Atlanta Hawks respond to Trail Blazers’ Twitter diss

Trail Blazers logoThe Atlanta Hawks responded on Twitter Wednesday to a diss by the Portland Trail Blazers’ Twitter account earlier in the day.

The Trail Blazers, who lead the Western Conference with a 16-3 record after beating the OKC Thunder on Wednesday, sent out this message:

That was a reference to the strength of the conference, which has 12 of 15 teams with records of .500-or-better. The Eastern Conference only has three such teams now that the Hawks beat the Los Angeles Clippers 107-97 to get to .500 for the season.

After their win over one of the Western Conference’s top teams, the Hawks sent a tweet to the Blazers that linked to the box score from their game against the Clips:

Well played, Hawks. But I’m not so sure why the Blazers are talking this mess. It’s not like they’d beat the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers in a playoff series anyway, so how much would it really help them to be in the East?

Sam Bowie: I did not trick the Trail Blazers about the extent of my injury

Sam-Bowie-BlazersSam Bowie resents the fact that he is being accused of lying to the Portland Trail Blazers about the extent of his knee injury. Earlier this week, word surfaced that Bowie admitted in a documentary — which will air later this month on ESPNU — that he told doctors he didn’t feel anything when they tested his knee. However, the No. 2 overall pick in the 1984 NBA draft said it was indeed hurting, but that he had “loved ones” he needed to provide for.

While we have not seen the documentary, the direct quote from Bowie made it seem pretty clear that he was admitting to deceiving the organization for the good of his and his family’s future. On Wednesday, the former Kentucky star firmly denied that.

“Anybody that knows me, from the hierarchy in the Portland Trail Blazers during my playing days to my teammates to my friends and family, knows I would never deceive or trick or lie to anybody,” Bowie told The Oregonian. “I wasn’t raised that way. You can call me a lot of things, but don’t look at me as though I deceived or tricked (the organization).

“I thought I would play 15 years and win a couple championships with the Blazers.”

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Sam Bowie says he hid knee pain from Trail Blazers prior to draft

Sam-Bowie-BlazersFormer Portland Trail Blazers center Sam Bowie is one of the most infamous draft picks in NBA history. Bowie was a star at Kentucky, and Portland selected him with the second overall pick in the 1984 draft. Michael Jordan was then selected third overall by the Chicago Bulls.

The Blazers passed on Jordan because they already had Clyde Drexler, but had they known everything about Bowie, their selection may have been different.

In a documentary that is set to air later this month on ESPNU, Bowie revealed that he hid his knee problems from Portland prior to the draft.

“I can still remember them taking a little mallet, and when they would hit me on my left tibia, and ‘I don’t feel anything’ I would tell ‘em,” Bowie explained. “But deep down inside, it was hurting. If what I did was lying and what I did was wrong, at the end of the day, when you have loved ones that have some needs, I did what any of us would have done.”

The folks at Ball Don’t Lie were given a sneak peek of the documentary, which they say shows Bowie laboring up and down the court at times during college and talks about a fractured shin he suffered that went undiagnosed for months. Bowie averaged 10 points and 8.6 rebounds in 76 games of a promising rookie season, but it went downhill quickly from there.

Bowie played only 63 games through his next three seasons with Portland. He was a bit more productive in four seasons with the New Jersey Nets from 1989-1993, but he certainly never lived up to the hype that surrounded him coming out of college. Blazers fans tend to believe they could have had Jordan, but between Drexler and All-Star small forward Jim Paxson already on the roster that likely wasn’t going to happen anyway. However, they probably would have gone in another direction had they known the extent of Bowie’s knee injury.

Blazers players reportedly want Nate McMillan fired

The Portland Trail Blazers are 19-21, the first time their record has been two games below .500 in the second half of a season since the 2006-07 campaign. Because of their poor record, pressure is mounting for head coach Nate McMillan.

“I’ve never been in this position,” forward LaMarcus Aldridge said after Portland’s humiliating 104-86 loss to the Celtics on Friday, according to The Oregonian. “I’ve never been below .500 and I can’t get used to it. I’m not satisfied with just going out and losing. I’m really trying to figure out what can change and I’m not coming up with nothing.”

