Golden State inspired hoop fans, while LA just plain ... had problems
June 17, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal
The magic that has always seemed to be brewing in Oakland, Calif., with the Golden State Warriors finally happened during the NBA season and made the team the SPORTSLAND, Oregon "Overachievers of the Year" during Monday night's podcast, recorded at Blitz in the Pearl District of Northwest Portland.
The Warriors, New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers were other notable selections after the Warriors, who were among the top two picks of the show's four cast menbers: Derek Weber, Marlon Thomas, Michael Chamberlain and host Cliff Pfenning.
Golden State finished 47-35 and sixth in the Western Conference, then won their first-round playoff series over Denver. Last season, the Warriors were 23-43 during the strike-shortened schedule.
And, the other side, "Underachievers of the Year?" Easy: the Los Angeles Lakers.
Los Angeles built itself to win the league title with the acquisition of Dwight Howard and then Steve Nash during the offseason, but the team didn't win any preseason games, got clobbered in Portland in its season opener, and barely reached the playoffs, where they were routinely dispatched by San Antonio.
And Portland? The Blazers continue to be one of the quietest franchises in the NBA, something the panel tosses about as being a good or bad trait.
It's all from Northwest Portland, recorded every Monday night.
San Antonio owns the NBA's top player and his coach, until they don't
June 3, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal
After waiting for almost a month, or was it just 10 days, the San Antonio Spurs finally get back to action on the hardwood Thursday with the first game of the NBA Finals at Miami. And, there's plenty of drama with this match-up that makes this pairing what the NBA wants.
Indiana vs. San Antonio? Whos' watching that?
Memphis vs. Miami? That's a little better.
San Antonio vs. Miami? The NBA couldn't have asked for better unless the Lakers were there, or the Knicks were in the finale, or even Golden State. It's the key topic of the 13th episode of Sportsland, Oregon, oregonsports.com's weekly podcast recorded Mondays at Blitz in the Pearl District of Northwest Portland.
Miami is the defending champion, while San Antonio has not lost in its four trips to the Finals. One of its wins - in 2007 - came over the Cleveland Cavaliers when Lebron James played there. Now, they meet again with the drama of having missed playing on the court during the season, which involved fines by the league.
Even better, the coaches are in the line of sight as well. Miami's Erik Spoelstra, who was on the chopping block through social media last year if the Heat hadn't won the league title, gets a shot at besting Greg Popovich, who's the league's best coach for guiding this team to four titles since 1999.
This episode also delves into the Oregon and Oregon State baseball programs and the fun of the NHL playoffs.
The Portland Timbers owning their competition ... on the road?
A year after rarely even scoring on the road, the Timbers are the best team in Major League soccer away from their home field after a 2-0 win in Washington, D.C., over DC United Saturday.
Will Johnson and Darlington Nagbe scored and the Portland defense again proved spectacular as the Timbers improved to 5-1-7 overall for 22 points in the MLS standings.
Of the teams' 13 games, its lone loss came to Montreal at home in the second game of the season. On the road, Portland is 2-0-5 and has scored 12 goals in seven road games. Portland scored just 10 goals in 17 road games in each of its first two seasons.
In terms of goal differntial in road games, Portland ranks first with a +3 rating.
The Timbers begin play in the US Open Cup Wednesday at home against Wilmington, Del.
Portland's drive to win the Memorial Cup ends in the title game
May 26, 2013
Just five years after hitting a franchise low, the Portland Winterhawks narrowly missed winning junior hockey's biggest prize Sunday night, dropping a 6-4 decision to the Halifax Moosehead in the title game of the Memorial Cup in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Ty Rattie and Nic Petan each had a goal and three assists for the Hawks, but they were unable to record their third Memorial Cup title.
Nathan MacKinnon scored three times and had two assists to lead Halifax, which won the Cup for the first time. Halifax won the round-robin meeting between the teams 7-4.
Portland trailed 3-0 after the first period, got within 3-2, but then didn't get as close as a goal until 1:16 remained in the game when Rattie scored his sixth goal of the tournament.
Halifax scored an empty-net goal by MacKinnon to close out the scoring.
PORTLAND WINS THE WHL
The Hawks beat Edmonton in the Western Hockey League final in six games just a year after losing to the Oil Kings in the WHL final, and two years after getting swept by Kootenay in the 2011 WHL final.
Portland reached the Western Conference final in 2010, just two years after finishing the 2007-08 season with only 11 wins - a season that included a 22-game losing streak.
The Hawks begin play in the four-team tournament Saturday against Halifax, which won the Ontario Hockey League title. Halifax, with 58 wins, and Portland, with 57 wins, were ranked No. 1 and 2 in the Canadian Hockey League power rankings at the end of the season.
London, the champions of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, beat host Saskatoon of the WHL, 3-2 in the tournament opener Friday night.
Portland is in the tournament for the fifth time, including twice as the host team. The Hawks have won the tournament twice., in 1983 and 1998, when the team won the tourney with an overtime goal in the final.
Ty Rattie led Portland through the playoffs with 36 points, while Nic Petan was second in the league with 28.
