Illustration by Ryan Alexander-Tanner

HERE WE ARE. The playoffs already. It feels like just yesterday I was standing in the Rose Garden—I'm sorry I mean the Rose Garden, I'm sorry I mean the Rose Garden, I'm sorry I mean the Rose Garden, I'm sorry I mean the MODA CENTER (Rose Garden)—having just witnessed the home team triumphant, standing astride the defeated carcass of the Oklahoma City Thunder, the only squadron west of the Mississippi River (AND INDEED THESE UNITED STATES?) with worse injury luck than the Blazers this year.

As I'm writing this, the Blazers have already succumbed once to the villainy of the Vancouver Grizzlies, I'm sorry I mean the Rose Garden, I'm sorry I mean the Memphis Grizzlies. By the time this column is jammed into a metal box on the corner of Burnside and bike accident, a second game will have gotten busy. And if my prediction holds, the Blazers will have won that game 250–5, with the Grizzlies' lone points awarded as an act of sympathy after Beno Udrih came crashing back down to earth so hard it perpetrated a mass extinction that killed off all of the ghost dinosaurs that roamed our hella haunted planet.

Still, no matter how game two shakes out, we have a trudge ahead of us—and since my two favorite things are hyperbole and basketball, I will now spazz out about a bunch of Memphis' key contributors.

COACH DAVE JOERGER: HIS NAME IS PRONOUNCED LIKE JÄGER. Plus he's rocked a goatee, AT LENGTH AND ON PURPOSE. He seems like the kind of dude who would decorate his apartment with empty beer bottles. I bet he owns a pair of wraparound Oakley sunglasses and a formal pair of wraparound Oakley sunglasses. He's a sleeveless t-shirt of a man.

POINT GUARD MIKE CONLEY: There's a 100 percent chance that Mike Conley practices ancient magicks and used his powers to sap all the health, vigor, and talent out of his childhood friend Greg Oden. Everyone always says that Conley is underrated, which really just means he isn't as good as the top tier of point guards. Underrated things are often underrated on purpose. "OH MAN, KENDRICK LAMAR'S LAST ALBUM WAS UNDERRATED." Naw dawg, it sucked.

SHOOTING GUARD TONY ALLEN: He's really good at defense, that thing that makes basketball boring. Good job at being the best at something boring and important, Tony Allen! You're the secretary of agriculture of basketball!


POWER FORWARD ZACH RANDOLPH: Zach Randolph, once our beautiful awful power forward, now Grizzled. Odds are this dude is an actual grizzly bear, which there should totally be something in the rulebook about. (Have we learned nothing from Air Bud?)

CENTER MARC GASOL: Dude is from Spain. Spain. You know who else was from Spain? Hitler. Just something to think about. Go Blazers.