Monday, December 28, 2009

More proof that all newspaper sportswriters are better than all bloggers

Would you like to enjoy some excerpts from Mark Heisler's NBA Decade Awards? This could have all been a joke by Mr. Heisler. That is highly doubtful, but I mean, it could be the case. If this was all some satirical representation of a ridiculously off-target newspaper sportswriter, kudos. Now then:
Best moment: Robert Horry's winning 3-pointer at the buzzer in Game 4, the high point of the incredible 2002 Lakers-Kings Western Conference finals.

With the Kings leading the series 2-1 and the game 99-97, and with nine players jumping on each other pursuing a rebound of O'Neal's miss as time ran out, Vlade Divac batted the ball out -- right to Horry, spotted up on the arc, as if waiting for destiny to anoint him.

The rest was history.
Um, Mr. Heisler, that series is known for something else you failed to mention. Tim Donaghy, who somehow is not mentioned in your recap of the most memorable NBA moments of the last decade, uses the 2002 Lakers-Kings series as Exhibit A in his "The NBA is crooked anyways, who cares if I gambled, I have an addiction" angle. Donaghy aside, that series had terrible officiating to the degree that Ralph Nader wrote a letter of complaint to David Stern. He even quoted legit-media member Michael Wilbon. Incredible!

But wait, there is actually more:
Second best moment -- Dwyane Wade weaving through all five Dallas Mavericks, getting the call and making the free throws that gave Miami a 100-99 overtime win in the pivotal Game 5 of the 2006 Finals, perhaps the greatest move in NBA history that didn't lead to a basket.
That exact play generated enough outrage that TrueHoop did a five-part series to cover the fallout. That exact play launched discussion on how crappy NBA officiating is and changes that should be made. That exact play.

The controversy that both of these events triggered is somehow not mentioned in the article. All this time I thought Heisler stuck to hacky-Oden/Bowie articles and spelling Joel Przybilla's name wrong because he didn't care enough to really follow the Blazers. Turns out he's been ignoring the entire NBA.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Akeem Scott: DeceptivelyQuick Legend takes his place

Catching up with SPIDERMAN and HIS PETER PARKER! from joe black on Vimeo.

With that video Akeem Scott (aka Keem Scott, aka People's Champ aka Mr. If he can't do it no one can aka Spider-keem) has officially become the most important person in DeceptivelyQuick History.

We recognize this important point in time with another first: an addition to the prestigious DeceptivelyQuick Jpeg Banner of Honor. The DQJBH was previously occupied by only Finland, Roybot, and Kevin Pritchard wearing Darius Miles' necklace. Akeem joins this illustrious company. No player has had a bigger impact on DeceptivelyQuick. It doesn't seem possible that another ever will.

Please get all sentimental with some of our favorite DeceptivelyQuick/Akeem Scott moments:

- Groundbreaking exclusive interview.
- Keem becomes a sensation in Finland.
- When the crowd chants "Who the Fuck is Akeem Scott," Akeem Scott wins the game and does the bird dance and wins the title. Meet me in Helsinki!
- Keem drops 45 in his Playboy debut.
- Hippo (aka H.T., aka Finland's Finest, aka Hunter S. Thompson) first tells us of this amazingly entertaining player named Akeem Scott, which sets off a chain of events leading us to today. Somehow this was only in January of 2008. ESPN's TrueHoop was impressed enough to include the discovery in some Daily Bullets action.

As always, you can follow the Spider Man to my Peter Parker,

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What this really does is open the door for the DeceptivelyQuick film

Who Shot Mamba? - CH 5 from Lasterday Films on Vimeo.

I got word of this from TrueHoop of course.

This is monumental. It paves the way for all basketball-blogs that have been trying to become films. Fifteen years ago I completed the DeceptivelyQuick screenplay, but found myself shut out of a film industry that is both anti-blog and anti-Finland. Things have changed, at least on the anti-blog thing.

It is now entirely possible that you will see DeceptivelyQuick: The Film, on the big screen. (Assuming that you call your monitor "the big screen.") The premise should be obvious: Akeem Scott wanders a post-apocalyptic Finland, where the only way to survive is to defeat a never ending slew of opponents in 1 on 1 basketball games to 15...and THE DEATH. (Big Akeem Scott news coming soon, by the way.)

To the movie people: the good news is that I am still listening to offers. Let's do lunch.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

And into the abyss we fall

"I'm going to wear a black patch on my shirt all year in memory of the Blazers 2009-10 season. Gone before your time. We will remember."

"In a different era Oden would have been dominant. For example, in the 2099 NBA they will have bionic legs that they can just strap on."

"Hey NBA, there's a new contender in the John Wall sweepstakes."

"At least all that Roy/Miller ridiculousness is probably over now. Probably."

"I'm so happy that all those Bowie people get to be proven right. I'm selfless like that."

Akeem Scott Watch: Services of People's Champ available

With all this coverage we should at least add Akeem Scott to our exclusive Jpeg Banner Logo of Honor.

With a loss and an off shooting night Scott's three week try out with Latvian team Ventspils has come to an end. According to Akeem's Facebook status they are opting not to sign the DeceptivelyQuick mega-star for the rest of the season. Scott had some good games, especially considering that he was thrown onto a team that had already begun their season, but ultimately Ventspils didn't see much improvement in terms of wins and losses. Don't be too upset for Akeem, he got an opportunity to show that he can be a valuable player outside of Finland and has a good shot at joining a team in need of some scoring and swagger.

I am sort of bummed because this means that Ventspils is now dead to me. I enjoyed their logo very much and was hoping for more opportunities to use it. Sad.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Akeem Scott Update + Tell me what to obsess over

I suppose I should mention that Akeem Scott, or "Scott Akeem" as one site has it, won again. He wasn't in the starting lineup this time but still produced with 11 points, 5 boards, 2 assists, 2 steals, and the second highest efficiency rating on the team. His three week tryout with Ventspils looks to be going well and of course all of DeceptivelyQuick is rooting for him.

The thing is, with all my BustaBucketery Akeem Scott is more or less all that DeceptivelyQuick has at the moment. He is probably our favorite, but outside of some quality tweets Akeem is rightly focused mostly on earning a permanent spot with his new team, not entertaining us. That means things have been pretty quiet around here.

DeceptivelyQuick deserves better. A fair amount of people still stop by on a daily basis. And I will undoubtedly return to this space full-time when Bust a Bucket gets fed up and cuts me loose. I would like to keep things alive and kicking until that time.

Tell me, genius reader, what is something that DeceptivelyQuick can obsess over? There are only two requirements:

1) It has to at least sort of be basketball related
2) It can absolutely not be already receiving attention from mainstream United Statesian media

Maybe you want to write here. Maybe you just want to point something out that would work here. I'm not sure. I just know that right now nothing is setting off my DeceptivelyQuickdar and I'm feeling far too lazy to go out and find something on my own. Help. Drop it in the comments, send an e-mail, or just twitter all over me. Whichever makes you feel more loved.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Akeem Scott Watch: Who needs a box score when you have pictures?

