Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Boston Celtics.
So this has to be the most traffic the Wikipedia page for thumbs has seen since, well, ever.
All that’s known at this point about LaMarcus Aldridge’s thumb injury is he’s wearing a cast, he needs to undergo further testing once the swelling finally subsides, and chances are he’ll be out for at least a few weeks, possibly a lot longer depending on the severity of the injury. Ugh.
On top of Aldridge’s absence, Neil Olshey confirmed that Robin Lopez will most likely be out until the All-Star break. Portland is holding its big man rotation together with duct tape and Axe Body Spray.
If there is any good news to be had, it’s that Nicolas Batum might have stopped playing like a pumpkin. His twenty-seven points (a season-high) nearly led the Blazers back from a twenty-five point deficit in Phoenix last night. The Blazers ultimately lost to the Suns, but if it means Batum rediscovered his stroke, that loss was worth it. How do you say “regression to the mean” in French?
Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Sacramento Kings.
The Blazers are in the midst of their first three-game losing streak of the season. They had three games against Western Conference playoff squads, two of which were on the road, and the Blazers responded to the tough slate by, sigh, dropping all three. Cue the national media sleeping on Portland once again.
But hey, nothing like a visit from the lowly Kings to really lift the spirits.
Yes, I realize that Sacramento beat Portland way back on Halloween, but that was a different Kings team. That was before the 4-on-5 madness, before Mike Malone was fired and replaced by Tyrone Corbin, before Boogie Cousins came down with viral meningitis. Despite a torrid start to the season, the Kings just can’t seem to get out of their own way. Free Boogie.
If there’s one things the Kings have going for them tonight, it’s that the Blazers don’t have anyone on their depleted front line that can stay in front of Cousins. (Not many teams do, even when fully healthy.) He could easily swing this game with a massive 50/20 line, or he could get two techs in a matter of minutes, melt down, take his shoes off at mid-court and wait for security to drag him out. As long as we don’t have to watch Rudy Gay jack up twenty-footers all night I’m cool, but I’m really hoping Boogie goes for the full Tenenbaum.
Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Los Angeles Clippers.
It’s Damian Lillard’s world and we’re all just lucky enough to walk the same ground. My goodness, what a couple of days for the Dame Show. He broke the internet by dunking all over the Lakers, then followed that up by releasing his first signature shoe for Adidas. He could run for president and unanimously win with just 99.1% of the vote, the missing 0.9% held out ceremoniously for, well, you know.
The national media has started to question if he’s better than Chris Paul. He has 232 fourth quarter points, tops in all the league. He has clawed his way into the MVP discussion. He has become appointment television.
And, right on cue, here comes a nationally televised game on ESPN against the Clippers. Get ready for some fireworks. Tonight Damian Lillard is Fergie, and we're all Steve Ballmer.
The Oregon Ducks are taking on Ohio State Buckeyes tonight (what the hell is a Buckeye?) and my various social media feeds are awash in football-ian enthusiasm. The ducks, of course, have one of the most amiable and jolly of all college mascots: Rather than having something pointy, ferocious, or clichéd like a wildcat or wolf or banana slug, the University of Oregon’s mascot is the lovable, cantankerous Donald Duck. The mascot is officially known as “Puddles,” but, c’mon, it’s Donald, and the U of O has used Mickey’s spittle-spewing BFF for years after a 1947 handshake agreement with Walt Disney.
Except for that one time in 2002 when the Oregon Ducks decided to adopt a newer, sleeker, less huggable mascot named Mandrake, who looked like what would happen if the Green Goblin fucked Howard the Duck.
Mandrake (as he would later be called) had all the markers of his time period. He looked mean. He looked extreme. He looked like a duck who could kick your ass. In other words, he looked like the 1990s incarnate, a few years too late. Mandrake did backflips and rode a motorcycle. He was, supposedly, hatched from an egg in a toxic waste dump. He was Hardcore to the Max. He was a classic Poochie.
