You hang around the Portland Trail Blazers long enough and you think you've seen everything. But you haven't. Not by a mile. There's always something new. For instance:
nÊThe Blazers got, of all things, outrebounded by the Dallas Mavericks 44-43 Sunday night and shot just 41.3 percent from the floor. Yeah, well, that spells defeat. Except Portland hammered the Mavs 98-79. How did the Blazers do that? Dallas didn't help itself out at all by making just 37.3 percent of its shots from the floor Ñ but the Blazers also were the recipients of a 42-13 edge in free-throw attempts.
nÊAfter Sunday's game, Rasheed Wallace shows up in an interview room! Well, I didn't say he said anything. He just showed up, proving that old adage: You can take the jerk out of the locker room, but you can't take the jerk out of the jerk. I just wish all the people who buy those Wallace No. 30 replica jerseys for their little kids could see what this guy is like. Even when given the opportunity to say something nice about one of his teammates, he responded with his stock 'Both teams played well' answer. Nice. Very nice. At least he didn't say, 'The truth will come to the light.'
nÊThe Blazers didn't put their two home playoff games on local television and mounted a huge advertising blitz to sell tickets. I hear there were plenty of free tickets around, too. Yet with all that, I've never seen as many empty seats for a playoff game in Portland as I saw Sunday night. Ever.
nÊAs the third quarter ended Sunday with Portland holding a 20-point lead, bedraggled Blazer owner Paul Allen stood in front of his seat and wildly waved his arms upward, signaling fans to raise the volume on their cheers. Sorry, but it came off so, well, uh É pathetic?
nÊZach Randolph started Sunday, played 41 minutes, scored 25 points and had 15 rebounds. Gee, all it took was 85 games, a full exhibition season and three Blazer injuries for him to earn a big-game start. As I have said, thinning the herd is a good thing for this team because it has forced some hint of a real playing rotation on 'coach' Maurice Cheeks. Four of the five starters played at least 40 minutes, and that's actually the way it's supposed to be in the playoffs. Randolph should have been a starter for this club 40 games ago.
nÊDamon Stoudamire bashers will have to wait for another game. The Blazer point guard was terrific Sunday, with 17 points and 11 assists while Steve Nash was getting no points, three assists and four turnovers.
nÊNo team has ever come back from an 0-3 hole to win a seven-game series in the NBA. Or in major league baseball, for that matter. But Dallas is shaky and looked so at times, even in winning the first three games. The Mavericks are totally overmatched inside and are dependent enough on 3-point field goals that they could be prone to shooting slumps at the most inopportune times. I mean, stay tuned. Just when you think you've seen everything É
Dwight Jaynes' sports talk show airs from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays on KPAM (860 AM).