Portland Trail Blazers v Charlotte Bobcats

Marcus Camby admits the players believe in a ‘Blazers Curse’

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The Blazers have an… unfortunate history, when it comes to injuries. (That’s like saying the Titanic had an unfortunate problem with icebergs.) It’s not just Sam Bowie or Greg Oden. It’s Brandon Roy and even rookies and second-year men who have fallen. Have any sort of negative pattern and the word “curse” starts popping up in sports. We’re a superstitious group, like the people in “The Wicker Man” or gamblers. But surely the players don’t buy into that stuff, right? Well-reasoned, stable people that they are?

Marcus Camby, traded at the deadline to Houston, was asked about the idea of the “Blazers Curse” and his answer was surprisingly honest. From ESPN’s Marc Stein:

Q: You know those of us in the media throw around words like “curse.” But what about the players on that team? In the Blazers’ locker room, are guys asking: What next?

A: They might not want to admit it, but when I was there, my goodness, people were saying, “Are we really snake-bit? Are we really cursed?” Doubts and talks like that came about. Everybody just tried to brush it to one side and remain positive, but it was hard to escape because everybody was talking about it. It’s hard to argue when it keeps happening year after year after year.

via Weekend Dime — Season-ending awards – ESPN.

Portland should have absolutely no problems signing free agents with that kind of press.

Maybe they should perform an exorcism. Or, you know, they could outsource their medical staff for a year.

That’s who I actually feel the worst for in this situation. There’s no indication that how the training staff treated the players had any impact on their injuries. But when you have that many, there are going to be questions. It’s like if you ran a McDonalds and it kept getting hit by a meteor, then re-opening, then wiped away in a flood, then re-opening, then getting hit by a tornado. At some point, people are going to look sideways at the manager even if he didn’t do anything.

 

Zaza Pachulia lays out Russell Westbrook, stands over him (video)

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Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.

Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.

Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.

Report: 76ers’ Ben Simmons sitting entire season still on table

TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK - AUGUST 07:  Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers poses for a portrait during the 2016 NBA Rookie Photoshoot at Madison Square Garden Training Center on August 7, 2016 in Tarrytown, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?

It just won’t die.

Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.

Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.

76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.

It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.

Roy Hibbert passes ball into hoop, reacts with perfect facial expression (video)

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The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.

Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).

Dario Saric blocks back-to-back Raptors dunk attempts (video)

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Norman Powell – get out of here.

Jared Sullinger – get out of here.

Dario Saric blocked consecutive dunk attempts in the 76ers’ 94-89 win over the Raptors. Philadelphia has won seven of nine and looks suddenly revitalized.

The best part of all this? Saric’s teammates’ reactions – though the actual blocks were pretty great themselves.