trail blazers

Remember Hickory High!

April 21, 2009

They’re probably still scrubbing the blood out the Rose Garden floor.

Three days after the historically brutal violation that many (namely, me) are comparing to a particularly unsavory scene from Oz, the Trail Blazers and their fans are having to recover from the pain of smashed expectations. It’s one thing to lose, but to be humiliated, beheaded, and have your head placed on a spit in front of a nationally televised audience? Well, there’s a reason why tonight’s Game Two has been relegated to the NBA Network for everyone outside of Oregon.

Did Portland get hosed by the refs (who apparently forgot that when Brandon Roy gets kneed in the back of the head it’s okay to blow the whistle)? Yes. But not 27-points worth. The Rockets were tougher, stronger, and just plain better. Earlier on that Saturday I heard one of the announcers, former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy, boldly declare that Houston would get past the Blazers in round one and would make it look easy in the process. I laughed. Now he’s looking like Nostradamus.

The good news: Houston can’t possibly stay as hot as they were Saturday night. Yao Ming will likely miss at least one shot tonight and Aaron Brooks will (hopefully) remember that he is, in fact, Aaron Brooks…not Isiah Thomas.

But the Trail Blazers can’t just rely on the Rockets returning to earth. L.A. needs to stop settling for fadeaway jumpers, put his shoulder down, and take that Frankenmullet Argentine to the rack. Oden needs to stop getting outrebounded by a 5-year-old man. And Roy, as superhuman as he is, MUST finish at the rim. He can’t just throw himself at the basket and hope to get the call. We already know he won’t.

There’s a sign hanging from my office window that I snagged from the pep rally last week. It says, "Just Do It, Portland." And yes, I know that it’s a hackneyed Nike ad…but the thought is pure: Suck it up, Blazers. Strap on your jock strap extra tight. And let’s get ready for war.

Let’s go Blazers.

And while we’re waiting for tipoff, here’s a wonderful time waster and the best use of a bracket-type tournament since my college roommates and I ranked the top 64 hottest girls on our campus back in 1996. (Hey, it was a Christian college…we had time on our hands.)

It’s called the Name of the Year and it pits a surprising wealth of odd, funny, and scandalous names until one winner is declared. It’s down to the finals (though you should check out the archives) and you can still vote for the winner. My money is on Barkevious Mingo. (Yes…Barkevious!)

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