Sports News

Shooting Stars

Puppets, pianos, and Przybilla!

April 1, 2009

What was your favorite moment of Tuesday’s 125-104 blowout win over Utah?

LaMarcus Aldridge continuing his torrid streak with 26 points, a few of which came on back-breaking dunks? Brandon Roy throwing up a painterly 25 and 11 assists? Young Nicolas Batum starting for the injured Rudy and contributing 17 points? Greg Oden looking like he’s rounding back into shape with a late surge?

Personally, my favorite moment was Joel Przybilla once again going nose-to-nose with an overinflated ego (this timeit was Utah’s Carlos Boozer), showing that the fresh-faced Blazers aren’t as soft as you think. Because for all the highlight reel moments and buzzer-to-buzzer domination it was Przybilla’s flexing, his Twisted Sister “We’re Not Gonna Take It” trash-talk that says all you really need to know about what lies ahead for Portland.

The Blazers are two wins away from clinching a playoff spot. That will happen. But with the Western Conference playoff race a jumble for spots two through eight, every game from here on out still counts. Snatching away the second-seed (and the Northwest Division title) from Denver is not out of the question. Portland trails the Nuggets by just 2.5 games; if they keep playing like they have, it could happen. Of course, conversely, current number eight seed Dallas lingers just three games back of the Blazers.

The difference is having to play the Lakers or Spurs in the first round, or playing a winnable series against the likes of the Rockets, Nuggets, or Hornets.

So in essence, these last few weeks of the season are a playoff dress rehearsal. Friday begins a four-game road swing that will take the Blazers through Houston and San Antonio (as well as stops in Oklahoma City and Memphis). Playing away form Portland hasn’t been the team’s strong suit, but if they can stay hot these next few games could be the beginning of a historical surge for the franchise… where the Blazers stop being a “promising young team” and become a legitimate playoff contender.

Evil puppets! Creepy music! Legitimate fear! No children anywhere in sight! We’re SO there. Night Shade, a collective of recently relocated New York artists, puts a new and sometimes horrifying spin on puppetry with a trio of spine-chilling tales: “Haunted Projectile,” “Order of the Wolf,” and “Carrion.” The shows blend illustration, masks, music, and more than four hundred intricate cutouts to create an experience that’s nothing like the Muppets of your youth. There’s a reason the PG-13 rule is strictly enforced. [Disjecta/8 p.m./$10-12]

It’s not easy to tackle a piece by the fleet-fingered Frédéric Chopin, but considering Portland Piano International’s twenty-eight-year reputation, his work couldn’t be in better hands. Much-beloved Argentine pianist Ingrid Fliter is the fifth artist to have ever received the Gilmore Artist Award, extended to ivory ticklers with widely international audiences. Fliter will also perform works by Bach and Schumann. [Newmark Theatre/4 p.m./$25-40]

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