Cliff Gardner

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Team Spirit

This morning I woke up early (10 AM on a Sunday is early) to watch the Blazers-Hawks game with Jessica on TV. Now, Jessica enjoys NBA games for very different reasons than the one(s) I do. The cheerleaders, the blimps that fly around the arena dropping coupons, the t-shirt gun, THAT'S what brings her to the Rose Garden. Anyway, at the last game we went to see (Blazers v. T-Wolves), our seats were right behind the basket and during the 2nd half, the Blazer cheerleaders walked around and handed out inflatable bangey things designed to distract opposing teams while they're shooting free throws. Needless to say, Jess has lots of fun with those, and she took them home. That led to this exchange today, when the game wasn't going well for the good guys:

Jessica: *Bangs plastic flappers together*

Me: Damn it! Stupid Joe Johnson.

Jessica: *Bangs plastic flappers together*

Me: Mike Bibby....Mike Bibby....

Jessica: *Bangs plastic flappers together*

Me: We needed to today, Greg. We needed you.

Jessica: *Bangs plastic flappers together*

Me: Jessica, ENOUGH! Just because we're watching a game on TV doesn't mean you get to pretend we're sitting under the basket. Just stop.

*15 second pause*

Jessica: *Bangs plastic flappers together*

Me: Gaaaaaaaa!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

I figured it out!

Recent road losses to the Spurs, Rockets and Nuggets have made it clear that the Blazers lack a certain veteran toughness and what I like to call "the crazy factor," i.e. the refusal to be bullied. I have a solution: Latrell Sprewell. He solves all of those problems right now. Here are some reasons why this is a brilliant move:

1) He's good. Anyone remember how awesome he was? He can shoot and defend. If we bring him off the bench at small forward, we can keep his minutes to maybe 20-25 a game so even if he has lost a step with age (he's 38) or if he's not in great shape, it'll be ok.

2) He's a proven playoff performer. Remember that time he carried an eighth-seeded Knicks team to the finals? Blake is the only guy on our team with playoff experience--we could use some of that, especially if we end up with a 6-7-8 seed and need to climb up the back of the west bracket on the road.

3) He's crazy, but not too crazy. The Blazers tend to get pushed around a lot, especially on the road against good teams--see the latest Denver disaster for evidence. If the toughest guy on our roster is Joel Przybilla, we're not scaring anyone in April/May. Plus, since our team is currently made up entirely of nice guys, even if Spree went off the reservation so to speak, which I think Roy/Aldridge/Nate would prevent as much as possible, the damage would be minimal since he wouldn't have anyone to be crazy with. Spree acting up in Portland would get the same reaction as someone swearing in church.

4) He'll play hard every night or go back to sleeping under a bridge. This would also serve to keep his craziness in check. Just to prove this point, I'm in favor of signing him to a series of ten-day contracts to see if he measures up. If it works out, we can sign him for the rest of the season at the fairly-cheap veteran pro-rated minimum, which is something like 1.5-3 million. If not, cut him and we still have ten games before the playoffs to get back into rhythm/un-do any damage done by Spree. My point is, it's pretty much all up-side for us.

He can set us Spree at last. Sorry, I couldn't help myself. But seriously, think about.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

I've never been prouder

Last night, after the another dramatic come-from-behind win against and inferior team at home (aka operation "give Thomas a heart attack" part 9), Jessica, who had half-heartidly watched yet another game with me, had the following converation:

Me: Jessica, I'm going to ask you a question, and based on your answer, an increasing amount of good things will happen in your life.

Jess: OK, shoot.

Me: Name as many members of the current Portland Trailblazers team as you can.

Jess: Oooh, Brandon Roy, Greg Oden, Joel Prizbilla the vanilla gorilla, heeheeha!

Me: Yes, annnnd?

Jess: LaMarcus Aldridge, Travis Outlaw, daaa duuuh duuuh...weeedeedeedeeee....duuduuu--

Me: Yes, his name is Outlaw, I get it. Anyone else?

Jess: RUDY! RUDY! RUDY! And Seeeergio. Oooh, and Nicolas Batuuuuuum!

Me: OK, setting aside your entertaining mnemonic devices you use to remember the foreigners, you're missing two more. I'm give you a hint--he spells his name incorrectly--

Jess: Jerryd Bayliss!

Me:--yes, and you're missing our starting point guard.

Jess: I don't know what a "point guard" is.

Me: Fair enough...he's the other white guy.


Me: Wow, great job! Who's the coach, for extra credit?

Jess: Nate MacMillan!

Me: Someone gets a massage!

Jess: YAY! Aren't you proud of me?!

Me: Yes, very much so...I'm going to let your ommisions of Michael Ruffin slide because we just got him in a trade, and Shavlik Randolph because he's annoying.

Jess: Thanks? Start with the shoulders.

Me: Okie Dokie!