Mac Carruth allowed just 1.63 goals per game on average.
Portland's third season in MLS starts off 5-1-7, 22 points
May 25, 2013
HOME TEAMS LISTED FIRST
3 TIMBERS 3, NY Red Bulls 3 - Diego Valeri and Darlington Nagbe score and Jose Valencia causes an own goal as Portland rallies from a 3-1 deficit in the second half to open the season with a point in the standings.
9 Montreal Impact 2, TIMBERS 1 - Ryan Johnson scores in the 80th minute, but Montreal follows up its win at Seattle a week earlier with a win at Jeld-Wen Field.
16 Timbers 1, SEATTLE SOUNDERS 1 - Portland gets a goal from Rodney Wallace in second-half stoppage time to salvage a draw with the host Sounders in the first game of the Cascadia Cup.
30 Timbers 2, COLORADO RAPIDS 2 - Portland rallies from a two-goal deficit with a pair of second-half scores by Will Johnson.
6 PORTLAND 2, Houston Dynamo 0 - Ryan Johnson scores two goals to give Portland its first win under coach Caleb Porter.
14 PORTLAND 1, San Jose Earthquakes 0 - Will Johnson scores in the 77th minute for the winning goal, while SJ fans make their mark on a windshield.
21 Portland 1, SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES 1 - Diego Valeri's score and strong goalkeeping by Donovan Ricketts earn a draw, which leaves the 'Quakes at 0-2-5 against Portland in MLS play overall.
27 Portland 3, SPORTING KC 2 - Johnson, Nagbe and Wallace all scored, with Wallace getting the winning goal in the 58th minute on a pass from Diego Charra.
2 Portland 0, New England Revolution 0 - The Timbers pound out 22 shots, eight of them on goal, but can't score the winner.
8 Portland 1, FC Dallas 1 - Nagbe scores, but Dallas earns a penalty kick goal by Kenny Cooper and the top teams in the West battle to a draw.
12 PORTLAND 3, Chivas USA 0 - Wallace, Valeri and Johnson all tallied from among the Timbers' 19 shots.
18 Portland 2, VANCOUVER WHITECAPS 2 - Will Johnson and Valencia score to manage a draw in the first Cascadia Cup meeting between the teams this season.
25 Portland 2, DC UNITED 0 - Wallace and Nagbe each score for the fourth time this season to help the Timbers remain unbeaten away from Jeld-Wen in 2013.
8 Chicago Fire vs Portland Timbers, 5:30 PM
15 Portland Timbers vs FC Dallas, 5:00 PM
19 LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers, 7:30 PM
23 Portland Timbers vs Colorado Rapids, 7:00 PM
7 Columbus Crew vs Portland Timbers, 5:00 PM
13 Portland Timbers vs LA Galaxy, 8:00 PM
20 Philadelphia Union vs Portland Timbers, 4:30 PM
27 San Jose Earthquakes vs Portland Timbers, 7:30 PM
3 Portland Timbers vs Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 8:00 PM
17 Portland Timbers vs FC Dallas, 8:00 PM
21 Portland Timbers vs Real Salt Lake, 8:00 PM
25 Seattle Sounders FC vs Portland Timbers, 7:00 PM
30 Real Salt Lake vs Portland Timbers, 7:00 PM
7 Portland Timbers vs Toronto FC TBD
14 Chivas USA vs Portland Timbers, 7:30 PM
20 Portland Timbers vs Colorado Rapids, 7:00 PM
29 Portland Timbers vs LA Galaxy, 3:30 PM
5 Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Portland Timbers TBD
13 Portland Timbers vs Seattle Sounders FC, 6:00 PM
The NBA's top shooter hits a nerve, and the NFL Draft gets a bump from Oregon
April 29, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal
It's been a while since Golden State made any waves in the NBA Playoffs, but they're doing it this year led by one of the league's top shooter, Stephy Curry.
Even some of the nation's curious fans are paying attention, something that gets explored on this episode of Sportsland, Oregon, recorded every Monday night at Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland.
In this week's episode, regular cast members Cliff Pfenning, Derek Weber and Marlon Thomas are joined by Nicole, a Portland native who follows the social drama of sports off the court, but has recently been drawn to Curry's magic on the court.
The NBA Playoffs are the main topic of conversation, along with the revelation of Jason Collins being the first active athlete in one of the four major sports: basketball, baseball, football and hockey, to come out as being gay. Will that damage his chances for signing with a team? What if he signed with the Blazers?
Also, the University of Oregon had two players drafted in the first round - Dion Jordan and Kyle Long, both of whom went in the top 20.
It's all in 55 minutes of entertaining conversation.
Portland cruised through Spokane in the first two games of semifinals
April 8, 2013
After a shaky start to the 2013 WHL Playoffs, the Portland Winterhawks got back to basics and skated through the Spokane Chiefs in the opening two games of their Western Conference semifinals Friday and Saturday.
Portland beat Spokane 7-2 on Friday and 3-0 on Saturday.
Ty Rattie scored a hat trick in Friday's game and Mac Carruth had 27 saves in Saturday's shutout.