We know Akeem Scott had a favorable debut with his Latvian team. (Here is the box score from his first game with Ventspils, late as usual.)

More recently his team lost to a favored Brose Baskets squad 62-85 but I have yet to find any sort of box score of the game. They do have pictures, so I guess we can be fairly certain that the game really happened.

Since there isn't much to talk about I would like to broach a topic that has been on my mind for years: Why do Euro teams have way better logos than the NBA? Take Akeem's new team for example:

I don't even have a joke, that is just awesome. As is the logo for the Honka Playboys, Virtus Bologna, and any other pro Euro team ever. We need to get on this Stateside immediately.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Petteri Koponen DOES exist!

Petteri Koponen looking nice in a highlight video sent to me by Hippo. That video supplements the latest Koponen Update, as you Finnaglers know.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Akeem Scott takes on Latvia (people's champ, people's champ, people's champ)

DeceptivelyQuick mega-star Akeem Scott is in Latvia for a three week tryout with Ventspils. In his debut Akeem delivered 20 points, 4 steals, and 2 boards in a winning effort. Follow him on twitter here. I will never make you wait so long for an Akeem Scott update again. Promise.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hey ESPN, Enjoy Hyping up Jennings.

Remember all this unsavoriness?

Now go look at THIS.

With the way he's been playing this season ESPN has to hype Jennings. I imagine they will conveniently never bring up that time they actively tried to bury him and his apple-cart tipping ways.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Coach Nate loves Jay Z, is totally down with the kids

From the other Quick:
"The emergence of Oden is getting the Blazers close to completing the diamond that coach Nate McMillan likes to make with his hands when talking about this team. McMillan puts his forefingers and thumbs together to symbolize the connection between Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Oden, and himself."
I imagine its just a coincidence (Nate seems incapable of pandering), but that would be hilarious if this is Nate's way of showing he can be down with the players. It makes me want to picture him awkwardly pulling out all kinds of outdated pop rap references, "Nice shot Blake, now thats gettin jiggy with it!" All you need is the R-O-C baby.

Monday, November 9, 2009

How long before Rudy Fernandez is run out of town?

Rudy's latest hinting at his potential to earn a malcontent label:

“Right now, I don’t know my situation in the team,’ said Fernandez, who dealt with back spasms during training camp and missed four preseason games. ‘Blake play in the 2 (guard) position. For sure (that) is one more player in that position. Right now, I’m focusing in my work and taking (care of) my back. And when I’m on the court, play hard to help my teammates.’

We've heard the sniffles of dissatisfaction before. Part of me wants to think that once Portland takes care of their log-jam situation Rudy will be happy. The more we hear from Fernandez though, the more I wonder if making room for him to have a larger role would even be worth it in the long term. He will never be a top three guy on this team, can he be happy with that? I get the sense that the answer is no. Is Rudy the type of guy that would rather be a star on a bad team than a complementary player on a great team? If that answer is yes, Portland should be looking to move him while his value is somewhat high.

And when do the fans turn on him? If Rudy keeps talking we have the potential to witness one of the biggest swings from total euphoric fan support to get-him-the-hell-out-of-here-now in Blazers history.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Maurice Lucas classic

So awesome. Thats all.

(Via SI.)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Donald Sterling ok, players wearing jewelry bad

So goes the logic of David Stern, I guess. In a league that frets over its image to the point of banning players from wearing too much jewelry or shirts without collars it is hard not to be a little disgusted that man like Donald Sterling, who, um, OWNS AN NBA TEAM gets a free pass. Human rights violations are fine, t-shirts are the real enemy. Got that? If you want a refresher read the latest on the Clippers owner.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Awesomeness of Manu Ginobili is undeniable

The bald spot is more pronounced than ever which makes Ginobili pretty cool with me. I guess he's pretty good at basketball also. But what really separates Manu is his ability to knock bats out of the air. With other humans paralyzed from fear Ginobili saved the day:
Spurs rookie DeJuan Blair simply scurried away as if his hair was on fire.

Over on the Spurs bench, they knew what was about to happen.

“If that thing gets anywhere next to Manu,” one veteran Spurs player told the person next to him, “he's swatting it out of the air.”

Seconds later, before anyone else could blink, that's what happened.

“I guess in Argentina, bat hunting is part of everyday life,” Kings center Spencer Hawes said. “Somebody had to do it, and it wasn't going to be me.”

Ginobili seemed unfazed by the flying pest.

“It's just a mouse with wings,” he said.

With the bat disposed of, and Ginobili's future in extermination secure, play was able to resume. With one flick of his left wrist, Ginobili saved the day.

“The legend grows,” Popovich said.
Indeed Popovich. Indeed.

Don't worry your delicate sensibilities, it seems Manu just stunned the little fella. I'm not sure which is funnier, Manu hitting the bat out of midair or the fact that his teammates knew he would hit the bat out of midair. I officially can no longer dislike the Spurs. The organization even had a good enough sense of humor to fill out an injury report for the bat. (Found via Sam Amick's Twitter.) Enjoy the video.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Nuggets Blazers Recap

Remember when I said that I would never do another game recap? No? Oh, good. I just put one up over at Bust a Bucket. Click here to read my rambles.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Vote Bust a Bucket Or Die

(Damn you Sean Combs. Exactly how have you managed to make me still be aware of your existence?)

Bust a Bucket is up for some Bloguin Network Awards:
  • Best (non-David) banner
  • Best basketball blog
  • Blog of the Year
Go HERE and vote early and often. I would love to bask in the glory of something I had nothing to do with. (I am a sports fan after all. Its what we do.) Also, a vote for Bust a Bucket is a vote for Finland. Unless you hate Finland (anti-Finlandism is an ugly sore on the body of humanity), in that case a vote for Bust a Bucket is a vote for whatever it is you that you like.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Portland Trailblazers: Worst font in basketball?

Click here and see the court design of every NBA team. Below is your Portland Trailblazers:

I've never complained about this before, but seeing all the court designs side by side really seems to show the lameness of the Blazers' font. Portland has an awesome team, a solid abstract artsy logo, and that stupid red-outlined sort of italicized gray corny font spelling out the team name. It reeks of trying too hard.

This is supposed to be a season full of nods to the old school, right? Why not go back to something like this, and leave it.

(Assist TrueHoop.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ron Artest's latest: Afghan Women

The jokes are easy. I'm sure we'll see plenty. But this latest video from Artest is a little more than that. The man is trying to make a positive difference in the World, albeit in his unique way. Honestly, its hard for me to clown a guy thats more active in that department than I am.