I was at Oregon when Mandrake (or RoboDuck, as he was also called) debuted, and a member of the Athletic Department Finance Committee. (I was a big dork who was involved in student government.) The reactions from the student body were universally negative, and when student representatives like me met with folks from the Athletic Department, we made our feelings known about having the misbegotten progeny of RoboCop and the green Power Ranger suddenly representing our school.
An Athletic Department representative told us, a bunch of whiny twentysomethings who missed our familiar cartoon character, that Mandrake was not for us. The point of Mandrake, they said, was to appeal to young boys and start a whole new generation of Duck fans. Also, because he didn't look like Donald, the university would have more liberty to use the new mascot in merchandising. Phil Knight and the University of Oregon badly wanted the Ducks to be a nationally known, marketable team, and Mandrake was what they were going to use to sell it. Arguments about the students or alumni not liking a freakish hybrid of Darth Vader and the Green Lantern fell on deaf ears. In the same meeting where I and my other committee members complained about the new mascot, we were told that we'd get used to it.
At least, that's what they said initially. Mandrake last appearance was at a 2003 basketball game, and since then Puddles/Donald has been the only duck for Oregon. Mandrake was last seen on April 1st, 2013, when Oregon (jokingly) announced that they'd be bringing him back.
Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Orlando Magic.
Another year, another rebuild for the Magic as they search for an identity in a post-Dwight Howard world. There are pieces here—squint hard enough and you can see the rough outline of an athletic, defensive-minded squad—but they’re still a couple of years away from being any good. One more high draft pick, another year of development, and maybe they’ll be onto something.
Until then, this is still a bad team that got blown out by the lowly Lakers last night.
A Saturday game versus one of the worst teams in the league? While Paul Allen’s other franchise is playing in the NFL playoffs? Yep, it's going to be dead in here. Shoot, the WBC were supposed to protest until 6pm and even they bolted early.
Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Miami Heat.
Make that the LeBron James-less Miami Heat. Did you hear that LeBron left Miami to return home to Cleveland? I’m not sure if they’ve really mentioned it in the media that much, so it might come as a bit of a shock.
It must have surprised the schedule makers, too, because for some reason this game is on the national TNT broadcast. Not to say that the Blazers don’t deserve the spotlight—it’s only a matter of time until they change the name of Greenwich Mean Time to Lillard Time—but the Heat’s bandwagon is so empty that even Detroit fans are embarrassed.
The Heat were without the services of King James the last time they were in this building, though it didn’t matter one bit—Chris Bosh went supernova in the fourth and downed the Blazers with a deep rainbow three. This current Heat team isn't nearly as good as last season's, obvious reasons aside, but they're still battling for a playoff spot. Then again, every team in the East not named the Knicks is battling for a playoff spot.
Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Los Angeles Lakers.
We cut now, live to a view of this Lakers season and...oh. Oh no. It seems this dumpster is going to be burning for some time.
Kobe Bryant has officially turned into an old man yelling at a cloud. He’s having his worst season by a mile, yet still acting like the best player in the league. Despite a disastrously low shooting percentage—38% from the field!!—he has one of the highest usage rates of his career, as well as the second-highest usage rate in the entire league. And his coach wants him to shoot more!
I’d say having Kobe shoot more is a subtle tanking strategy by Byron Scott—the Lakers have been worse this season with Kobe on the floor than off—but Scott is the same coach that said threes don’t win championships. He really might just be that bad of a coach, frozen in time in 1980 and unable to adapt to today’s NBA.
Were this happening to any other team it might be sad, but it’s happening to the Lakers. Watching them fail is a gift that keeps on giving, so just sit back and enjoy and the show.
Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Atlanta Hawks.
Well, that was one hell of a 2014 for the Blazers. Not only did they end last season with one of the most iconic moments in franchise history, they also managed to jump out to the second-best record in the league this season. The last calendar year could not have gone much better. I mean, a championship is the ultimate target, but isn’t that what 2015 is for? What's a new year without goals?