What about throwing your coach under the bus?

As the Blazers, who have lost 11 of their last 16, continue their descent in the West’s standings, McMillian has reportedly lost control of his locker room. According to Hoops World, a “growing number of players” want the Blazers to replace McMillan with assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff. Others in the organization are also reportedly growing weary of McMillan and his in-game coaching tactics. Criticizing his players’ effort in Friday’s Celtics loss probably doesn’t help his standing. In McMillian’s defense, the Blazers did trail by 43 at one point.

“That’s an unprofessional approach,” McMillan said after the game. “There was no basketball being played out there tonight. We can try harder than that. We can play better than that. We pretty much allowed their team to jump on us and I don’t think we responded.”

McMillan has led a Blazers squad that for the last several seasons has shown plenty of promise, but injuries always managed to derail any big hopes. If McMillan has lost his own players’ faith, Blazers management probably has no other choice but to show him the door. But it’s worth noting his cause this season wasn’t helped by Brandon Roy’s abrupt retirement and Greg Oden once again showing us parts of his body are made of paper clips and bubble gum.

Photo credit: Jason O. Watson, US Presswire

Blazers Fan Wins Car on One-Handed, Half-Court Shot (Video)

Should NBA teams explore changing the half-court fan shot to the three quarter-court fan shot?  If not, there could be a lot more cars given away.  I don’t know if humans are evolving and are now more capable of sinking the half-court shot, but I feel like we’ve seen a lot of them lately.  Just a couple weeks ago we saw a Sacramento Kings fan hit the shot to win a Kia.  We praised that fan for swishing the shot and not needing the glass, but he was outdone on Friday night. Check out the Blazers fan one-handed, half-court shot video:

It’s one thing to use two hands.  It’s another to use the glass and get lucky.  But this guy could not have made it look any easier.  You’d swear he sits at home and does this for fun.  When he found out he had been selected to attempt the shot, he probably put in an order for some nice seat covers for the Toyota truck he knew he was about to win.  Talk about owning it.


Greg Oden Is a Heck of a Pitchman

Since he’s out for the season with knee surgery, he sure has a lot of time on his hands and ESPN the Magazine decided to wrangle the budding star for a commercial shoot promoting his appearance on the magazine’s cover recently. Though the commercial has been around for a while, it’s cracked me up to the point where I decided I had to post it — much like the Chris Bosh spot. Enjoy the subtle humor of one Greg Oden:

I love that guy. He may look like he fought in World War II, but Greg Oden is one funny ass young dude. He has such a warm personality and is definitely a guy I’ll be rooting for when he gets healthy. Here’s to a speedy recovery because that big man can sell.

UPDATE: Yet another reason to love Mr. Oden via SPORTSbyBROOKS

Brandon iRoy! Greatest Promotion Ever

I happened to be watching some of the Blazers/Heat game Friday night on ESPN that Portland won, handing Miami it’s 12th straight loss. At one point, they cut to Ric Bucher who was working the sidelines for a report. Bucher proceeded to tell us about one of the best promotion efforts by a team that I’ve ever seen. According to Bucher, the Blazers are sending out an iPod with Brandon Roy’s face on it — the iRoy — to promote his case for the All-Star game. They have sent the iRoy out to all the NBA coaches, and I believe Bucher added that they’ll be sending it out to other people voting for the game as well.

While Roy certainly has competition in the Western Conference to make the All-Star team, he certainly deserves it. He might not command the same attention in terms of name value as Kobe, Iverson, Nash, and T-Mac, but he certainly has proved to be every bit as valuable as any of them. The Blazers are leading their division — one that has Denver and Utah in it — and that’s without Greg Oden. What they’ve done this year has been nothing short of astonishing, and Roy has been a huge catalyst for them. His numbers don’t speak as loudly as his competitors, but his team is leading most of them in the category that counts — wins — and he’s a big reason why. I’d vote for Roy and I don’t even need an iRoy to be convinced. (though it wouldn’t hurt).