Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Surfing on a Rocket

[Editor's Note: DT missed all but three minutes of game 5 due to a scheduling conflict, but Tiller's only licensed well witcher James Hovacious was gracious enough to file another report from a secure location within the Department of Agriculture.]

Is it possible that Brandon Roy has the swine flu? Has the pandemic struck home? If so last nights game was a prime example of phase four. Roy hits a shot early, Aldridge knocks down a barrage of mid range jumpers, Outlaw drives the lane, even the Priz catches the bug throwing down a two hand jam early in the third. The play was contagious last night, it was pretty, it was fast and the Rockets could not keep up. As expected (see last memo) the Blazers were able to run the Rockets early and often. Snapping the ball down court after every miss and make in the first half. They even managed to get the speedy and too often reckless Rodriquez some quality minutes early in the first half. He responded with a steal, a basket, and a great dish to a slashing Aldridge that fired up the Rose Garden. It was easily the best game the Blazers have played thus far in the playoffs and may just give us the edge in game six.

The best part about game five was Mcmillan’s decision to put Rudy in early and spread the floor. It was like a dream I once had (see previous memo) the blazers went small at the guard positions knowing that the Rockets could not take advantage of Battier’s size advantage. With Fernandez on the court at the two spot and the Blazers pushing the ball they looked pretty unstoppable. Battier could not help off of Fernandez which opened things up for Aldridge and Roy. (Although Roy was on an IV before the game and looked like he might fall over until the fourth.) Aldridge was unbelievable, he drove to the hoop, made a great pass to the Priz and knocked down one clutch jump shot after another. Then finally with the Rockets stumbling against the ropes, Roy delivered the knock out punch. A fifteen point fourth quarter consisting of contested threes, a floater over Yao and flurry of jump shots and free throws. I could talk about last night’s game all day, it was exactly what we knew the Blazers were capable of. I’m every bit as excited now as I was before game 1. The question is can we keep this thing rolling. The way I see it five things must happen for us to get this thing back to Portland .

From least to most important:

5. The Blazer bench must continue to make an impact. Outlaw, Fernandez, Oden, and even Rodriquez must contribute. Outlaw has been great in the last two games, Oden played almost the entire fourth qtr last night and Fernandez has been the key to getting good shots for Aldridge and Roy.

4. Brandon Roy has to continue being well Brandon Roy. The guy looked like he was dead last night for three qtrs. I have serious concerns that he may have contracted the swine flu. He had 7 points through 40 minutes and then an epic finish that sealed the win for Portland . Does he have to score 40, nope, all he has to do is make the big shots when we need them and keep Houston honest.

3. We must control the defensive glass, last night was the first game in the series that we won the rebounding battle. We kept the Rockets from getting easy second chance baskets and gave ourselves a few extra shots at the other end. Everybody rebounded, Outlaw was crazy on the glass, so was Blake and of course Oden and the Priz. For us to have any chance we have to limit the Rockets to one shot consistently.

2. The tempo in the first half was amazing. The Blazers played at a frantic pace and kept the Rockets off balance. Yao looked like he might regurgitate his live shrimp onto the Rose Garden floor. He was wasted and it won’t get any easier for him on one nights rest.

1. The one thing that gave us the edge throughout last night’s game was our big men staying on the court. They finally let us body Yao without immediately blowing the whistle. Oden stayed on the court for a three minute stretch without picking up any fouls, and both big men had only two going into the fourth. If the officials let us play defense the way we did last night. (And they should, meeting someone at the top of the key does not constitute a foul.) The Blazers will have an excellent chance of finally getting it done in Houston and returning home for game 7.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Rocket Queens

Blazers vs. Rockets Game Four

[Editor's Note: Once again we turn to Defend Tiller Historian and Demolition Expert James Hovacious for analysis of the Rodney King video Blazers/ Rockets ass-kicking. DT is too disgusted to write anything more about this terrible series.]

So the gameplan for game four was to take notes during the game that would provide me with better insight after as:

1. I normally forget most of what has happened during the game and only remember the outcome and the emotions surrounding it. And
2. As I have decided to drink Oregon Springs vodka and Sprite throughout the game the chances of both information slipping my mind and me stripping down to my boxers and screaming at the T.V. announcers greatly increase.

So Doug Collins and Marv Albert will be our announcers tonight. I’m not a fan of big fan of Doug Collins and I’ll tell you why. Doug Collins falls into the same category and Jeff Van Gundy and our boy PJ. Former coaches who were fired for being inept, yet still dissect the decisions of currently employed coaches while providing insight to what they would do differently. Every time one of these announcers starts a sentence with “What you should do here is……” I automatically hope that my team and more importantly my team’s coaching staff is thinking the opposite. Also stop calling these individuals coach during pregame and halftime interludes. You should not call someone “Coach” unless they are either currently employed as a coach or have coached at a level high enough that they will be enshrined in the basketball hall of fame. (i.e. Bob Knight) Or if it’s a cagy nickname derived from some memorable experience where said individual provided useful life lessons during a situation you were not familiar with. (i.e. “whoa buddy you can’t tip the stripper with a handful of quarters….)

