• The Blazers were solid Sunday afternoon against the Lakers, and that has to bode well for them in the playoffs. After all, they won't have to play Denver or Memphis in the postseason. This team seems motivated against the good teams, but not the stiffs of the league.
It's a funny team, though. I think the age-old problem that's plagued these guys for years is still there Ñ too many players who deserve playing time. The result is the inconsistency you see from both team and individual.
On a given night, Bonzi Wells or Zach Randolph or Rasheed Wallace can look like a prime-time player. Often, though, they do not.
I think you'd see the Blazers be more consistent if there were fewer players in the rotation. Then each would get more playing time and more touches when he is out on the floor. As it is, when players don't get off to a big start in a game, their time or their shots can go to someone else.
By the way, it's hysterical to watch 'coach' Maurice Cheeks during these games. For the past several seasons, the big fad in coaching circles has been to huddle with your assistant coaches during the early part of timeouts before ducking into the player huddle. You know, get everyone's ideas before actually going to the players.
During his timeouts, Cheeks wanders around the court by himself, often staring skyward, looking for all the world like a man who is begging to be struck by lightning or an idea Ñ whichever comes first. Sunday, he made it all the way to the other side of the court and chatted with some court siders.
I know a lot of fans probably find it endearing, but it's not exactly something that makes him look like the second coming of John Wooden.
• Don't look now, but after two seasons of very mediocre teams, the Portland Beavers are leading their division in the Pacific Coast League.
nÊCancer took one of the great characters in Portland baseball history last week when Bing Russell died at his home in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Russell is most known as the father of actor Kurt Russell, or as the man who played all those character roles in television and movies. But in Portland, he was beloved as the charismatic owner of the Mavericks, a Class A team that taught this city just how much fun minor league baseball could be back in the 1970s.
A yarn-spinner of the highest order and a man with a huge heart, Russell built his franchise on castoffs, outcasts and wannabes, all the while writing story lines for the team that were soap-opera worthy. He knew about baseball and he knew how to have a good time, and I don't know of anyone short of Bill Veeck who combined those two things as well as Bing.
We loved the guy.
Dwight Jaynes' sports talk show airs from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays on KPAM (860 AM).