After finishing 2014 by toppling the team with the best record in the East, Portland will start 2015 by going up against...the team with the best record in the East. As of last night, the Hawks are tops in their conference for the first time since 1997. They’re on some kind of run right now, losing only twice in their last nineteen games.
So one of the more middling teams of the last fifteen years is finally off the treadmill of mediocrity and doing really well, and what’s the result? Sell, sell, sell. Don’t ever change, Hawks.
Our art director, Justin "Scrappers" Morrison, apparently has a lot of free time, and so you might be aware of the other magazine he founded last year, Stay Wild. It's designed to inspire you to get outside, whether it be to surf, hike, hunt, skateboard, or some other mildly death defying activity. That kind of inspo is even more needed at this time of year, when it too often seems like the sensible thing to do is to marathon Netflix shows and maybe occasionally venture to the closest neighborhood bar.
If that kind of softening, sedentary life isn't the one you most want to lead, you'll find plenty of like minded souls at tonight's launch party for Stay Wild's winter issue. According to Justin, the edition includes "surfing in Iceland, a ladies only motorcycle ride in Southern California, snowboarding in Hawaii, a trail running interview with Jason Lytle of the band Grandaddy, interviews with creative outdoorsy folks, and a poem about skateboarding in London... That last one sounds weird as shit, so just watch the video and it'll make sense:"
The takeaway: Skateboarders think skateboarding is really cool! Do you? If so, you probably won't be mad at yourself for heading to the launch party tonight, from 6-10 pm at Base Camp Brewing Co., where Maryanne (members of Denver) will also be lending a hand with their "Beer-Powered Country Music." Sounds like an excellent way to stay warm. Or wild. Both.
Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Toronto Raptors.
Break out the lint rollers! After slogging through two duds against the Knicks and 76ers, the Blazers are back at it against the top squad in the Eastern Conference. Finally, some real competition.
The Blazers and Raptors are very similar teams. Both are led by assistant coaches from the Dallas team that won it all in 2011. Both have rabid fan bases that take any negativity towards the franchise as a personal slight. The Raptors were named after Jurassic Park, while Blazers owner Paul Allen probably owns like six islands full of dinosaurs.
Oh, and that whole “We The North” thing? Isn’t that cute. Good for you for having your own hashtag, Raptors. So, uh, who’s going to be the one to tell them that Portland is actually further North than T Dot?
Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the New York Knickerbockers.
Oh, the Knicks. The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Knicks. This team is a dumpster fire, off to their worst start in franchise history. Clubbing baby seals is more enjoyable than watching Carmelo Anthony jack up twenty-foot jumpers.
The good news for New York is...uh, Phil Jackson is around? Amar’e Stoudemire’s albatross of a contract comes off the books after this year? Andrea Bargnani is hurt and therefore not playing? Yeah, things are bleak. The only silver lining to be found anywhere is the trim on the inside on one of Melo’s hats.
The Knicks lost in Sacramento last night, giving up 135 points to the Kings. The Blazers could start Chris Kaman’s new son, Barrett, at center and still have a pretty good chance of walking away with a victory tonight.
Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Philadelphia 76ers.
All I wanted for Christmas was for the Blazers to survive their toughest road trip of the season, and goodness did Santa Dame deliver. Going 3-1 against the Spurs, Pelicans, Rockets, and Thunder is one thing, but capping things off with an allusion to Game Six is a damn Christmas miracle. Lillard’s list of clutch performances is getting ridiculous. Y’all know what time it is.
Between his heroics in the triple overtime thriller in San Antonio and The Shot redux, Lillard had himself a road trip. Dude is an unending stream of fire emojis. No lead is safe with him on the court.
The Blazers are riding high, feeling good, and enjoying that Christmas break as the second-best team in the entire league. Now they're back home and will try to keep that momentum rolling against...the tanking 76ers? Really? Way to suck the fun out of the holidays, Philly. Christmas is barely over and you’ve already ditched the tree on the sidewalk. Nothing like a visit from the league’s worst team to really get those post-holiday blues jump-started.
Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the San Antonio Spurs.