Side note: If you get a chance to read the Bulletin paper out of Bend , check out the April 13th article entitled “ Bend ’s sole strip club ‘under the microscrope’” I think it is online. The report is on the OLCC attempts to close the only strip club in Bend due to countless police reports. The whole article is great but my favorite part reads “Other incidents noted by the OLCC include seven fights, three physical altercations with bouncers, three customers threatening gun violence and two assaults-one that happened when a customer climbed on stage and punched a dancer in the face.”

[Editor's Note: This article is available by subscription only. But if you've got $3 and too much time on your hands, check it out and get back to us.]

Anyways I guess I have no real beef with Doug Collins other than the time we went to that strip club in Bend and he climbed up on stage and punched the dancer in the face! Of course that paled in comparison to Marv rushing over to her unconscious body and biting her ass. On with the game!

The first quarter was a roller coaster, we looked great for the first couple minutes then allowed Houston to get about five offensive rebounds, losing the lead and ending the quarter with Houston on a 17-5 run. Oden and Priz are already in foul trouble. The Blazers gameplan on Yao is pretty solid, meet him high enough that it’s hard for him to establish position and front him so he can’t get the ball as easy. This is great in theory except that in every game for at least the first two quarters any time we meet him above the block we are instantly whistled for a foul. What makes Yao so tough is that he can shoot free throws unbelievably well. Every time he does catch the ball in the post I pray that we let him shoot a jump shot or turn around. He’s missed one free throw in the series. Almost all of his points in the last three games have come at the free throw line. (Yet for all Yao ’s strengths we did get to observe his one glaring weakness at halftime.)

The second quarter starts with a little chat with Nate McMillan I hate these interviews but as it’s already treaded ground (Recent Simmons article) I’m going to move on. The Blazers played pretty well in the second quarter, Outlaw finally starting to show signs of life, (although I’d like to see him drive more. Why is he shooting jump shots when he is isolated on Carl Landry? Take him to the hoop Outlaw….) The Blazers close the gap and things are looking good for the second half. I still don’t understand what happened to our offensive rebounding? It was one of our greatest strengths all season yet even when Yao is out, we rarely have anyone crashing the offensive boards. When Yao isn’t on the court we should own the offensive and defensive glass. We have a major size advantage yet on almost every play the only players in the area are Oden or the Priz and only because they happen to be standing there when the shot goes up.

Halftime interview with Yao was priceless. His answer to the first question was okay (slurred and awkward but okay) But by his second response it was completely incoherent, I watched it three times and the final few words are a jumbled mess. It reminds me of the scene at the end of sixteen candles when Donger is drunk and talking to his host father. I think they should mike him up for game 5 so we can listen to him talking trash. “Don’t be like the baby Oden!”

During the third quarter when Yao and Artest were out I realized that Houston should not be able to score on us. In fact at the end of game 3 I had to go online and figure out how they scored as many points as they did. Yao hasn’t really hurt us since game 1 and Artest only gets around 10 a night. It’s Scola (in the last two games) and Brooks (in the first two) that have really hurt us. And their bench has been unbelievable, Wafer looks slightly retarded but he has been lights out against us. (Remember when we had Wafer….) Landry and Lowry are okay but none of them seem to miss shots. When they bring the bench in it’s terrifying, they run a kamikaze style break up and down the court and it completely baffles the Blazers for about two minutes. We looked much more aggressive in the second half though especially on defense. Played great at the end of the third and reclaimed the lead.

