NBA Playoffs: Blazers need no excuses, take Game One over Suns

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Blazers_Suns.jpgNo Greg Oden. No Joel Przybilla. No Brandon Roy. No homecourt advantage.

No problem.

The Blazers shocked the Suns in Phoenix to take Game One 105-100. The Blazers were without Brandon Roy, but were simply willing to do whatever it took to get the job done. They crashed the glass on both sides of the floor, utterly dominating the Suns inside, especially Amar’e Stoudemire. They were disciplined to a ridiculous degree, constantly slowing the pace down and getting back on transition defense to cut the head off the Phoenix snake. They ran off every three, and on offense, simply executed in whatever way they had to.

The hero was Andre Miller, who wound up with a “I know this sounds crazy but the line doesn’t do him justice” game of 31 points, 8 assists, and 5 rebounds. He worked over Jason Richardson, who had one of the worst games of his career defensively. Miller on the other hand did everything. Drives inside, pull-up jumpers, even nailing a three when Richardson became confused on a rotation and simply conceded a three. Conceded a three! In the playoffs! I don’t care if Ben Wallace is on the outside, you have to run that off! (Of course, Miller had only hit 16 3 pointers all year, but right now number 17 is looking pretty important.)

But it was that kind of night for both clubs.

The Suns’ bread and butter, the unstoppable play, the Nash-Amare pick and roll was completely shut down. Amar’e went scoreless for the entire 2nd quarter, and looked like he was just waiting on free agency to start. The Blazers ran the double front on him, constantly working to deny the pass of the pick and severely limiting him. On the other end, the Blazers created open looks all over the floor, and Nicolas Batum was simply brilliant.

And yet, despite all of that, Steve Nash had a chance to tie with four seconds left.

So now the Suns have to look at themselves and figure out how the Blazers, with no Brandon Roy, with no Greg Oden, with no homecourt advantage, have taken them into the hole.

The answer?

With no excuses.

Damian Lillard’s goal in meeting with Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen: ‘Spark that urgency’

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Alleviating Paul Allen’s fear, Damian Lillard didn’t request a trade in his requested meeting with the Trail Blazers owner.

So, what did Lillard want to accomplish?

Lillard, in an interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN:

It was just me showing urgency, spark that urgency, figure out, “OK, what do we have to do?” We’re a five, six seed. What do we got to do to make the jump? If you don’t have a line of communication with people who can make the changes or the people who can make impact for things happening for the better, then you’re just going out there playing.

Paralyzed by a huge payroll, the Trail Blazers have been going the opposite direction. They dumped Allen Crabbe and Noah Vonleh in their last two significant trades. Portland could let Ed Davis and Shabazz Napier walk in free agency this summer. Luxury-tax concerns aren’t vanishing. Evan Turner‘s, Maurice Harkless’ and Meyers Leonard‘s are major obstacles to upgrading the roster.

The Trail Blazers could be stuck.

That’d be rough news for Lillard, who’s already 27. I understand why he’s trying to push the envelope. His prime is ticking down.

I’m just not sure Portland can help him accomplish his championship-contention goals anytime soon, as hard as he presses.

Adam Silver jokingly thanks Magic Johnson for paying for All-Star Legends Brunch

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The NBA held its annual All-Star Legends Brunch last weekend. Jerry West, James Worthy, Bill Walton and Magic Johnson were honored.

And NBA commissioner Adam Silver delivered a great line while addressing the event.

Silver, via Steve Aschburner of NBA.com:

“Magic, thank you for paying for the brunch today.”

So, that’s why Johnson got fined for $50,000 for tampering for innocuous comments about Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Nate ‘Tiny’ Archibald reveals he’s living with incurable heart disease

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The National Basketball Players Association and NBA set up health screenings for former players.

Nate “Tiny” Archibald, who starred for the Kansas City Kings and Boston Celtics, took advantage. Unfortunately, he learned a difficult outcome.

Jackie MacMullan of ESPN:

IT WAS DECEMBER 2016 when Archibald learned of his diagnosis, during a free screening at the New York offices of the NBPA. And now, more than a year later, he’s still reeling from the news.

“What I have is really rare,” he says. “There’s no pills, nothing they have found that works. I’m being tested all the time, just hoping, you know?

“My [heart] could go any minute. But I’m not ready for that. I want to be around for a long time.”

The medical community has had little success solving the riddle of amyloidosis. For those who suffer from it, aside from participating in clinical trials, or the possibility of a heart transplant, which at Archibald’s age may not be viable, there isn’t much that can be done.

We celebrated Archibald’s 69th birthday last fall with this highlight video. If you’re not familiar with the 6-foot-1 guard’s exciting game, get acquainted:

Hopefully, Archibald gets his wish and sticks around a long time.

Jeremy Lin: I believe J.J. Redick

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76ers guard J.J. Redick explained then apologized for saying what sounded like a slur for Chinese people, claiming he was tongue-tied.

Nets guard Jeremy Lin:

Lin’s Asian-American heritage helps make him very popular with the same people most offended by Redick. Lin vouching for Redick will likely go a long way in diffusing tension.