On and off the court Artest has often seemed like that puzzle piece that doesn't quite fit like it should. Not necessarily in a sad way. Its more like if that jigsaw piece realized it didn't fit, said fuck it, and kept it moving. (Can puzzle pieces keep it moving? I'm bad at metaphors.) Following that idea I can't help but find Artest empowering.

I'm sure I'll still laugh at some of Artest's actions. (Update: Yep.) Thats expected. But this video, more than anything else curiously enough, has me feeling like I understand him a little better. I'm done writing him off as nothing more than crazy sideshow entertainment.

I heard that JJ Redick is a dope rapper

And Twitter continues to take over my life. I saw the above by following Marcel Mutoni. I haven't heard any of the album, but I think we can all agree that it will be the greatest of all time.

(Sorry about the 8 Mile reference.)

Batum Out. This season sucks already.

Get ready for a whole bunch more Travis Outlaw jump shots. As you know by know, Nicolas Batum will be out for a while due to an uncooperative shoulder.

Batum was rapidly becoming my favorite non-Roy Blazer. He was coming off a run with the French National Team that had taken his confidence to a new level. Batum's rapid development was going to be one of the most interesting things to watch this season.

Don't act like this doesn't suck. Outlaw and Webster are substitutes? Please. If they were that capable Portland wouldn't have bothered getting Batum in the first place.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

JR Rider Watch: North Texas Fresh edition

I'm not sure how I managed to miss this for so long, but a team has signed JR Rider back into action.

The team is the North Texas Fresh and the league is the ABA. Their mascot appears to be a monkey gangster from the 1950's. Team merchandise is not currently available. (Way ahead of you on that one.) Yes, they happen to play their home games in a gymnasium that is owned, operated, and otherwise used by a high school.

The important thing is that Rider will indeed be doing something resembling professional basketball. That means the JR Rider Watch is still on. We will strive to cover the comeback of all comebacks as well as possible.

I must add: Should have been you, Yamhill HighFlyers.

UPDATE: Its been brought to my attention that the monkey gangster from the 1950's mascot strikes some as a sort of racist mascot, which is a lot less fun.

(Photo Assist: BIOHH EVENTS.)

Joel Freeland Update: Watch This Man! Edition

Check out my Joel Freeland update over at Bust a Bucket. The guy seems to be turning into one of the better players in the ACB League. Very good news.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Great Brandon Roy Picture

Jim Taylor (follow his Twitter here) put up an excellent photo of Roy from Aldridge's "I Get Money" press conference. (By the way Blazers management, you held off this long just to give LaMarcus a deal that is about 90% of a max contract? I really hope there was no high-fiving on your end.) Here is the photo link. Here is the photo tweet. I really feel like this should be the wallpaper on my laptop. It is a gift to have a franchise player that is so engaged in supporting his teammates. Forgive me for gushing. Brandon Roy for President of the Universe.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The C Word

Yeah. I'm not writing much these days. Don't worry my loyal readership, I will return with force in a couple weeks. All seven of you will be very pleased. For now just tickle the trickle. I put something new up over at Bust a Bucket.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Petteri Koponen Watch: Bum ankle edition

Hippo (formerly H.T.) makes use of the Finnagler nickname for the first time ever, I think. Huge step forward.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ron Artest is looking for a Georgetown Girl

My decision to jump on the Twitter is still paying off big time. (Follow me!)

The latest gold comes from friend of the blog (I wish) Ron Artest. He has a new music video out. It contains enough comedy to make it worth watching. I would have thought that auto-tune would be too afraid of Ron Ron to be so bold and modify his voice. I was wrong. Please, savor the flavor:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Brandon Roy a top 10 player

According to SLAM, at least.

We all know these types of lists require some silly assumptions and an above average tolerance for bullshit. I didn't link to the article because it has any objective value. The article itself is a mildly confusing read, and the responses are strange even by internet commenting standards.

But the article unintentionally raises an uncomfortable question. Is it possible for Brandon Roy to occupy a space where he is simultaneously not-famous (in the mainstream sense) and overrated? Is that even possible? How many NBA stars have had entered this territory?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Kenny Anderson! KENNY ANDERSON!

Kenny Anderson is a former Blazer that I rarely hear fans speak of. In the micro bubble of Rip City celebrity even Robert Pack gets more buzz. Granted, we didn't really get to know Kenny. He was here less than two seasons. But he was here. And we are allegedly a group of rabid fans. There should be no player left behind.

In his one full season with the team he produced at high rate with 17.5 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds per game. He had a lasting impact on the franchise in that he was traded for Damon Stoudamire. (At which point he bravely stood up for America by refusing to play for that communist Canadian team. U-S-A! U-S-A!)

Like me, Kenny Anderson is on Twitter. This is the main reason I forced out this post. Go visit him now. Yes, that really is a picture of him sitting with co-tragically under-mentioned Blazer Rod Strickland. (Who can forget when Rod showed up and the team's chemistry was destroyed, never to recover? So Whitsitt.) Yes, that really is a basketball in between them that might have the F-word written on it. It gets better, here is his most recent post as of this blog entry:

I love Twitter.

UPDATE: It appears our man has deleted his instant-classic Twitter post. We honor it's memory.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Happy Antoine Walker Appreciation Day!

Don't question it. Just take a little time out of your day and appreciate Antoine Walker. Before the weight become such an issue, before he resorted to doing nothing more than standing at the 3 point line and launching everything he could get his hands on, before we knew about the gambling and got kind of worried about Employee Number 8, he was doing things few power forwards had ever done before.

To Antoine Walker: Thank you.

To Everyone else: Happy Antoine Walker appreciation day.

Potluck style!

- FreeDarko said it before, much better than I ever could.
- Walker's stats. Of note:
  • His second year in the League (97-98): 82 games, 39.9 minutes per, 22.4 points, 10.2 boards (3.3 offensive), 3.3 assists, 1.7 steals.
  • 2001-02: Eight (8!) three point attempts per game.
- Contributions from dying media:
And of course, we end with a youtube highlight package. Thanks for joining in, see you next year.

Brandon Roy's star power growing

Portland fans have known how special Roy is for a while. The rest of the League, sans-Bucher, warmed up to him last season.

Respect from home fans and basketball people is one thing, mainstream commercial appeal is another. I've been waiting to see if and when the masses will become aware of Brandon Roy the celebrity. This is indication that he is on his way.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sun Yue waived by Knicks

That was quick. I'm still holding out hope that Sun Yue finds a roster somewhere in the NBA this season. In my fantasy the Spurs see his true potential, sign him, and in a few seasons Sun is a problem for the opposition. I may need help.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Petteri Koponen Watch: Supercup Edition

Hey there, new Koponen Watch up over at Bust a Bucket. I think H.T. has changed his moniker. Is the Finnish Mafia on to him?

