Live from the temperature controlled Rose Garden as the Portland Trail Blazers take on the Sacramento Kings. The Blazers have lost three in a row, so time for all of us to hop off the bandwagon and torch those "I Heart Rudy" shirts we just bought at Joe's. It was fun while it lasted.
But there is a silver lining to Portland's recent woes—Steve Blake, I blame you for everything—and that is playing at home against a lowly Sacramento team. The Kings recently fired head coach Reggie Theus, and replaced him with New York limo driver Eddie, the team's biggest fan. Will she take this the bunch of overpaid prima donnas and save the franchise? Oh sorry, that was the plot of Eddie. I often get that movie and reality confused. The Kings hired some guy named Kenny Natt, who is less interesting than a Whoopi Goldberg movie.
Portland hasn't played since the double-overtime horror of losing to Los Angeles. No, not that Los Angeles. The other team, the Clippers. They lost to them. For reals. But that was last week and for quite possibly the first time this season the Blazers will be rested, which is good news to the wounded lot of Brandon Roy (torn tendon in his finger), Nicolas Batum (hyper-extended knee), and Travis Outlaw (sore hip and lower back/buttocks contusion). Yes, buttocks. For once I can keep on eye on Outlaw's buttocks without drawing the attention of my press row peers.
Hey, it's Terry Porter night. May every former Blazers guard get their own honorary night. Yes, even you Richie Frahm.
11:05 - Hey, John Salmons. You have five points in less than a minute. Portland, well, Portland has no points. 5-0 Salmons.
8:15 - Despite the chants of "defense, defense," Salmons lit up poor Nicolas Batum for an easy dunk. And by that I mean he just dribbled the ball around Batum's maginot line, looked both ways, and dunked the ball. Two points. 11-6 Sacramento.
7:53 - Greg Oden (or the mercifully nicknamed, "The Elephant," by our Andrew Tonry) looks absolutely terrible. Even by Oden standards. He's the slowest guy on a court with both Brad Miller and Spencer Hawes. That says a lot. Oh, and Salmons, again, has more points (12) than the entire Blazers roster. 14-9 Kings.
4:04 - Oden goes out of the game, Portland takes the lead. Hmmmm. Coincidence? 20-18 Portland.
3:32 - Batum with a nice breakaway layup. Sorry about that maginot line comment, buddy. We still on for crepes? 22-18 Portland.
1:49 - Rudy gets a steal and flips to the Vanila Godzilla The Thrilla Przybilla for a dunk. Dude needs more nicknames. 28-22 Blazers.
0:22 - Travis Outlaw—ladies and gentlemen his buttocks look just fine—mows over Mikki Moore for an offensive foul, but Sacramento fails to capitalize, to the second half we go: 28-27 Blazers.
12:00 - Um. How is Portland shooting 36% and winning? Or, better yet, how is Sacramento shooting 65% and losing?
11:11 - John Salmons is on pace for over 70 points tonight. Wilt Chamberlain's ghost, he's coming for you. 30-28 Kings.
9:50 - If you thought 36% shooting was bad, bring Channing Frye into the game and watch the magic happen. The lead is gone, and the Blazers are shooting 28%. Should I mention here that Sacramento has one of the worst defenses in the entire NBA? 31-28 Kings.
7:21 - It's been pointed out before that Rudy Fernandez kills his shooting percentage by taking poor shoots—usually while flailing with his back to the basket and a pair of mitts in his grill—but when he gets near the rim, good things happen. Good things just happened. Rudy hits a slicing layup while getting thwacked in the head, and he finishes the three-point play. 35-32 Blazers.
4:11 - For the first time in awhile Oden gets a little fire under his ass and muscles back a rebound. Meanwhile, Bobby Jackson gets a pair of technical fouls and is quickly ejected. I know what you are thinking, Bobby Jackson still plays basketball? Well, not tonight he doesn't. 41-37 Blazers.
2:44 - As always, when the Blazers need a little on court boost, or just a ton of easy buckets, Brandon Roy takes over. The best player in this building—that includes everyone on the court, Terry Potter in the stands, and myself ("The Vlade Divac of indie rock") on press row—pads the Portland lead to 52-40.
0:00 - Since it's Terry Porter week at the Rose Garden, the team is presenting a respectful little halftime show in his honor. Even Buck Williams is here. Plus the "Terry, Terry" chants are a nice touch as well. As was Porter's "Rip City, baby" comment. After the ceremony, his #30 jersey rose to the heavens like an ascending angel—or just a large banner of clothe being hoisted by wires—and now Porter joins the likes of that one guy Larry Steele, and whoever the hell Dave Twardzik was. This team really needs to retire less jerseys.
10:55 - Speaking of retired numbers (unless he bails on the team and signs with the Lakers), Roy starts off the quarter with a pair of pretty layups to push the Blazers lead to 16. 58-42 Portland.
10:21 - I don't want to take anything away from the ridiculous Oden dunk the big kid just threw down—it really was a sight to see—but I just wish he did that sort of thing when the game is on the line, instead of when Portland has a comfortable two touchdown lead. 60-45 Portland.
5:48 - Roy flips the dial from "competitive" to "freaking blowout." The lead, it grows. It grows!! 69-51 Blazers.
1:39 - Rubbing it in, Roy has 29 points to go along nicely with the Blazers' 26 point lead. Now, given Roy's penchant for being mauled on court, now would be an excellent time to sit him down for the evening. Say goodnight, Mr. Roy. 79-53 Portland.
9:23 - Przybilla with an intimidating blocked shot that leads to an alley-oops from Sergio Rodriguez to LaMarcus Aldridge. Sacramento has yet to score this quarter, and few teams salt a wound like Portland does. 88-60 Blazers.
7:19 - Jerry D. Bayless checks into the game. That means chalupas are forthcoming, as is a Portland victory. Shall I point out that the Kings have still yet to score? It's been awhile fellas. 93-60 Blazers.
4:10 - Bayless shows off some hops with a nice dunk. He rides the pine most of the time, but Bayless might be the only Blazers PG who can get the ball over the rim. 102-69 Blazers.
0:00 - And just like that, it's over. The Kings fall apart as the Blazers open the floodgates for another lopsided home victory. The final score: 109-77 Portland.