Live from the Rose Garden--where for some reason every preseason game feels like the playoffs--as the Portland Trail Blazers take on the Golden State Warriors. After last night's clowning of a hapless Kings team, the Blazers are UNDEFEATED in the meaningless preseason (1-0), and this unbiased reporter feels confident in going on the record and saying that the team will now surely finish 82-0 this season.
Before we start the sizzling hot live blog action, it should be noted that Martell Webster is riding the pine due to a "stress fracture of his fifth metatarsal" (foot injury), and the Warriors' best/only good player, Monta Ellis, is out with a ankle injury. How did he hurt said ankle? Driving to the hoop? Um, you got the driving part right. Ellis hurt himself the way you want all your top athletes, fresh off a $66 million dollar contract, to injury themselves: On a moped. Well, at least it wasn't a segway.
The Webster injury is a little worrisome, especially considering it's very medical-sounding title. Stress fracture of his fifth metatarsal--all of those are just nasty sounding words. The team will announce his status sometime tomorrow.
Know what isn't worrisome? Rudy Fernandez. The Spanish panty-dropper with the nasty moves on the court, had one hell of an introduction last night. And tonight might be better, since Golden State isn't known for their "defensive" or, um, "talent." Then again, it's probably not wise to make fun of a guy with a tattoo like this. Yes, those are praying hands... holding a gun.
Sure, God might be omniscient, but the dude ain't bulletproof.
Interesting starting lineup for the home team: Aldridge, Oden, Outlaw, Bayless, and Fernandez. Meanwhile, the Warriors have 4/5 of their starting five, since Ellis is currently taking a motorcycle training course and getting his learner's permit.
11:29 - Two games in a row, Oden starts off with a defensive three seconds technical foul.
10:31 - Oden follows it up with a goaltending call. Hey, we have a baseball score: 3-2 Warriors, top of the 1st.
8:34 - Oden makes his case for reinforced rims with a monster dunk. He also follows it up with another defensive three seconds foul. 9-6 Warriors (come out and play)
6:53 - Warriors go to the Hack-an-Oden (Don Nelson, their coach, is the "inventor" of the Hack-a-Shaq--that is, if one can invent a foul) defense, this follows their attempts to double team him every time he touches the ball. Expect a lot of that this year, especially if he struggles from the charity stripe. 9-9 tie.
4:15 - Rudy nails a wild flailing three point from the far corner. Well, glad he has that shot in his repertoire, I see it coming in handy all the time. 16-14 Portland.
2:13 - Rudy's outside touch (he just hit another three, this time with less Euro flailing) gives the team some much-needed offense, even if it's against a Warriors lineup that features Disaster Dan Dickau. It's nice to see the former Blazers guard back in action, but it would be even nicer if his better half was here. 24-23 Warriors.
0:03 - The Vanilla Gorilla, with his delicate and velvety touch, tips the rebound in and the Blazers come out ahead at the end of one quarter. 27-26 Red & Black
11:07 - Luke Jackson, like a shinier Dan Dickeau, enters the game and justifies his existence by scoring a quick bucket. You see that Steven Hill? You better bring it unless you want to lose the coveted spot of "token useless white guy off the bench" to Jackson. 30-28 Portland.
10:21 - Duck fans everywhere hang their heads in shame as Jackson's shot gets swatted into the cheap seats. 30-28 Portland.
8:15 - With fresh legs Oden returns, but his shot is still not falling. Unlike last night's game--where a slam dunk contest broke out midway through--tonight feels more like a preseason affair. Lots of bad shots, players whose names leave you scrambling for the media guide (what's a Marco Belinelli?), and a general sense of indifference from the two teams involved. 34-32 Blazers.
7:26 - Mark that shit down! The first player to stuff the mighty Oden--as he hangs from the Empire State Building with Fay Wray in his hand--is Dion Dowell. Yes, the Dion Dowell. 36-34 Blazers.
4:56 - Oden's inability to place the ball within the round cylinder at close range is a little frightening, but then again he's being ridden like a pack mule under the basket by the hack-happy Warriors defense. At least his free throws are falling. 40-39 Portland.