I am perfecting the art of posting new entries at times that will minimize page views. Worst. Blogger. Ever.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Zach Randolph Watch: 18 pounds and HALF THE FAT! Edition

Sometime in the near future I will be eagerly typing up another snarky Zach Randolph entry then suddenly be interrupted by a sad realization. My bitterness towards Z-Bo has become so ingrained in my identity that I just can't let it go. The Blazers have a beautiful team now, loaded with potential and poised to return Portland to an elite level. And here I am writing about Zach Randolph. That will be a truly sad day.

But until then, enjoy another Zach is finally in shape! article. Ha!

While I didn’t see Zach Randolph play but a couple of times last year, he too looked trimmer than I remembered. Pranica notes that Zach has dropped 18 pounds and about half his former bodyfat. Grizz trainers say that both Randolph and Gasol look as if they won’t be as strong, but that’s misleading. Both added muscle mass while dropping bodyfat.
Eighteen pounds? Half his former bodyfat? Even by Zach Randolph standards this is getting a bit out of control. We patiently await the Zach has finally matured! article. (So far we only have a Zach might have matured! article.) Don't let us down Memphis.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Petteri Koponen Watch: Improved Edition

So did you notice that H.T. came through with a much improved Petteri Koponen watch over my last one that showed up on Bust a Bucket? Check it out here.

In other news, I've heard a lot about how much potential Victor Claver has. Size, skill, athleticism, blah blah. How come we aren't hearing about the swag? The below video doesn't show Claver doing a whole lot of things that will help win NBA games, but it does offer a glimpse at the man's swagger. It appears to be phenomenal. I suppose I should start paying more attention right about now.

Zach Randolph Watch: Hey, he lost weight, that means something right? Edition

We took great joy in poking fun at the optimistic Randolph article that came out of Memphis a while back. The enthusiasm is still going strong, check out this observation from a recent Grizz workout:
Randolph looked fit, forcefully pushing his power forward counterparts with a frame that’s dropped 18 pounds.
Sound familiar? When Zach was having his issues in Portland we were treated to two Z-Bo articles every off-season. First, we got the Zach has finally matured article. Then, we got the Zach has finally gotten fit article. Believe me Memphis, so far the pattern is following the same path it did in Portland, New York, and LA.

Something to remember about any But he's in shape now! press is that these are, how do you say, PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES. If a player looking fit is noticeable enough to be reported then you likely have a problem. (The exception being if they are coming back from injury.) If I were in Memphis I would be more worried about why my power forward was overweight to begin with.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Taurean Green Watch: Learning is fundamental edition

The last time we heard from former Blazer and forever DeceptivelyQuick favorite Taurean Green he was headed to Greece. Nothing has changed on that front that we're aware of, although apparently his new team is on the verge of bankruptcy and may have to fold. (Green must play! BAIL OUT!)

A little tidbit I recently learned was that Taurean's Dad, Sidney Green, has been brought in by the Bulls to coach their big men. I've ranted about the unfairness of the "too short" label attached to Taurean, but the fact that his Father is 6'9 and played power forward in the League makes his small stature seem even more unfortunate.

That is all.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Petteri Koponen Watch: Enter Scoonie Penn edition

The entire thing is up over at Bust a Bucket. To enable your laziness, I've also listed the basic points below.

- Virtus starting point guard, Andre Collins, got hurt

- They decided to play a couple pre-season games without signing another point. Koponen played inconsistently

- They signed point guard Scoonie Penn to take the helm

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Those who robbed Cliff Robinson shall be punished

Details are up over at Bust a Bucket on the sentencing of the folks who decided to rob Cliff Robinson.

I'd just like to take this space to go over how awesome and random the list of stolen stuff is:

- Five bass guitars (these are the only items listed in every report of the incident, which amuses me)
-Several off-road vehicles
-A motorcycle
-Custom-made go-kart
-Custom Calloway clubs
-White quad off-road vehicle
-Tall white mountain bike
-Three ATVs
-$1,200 Gucci purse
-Dozens of designer shoes

I want to hang out with this man.

Oh, and about the Cats incident from the other day. Sorry.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Jarron Collins going camping with Blazers

This is news, right? At least he doesn't have YouTube highlights composed entirely of him getting dunked on. Jarron Collins: Not Greg Ostertag!

Missing on Hedo looking good already

Probably nothing, but word is that Turkoglu is wiped out from a deep NBA playoff run chased with a stint on the national team. His stats for team Turkey in Eurobasket were pretty flat, to the point where his GM is answering questions about his condition before preseason has even started:

"International play has always been more of a team game, less individual, so statistics are less of an indication than what he actually contributed," Colangelo said. "I watched him play, and would say he effectively deferred to others on his team, as he was often the target of defensive schemes.

"Having said that," Colangelo added, "he did appear physically and emotionally tired when I saw him last week, which is understandable given his late June NBA final appearance and mid-July training for the Euro championship."

This could be nothing. Hedo could simply be a tad exhausted and ready to bounce back after a little rest. Then again, being tired before the NBA season even starts doesn't sound like a good thing.

(Assist TrueHoop.)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

JR Rider Watch: Um, arrests probably won't help edition

We were pretty pumped about JR Rider's comeback attempt. The thing is, we sort of forgot that JR Rider is JR Rider:
The Bad Boy image continues even though his playing days have been long over. Rider was arrested in Ahwatukee last Wednesday after the police got a call about a family fight.

Rider was taken into custody after an outstanding felony warrant was found on his record.
It looks like the chances that the Nets were going to invite Rider to training camp just went from slim to none. We remain hopeful that JR will stay out of jail long enough to sign a contract with someone. Anyone, really.

(Assist Ben from BlazersEdge via Twitter. Hockey assist Sham Sports.)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Delonte West is Antonio Banderas from Desperado

This was an homage to that character, right? Keep in mind he was riding a motorcycle when he was pulled over:
West was actually carrying three guns: a Beretta 9mm in his waistband, a Ruger .357 strapped to his leg and a shotgun in a guitar case slung over his back, said Maj. Andy Ellis, a spokesman for the Prince George's County Police Department. ... Ellis said it was unclear where West was going and why he was armed.
This my friends. I can't even. Oh my.

So...Desperado. Good nickname for our man? Only nickname for our man?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Knicks sign Sun Yue

Thank God.

As an advocate for more novelty in basketball I am very pleased at the news that the Knicks have signed point guard Sun Yue:
The Knicks, searching for more size in the backcourt, have signed Sun Yue, a 6-foot-9 point guard, to a partly guaranteed contract, his agent, Charles Bonsignore, said. Sun spent last season as a reserve for the Los Angeles Lakers, who drafted him in the second round in 2007.
I'm not sure what kind of opportunity Sun will have to actually contribute on this season. The partially guaranteedness of his contract seems to be a good sign that he will at least make the opening-night roster.

