The Clackamas print. (Oregon City, Oregon) 1989-2019, May 19, 1999, Page 16, Image 16

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    16
TI he CtÂclcAMAs P rint
Wednesday, May 19,1999
FROM 1
Blazers have hands full with Jazz
Low-publicity
sports deserve
more hype
After becoming the 1999 South­
ern Region Champion in the men’s
1500m run last Saturday, Paul Kezes
turned to me with a glare and said,
"No Press! Thank you!"
Congratulations on your victory;
Paul.
Over
the last week
or so, many
members of
the track and
Held squad
have
ex­
pressed this
same displea­
sure over the
lack of coverage they are getting in
The Clackamas Print this spring.
Stemming from last week's fea­
ture story on five two-sport ath­
letes, many runners who cur­
rently compete in track and field
and cross country in the fall, made
it very clear to me that they de­
serve more attention than they are
getting.
After taking all of this in, I real­
ized two things.
First, for these extraordinary ath­
letes to rely on 77re Clackamas
Print for support and admiration
both surprises me and pleases me.
It isn't very often that someone is
actually fighting to obtain press in
the student newspaper, but when
it does happen, notice should be
taken.
Secondly, I haven't done as
, good a job as I could have. When
I became the sports editor two
years ago, I realized that cross
country, wrestling and track and
field were the sports that would
' be the hardest to give ample press
to. These three sports, while
some of the most successful at
Clackamas, are not "high-public­
ity" sports and usually the hard­
est to cover. Sports writing, like
the rest of journalistic writing, is
written from an angle. So, from
how many different angles can
you say Paul Kezes won the
Southern Region Championship
in the men's 1500m run last Satur­
day in atime of4:00.42?
Out of all of this, those who
have voiced their dissatisfaction
with my work have challenged me
to do a better job in these last
two issues of the year. They have
prompted me to search for a bet­
ter angle because they do de­
serve more space in this newspa­
per. I will be working with the
coaches of these sports in the last
few weeks of the term to finish
the sports season on a strong
note, as well as to build a stron­
ger base for next year's coverage.
At the end of this year, I will be
stepping down as the sports editor
of The Clackamas Print. I will be
holding a new position in die fell that
will be announced in the June 2 edi­
tion, but I will continue to write for
many of the sports teams next year.
The mark of a veteran team is team
maturity. The maturity that veteran
teams possess usually seems to get
them out oftrouble, no matter how far
backed into a comer they may be.
Against the Sacramento Kings, the
Utah
Jazz
showed once
again why they
are considered
one of the top
contenders in
the NBA. Give a
veteran team an
inch, and they’ll
blow right over you, no matter how fer
back in the comer they may be.
In game 4 and 5 against Sacramento,
Utah illustrated this point perfectly.
Sacramento, leading die series 2-1,
had played perfect defense for about
47 minutes, 59 seconds. But then they
made a crucial mistake. They allowed
Utah a few inches of open space on
offense.
In one swift shot, point guard John
Stockton put Utah back in the game,
and saved their season.
Up until that point, Sacramento’s
stellar defensive play had shut Stock-
ton down for most of the series, caus­
ing errant passes and a slew of missed
shots.
But when Stockton saw the open­
ing in three-point territory, he knew
exactly whatto do, and so did his team-
mates.
Like any veteran team, they knew
this was their chance to blow the se­
ries momentum back in their favor.
Stocktai came off a pick his team­
mates had set, which allowed him to
go untouched to the open area near
the top of the three-point key.
From there, he took the pass, and
like a veteran, calmly drained a three
point shot that will forever be remem­
bered as the shot that won Utah the
series, and possibly die championship.
Stockton and the rest of his Utah
teammates knew whatto do when diey
saw their chance. Just like a Shark that
smells blood in the water, they jumped
at the chance they were given.
Too many young teams let up near
the end of a series or game. The Cava­
liers always did it with Jordan, and Sac­
ramento did it with Utah.
But Portland shouldn’t look at this
series and cringe at how close they
were to drawing die easier Sacramento
Kings.
Instead, they can learn a valuable
lesson from this series.
Like Sacramento, they are a fairly
young team.
Also like Sacramento, they showed
an uncanny ability to lighten up
against Veteran teams like the Jazznear
the end of die game.
But if they look at this series from a
different angle, they’ 11 see just how fer
hard work can take them.
Sacramento was severally
undermatched against Utah, yet came
within half a second and a stellar shot
from knockingdie Western Conference
favorites out of the playofls.
Hard work and a tireless effort were
die keys to Sacramento’s play during
the series.
Those are the qualities that lead to
stellar defense, which is the key to de­
feating a veteran team.
This seems to bode well for Port-
Kobe Bryant extends over Damon Stoudamire in the 1998 NBA Playoffs.
land, whose season seemed to revolve
around hard work and stellar defense.
When Portland worked hard, great
defense followed, the game ending in
a victory more often than not
But when Portland let up, they were
usually greeted by an addition to the
loss column.
No game is more representative of
this feet than Portland’s memorable
April 11 loss to die amazingly “tal­
ented” Los Angles Clippers. That per­
formance may have been themost mis­
erable excuse for a game I have ever
seen.
When Portland works the court tire­
lessly, however, they can run with any
team in the league, as the first game
versus Utah showed.
Portlandisdefinitelythemostphysi-
cally talented team in this series. Their
bench depth is considered the best in
the league.
Portland’skey to victory over Utah
will be Utah’s main strength, team ma­
turity.
If Portland can play together as a
team and work hard, I have no doubt
they will end Utah’s season this se­
ries. Both defensively and offensively,
they are one of the most physically
talented teams in the entire NBA.
Their most important trait as a unit
is their team defense. When they show
up for all 48 minutes of a game, their
team defense seems to start a chain
reaction that sets the offense in mo­
tion as well, ending the game in a vic-
tory more often than not.
But most importantly, they must
show up and play for all 48 minutes
of every game this series. Ifthey can
put their hearts in the game and do
this, everything else will fell ipto
place.
However, give Utah even one
inch, as Sacramento did in the last
second of game 4, and Portland will
find that their season will come
crashing back down to earth just as
fast as Sacramento’s did.
You can’tshow up for only 47min­
utes of a game against a veteran team
like Utah; you have to play for all 48
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