1). Playoffs back. Thoughts Back.
2). Simple pleasures: Mike Conley playing basketball. BBQ nachos. Tony Allen stopping others from playing basketball. Grindhouse grinding.
3). I’m a man of few talents. Put leftovers in front of me and they’ll be gone before you can open the Tupperware. I’m internationally ranked in SNES NBA Jam. That’s not the full list, but I’ve touched on the high points.
4). Damian Lillard’s got many talents, certainly more than me. The problem is that they all involve putting the ball in the basket, rather than stopping others from doing so. (Translation: he is not so much about the defense).
5). My goal by the end of the series is to shame-Vine Damian Lillard’s defense into changing its name. I don’t know what it’s name will be. Maybe Norm. But my point is that we won’t be able to call it defense any more.
6). Exhibit A
7). Exhibit B
8). My second goal by the end of the series is to Praise-Vine the human wall that is Kosta Koufos and Marc Gasol.
9). Exhibit A
10). Exhibit B
11). Speaking of Marc Gasol, he was ubiquitous tonight. He played so well that the TNT crew called him the best all-around center in the game. The way they say "all around" sounds like equivocation.
12). Like how the phrase "two way shooting guard" was invented by people who wanted to give Klay Thompson props without worrying that Dwayne Wade or Kobe Bryant might not invite them to the next charity golf tournament.
13). Chris Kaman is ridiculous, even for Chris Kaman. His beard looks like a pile of hempen rope.
14). Portland may want to tweak their pick and roll defense slightly, and by tweak, I mean, put it out to pasture. The Blazer bigs are taught to protect the paint, giving ground to encourage inefficient mid range jumpers.
15). This is a fine strategy, but it actually gives up the exact shot that Memphis excels at. Gasol, Conley, Lee, and, most of all, Beno all thrive in the mid-range. Portland could probably survive giving up these generally inefficient shots, however Memphis guards aren’t always stopping.
16). Blazing around a pick, Lillard a blip in the background (perhaps trimming his nails or getting hung up on a secondary screen), Conley charges into the lane. It takes only a slight nod the wrong way, and Chris Kaman is off balance, breathing the fumes as Conley jets past.
17). Run by you Lillard, call it Flex Offense.
18). Shouts to all the people with lower bowl tickets who tried, and failed, to pay their second mortgage by putting their tickets on StubHub. You're the same people who leave early to beat the traffic.
19). Portland needs Afflalo back. This type of penetration would break any defense, and Lillard gave it up on the regular in Game 1.
20). CJ McCollum and Meyers Leonard are really talented, but they are children playing at a man’s game. They are Arya Stark in King’s Landing. They just are not ready for this.
21). Everything went right tonight. Conley didn’t have to play much. Portland didn’t have the bodies. Gasol and Koufos protected the paint. Z-Bo beat his chest as if it were a war drum. Beno played out of his Slovenian skull.
22). In other words, we have scientific evidence that I did not gamble on this game.
23). Worth it. Bring on Game 2.