His size, athleticism, and skills are reason enough for Sun Yue to earn a spot on your radar. He really has shown signs that he can play. I'm surprised that he has only popped up around these parts once before.

Oh, just for fun, here are some highlights from another one of my favorite Chinese players, Chen Jianghua:

(Assist HoopsHype.)

So now I love Twitter.

Yep, I'm now one of those people who always asks others to follow them on Twitter. By the way, follow me on Twitter!

Also, I put something new up over at Bust a Bucket.

That is all. Oh Wait! Deep Space Nine bloopers! Ha!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

JR Rider Watch: Comeback! Edition

Another day, another report of an awesome player trying to launch a comeback. This time it's former Blazer great and fan favorite J.R. Rider, who at age 38 might have just realized that his legacy consists of the Eastbay Funk Dunk and wasted talent. Apparently he has an offer from a team in Europe and is actually maybe possibly being invited to the Nets training camp:
The New Jersey Nets are considering inviting Rider to preseason camp, Lee said, even though that team said it doesn't see Rider competing for a roster spot.

It is times like these that really make me wish I owned an IBL team.

(Assist SLAM.)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Huge News: Greg Ostertag Scrimmaging With The Blazers

This article gives us the latest on contract negotiations with LaMarcus Aldridge, then gets to the really important stuff. By this I mean that Greg Ostertag has been in Portland scrimmaging with the team. Awesome.
Notes: The Blazers continue to hold auditions for free agent big men, as power forward Melvin Ely and center Greg Ostertag took part in scrimmages this week at the team's practice facility in Tualatin.
Let us take this opportunity to review some of Mr. Ostertag's work:

UPDATE: How did I miss this? Blaze of Love breaks it down beautifully.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

How bored are you? Are you willing to listen to unfounded Steve Blake speculation?

I-Robot can't be happy with Andre Miller's arrival. He busted his ass and was the perfect fit for this team last season, and this is his reward? Nate can say all the nice things he wants, but we all know who the starting point guard is.

Perhaps Blake can take some comfort in knowing that someone is still talking about him for what he can do as opposed to what he cannot. From the Sun Sentinal of Blake's home state of Florida:
The Heat has been interested before, and Blake (pictured at left) had been intrigued by those overtures.

With Andre Miller cast as the Blazers' prized offseason free-agent addition, and with Jerryd Bayless somewhat a Blazers' face of the future, Blake could wind up as the odd man out in Portland.

And that doesn't even get into Brandon Roy's ability to handle, or Rudy Fernandez's desire for greater minutes.

The issue is what a team as deep as the Blazers could possibly want from a roster as limited as the Heat's. They certainly wouldn't want another guard, such as Daequan Cook, would they?
But also keep in mind that the trade exception the Heat holds from last February's Jermaine O'Neal trade means Blake's $4 million expiring contract can be had while sending less in return to Portland, which therefore could create a trade exception of its own.

Debate, if you want, whether Blake would be the defensive stopper the Heat could use, or even the creative scorer it lacks at the position, but he would undoubtedly upgrade this backcourt while getting him back to his Hollywood (yes, the one in Broward County) roots.
I was kind of surprised that Blake's supposedly unavoidable future role reduction is widely acknowledged enough to register outside of Portland. And no, the Heat don't have anything Portland wants.

(Assist HoopsHype.)

Friday, September 4, 2009

OK Fine. I'm on Twitter.

I have resisted Twitter with all my strength, but it was ultimately all for nothing. (Which I guess is fine since I forgot why I was boycotting Twitter in the first place.) I broke down because an account is required to view the account of blog favorite Akeem Scott. I'm telling myself that I won't start actually tweeting, but we all know this is a slippery slope. For the record, this is me. This is a shameless imposter.

Also, I just posted something over at Bust a Bucket if you are searching for Blazer summer scraps.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Yet Another Stinkin' Announcement

I promise to chill out on all the announcements for a while. After this one.

As of right now, I'm officially a contributor to the Blazers blog Bust a Bucket. DeceptivelyQuick is not being shut down. Actually, this development could result in things getting even DeceptivelyQuicklier around here. The more directly Blazer related stuff will be over at BaB. The rest will be over here, where we will be able to savor the flavor. Some things (like the Petteri Koponen Watch) will probably show up at both places.

Bust a Bucket has a lot of good things going for it, and is maybe the one other place that I can maybe-kind of-possibly fit-in. It should be interesting to see how long they will be able to tolerate me.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Yamhill High Flyers want YOU to name their mascot

What? Did you think that just because I moved across the country that our coverage of the Yamhill High Flyers IBL team would stop? I'm hurt that you don't know me better by now. Jerk.

The franchise recently made good on a promise to donate their net profits from concession sales of both of their home games to the community (excerpts from press release):
The HighFlyers played two home games during their 2009 abbreviated “branding” season, and earned a total of $250 after expenses from concessions at those games. A couple weeks ago, the General Manager of the HighFlyers, Eric Bailey, carried out the team’s promise by presenting a $250 check to Kristina Pallotto of the Parks and Recreation Department in front of the McMinnville Community Center.

The HighFlyers also helped underprivileged youth in the community by making a donation to Heather Acker of “Operation Backpack” which included several backpacks and various other school supplies, including notebooks, pencils, crayons, rulers, glue, and more.
Most awesome of all, however, is that the team is holding a contest to name their mascot. I would shed tears of joy if the winning name came from a Deceptively Quick reader. The opportunity is too awesome for me to come up with any ideas at the moment. The mind needs some time to grasp such a concept. I will be adding ideas in the comments and you should too. Here are some details:
Contest to Name the Mascot: The HighFlyers are proud to announce our “Name our mascot” contest. The HighFlyers mascot for the 2010 season (the team’s first full season in the IBL) will either be an airplane or a rocket ship, and you have the chance to think of his name! The winner will get a pair of season tickets to the 2010 season (a total of ten home games; total prize value of $100). To enter, simply e-mail our Community Relations Director, Jaime Dunn, at with the subject line of “Name the Mascot” and include all your contact information. Additional information on season tickets can be found at the team’s official website,

Game on!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Deadspin is helping the NBA

By this point you have probably gathered that I'm in favor of publicizing every thing that sucks within the Basketball Universe. I maintain that this will lead to solutions at some unknown time in the future. The League is great at ignoring unsavories publically, but I choose to believe that constant media attention on things like referees and the age-limit has encouraged some in-house discussion, which can hopefully lead to change.

This is why what Deadspin has been doing with their NBA stat-inflating coverage is worthy of your support. Maybe this will lead to more NBA oversight on box score keeping. Maybe it will lead to more rigid (Read: European) guidelines on statistics. Maybe the League will take no action whatsoever.