3:22 - Earn that roster spot, young man! Luuuuke Jackson for three. But Golden State climbs back on top. 47-45 Warriors.
1:25 - Rudy tries to top last night's performance with an acrobatic alley-oop dunk, but it clanks off. No more YouTube clips for you, my friend. 47-47 tie.
0:04 - With a few ticks remaining in the half the Blazers took a timeout and drew up a play. What was it, you ask? A sensible jump shot? A pick and roll? Nope. It was Sergio Rodriguez milking the clock then tossing up an alley-oop to Rudy. It's like they invented a play that no one can defend. Sort of like this. 53-49 Portland.
11:28 - Oden dunk. Boom. Basket shakes violently. Yawn. I'm already over it. 55-51 Blazers.
7:18 - Golden State's starting lineup (sans Ellis and his motor bike) has pulled them back into the contest, but since the game has stayed close (unlike last night), Oden is getting "real" minutes. He also looks "real" winded, but he's holding his own against the Latvian sensation that is Andris Biedrins. Okay, that was a bit sarcastic. 62-62 tie.
5:19 - Przybilla joins the dunk party, thus proving that the shot was not, in fact, invented by Greg Oden as previous reported here. We regret the error. 68-66 Warriors.
3:43 - Marcus Williams (who?) with a three and now Golden State is up by 7. Will Portland's unbeaten streak stop at 1? The dream is dead, folks. 73-66 Warriors.
2:23 - Nicolas Batum, the pride of Lisieux France, completes a nifty layup while getting fouled, thus stopping Golden State from running away with this game. For now. 76-70 Warriors.
2:19 - Don Nelson needs a stiff drink after watching Batum miss the free-throw but get his own rebound and dish it to Aldridge for two. Then the Warriors have an inbound violation (this is the preseason, okay?), and the Blazers score off that. 76-74 Golden State.
1:24 - That got me thinking. If there was anyone in the NBA that I would want to drink with--this includes players, coaches, and (especially) mascots--Don Nelson might top the list. Granted, he can probably drink me under the table, but it might be worth it. Who else would be better?
0:22 - Rudy for another wild three (he makes it), but he steps out of bounds while shooting it. So, again, to clarify, Rudy just made a three pointer from out of bounds. Christ. 78-77 Blazers.
10:32 - Tonight is a whole lot closer than last night mainly because the Blazers have had trouble getting shots to fall. 37% shooting for the first three quarters, this stat is best explained by Travis Outlaw's precision 0-6 shooting performance. 86-81 Warriors.
9:28 - Oh, and 19 turnovers (and counting) don't help things. 89-81 Warriors.
8:26 - Outlaw misses the dunk (0-7) and Dan Dickau flies into the crowd chasing the loose ball...or just looking for another cheerleader bride. Either way, nice hustle kid. I like your moxie. 89-83 Warriors.
7:13 - Outlaw Watch: 0-8 (for those keeping track at home). 93-83 Warriors.
5:52 - Outlaw Watch is dead. He makes a basket. 96-88 Warriors.
4:42 - Outlaw Watch is back from the dead: He airballs it. But know who doesn't miss the basket entirely? Rudy. With a steal and layup, then with a three (and both feet on the court), he pulls Portland back into the game. 99-93 Warriors.
2:48 - Blazers fans panic in 3...2...1... RUDY IS ON THE GROUND, IN A GREAT DEAL OF PAIN, CLUTCHING HIS LEFT ANKLE. It wouldn't be a Blazers game without an ALL CAPS injury to someone. 106-93 Warriors.
2:48 - Oh, my bad. He's European. Despite laying on the ground in pain, Rudy pops up and walks off the court under his own power. Crisis (probably) averted.
2:32 - Now back to the game the kids like to play: Outlaw watch! He misses a shot, but was fouled, then misses the free throw, gets his own rebound and proceeds to miss that shot. Wow. 1-11! 108-95 Warriors pull away.
0:00 - The streak is over. Oh, the humanity! The Blazers are human after all and they are sending this crowd home with a loss, and without a chalupa. Final score: 110-95 Warriors.