime for the first time in I can't tell you how long -- well over two years -- and the riffraff tickets my buddies and I got were not the greatest. But they weren't terrible seats, either -- certainly not as terrible as the Original Digital Camera that I always bring with me. The thing is so clunky that tonight one of the ushers actually hassled me, thinking it was a videocam. "It only takes still pictures," I assured her. Then I showed her the thing in action -- press the shutter button, wait a full two seconds, bad flash, see blurry picture -- and she backed off, knowing that there was no danger of my pirating any images of the Blazers that anyone would pay for. "I don't blame her for asking," I confided to one of my mates. "You could probably broadcast the whole game to Japan on a cell phone nowadays." "You're right," he replied, "and it would take a lot better pictures than your camera." After a while, we concluded that there were in fact two problems contributing to lack of photo quality: first, the camera was too old; and second, I was too old, causing the camera to jiggle too much while firing.

It may have been the beers and the Blazer dog, but here are a few of the anemic shots I took. Any action photos were hopeless blurs, like this one:

If it's going to be that bad, might as well go with a garage-sale-artsy mess:

Seeing how badly the action photos were going, I settled on taking pictures of quiet moments. Even then it wasn't exactly Sports Illustrated stuff. Like this Blazers huddle during a timeout, posted just in case you were having trouble falling asleep:

Here you can barely recognize Brandon Roy about to take a foul shot:

Here's Zach attempting a free throw toward the end of the fourth quarter:

Feel the drama as the fourth quarter was winding down:

Along with the awful final outcome of the game, the absence of the Blazer Dancers was a sour note. You talk about keeping Portland weird -- whoever's choreographing them these days seems to be taking whatever Paula Abdul is on. But you come to expect to see the gals out there, and we missed them tonight. Curses on whoever the dang employment lawyer is who's insuring that they get a night off once in a while.

All we were left with to keep us occupied during the timeouts were the T-shirt cannons. These are the bazooka-like things that are brought out to shoot Blazer shirts high into the crowd. They're quite powerful -- they can reach all the way to the upper back corners of the cavernous arena. So awe-inspiring were the guns that they raised some interesting questions that no one in our party could answer: Who invented the T-shirt gun? Is it patented? When will the patent expire? Your intellectual property quiz of the night.

Anyway, though it was a rough evening on the court for the Blazers, I think they made a lot of friends (if not believers) in the stands. As I've been saying all season, they are definitely worth rooting for, and only one step away from becoming a really good team. And that's just with the core of young fellows that's here now. No big trades are going to be necessary. Just time.

Comments (8)

If we can keep him out of jail

There was in interesting take on the local sports talk station a few weeks back. Basically their hypothesis was Zach is 25 and hasn't been to jail yet. If he was headed in that direction, he'd have been there by now. So maybe it's time to ease up off of him. Yeah, he lives an out-there lifestyle, but then so did Bill Walton.

the absence of the Blazer Dancers was a sour note

The Blazer dancers are terrible. Absolutely unwatchable unless you're into pole dancing. The stunt team, however, has been a pleasant surprise since their introduction.

As it stands now, we would have to fight up through 4 teams(Sacramento, New Orleans/OKC, Minnesota, and Golden State), while we kept Seattle at bay right behind us. Then we'd have to take a spot from the Clippers or Denver. You know Denver is going to be tough if Iverson and Anthony stay on the court, and frankly, Golden State could be a problem as they're just getting used to some strong new additions. Plus, after the Blazers beat Minnesota - which led to the optimism locally - the T-Wolves went out and ended the Suns winning streak. The main thing is that the Blazer wins seem to be glorious effort-type games, and you need more cakewalks. That doesn't mean it can't happen, but if it doesn't, the growing pains will pay-off either way. I know Travis Outlaw is going to relive that shot for a while.

Ok, Jack, it's time you buckle down and get yourself a digital SLR like the Nikon D50. It's affordable, a great camera, and you'll feel like a pro (even on those SI-style action shots) in minutes.

Blazer's Dog?


So the next step was deciding on what the mascot would be. We wanted something that would be tough, athletic, and respected but also could be cute, cuddly and uniquely Trail Blazers. Since almost all of the best mascots are animals, we decided to go in that direction. What kind of animal?

Of all the animals native to the Pacific Northwest we looked at a raccoon, eagle, hawk, bobcat, mountain lion, and many others. After hiring a mascot design company to render test drawings, we decided that the mountain lion best embodied what we were looking for- powerful and athletic, yet in another way cute and cuddly. To make the character uniquely Trail Blazers, the designer added flaming ears and colored the fur in the Trail Blazers new silver color. Because of these unique attributes and the desire to differentiate the character from other cougar mascots, we dubbed the character "Blaze," the one and only in a new species called the "Trail Cat."

So Blaze the Trail Cat was born, the Portland Trail Blazers first ever mascot. We expect him to add lots of fun in the arena and to put smiles on faces of Trail Blazers fans throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington. Watch for him at a game in the Rose Garden or at a community appearance near you.

Okay Jack, are you reporting your "all expense evenings" at the Rose Garden like a good little boy? The press is on to you.

from the looks of the pics you took, you were sitting somewhere just below the suite i was in. i was just glad to see the blazers didn't completely crumble in the first half and stumble their way along the second. decent game play, skills and timing needs work.

What's with those warm-up jackets? They have some weird design on the back that makes them look like they are wearing baby carriers, or strapped to a plow or something.

I've got it: sports bras! That's what the back of the warm-up jackets look like.


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In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
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King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
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Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
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Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
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James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
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Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
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Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
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Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
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Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
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Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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