Friday, February 04, 2005

Portland knocks off Denver; Trade Winds A-blowin'

What happens when you have a floundering head coach running a floundering team playing against a bunch of underachievers who just had a fire lit under them? Normally, not good things if you're a Blazer fan and are stuck on the bad end of that deal.

However, that was not the case. The Denver Nuggets and their spanking-new head coach George Karl came into town on Wednesday, and the Blazers actually showed up -- despite Mo's mistakes.

I think a lot of folks came away thinking "Thank goodness that we have enough talent to overcome Mo Mo the Clown's completely inept in-game management".

Behind 26 points from Nick Van Exel, a 4th-quarter spark led by Sebastian Telfair, and fantastic defense by Ruben Patterson, Portland eeked out a 97-94 win over Denver on Wednesday. Patterson blanked Anthony for much of the game, limiting him to 7 points on 3-of-14 shooting. Ruben was able to play very tightly on 'Melo thanks to the imposing presnce of Theo Ratliff, roaming the middle and putting in what appeared to be a solid defensive game. He started the game at PF (Zach came off the bench for 19 and 9 in 28 minutes), and Ratliff and Pryzbilla combined for 5 blocks and 19 rebounds. Very well done. Against a team like Denver that has a fair amount of front-court depth (Anthony, Kenyon Marton, Marcus Camby, Nene, Nik Tsikitishvili), starting a lineup of dual-centers and brining Zbo off the bench is one of few moves this year that Mo Mo the Clown has gotten correct. Nice job, Mo.

However, this was quickly nullified when Mo reminded us why he's Mo. Following a rough first-half, Sebastian Telfair entered the game in the fourth quarter with Portland down three points. Telfair abuses Andre Miller, racking up 9 points, an assist, and getting to the basket at will. Denver calls a timeout and Mo send Telfair back to the bench. "Thanks for giving us the momentum, kid -- now have a nice night."

Hey at least he played 15 minutes. Mo Cheeks might be learning slow, but at least he's learning.

One last thing ... I have to admit that I didn't see the entire game. My girlfriend and several of her friends have a "book club" meeting once a month. What happens is they all go read a book and then meet to talk about it, although what they really do is drink wine and gossip. Why am I telling you all this? There is a point. A few of us 'gents whos ladies participate in this have our own little meeting at the same time, at a different location; we call it our "Bookie Club". A few of these other fellas share the same ... "enjoyment" ... as myself in that they also like to place an occasional wager on a sporting event. And with this weekend having a fairly significant football game in store, there was lots to talk about. The end result of this meeting was that much like the rest of the world, we like the Patriots, especially if you tease the line down to -1 (along with something like the over, which drops to 41 on the tease bet. Easy money), and also like the "over" on New England's rushing yards. What do you think? E-mail me your Super Bowl gambling ideas and I'll post the more interesting ones here.

But, I digress ... a few final notes about the Blazers for today:

  • Now that they've won 2 of the last 3 games and will probably beat Charlotte tonight (gotta like Portland -8 by the way, with the Bobcats losing both Emeka Okafor and Jamal Sampson, two of their best frontcourt players), that will likely make three wins in four games for Portland. If I hear one media hack start trumping "playoffs" for this team, I think my head might explode.
  • Did anyone else notice that D-Miles didn't start last nigh? He only played 19 minutes, tallying 8 points, 4 rebounds, and an assist. And I'll admit that I can't tell if Mo is screwing up or doing the right by limiting D-Miles' PT.
  • Does anything crack you up more than seeing all of these "DNP -- Dental Pain"'s next to Derek Anderson's name? Good times.
  • As for these Derek Anderson-for-Mo Taylor trade ruomors, I don't buy it. Three reasons: 1. DA is in the freaking hospital. The guy has lost 10 pounds because he's sick. Something tells me that's not exactly the most enticing asset for a team to acquire. 2. Mo Taylor is a power forward, and last time I checked, between Zbo, Abdur-Rahim, Pryzbilla, and Ratliff, we were doing okay on the front line. 3. DA and Taylor make roughly the same amount of money, but Taylor's contract is for one more year longer than DA's. What is Portland's motivation?

As always, feel free to send in your thoughts or post a comment -- the more participation, the better.


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