Most of the Spurs, that is. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Tiago Splitter are all getting the Coach Pop treatment, resting on the pine for the second night of a back-to-back. The Spurs that annihilated the Blazers in the playoffs last year? They aren’t walking through that door.
Portland may be facing San Antonio’s B-team, but their B-team is still better than almost every team in the Eastern Conference. And hey, Kawhi Leonard is still suiting up. Dude was an assist away from a 5x5 in last night’s win in Denver. San Antonio will be fine.
It’s the first contest back after a grueling road trip for the Blazers, so this one has trap game written all over it. This is not a game to be taken lightly. (Insert Boris Diaw fat joke here.)
Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Indiana Pacers.
Poor Pacers. Poor, poor Pacers. Their roster this season is “Who He Play For?” come to life. Paul George is out indefinitely with one of the more gruesome injuries you’re likely to see on a basketball court, Lance Stephenson skipped town during the off-season, and George Hill has yet to suit up due to a couple of leg ailments. That leaves David West and Roy Hibbert as the only two starters left from last year’s Eastern Conference Finals squad, and both of them have been in and out of the lineup.
So, yeah, Indiana is stuck with one of the most anonymous rosters in league. Solomon Hill? Donald Sloan? Chris Copeland? C.J. Miles? Those are either names of professional basketball players or stockboys at Safeway—take your pick.
But the Eastern Conference is a magical place, because this island of misfit hoopsters is 7-9 and right outside the playoff hunt. Playing in the East sure must be nice.
Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The kids are alright, they just aren’t that good yet. After trading away Kevin Love for the last two number one picks—Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins—the Wolves are once again going young and planning for the future. This team rebuilds so much, they might as well be the Minnesota Next Years.
Ricky Rubio is out indefinitely with a sprained ankle, Kevin Martin is out for a few months with a broken hand, and Nikola Pekovic is in and out of the lineup with various ailments. That leaves Mo Williams as the stabilizing veteran presence, and when Mo Williams is your stabilizing veteran presence, your team is in trouble. The future may be bright, but the present is bleak.
The Wolves are giving minutes to six players that are either rookies or have just a single year of experience. You know what rookies aren’t good at? Playing defense. You know who has the second worst defense in the league? Yep, you guessed it.
The holiday break must be over, because watching the terrible Wolves is going to feel like work.
Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Memphis Grizzlies.
Nine in a row? Nine in a row. And that’s wins for the Blazers, not hours I spent today at Best Buy trying to get a sweet deal on an iPad.
Portland returns home having gone 3-0 on their most recent road trip. Sure, it was against three teams with a combined 8-36 record, but any undefeated road trip is a good road trip. It’s not Portland’s fault the Eastern Conference is terrible.
Not terrible: the Memphis Grizzlies. The grit and grinders are out to one of the best starts in the league, boasting a 13-2 record with an offense and defense rated in the top ten. Marc Gasol is playing out of his head, and has to be considered the MVP frontrunner at this point. Yes, that Marc Gasol.
Let’s hope the tryptophan hangover doesn’t last too long—this is going to be Portland’s toughest game of the year so far.
Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Chicago Bulls.
Well, most of the Bulls anyway. Derrick Rose is out with a strained hamstring or bum ankles or general ennui or whatever. Rose sitting was to be expected, but both Pau Gasol and Kirk Hinrich will miss tonight’s contest as well. Hey, Joakim Noah, how do you feel about your teammates missing time? Oh, I see. Okay then.
The Blazers are going for their own spin on the injury carousel—Nicolas Batum is finally returning to action tonight after missing the last four games (hooray!), but CJ McCollum is taking his place on the shelf with a broken finger. CJ doesn’t need surgery, but he’ll have to keep his finger guns holstered for the next four weeks.
It's probably good Rose is sitting tonight. The last time he was on this court, things...didn't go so well.
Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the New Orleans Pelicans.
LaMarcus Aldridge is back! He was questionable coming into tonight, but it looks like he’ll give it a go. That’s great news, but we were one more sick day away from the greatest matchup of all time: Anthony Davis versus Meyers Leonard. Just typing those two names next to each other almost made me weep with joy.
