Rabid Blazers fans and my ill-conceived baiting them aside, I've really be surprised by the way Portland has handled this series. Canzano might be the poster-boy for whining, but he's not the only Oregon media member asking Blazers and coaches about "Amare's elbows" or the Suns "dirty play" on a daily basis.
And of course there's Nate McMillan himself who felt the need to a) ask the league to review Amare's bump on Batum, b) talk openly about how his team needed to both be physical and impede the Suns from moving freely, while c) at the same time asking that the referee's control the Suns' physical play.
But who really cares about Portland and their issues? What this series has shown us is that the Suns are much more prepared for the playoffs than just a few years ago. In 2007, it was Amare calling the Spurs dirty and it was the Suns fans and media complaining about the rough stuff.
Now the tables are turned and it is your "soft, finesse" Suns team being called an unlikeable bunch and that's without The Enforcer in uniform. Personally, I love it and want more of it. I just wish Robin was around the next time Juwan Howard slaps down on Amare's face twice in one play. Maybe Channing can step into those shoes again and see if he can't get his second career ejection in one season.
[Note by Seth Pollack, 04/28/10 2:16 PM MST ]
We interrupt this tirade to bring this breaking relevent news
Twitter / Sports 620 KTAR: Intrepid @ Suns: Robin Lop ...
Intrepid @ Suns: Robin Lopez cleared to resume basketball activity. He played 2-on-2 today; scheduled to practice FRI or SAT w/rest of team.
We've been waiting for a long time for a Suns team that was mentally and physically tough enough to win in the playoffs and, by the rebounding differential (Suns) and free throw advantage (Blazers), we are clearly seeing which team is winning what part of the battle.
This is the Suns series to lose and getting it done in Game 6 would send a clear message just how tough the Suns really are. If being "unlikeable" is what that takes, then sign me up.
Canzano: Trail Blazers are down to their last chance, and don't bet against them | OregonLive.com
So yeah, there was Martell Webster, his team down 23 points in the fourth quarter, jumping for an offensive rebound and ended up flipped in the air by Phoenix's Leandro Barbosa and dumped on his head. If ever a single basketball play was iconic of a season, there it was. Webster got up.
(...and wanted to bitch about it to LB who was doing his job and blocking him out when Martell jumped up and backwards over Barbosa)
The Suns aren't a likable bunch. They talk trash. They act tough. Center Amare Stoudemire fashions himself the baddest dude in a series that could be titled, "No Country for Old Men."
On Monday, Portland gathered the 4,000 tickets it had available for Game 6, put them on sale to the public, and closed up shop 15 minutes later. Meanwhile, the Phoenix fans show up late to games, leave early, and didn't bother to sell out Game 5.
(...true enough. It does suck that the Suns didn't sell out on the same night as another pro team was having a playoff game, but I can't blame people leaving early from a blowout. Nor did Suns fans boo their team after getting down, which happened in Game 3)
Which is only to say, I'm not sure they can understand why you'd still believe the Blazers can force a Game 7. They're not like you. When it comes to dreams, you own. And they rent.
(...Hang on to those dreams!)
One thing I am sure of, should we end up facing the Spurs again we won't be hearing Popovich or Ginobili complaining about how tough the Suns are. But we can always dream...
A few days after that Portland article posted—where I literally couldn't have slobbered over their fans and that franchise any more—I wrote about the first weekend of the NBA playoffs.
First comment was from a Portland fan: No thoughts on Blazers. Typical. Write 'em off and then say nothing when we win.
Or... Say nothing because I'd just spent 1,500 words on the Blazers a few days prior? And keep in mind, this is how nearly all of Portland fans think. Perpetually disrespected, those plucky Portland Trail Blazers are. For shame! It's the most biased fanbase in the league. And while it's pretty cool to see fans that care that much about basketball, it's worth noting that they're often full of crap.
Seth Pollack wants NO Blazer Fans on Bright Side of the Sun | BlazersEdge
He is a complete and total moron who doesn't deserve to breath the same air as Blazers fans who's civil rights he's violated in such a disgusting manner. True colors come out.
Seriously though, I should have handled this better and been more tactful and polite to our guests. Not all Blazers fans are the equivalent of the obnoxious few who should have been quietly banned instead of publicly baited.
I need to do better with that.
Respect due: How the Suns' bench turned Game 5 around | Ball Don't Lie - NBA Blog - Yahoo! Sports
And with Roy at less than 100 percent and Portland's season on the line come Thursday night, you've got imagine that Blazers head coach Nate McMillan's somewhat less than thrilled to know that, when everything's clicking, Phoenix can effect a full line-change without missing a stride.