The most important thing is to ensure that someone is talking about this as a real problem. At some point this will probably require more NBA statisticians to come forward and corroborate this lone source's information. At this moment all that is needed is for NBA fans to become aware that a lot of statistics are ridiculously questionable.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Petteri Koponen Watch: Beating Belinelli (for protocol only) edition

You know how this works, H.T. with his take on Petteri Koponen's latest outing...

It might be that the final Eurobasket qualification game between Italy and Finland was "for protocol only" since France had already secured their spot in the Eurobasket competition, but it sure as hell wasn't a yawner for either teams. After being butchered and gutted by the Italian sports media, the last home game against Finland was a chance for Italian team to end the summer campaign with some pride. Meanwhile, Finland's hunger just grew after that 4-point win over France and the team was absolutely drooling over their first win over Italy after 1965.

Finland took care of business, end of story. Finland won the game 89-95 (48-50)(BOX SCORE), but in the fourth quarter, it wasn't even that close. Petteri Koponen lead the balanced Finland attack with a superb 26-point performance. Even though Koponen (officially) only had one assist, it must be a question of interpretation only, because he excelled in both guard position and was simply unstoppable when it mattered the most.

Examples? Italy opened the beginning of 3rd quarter with a 14-2 run, but Koponen answered with five quick points to open a 15-2 Finland run. In the second quarter, Marco Belinelli got the crowd going with consecutive triples, but Koponen answered with two long range daggers of his own right in the face of Belinelli.

Even though Koponen took a couple of ill-adviced shots and had two awkward turnovers in 2nd and 3rd quarters, he had a heck of a game and it's safe to say he won this duel against Belinelli. While Belinelli's defense looked mediocre at best, Koponen smothered Italian guards and while Italian offense was built around Belinelli's 1-on-1 decisions, Koponen shared the ball and got everyone involved. Unfortunately the two guys didn't defend each other: Finland's starting small forward Shawn Huff covered Belinelli andItalian point guard Jacopo Giachetti covered Koponen.

Once again, team Finland relied on good, steady team play. Hanno Möttölä (16/5) opened the game with two triples and kept it going throughout the game. Teemu Rannikko (15/5 assists/3 steals) maintained his normal level of play, outplaying more athletic Italian guards. Samuel Haanpää (14/5) had a good shooting day after two 0-point performances and Tuukka Kotti (11/3) had a hot streak in the end of the game. Belinelli had 26 points and Valerio Amoroso 21 for the Italians. The biggest disappointment of the game wasAndrea Bargnani, who ended up with 7 points (field goals 3/8), 3 rebounds, 2 blocks and one technical foul in 35 minutes.

While Italy has dropped down a long way after that 1999 European championship trophy, Finland's future seems bright. Koponen had his share of growing pains and struggles a year ago when he had to accept the national team's starting pg spot, but right now it seems he is comfortable with the role alongside veteran pg Rannikko. There is always room for more improvement, but Koponen seems to be developing into an NBA style guard, being able to challenge his defender one and one in every occasion and not lacking any size and strenght compared to other young guards in the big league. 2009/2010 will definitely be an important year for Koponen; he has to fight for that starting guard position in Virtus Bologna, but if he can turn his rookie year struggles into success, landing a spot with the Blazers can't be that far away.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Taurean Green to play in Greece

It is not surprising that Green is headed back overseas after being buried on Chicago's summer league roster. He will play for AEK Athens this season.

With not one but two DeceptivelyQuick favorites hooping in Greece this season it is becoming critical that we find someone savvy in the ways of Macedonian basketball. Where are you?

(Assist HoopsHype.)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Petteri Koponen Watch: For protocol only edition

As Goonerluke dropped in the comments, Koponen played a great game against Italy a couple days ago. Specifics have yet to emerge, but here is the gist:
In Thursday’s Group B fixture, Finland topped Italy 89-95 in a game for protocol only. Finland guard Petteri Koponen scored 5 of his 26 points after Italy closed to within 2 with 90 seconds remaining to lead his team to the win.
Another good outing for The Finnagler. Also, I'm going to start using "for protocol only" in my daily life.

Von Wafer Watch: First words from Greece edition

I just noticed that a short Von Wafer interview popped up over at HoopsHype a couple days ago. This makes me happy because it means that 1) His plane landed safely and we will are on to follow him with the Olympiakos this season and 2) Somebody besides me must care about Von Wafer.

I'd never read an interview with Wafer before. Here we see him being more open and honest than the usual pro-athlete. Maybe they caught him in the right mood. Maybe he hasn't been burned by the media before. I'm hoping it arises from some stable personality traits, which would make Wafer even more compelling. Full interview here, excerpts below:
You are now among the best paid American players in Europe. What does that mean to you?

VW: That means a lot. I worked real hard in the NBA, just felt good to be recognized as a good player that plays hard. And I will play hard this season, as I always do.

As far as money, was any of the offers in the NBA close to what Olympiakos was offering?

VW: No, no. Not even close.

Before you decided to go to Europe, did you feel disappointed that it didn't work out with any NBA team?

VW: It is what it is. I guess they felt I wasn't good enough or maybe the economic situation... But I'm happy to be in Greece.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Something like an announcement

Posting will be slow in the coming days. I've issued that statement before, but this time around something of an explanation is in order. I will be moving to the Midwest to pursue my dreams of living in a place as cold as Finland. This could make things better around here. Being outside of the bubble can help one see things more objectively. Or it could make things even worse. We'll see.

Speaking of announcements, H.T. let me know Michael Jordan will be visiting Finland soon (or here if you can read Koponen). MJ joins Pippen and Rodman as another member of the Bulls' dynasty to take in the Finnish hospitality. Will Purdue keeps leaving messages hinting that he'd like to visit The Island Fortress of Suomenlinna, but Finland is always busy washing her hair.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Proper acknowledgement: Jason Williams signs with Orlando

You know you are in the slow basketball news part of the year when a back-up point guard signing is grabbing headlines. With that in mind, I think it is worth it to welcome Jason Williams back into the League. (It could not be confirmed that Nick Van Exel has launched a comeback attempt in order to continue his whit eboy hating.)

The player has had many critics over his career, but at a very fundamental level Jason Williams is an important part of the Basketball Universe. He always made the game more fun to watch. Fun is inspiring. Fun is something people want to be a part of. Watch those youtube highlights below and tell me they doen't make you want to hit your local pick-up game tonight.

For years he not only perpetuated, but created, interest in the sport. Few players have done that, and even fewer have relied so heavily on flair as opposed to more institutionally approved qualifications for greatness.

Williams' best days are behind him, no doubt. (Although keep in mind he does have a couple stellar alley-oop targets that can help him recapture some White Chocolate.) Nonetheless, his signing during the doldrums gives us a chance to appreciate what he has represented.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Petteri Koponen Watch: Tony Parker is a baby edition

H.T. with more on how Finland beat France and Koponen beat Tony Parker.