Davis should need no introduction. Dude is a legit MVP candidate and, with Kevin Durant sidelined, arguably the second-best player in the league. The Brow is averaging 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.2 steals, and 4.1 blocks this season. For those keeping track, those numbers rank fifth, second, fourth, and first in the league. He’s like going through the buffet line for a third time even though you’re already full.
Not impressed by the Brow: Damian Lillard. Dame edged out an injured Davis for Rookie of the Year, holds a 4-3 head-to-head edge, and uses tweezers like a boss. Lillard is coming off his first Western Conference Player of the Week award, averaging 28.0 points, 8.7 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.33 steals over Portland’s last three wins. Davis may have made Team USA over Lillard but he’s never been named a Player of the Week, and weekly recognition is clearly greater than national glory.
I’m so excited to see the Brow tonight, I’ve been partaking in No-Pluck November. These caterpillars are somewhere between Sandy Cohen and Bert. Let’s do this!
Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Brooklyn Nets.
No Batum? No problem. The Blazers have gone 2-0 with Nicolas Batum on the shelf, and were last seen wiping the floor with the Denver Nuggets to the tune of 84 first-half points. Batum is targeting Monday for a return date, but things have gone as well as possible with Allen Crabbe filling in.
No Aldridge? Well, that might be a different story. LaMarcus Aldridge is out tonight with an upper respiratory illness, leaving Portland with just three-fifths of their starting lineup in tact. So much of Portland’s offense is based off of Aldridge’s mid-range reliability and his ability to open the floor for the rest of his teammates. Thomas Robinson jumpers just don’t hold the same gravity.
Hey, speaking of gravity—or in this instance the apparent lack thereof—here’s Nets owner and Russian bajillionaire Mikhail Prokhorov busting out some sweet jet-ski tricks. The height! The showmanship! The cheesy hard rock soundtrack! That video is five years old and still the most exciting thing the Nets have going for them.
Every year, Portland's considerable athletic and outdoor industry professionals come together to party and network at the Athletic & Outdoor Industry Celebration, and even those of us who don't work directly in that sector are invited. In particular, they are looking for story submissions:
Whether you’ve completed a dozen Iron Man competitions, started your own company, or ran your first 5K this year, you are an inspiration. We want to hear about your accomplishments, your challenges, and what you learned. Submit your story for a chance to be selected to present at the annual event and/or have your story published on our website.
If your tale of outdoor athleticism is chosen, you'll get a gift certificate for The Clymb, but make haste: stories are due this Friday. Either which way, if you want to rub shoulders with these types, plan on Wed, December 3, 6 pm at Eastside Exchange (123 NE 3rd). Tickets are 10 bucks, and will gain you access to all the mingling, drinking, and raffling of the night.
Another reason you might consider attending is if you are an entrepreneur or otherwise working in an up-and-coming sector of the city's economy. The event is thrown by the Portland Development Commission, after all, and their successful work with A&O could serve as a starting point for understanding how a similar partnership might be forged with, say, the broader community of makers and designers. They'll be using the occasion to unveil their latest infographic, and hopefully dropping some useful cues about how the industry came to be so highly valued by the organizations that steer much of the city's fortunes:
Five years ago, a hundred or so people gathered in a room and heard from industry leaders and government officials on a new initiative designed to promote and grow the Athletic and Outdoor industry in Portland.
We unveiled a comprehensive study, action plan, and infographic to show the depth and breadth of the industry here. Five years later, a lot has changed. The industry has added more than 5,000 jobs to the economy, new businesses are forming every day, and people around the world recognize Portland as a leader in talent and innovation for the A&O industry.
I can think of at least one other local industry contemplating such a study. Wink, wink.
Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Charlotte
After sneaking into the playoffs last season, the Hornets were expected to make another leap this year. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist upgraded his jumpshot from double helix to passable! Al Jefferson is still best post player in the league! And there’s lovable loon Lance “Born Ready” Stephenson! A top spot in the East seemed entirely possible.