Blazers Put Future At Risk Playing Brandon Roy | Eric Freeman - The Baseline - Sporting News
Portland is at a crossroads, with team architect Kevin Pritchard quite likely heading out the door this summer and one-time franchise linchpin Greg Oden on the shelf with injuries and almost certain to start next season on the bench. Roy is one of the few people in the organization who looks stable right now, and the response to that is not to put him at risk to further injury in the hopes that the team can win a playoff series.
Create-a-caption: This is what happens when geezers play hoops | Ball Don't Lie - NBA Blog - Yahoo! Sports
I see your Amare elbow bump and raise you a Miller flying foot
The Denver Nuggets Don't Really Run Plays | SB Nation
The Denver Nuggets don't exactly have a reputation of being a well-organized team. This much is obvious. But little did we know that their actual strategy is to be, in interim coach Adrian Dantley's words, "random." In other words, they prefer not to run elaborate plays. I guess it works for them, because they finished third in the league in offensive efficiency, but it's not exactly a ringing endorsement of coaching in this league.
Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic pushes the pace
Reserve guard Goran Dragic's stat line did not dazzle, but he gave the Suns what they needed.
Phoenix Suns may be reversing their playoff curse
Basketball gods finally smiling on Planet Orange?
SLAM ONLINE | " Suns/Blazers Game 5 Recap
After the Phoenix Suns were sent into the ropes at the start of Game 5 by 10 straight successful possessions from the Portland Trail Blazers, the Suns turned a 14-point deficit halfway through the first quarter into an 18-point advantage by the end of the third quarter and a 107-88 win to take a 3-2 lead in the series as it heads back to Portland.
And finally, I am going to share this email I received. Mostly because it is hilarious that someone put this much time into telling me what a fool I am. As if I didn't already know that?
See if you can read this entire e-mail.
I say this in the subject because this e-mail is basically about how colossal of a bitch you are. Do you need some vagisil for your pussy? Are the diapers chaffing you? I mean, have you ever used the internet before, Grandma? There are these things called trolls, they aren't the kind that eat goats and live under bridges, they come onto comment forums and instigate conflict. All blogs, particularly sports blogs, have them. Usually you will disagree with what they say. Sometimes there are trolls in real life. Your own Amare Stoudamire is one of them. He bangs his chest, pulls cheap shots and tries to instigate conflict. Now, you probably love this because you want to kiss the guy on the lips. Not so much for opposing fans. If you moderate a site or blog it's going to come with the territory. Say your team makes it to the second round of the playoffs and has to play Utah? You think Utah fans are going to be more well behaved than Blazer fans? God forbid your team makes it the finals and plays someone like Cleveland or Boston. Oh Boston fans. If you react this way to Blazer fans, I'd write a will if you face Boston. Their unique blend of belligerence, grand standing and tradition steeped in championships and alcohol will leave you speechless.I know how fun it must be to ban people from your site. To play god like all those hours couped up in your room balancing budgets in Sim City only to bring your town to its knees with an unexpected volcano or alien invasion. Maybe it's extra satisfying because you're able to place the faces of all those who have wronged you onto the users you ban. A cathartic exorcism of all the endured swirlies, wedgies and nurples that, judging by your picture, I'm sure you have suffered through.I've seen too many Blazer fans try to be diplomatic with bright side. Trying to apologize for a couple of knuckleheads that crossed the line with their efforts only falling on deaf ears. I'm clearly not trying to be a diplomat here. I'm here to call you out on being an overly sensitive, world-class douche bag whose life outside being a blog monitor has to rival even the most rancid of campground outhouses. Sure, you may have gotten this far and be able to write this off as trolling and that I don't know what I'm talking about, but I seriously hope when you lay down to go to bed this e-mail swirls through your head. That you consider, for a moment, that I'm not talking about just basketball. That I'm talking about you, as a person, being a complete knob. That I'm worried the people you are around will absorb your dickish nature. Or God forbid you have, or will have, kids and they grow up to be horrendous buttholes just like their Dad.Yours always and forever -XXXXX (redacted to protect the innocent)
P.S. It's time to shave off that ridiculous Spaniard goatee and fading widows peak, the dream is dead.
No, my friend, the dream is not dead. My goatee grows with every playoff win and my widows peak stands proud as a memorial to our fallen brothers in arms.