Sunday, October 26, 2014

The expectations of winning

Good evening Blazer fans, where ever you may be! The immortal words of the legendary Bill Schonely. It was not long after he had retired that we all still had high expectations of our beloved Blazers year in and year out. Long before we had a mascot, long before the fancy concessions at the Rose Garden. And yes, long before it was no longer called the Rose Garden.
But for the first time in 14 years the city of Portland has a team that ended their season after sending someone else home. They beat a very good Houston squad and although they got ran by the Spurs, they won as many games against the champs as the Heat did in the finals. Sure there was some guarded expectations before each of Greg Oden's seasons in Portland, but that bubble burst very quickly each season. Although the bench scoring will once again be the bane of this team, there are legitimate expectations of greatness. Lamarcus Aldridge had his best season last year and for a short time shed the "soft as room temperature butter" label that he has had for his entire career. Damian Lillard has turned into the most clutch outside shooter in the league. Period. Batum has done a little bit of everything on the court to earn the big payday that he received.
Speaking of pay days, the city of Portland waits with baited breath for Aldridge's decision on an extension. It seems like so long ago that the front office had a decision to make in giving Brandon Roy a maximum contract and letting Lamarcus have a take it or leave it pay date. The shoe it seems is on the other foot and don't believe for a second that Lamarcus doesn't relish his situation now. Speaking of shoes and Lamarcus, he signed a deal with Jordan brand shoes. I don't think his shoes will have anywhere near the impact of Damien's, but at least Lamarcus got paid in that regard.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Video Game Dame

Dame is reaching new heights in his career and turning heads to Rip City. The most recent achievement is adorning the cover of the latest NBA video game NBA2K15.

The first thing I thought of when I heard Dame graced the cover was the the “Cover Curse”. The “Cover Curse” comes under many names and it can doom any athlete for the upcoming year or further. For example: an athlete will have a great year, appear on the cover of a game or magazine and then their productivity goes in the crapper. It’s not entirely true but it’s validated enough to have a nick name and make me blab a quick post ’bout it.

Lillard is a rising star from our Blazers and he’s getting brighter and brighter in the NBA galaxy. Let’s just hope he isn’t tormented by the “Cover Curse” to become a supernova. I’ll leave you with a Willie Dixon song title, (and a great Megadeth cover to boot) that sums it all up. “I Ain’t Superstitious”. Congrats to Dame on the cover.

Rip City!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Blake and Kaman

Losing to the Spurs may have been best thing to happen to us this season. You learn more about yourself losing than winning. We slayed some pretty big demons in beating the Rockets. Some BIG demons. Now it's time to learn and build. We learned exactly where we stand (which isn't a bad place) and we added some players to our bench.
I'm baaa-aaaack!

The Blazers got two new acquisitions this off-season. Point guard Steve Blake and center Chris Kaman. Steve Blake as a player isn't much of an improvement but mentally he is. He's played with this team before. He knows the guys. He's a veteran. He's on his third stint with the team and as the cliché goes: third time's a charm. The charm would be this: give Dame some good rest.

The other new Blazer is the freak-of-nature Chris Kaman. Having another big man to come off the bench to give ROLO some rest is key. Joe Freeland just isn't big enough, Meyers Leonard doesn't know enough and Kaman is a big veteran. He can fill the void and give quality minutes. If he stays healthy that is. And that's a big if only playing an entire 82 game season once (rookie year) in his career.

The West will be strong again next season and we will be a good chunk of that muscle. We're now on that higher plane and with the right additions of Blake and Kaman, we've got a chance to go higher.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

14 years

It's been 14 years since the Blazers have made it out of the first round of the playoffs. I was 19 when that happened. Now, I am 33. I am just jubilant of the events that have conspired over the past 12 days. I attended games 3 and 4 with; my wife Verity, cousin Rob, dear friend Sam and his wife Mina. It was an emotional roller coaster and I cannot believe the series ended the way it did. What a ride.