(Photo: FIBA)

I see BlueForest escaped from those underground tunnels I locked him in. (BlueForest's game recap here.) Well, it gives me time to withdraw from game recap, the most typical form on narration. So here's a different look at Finland vs. France EuroBasket additional qualification round game.

Yep, France had already clinched their spot at the final qualification round with their very convincing victory over Italy just three days earlier. Nicolas Batum and Johan Petro were missing, and Ronny Turiaf played a total of eight minutes. Despite all this, the victory was something Finland needed and the decisive three pointer was scored by Teemu Rannikko, the same guy who missed the potential clincher against Italy a week earlier.

Even though France wasn't at their best, they surely didn't give this win for free. Young guards Nando De Colo (Spurs draftee, 18 pts) and Antoine Diot (15 pts) gave home team all they could handle and big guys Ian Mahinmi (12/5) and Ali Traore (12 pts) fooled Finnish interior defense in couple occations. But unlike in the first game between these two teams, Finnish big guys lead by Hanno Möttölä (16/9) weren't pushed around easily.

Of course, the main focus of sold-out group of 3354 people was on France's household names Tony Parker and Boris Diaw. Diaw seemed awkwardly overweight and was far from his best form. (We've seen that before. Damn you Diaw. Let me love you!-Ed) France only had six fast break points in the whole game and Diaw was non-existent in the half court offense, scoring only three points.

Tony Parker is still recovering from injury, and he seems to have a long way to go. Petteri Koponen (15/4/4 assists/2 steals) outplayed Parker on both ends of the court, forcing him to shoot from distance and blowing by him in every occasion. When Parker noticed he wouldn't get the superstar treatment he's used to, he concentrated on yapping to the referees and he left Energia Arena without speaking to the media. While Parker ended up with 4 points (with 2-14 field goal shooting), Koponen executed Finland's offense extremely well and had one of the best all-round games of his national team career.

(Of course, I have tremendous respect for Parker and I am sure he will go for MVP at the European Championship games, but even the best of them have bad days occasionally. For instance, I remember one day Hans von Blumenstock only scored 33 points in Finnish Division 4 game, making only 7-9 of his three pointers.)

Backcourt tandem Rannikko-Koponen were the heroes in the late game. Rannikko scored 14 points in a row in a four-minute span starting from last minute of 3rd quarter, leading Finland to 66-57 edge. After France took the next three and a half minutes 13-1, Koponen made a jump shot and Rannikko ended up with and-one, giving Finland a 72-70 edge. After Boris Diaw's one made free throw, Rannikko swished an NBA three pointer giving everyone in attendance the goosebumps. Tony Parker missed a strong layup with just 11 second remaining and France had to foul Koponen, who made both free throws and gave Finland the 77-71 lead.

France will beet Bosnia and Herzegovina or Belgium in the last qualification round, while Finland plays the last national team game of summer 2009 against Italy this thursday. Since this is the first time ever Italy slipped out of European Championship Games, local media is currently butchering everyone involved in this national team campaign excluding Marco Belinelli. Finland tries to snatch their second win in a row and end up 2nd in their additional qualifying group, which isn't exactly impossible; at the moment, Finland is highly motivated and Italy just trying to recover from huge disappointment.

Boxscore Here. Highlights Here.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Monumental Petteri Koponen Watch: Finland takes France (!) Koponen takes Parker (!!!)

This just in from BlueForest, whom I thought had mysteriously disappeared long ago...

Hello Seth,

I will try to outscoop Hippo for this one, though his complete report with stats should be coming soon...

Petteri had his best game by far this summer, and considering the opposition, maybe ever. His advantage over Tony Parker at both ends kept Finland in the game, and in the fourth quarter Teemu Rannikko caught a supernova shooting streak to win the game for Finns, 77-73.

OK, France had nothing to play for and kept Batum and Petro out of the lineup.
Parker played long minutes, but was clearly not at full speed; he was not aggressive with the ball, and missed every one of his jumpers off the front rim.
Petteri was able to stay in front of his drives, getting two blocks and a steal in the process. At the other end PK hit two pull-up 3s over Parker, got inside paint to dish 6 or 7 perfect assists and drew several fouls. He also iced the game by hitting 2 FTs with 9 seconds remaining.

Finland's third key player Hanno Möttölä had also his best game since coming back to national team this summer. France's most efficient players were the Spurs' prospects Ian Mahinmi and Nando de Colo.

This season PK should get more minutes at Virtus, without the short shadow of Earl Boykins looming over him. After that it's decision time: if Blazers still do not want him, Pritchard should trade his rights, because he looks able to play solid backup PG in the NBA.

Finland - France 77-73 (33-36) (Teemu Rannikko 21, Hanno Mottola 17/9, Petteri Koponen 15. 1 - 75,0% (12/16), 2 - 53,3% (16/30), 3 - 39,3% (11/28). R: 20+9=29. TO: 11. - Nando De Colo 18, Antoine Diot 15, Ian Mahinmi 12, Ali Traore 12. 1 - 57,1% (8/14), 2 - 56,8% (25/44), 3 - 33,3% (5/15). R: 24+10=34. TO: 13.

In which we strive to continue our appreciation of Von Wafer

I started rooting for Von Wafer when he had a cup of coffee with the Blazers. I haven't stopped. I hoped Wafer would find a situation to shine, but I never thought he would reach a level where he was actually disliked by some fans.

I jumped at my first opportunity to defend his existence. Then the playoffs happened and Blazer fans around me formed a chorus of anti-Wafer sentiment. Promoting Wafer seemed in bad taste when he was making Rip City feel so unsettled.

I thought it was mostly sour-grapes but apparently other fans have their own Wafer issues to deal with. What, too much swagger? Do the way his talent and flaws combine to make his impact on the game exceed that which his minutes (and stats) imply make him too compelling of a concept for you?

You probably know he has signed a contract with Greek juggernaught Olympiakos for two years and $10 million. (There is a clause allowing him to come back to the NBA after one season if he chooses.) What you didn't know is that I will be ressurecting the Waferd Watch. With the noticeable anti-Wafer sentiment this action will restore some balance to the Universe.

If there are any Olympiakos fans out there that want to file some reports let me know. I can post game recaps and highlights, but having someone who can actually watch the games would be infinitely more awesome. I would ask H.T. but he is currently holding out for a salary increase. (This is not the first time.)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Zach Randolph news I missed because of my selfish neighbor

By "selfish" I of course mean "not letting me steal his wifi this week." Some people. Anyways, you probably saw yet another Zach Randolph story pop up on TrueHoop. TMZ:
A guy named Gary Ferguson has filed a lawsuit against Randolph, claiming the former Los Angeles Clipper beat the crap out of him on a night when the Clips got beat down on the court.