The fourth quarter started with Roy on the bench which had me slightly unsettled because I thought our best chance was to ride the momentum of the third and try to expand the lead to double digits immediately starting the fourth. But I get the logic, give your star a break while you have a cushion and get him in fresh for the last 8 minutes. ( Kobe style) Three possessions in the lead was down to 4 and Roy was waiting at the scorers table. We don’t have anyone else who can play one and one in this series. Aldridge should be able to but he settles for jump shots every time. (It drives me crazy when he and Outlaw have mismatches but decide to shoot a long jump shot. I would like to see a chart or stat the shows how many shots in this series have come by way of anything other than a mid range jump shot for Aldridge. I’m betting less than 12.) Anyways Roy comes in and the game stays pretty even until the final three minutes during which the Blazers definitely showed their inexperience. In the final three minutes we gave multiple offensive rebounds, looked confused on offense, and turned the ball over on three straight possessions with opportunities to take the lead. And we still had a chance to win, three times in the final four minutes the Rockets got away with throwing the ball to no one, somehow recovering it and passing to a wide open individual for huge shots. (twice to Battier, once to Landry) It was brutal, when Battier hit the first one I knew we were in trouble. Sometimes in games you need the ball to bounce your way. Those extra points that come on broken plays when your defense has played great forced the offense into a bad decision yet somehow the ball bounces to a set shooter who drills the shot absolutely kill your confidence. (Think Robert Horry against the Kings, they never recovered from that shot) We forced them to take shots that were against the shot clock and contested and they made them. But the most frustrating yet expected issue we had was on the offensive side. The Blazers were like the Goonies for the final two minutes, running around scared, now idea how to survive or escape and just praying that they don’t fall prey to some pirate trap. (By the way the guy that sits courtside by the Blazers bench in Houston, you know the guy with the white whisps of hair and the cowboy hat……truly terrifying…..He looks like the evil entity in Poltergeist 2 or 3, The one with the evil Mormon ghost who killed all the miners……) Anyways there are the Blazers, cold, scared, ten feet below the Oregon Coast with Brandon Roy trying to urge them forward. “Come on guys, down here it’s our time.” They needed Cory Feldman, they needed Chunk, and instead they got Steve Blake throwing up a fade away as the shot clock expires, the Priz getting the offensive rebound and promptly throwing it to Rick Adelman and the Blazers leaving the court down 3-1.

Do we have a chance to win game 5, sure, playing in Portland will definitely energize the guys and Yao will be worn out on such a short turn around. (He played 45 minutes.) I just wonder if mentally the Blazers have another one in them. They broke down in the final minutes against a much more seasoned playoff team. Not necessarily a successful playoff team but a seasoned one. I watched the final interview with Shane Battier angry and cold, cursing the Rockets as I stood naked in my living room. Wondering how things had gone so wrong, but I finally relaxed after all the future is still bright, the Blazers could still win game 5, and even if they don’t... We’re Still Back In The Playoffs!!! Next year Martell will be back, Oden will be better and the mania will start once again.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

And Keep Feedin' You, And Feedin' You, And Feedin' You

When Shep Smith is admonishing Trace Gallagher in that viral "we do not f****** torture" clip I posted below, he's actually playing unhinged cop to former Judge Andrew Napolitano's somewhat more reserved argument about the illegality of the Jay Bybee memos. The Judge has a pretty solid--and damning--analysis of the torture memos buried away on the Fox News website. The article has garnered nearly 2,500 comments, none of which--surprisingly?-- has been flagged for anything but awesomeness.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Staple is Pumpy-Pump To Go

Thursday, April 23, 2009

An Off-Playoff Production

I don't know how I missed this. Baron Davis + Steve Nash = Buddy Comedy Gold.

Blazers/ Rockers : Fortune Favors The Bold. Vegas Favors The Home Team.

Editor’s Note: What follows is an exchange between Defend Tiller management and Mr. James Hovacious--the acting director of Defend Tiller paramilitary operations. These messages were shuttled—at great personal risk—between Tiller and Portland using the hobo railroad and an elaborate system of encryption. Any grammatical errors are the result of multiple translations and retranslations between English, Spanish, West Slavic, Coptic, and coffee house open mic.


Okay so after watching the game and then the highlights and then the final two quarters of the game a second time I have come to the following conclusions.

Last night I was under the assumption that if I created a game plan from what I saw that:
A: The blazers would take it to heart and execute it during game 3
B. Everyone would be really impressed that I went through such lengths to support my team and my community.
Obviously neither is true but hey......

Things I learned:

I cannot wait to play in Houston for the following reasons
1. Aaron Brooks obviously still plays well in Oregon . I guarantee you he does not shoot that well anywhere else in the world.....except maybe mac court...Brooks will be different in Houston, still effective but different.
2. Houston 's game plan from this point on has got to be centered around stopping Roy at any cost. Which should open up opportunities for Outlaw, Aldridge, and Fernandez to get involved. Which is our only chance in the long run. If Roy doesn't score over 28 for the rest of the series I think we have a good chance to win. All season the Blazers have been at their best when they move the ball and get everyone involved last night was the Roy and Aldridge show and it worked but it won't work for three of the next five.

The NBA officiating has been awful not just for our series (I'll get to that) but for the entire playoffs thus far. I've watched at least part of every game thus far and have not been impressed. What people can and can't do on defense seems to be determined by not only the player's rep (i.e. LeBron, Kobe , Pierce) but also by the quarter. Fouls that weren't being called in the first half are suddenly issued in the second. I watched Chris Paul get called for a palming violation (which he clearly was guilty of) but for three quarters he and Billups had been making the exact same move and had never once been called. Now all of a sudden it's the fourth quarter of a tight game and you call him for it not on a move to the hoop but while he is bringing the ball up the court......strange.....I think so.....