My favorite game of the series would have to be game six. How could it not? That kind of ending? I remember Parsons' lay-up with .9 seconds left. I let out a blood curdling "No! Nooo!" and collapsed into my chair. Verity went into a fetal position on the couch hiding her face. But something came over me and got me out of my chair. I was a man possessed. I'll admit it was freaky. All of a sudden I had all the confidence in the world. I began pacing the living room looking at the floor repeating; "This is how it's gonna go, three at the buzzer. This would be the poetic ending for this series." I was nuts. Play resumes, Lillard comes off a pick and hits a three at the buzzer for a most poetic ending to the series. I clenched both fists and emptied my lungs through my larynx with a "Yes! Yessss!" That was the power of Rip City. It ran through me and kept me believing. This could very well be the biggest shot in Blazer history.

 Watch Lillard's game winner

I have to quote a little Guns n' Roses for this era that has been slayed by a marvelous Damian Lillard three point buzzer beater. It's from their song called "14 Years".
"But it's been 14 years of silence
It's been 14 years of pain
It's been 14 years that are gone forever
And I'll never have again."

I and all of Rip City never want to have that drout again. 14 years is way too long.  It was the longest current active streak in the NBA and it feels so good for the Blazers to finally legitimize themselves and win a series. The season is officially a success and I look forward to the series against the Spurs.

No matter what happens. We'll be back next year with hopefully another playoff series win. 14 years? Rip City will never have that again.

Saturday, April 19, 2014


I got this cool gem of a gift I received from my cousin. It's the Blazermania LP. It re-caps the entire championship season. Schonely's voice has a lively spark throughout each track. I get chills hearing "Rrrriiip City!" with the energized crowd roaring with the classic crackle from a hunk of black wax turning 'round and 'round. Bill Schonely's calls are so lively that it harkens back to a time in Blazermania when we we're on top. There's this level of new excitement. Bill has the perfect set of vocal chords to convey the team from the hardwood to my ears. His play by play of the Lucas/Dawkins fight is amazing and so fun to hear. When the Blazers stop the 76ers for the last time in game 6, I love his fervor, his tenacity and child-like excitement as the Blazers secure their only title. He's so keyed up that he notes the exact time, down to the second when we won the world championship.
When the needle of the record player reaches the center of side two, the record over. There's this eerie clicking loop as the needle is trying to send out more audio but only scrapes the edge of blank vinyl and a faded label at the record's center. Ssssk click, ssssk click, ssssk click. Where there was once the amazing call of the Blazers winning it all filling my room, there's now only silence. Silence broken by this horror film esque clicking of the finished LP. Ssssk click, ssssk click, ssssk click. I look over my shoulder to see the black disc rotating with a slight warble to it's orbit. It wants to keep playing. I want it to keep playing. But the Blazers of the 1976-77 season are done playing.

The Blazers of the 2013-2014 season aren't done playing. They have a playoff series to win to keep this season alive. Listening to Blazermania has reminded me why I love this time of year so much. It's exciting. It's unpredictable. I don't want that record needle to hit the end of this season too soon.

I am not ready to hear: Ssssk click, ssssk click, ssssk click.

Rip City.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

I'm Seeing Stars!

For the first time in 20 years the Blazers have two players going to the All Star Game. Congrats to Aldridge, Lillard and Blazer basketball. It's great that we have such talent on our team to showcase on the national stage.
High fives rule.
Kevin Love being named a starter over Aldridge is something I don't agree with. Love averages basically a point and a rebound more a game than LA.  It's obvious Aldridge's contributions are worth way more to the Blazers who are 34-13 than Love's Timber-pups with a lowly record of 23-24. When two players are so evenly matched, I think the team record should be more of a factor.

Lillard's continuing his magical beginnings with an All Star nod after last year's ROY and All Star skills competition title. He continues to step it up. A lot of people think the Sun's Goran Dragic got snubbed but it's clear, the coaches made the right call by sending Lillard.

Fans shouldn't be able to vote for the All Star game. Why? Kobe's an All Star! He's played in 6 games this year and averaging under 14 points. It's a joke. I think Bryant handled it great giving Lillard a shout out saying; "My advice would be to vote for some of these younger players, the Damian Lillards of the world." It was jubilant to have an NBA great show praise to Dame.

Portland sending two players to the All Star game is a huge step in the right direction. We've won as many games now as we did all last season. With over two months to play we've got a lot of work to do, but it's obvious, we've got the star talent to get it done.

Rip City, baby!