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  • Halftime adjustments. (Augusta Quirk/IFC)

    Now that they've officially locked up a postseason berth, the Portland Trail Blazers have a little bit of time and breathing room to enjoy the fruits of their labors — like, for example, the opportunity to share some laffs with Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein on the Rip City-repping IFC series "Portlandia."

    OK, my timeline might be a bit off — evidently, the Blazers filmed their portions of the latest episode of the hit sketch show back in October. The finished product did air Thursday night, though, so let's take a look at what transpired when All-Stars Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge, center Robin Lopez, reserve forward Thomas Robinson and rookie guard C.J. McCollum meet Toni and Candace, the owners and proprietors of beloved local bookstore Women & Women First, who have just finished doing their part to empower and elevate the performance of the Blazers' dance team, only to see the Blazers themselves looking a bit down in the mouth:

    Sure, the Michael Jordan misdirect's all

    Read More »from The Blazers got a pretty bad pep talk and Paul Allen made a Kickstarter video on 'Portlandia' (Video)
  • Sir Amir Johnson, joined by several dozen of his favorite lords and ladies. (Photo via @iamamirjohnson)

    There are plenty of reasons why Toronto Raptors fans love power forward Amir Johnson. There's the on-court stuff, to be sure — the relentless two-way work, the stiff screens, the dogged pursuit of rebounds and loose balls, the non-stop hustle that leads to playoff-clinching putbacks, the willingness and ability to take on whatever tough defensive assignment head coach Dwane Casey needs him to on a given night. There's the fact that our statistical record is catching up to more accurately valuing his little-bit-of-everything, fill-in-all-the-blanks game — he ranks 12th in the league in ESPN's recently introduced "Real Plus-Minus" metric, which aims to estimate how much an individual player contributes to whether his team outscores the opposition or gets outscored over the course of 100 total possessions, and 17th in the NBA in "Wins Above Replacement," which looks to estimate how many of a team's wins were directly attributable to that individual player's work, and the Raptors always

    Read More »from Amir Johnson took a bunch of Toronto Raptors fans to Medieval Times, just to say thanks (Photos)
  • You’ve got nothing to do on Friday night. Sorry for reminding you, but you’re going to sit at home, turning on League Pass, and watch a bunch of basketball. It’s best knowing which games to pay attention to, and which ones to flip away from, as the playoffs near.

    Washington at Orlando

    The Wizards are snapping away – John Wall and coach Randy Wittman recently had an eventful back and forth after Wall took offense to Wittman’s assessment that his players “go through the motions,” meanwhile veteran Wiz forward Al Harrington published a lengthy (and quite moving, at times) discussion of his years-long recovery from knee injuries and a staff infection, calling out his former Magic team for a lack of professionalism, and chiding current Orlando general manager Rob Hennigan for a brusque description of Harrington’s career prospects. Orlando? They really don’t care much and just want to lose.

    Playoff implications: Pretty big. The Wizards are tied with the Bobcats, looking to move up for the

    Read More »from Taking a look at the playoff implications for each of the NBA's Friday night games
  • Twitter accounts are so ubiquitous these days that it feels as if only a few of our uncles and Jason Mantzoukas are the only ones who haven’t logged in. With that knowledge in hand, it’s worth pointing out that NBA team employees of any level and stature are often right there with the rest of us, churning out bad jokes and frustrations with calls gone wrong in 140 characters or less, tapping away at all hours of the night.

    Still, all NBA team employees are subject to the same rules about criticizing referees as players, coaches, team owners and general managers. And even if the voice with the loudest boom in the room – in this case a team’s public address announcer – chooses to air his grievances via Twitter rather than the deafening microphone setup in front of him, the league is still going to cut down on any ref-bashing bit of dissent.

    This apparently is the case of Dallas Mavericks PA man Sean Heath, who vented his frustrations about longtime Dallas Mavericks nemesis Danny Crawford

    Read More »from The NBA fined the Dallas Mavericks' public address announcer for angry referee tweets
  • On Wednesday, the Rick Adelman-led Minnesota Timberwolves fell to the Chicago Bulls by a 102-87 score. The loss dropped the Wolves to .500, a record that in most years prior to the post-Jordan era would earn a Western Conference team a playoff berth, and a mark that would easily slide Minnesota into the eighth spot in this year’s Eastern playoffs bracket. Minnesota will not be making the playoffs this year, though.

    Wolves forward Kevin Love hyper-extended his right (shooting) elbow during the game and suffered through a 7-20 night, Bulls center Joakim Noah abused both Love and impressive Minnnesota rookie big man Gorgui Dieng for a 15-point, 13-rebound, 10-assist triple-double, as the Timberwolves (who were officially eliminated from the playoffs earlier in April) continued to play out the string.

    Which is a shame, on so many levels. For one, it will deny NBA fans the chance to watch the brilliant Kevin Love play into the postseason. It will leave one of the NBA’s most fluid and

    Read More »from This could be the last we see of the great Rick Adelman


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