I guess it’s true what they always say, though—you can take Charlotte out of the Bobcat, but you can’t take the Bobcat out of Charlotte. Things have...not started as well as planned. Despite a fired up Michael Jordan, the Hornets have been terrible offensively. They just got slaughtered by the dumpster fire that is the now 1-5 Los Angeles Lakers. But hey, at least Charlotte has a new fan in Charles Barkley.
All this wind today? You can blame the Earth’s rotation or the moon or whatever weird science, but Lance Stephenson being in town is not a coincidence.
Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Denver Nuggets.
The Blazers return home after a short, disappointing road trip to Los Angeles. After jumping out to an early lead against the Clippers, a silly foul by LaMarcus Aldridge and a questionable no call on DeAndre Jordan ultimately downed Portland late. There are more embarrassing things than losing an early matinee against a hungry Clippers team, though—I mean, did you see Big Baby freaking out on Blake Griffin?!
Tonight is Portland’s first back to back of the season, and it’s coming against a tough divisional opponent. (/checks standings) Oh, well then, apparently the Northwest Division is a hot pile of garbage. The Blazers are in first place with a 3-3 record, and at 1-4, the Nuggets somehow aren’t even in last place. Yikes.
The Nuggets have lost four in a row by a combined 47 points. With former Blazer JJ Hickson and his terrible defense returning tonight from a five game suspension, Denver is in danger of losing this game by 47.
Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Dallas Mavericks.
Mirror on the wall, here we are again. Since Terry Stotts was hired away from the Mavs, these two franchises have been decidedly linked. Jump shooting big man? Check. Incredibly efficient offense? Check. Raymond Felton?!?! Uggggggh.
With spacing, three-point shooting, and an unguardable Dirk Nowitzki, Coach Stotts helped architect a championship-winning offense in Dallas. He used many of the same traits—albeit with a less-rangy big man, LaMarcus Aldridge, holding down the elbows—to create the second-best offense in the league in Portland last season.
But for as good as the Blazers were on offense last season, the Mavericks and Run DMC have been infinitely better to start this year. Yes, it’s another installment of Small Sample Size Theater, but so far the Dallas offense has been laying waste to the league. Time to see if that new and improved Blazers defense (top ten in the league!) is legit or also just a SSST-mirage.
Fix those headbands, it’s time for basketball.
Mmmm, does Portland really need another huge outdoor apparel store? Judging from the size of the new Evo store—11,000 sf—that's finally open after months of construction (in the historic former Salvation Army HQ), the answer appears to be a resounding "hell yes." This is Evo's second location, after the original in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood. At 200 SE MLK it's in close proximity to local institutions like Next Adventure and Andy and Bax, and just a short hop across the bridge from even more options like the US Outdoor Store.
Evo has a particular emphasis on board sports, and represents a huge number (150+) of brands, as well as housing a ski, snowboard, and bike service shop in the basement. They're into community engagement too, so look forward to things like monthly art shows, music, and movies, as well as the perhaps-less-fun-sounding yet nonetheless key occasional "Avalanche Safety clinics."
To begin with, Evo is hosting a grand opening this Saturday, Nov 15 (7 pm-midnight), for you to suss them out over food, drinks, live music, a silent auction, and dancing. It's also a benefit for The Chill Foundation, which uses board sports to teach "life lessons about patience, persistence, responsibility, courage, respect, and pride" to under-served youth. Thus the break from normal retail tradition: you need a ($5) ticket to attend.
Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The sky is falling! The Blazers are terrible! The season is ruined! Now would be a good time to start furiously pressing those giant red panic buttons, y’all.
No, stop, don’t freak out just yet. It’s still early—come on back in from that ledge, Blazers fans. It was just last season that Portland started 2-2 before ripping off a 20-2 run. There’s hope yet. Things will be okay. Deep breaths.
The Blazers just need to get back on the winning path, and right on cue, here come the awful Cleveland Cavali...wait, the Cavs got LeBron James back? And traded for Kevin Love?
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