Houston vs. Portland vs. the refs

Now I could complain about how Yao was never going to get a fifth or sixth foul last night regardless of what he did on the defensive side (rape Brandon Roy on his way to the hoop) or on the offensive side (grabbing and holding Oden while he fronts him) which was called.......on ODEN!!! but I won't rather lets talk about the last two minutes when three times the officials stopped play allowing Houston who had no time outs to set up on defense or create an offensive set. As a coach I am familiar with some officiating no-no's the first of which is once you give a player the ball on a free throw line you do not rush in while he shooting and grab the ball from him in order to discuss something briefly with one another before handing him the ball back to shoot........This was outrageous, Aldridge on the line for the front end of two very important free throws, dribbles twice, comes up to shoot and then has a five foot ref grab the ball out of his hands......Absolutely cannot happen if he had missed I would have gone ballistic.....that was at the 1:45 mark. At the :32 mark with Houston out of timeouts Brooks hits a three with two of his teammates yet to cross the half court line. He is about three feet behind the arc and the official is standing in perfect view holding both hands up in the air. Yet here comes the same official halting play to check for about .5 seconds on the monitor allowing Houston to set up in a full court man to man that nearly creates a turnover....Additionally instead of getting the ball to Roy of Fernandez two excellent free throw shooters we are forced to pass it in to okay freethrow shooter with no pressure, guaranteed to miss at least one of two at the end of the game.

I was freaking was [Official Defend Tiller Paramilitary Mascot] Eisha kitty.......tell me you watched the game and tell me you still don't think the answer is bringing our third string point guard in to run the offense.....Bayless is a stud but he is not a true point at this time and they always play better down by thirty against the second string....


Fantastic analysis. My brainstorming about Bayless was caused by a severe dosage of Mescaline, which I mistook for "Ibuprofen." Please also disregard my wild fantasy about creating a basketball out of cotton candy and baby tears.

But... despite your assertion that my fellow UO graduate Mr. Brooks will be unable to maintain his shooting hot streak (9 for friggin 12), I remain less than convinced. I was only able to watch the second half due to class commitments, but during that stretch Mr. Brooks was able to dribble in and out of our defense with little resistance. Granted, we were meeting him at the basket when he attempted to go baseline... but from the top of the key he was able to get whatever he wanted. If he cools down to 50% he's still gong to be deadly. Bayless is obviously not the answer, and Blake did a pretty admirable job of staying in front of him. But the coaching staff didn't seem to have any faith in Sergio, who didn't even last three minutes off the bench.

I think our bench needs to get it together ASAP. Brandon and LA can't carry us every game on the road. Oden did an admirable job during his 12 minute/ 6 foul stint, but we'll need his presence longer and Outlaw's jumper more consistently down the stretch.


Had a dream last nite, well had a couple a dreams but only one the briefly involved the Trailblazers. It's come to that, I'm dreaming about a professional basketball team. Anyways I'm at Grandma's house watching the game and the Blazers have in Blake, Bayless, Roy, LA, and Oden......was it a glimpse of the future.....maybe......near or distant is the question. Bayless on Brooks, Blake on Battier, Roy on Artest, etc......Battier is the mismatch but I wouldn't mind making him the primary option.
Other thoughts......
Nuggets look very good against a lost Hornets team....but let's wait to see what happens in New Orleans....I think it might be similar to the Hornets/Spurs series where the home team owned the first few games........I just think Chris Paul is too good not to get a win or two at home.
Hawks.....Although the losers of last night game have the best chance to beat the Cavs in the east......Yes you read it right, consider this.....The Hawks split with Cavs during the regular season each team winning both games at home.... They have a handful of athletes physically capable of at least staying in front of LeBron (as well as anybody else). They are young and athletic and get up and down the court in a hurry. A problem for players such as Big Z, and Ben Wallace. In game one of the Heat series they looked as good or better (thanks Leroy) as any team in the playoffs and they have a clutch performer in Joe Johnson.

Orlando will play for the Eastern conference championship regardless. I think Boston makes it out of Chicago in 7 but the Magic are too good at too many positions. If they ever figure out that giving the ball to Dwight Howard in the fourth qtr will continue to get them good shots they will be very hard to stop. (Howard reminds me of young Shaq, not as big but a better athlete. He has trouble at the line but even if he only gets one of two down the stretch you are still coming away with points every time and getting the other team over the foul limit. Plus they have to double, in Philadelphia's case every time. Howard is a pretty good passer as well.)

(Editor's Note: There was more to this last message, but it was lost in the digestive track of a human mule. Multiple attempts to retrieve it using horse laxatives have not been successful. Stay tuned for further installments.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Shepherd Smith: We Do Not F*$#ing Torture

Have you ever been on a bus late at night when the last few chattering couples exit and it's just you, the driver, and a handful of unstable people mumbling to themselves and staring half-crazed at your ears. That's how Shep Smith must feel at Fox News. When will he pull the chord?