Combined, Carruth has stopped 65 of 67 shots on goal. Rattie had a pair of assists in Saturday's win and is second in the WHL Playoffs in scoring.
Portland plays at Spokane tonight and Wednesday in the best-of-seven series.
Kamloops leads Kelowna 2-0 in their best-of-seven semifinal. Kamloops finished third in the Western Conference standings during the regular season, behind Portland and Kelowna.
In the Easten Conference, Edmonton leads Medicine Hat 2-0, and Calgary leads Red Deer 2-1.
SPORTLAND 2013 gets an inner view of Coach Clyde's glide through Houston
April 8, 2013
The college basketball season may have ended Monday night with Louisville's win over Michigan in the NCAA Championship Game, but that's only the start of the season's historic nature.
Once a season ends it begins its march into time and all the reflection that comes with it.
Kentucky won the NCAA title last year, then lost most of its talent and didn't make the tournament this year. What's Louisville's fate going to be?
Sportland 2013 gets a unique view into a pair of past seasons from the University of Houston, where Clyde Drexler coached directly following his NBA career that included a decade with the Portland Trail Blazers followed by an NBA title with the Houston Rockets. Drexler coached the Cougars, where he played collegiately, for two seasons - 1998-2000, before resigning to spend more time with his family.
Monday's show gets a visit from Roy Spears, who grew up in Memphis and played for two seasons at Houston, the exact two seasons Drexler coached there.
In an interesting twist, Clyde's nice-guy approach draws some entertaining commentary from the show's weekly staff of Derek Weber, Marlon Thomas and hos Cliff Pfenning when viewed against the impassioned approach from Rutgers coach Mike Rice, Jr.
So, would you rather have a coach who gave you a lot of space to be yourself, or one who got in your face as a way of challenging you to be more than yourself?
The show also delves into the state of college basketball in Oregon as well as the Blazers, Major League Baseball and how the U.S. views Portland from afar. (Hint - it's green here.)
It's all from Blitz in Pearl district of Northwest Portland.
If it weren't a decathlete, Ashton Eaton looks at football players as next in line
Dec. 31, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal
The title of "World's Greatest Athlete" goes with the territory that decathletes compete within, and that's where Oregon's own Ashton Eaton lives.
After winning the gold medal in the decathlon at the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games, Eaton earned the title, especially after setting the world record in the 10-event competition at the U.S. Olympic Trials earlier in the summer.
But, if it weren't a decathlete, what kind of athlete would be next in line for that title? Oregonsports Journal asked Eaton that question for the Oregon Sports Year in Review issue and he came up with a very unique answer: a defensive end, perhaps just ahead of a running back.
"I've always thought they are the most athletic people on the football field," Eaton wrote in response to the quesstion. "Some of them are as fast, jump higher than, and are stronger than running backs.
"It's kind of scary if you look at some of their statistics."
At 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, Eaton is a perfect size for a decathlete - only an inch shorter and the same competitive weight as Dan O'Brien, who held the world record previously. That makes him more suited to be a running back on a football field, but without the specialty skills needed for events such as the pole vault and high jump, Eaton focused on the combination of power, endurance and overall athleticism. When put together, Eaton, who played football in high school, looked at football players as having the best combination of the three ahead of athletes in such events as the triathlon.
The demands of a defensive end, especially the need for explosive power, made that position stand out, "because those types of athletes would have better chances of being good at basketball, baseball, maybe tennis, weight lifting, track (short stuff and field stuff), compared to an endurance athlete (triathlete) who would most likely excel at endurance activities like biking, distance running, soccer, and swimming."
In the prime of his career, Jason Taylor, who played defensive end in the NFL for 15 seasons for the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins and New York Jets, would have been a perfect example of Eaton's combination of talents. Taylor retired with the sixth-most sacks in NFL history and returned six fumbles for touchdowns, which set an NFL record.
Taylor, who is 6-foot-6 and played at around 240 pounds, also finished as runner-up on "Dancing With the Star" during the sixth season of the popular series that airs on ABC.
So, does Eaton see himself giving the NFL a try? It's something he ponders.
"Sometimes I wonder how good I would be at baseball or football or soccer," Eaton wrote, "maybe even golf."
For more on Eaton and his recollections on 2012 subscribe to Oregonsports Journal.
Portland plays host to playoff-inspired Kobe and Dwight Wednesday
April 8, 2013
Here come the Lakers.
After starting the season in a slump and getting hammered by national media for being a team that fought within itself more than opponents on the court, the Los Angeles Lakers are again challenging for a spot in the NBA Playoffs. And, they play in Portland Wednesday needing a win to keep pace with the Utah Jazz in the race for the No. 8 playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Lakers are 40-37 after losing to their neighborhood rivals the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. They're a half-game behind Utah (41-37) in the race for the eighth spot and a likely match-up with the San Antonio Spurs (57-20) in the first round.
Portland enters the game at 33-44 and with an eight-game losing streak.
The Blazers, though, are coming off one of their best performances in the past three weeks, losing just 96-91 on Sunday to the Dallas Mavericks.