It all went down inside Berri's Pizza Cafe in L.A. -- where Randolph allegedly "verbally and physically threatened" Gary before "attacking" the guy.
I was shocked. Zach Randolph is famous enough to be on TMZ? Really?

While still-bitter Blazer fans (me) might really want to believe this wonderful anecdote and add it to the Why Zach Sucks archives, this story sounds more like a case of a non-rich asshole just trying to get some easy money off a rich-asshole.

It does build a little anticipation for what this season will bring in terms of Zach Randolph stories. He blamed a lot of his problems in Portland on the fish bowl environment. He couldn't use that excuse in NY or LA, but it will be interesting to see if he ressurects that defense in small-market Memphis.

Just be careful out there Zach. Memphis is small like Portland, but the Hoop Fam act might not be as convincing to folks down there. If something seriously bad happens we won't be able to poke fun anymore. Then we would have to find a whole new purpose in life.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Petteri Koponen Watch: I'll never eat pasta again, Italy wins edition

You know how this works. H.T. with the latest:
Tuesday's Eurobasket Qualification game between Italy and Finland was a do-or-die type of game for both teams, since loser of the game would practically be eliminated from the competition.

Finland struggled from early on, missing their first nine 3pt attempts and basically letting Italian big guys Angelo Gigli and Andrea Bargnani walk to the paint for open dunks. Italy was leading 4-15 before Finland began to maintain their defensive form.

Even though Finland came within two points in a couple of occasions, Italy extended their lead back to 9-12 points with Marco Belinelli shooting with high percentage early on, Andrea Bargnani schooling Finnish post defenders with old school spin moves and experienced players Giuseppe Poeta, Marco Mordente and Valerio Amoroso sinking their 3pt shots.

Six minutes before the end of the game Italy took a 60-73-lead behind Andrea Bargnani's three-pointer. Finland refused to go away, though. Petteri Koponen responded with a 3pt shot of his own and just a moment later, Italian point guard Matteo Soragna got heated in the midst of Finnish defense and was given a technical foul. Teemu Rannikko sank both of his free throws and after Finland regained the ball possession, Koponen opened Kimmo Muurinen for a dunk and one, narrowing Italian lead to 68-73 with five minutes to go.

After Belinelli's heavily contested jumper, both teams missed their a couple of next shots, but Hanno Möttölä ended the drought, sinking a jumper and bringing Finland back to competition. In the other end, Belinelli had an offensive foul and Shawn Huff netted a trey to bring Finland within two, 73-75. Italy's Luca Vitali missed a three-pointer in Italy's next possession and Petteri Koponen drove from coast to coast, drew a foul from Andrea Bargnani (fouled out) and tied the game with two free throws, 75-75, with 1:42 remaining.

Marco Belinelli hit another contested jumper to put Italy up by two, 75-77, with 1:24 to go. Finland had the chance to try three relatively open three point shots in the last minute, but Petteri Koponen missed once and Teemu Rannikko twice in the end. Marco Mordente caught the decisive rebound and Italy got to head to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport with a victory.

For Petteri Koponen, the night was clearly not one of his best. Petteri opened the game with two quick fouls, two missed shots and three turnovers in the first four minutes and couldn't get the offense going. Finland got back on track with Teemu Rannikko playing PG and Petteri sitting on the bench, but in the fourth quarter, Petteri played some inspired basketball, slowing down hot-shooting Belinelli and responding with five quick points, two assists and two steals in final six minutes. He took the loss and 7-point, 6-turnover night very heavily and was clearly upset when talking to the media after the game.

Hanno Möttölä scored 16 points for Finland in a steady performance while Teemu Rannikko had 11 points and 6 assists and Shawn Huff scored 12. Top scorer of the game was Marco Belinelli with 23 (fg 10/18). Andrea Bargnani finished with 21 and 8 despite playing only 24 minutes.

Italy and France meet each other in Pau, France this Friday in a must-win game for the Italians. Finland hosts France in Vantaa next Monday.

Highlights (from the coaches game tape) here

Finland - Italy 75-77 (10-17, 34-38, 55-63)

Finland: Hanno Möttölä 16/4, Shawn Huff 12/3, Teemu Rannikko 11/3/6 assists, Tuukka Kotti 9/4, Gerald Lee 8/3, Petteri Koponen 7/3/3 assists, Antti Nikkilä 6/2, Kimmo Muurinen 3/1, Petri Virtanen 3/0, Mikko Koivisto 0/1, Samuel Haanpää 0/0, Vesa Mäkäläinen.

Italy: Marco Belinelli 23/2, Andrea Bargnani 21/8, Angelo Gigli 10/6, Matteo Soragna 8/0, Marco Mordente 6/3, Giuseppe Poeta 5/1, Valerio Amoroso 3/2, Marco Cusin 1/3, Luca Vitali 0/3/5 assists, Jacopo Giachetti 0/3, Luigi da Tome 0/0.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Jeremy Tyler: Freedom Fighter

OK, so that is a bit of an overstatement.

Today was the first time I've heard of Jeremy Tyler. Maybe I should know a little something about the guy before I attach him to a grand cause that he may or may not be aware of. Yes, this person will be the first United Statesian to bounce overseas to be a pro basketball before even finishing high school. ESPN:
Tyler, 18, is the first American-born player to leave high school early to play basketball professionally overseas. The 6-foot-11, 260-pound Tyler announced in the spring that he was skipping his senior season at San Diego High because prep basketball had become boring.
Oh, and Sonny Vaccaro is involved, which is probably the least surprising thing ever. And that sound you hear is the World Wide Leader is gearing up the hate machine. I wish Tyler the best of luck and hope his actions move us one step closer to the NBA abolishing that ridiculous age limit.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

And suddenly the light came over me: An Akeem Scott and Delonte West back-court

It started when I watched Akeem Scott's latest video, a social commentary piece on the often ignored phenomenon known as Down Low Brothers:

Being that the timing of this video coincided with a recent release by another DeceptivelyQuick favorite, Delonte West, a rapid series of connections surged throughout my mind. And then from the chaos arose a singular unified vision. A deep peace came over me, and suddenly I could feel the perfect order of the World.

Akeem Scott and Delonte West: teammates. An undersized, speedy, crafty, fill-it-up assault on the basketball institution on the court, a tandem with unlimited entertainment potential off of it.

Where could such a vision be realized? Overseas, of course. Akeem's star has been rising in Finland, and opportunities to play in other leagues are a possibility. Delonte West is just the type of solid NBA non-AllStar that wealthy European clubs are targeting these days. (For the record, he is currently making less than recent NBA players have earned by going abroad.)

So to super rich Greek brothers and super rich Russians alike, please make this happen. Not for me. Not even for you. For the well-being of the Universe.

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