Live from the Rose Garden as the Portland Trail Blazers welcome home Rasheed Wallace and his Detroit Pistons. Aw, so many memories of 'Sheed having his way with officials in this arena, I just hope and pray I don't get a 'lil misty-eyed when Wallace gets a technical foul and ejected in the third quarter. Bring a tissue, things are about to get emotional...
Wait, scratch that. No 'Sheed tonight. His "Sore right foot" (Really? That's it? My foot is sore from kicking so much ass and you don't see me taking the night off.) will limit him to the bench the entire night. Weak dude.
But a bum foot hasn't stopped the Pistons, who have come away victorious in their last seven games, plus 10 of their last 12 as well. Granted they've been against lower caliber competition—I think they just played the Clippers seven times in a row—but a Portland team sans Brandon Roy might just be in that lower caste of teams. Then again, Detroit has no 'Sheed and Rip Hamilton, so if there was ever a night for Portland to snap their soul-crushing multi-game (well, two in a row) losing streak, tonight is the night.
11:00 - LaMarcus Aldridge better never stop scoring tonight. With his mentor—in style, not, well, everything else—Rasheed Wallace sitting out tonight's game, Aldridge is covered by Amir Johnson. Yeah, I have no idea who that is too. 5-4 Pistons.
7:03 - No Roy, no points. In what has been a painful theme as of late, the Blazers haven't been able to find any rhythm on offense. While Detroit has looked just fine, out hustling the home team and scoring at will. 15-8 Pistons.
5:37 - It's as if no one wants to shoot the ball. The Blazers offense features a minimum of five passes—just like Gene Hackman's team in Hoosiers—and then usually a few more passes before someone gets stuck with the hot potato and tosses up an awkward jumper as the shot clock expires. It hurts to watch. 18-10 Pistons.
1:56 - Aldridge might be the lone bright spit in a pretty dismal first quarter for Portland. He has 10 of Portland's first 18 points. Kwame Brown—the pariah of the league—is not impressed, and somehow defies the very law of gravity by dunking over Joel Przybilla. My eyes hurt from watching that. 26-18 Pistons.
11:20 - Travis Outlaw fouls the pretty girl with the nice hair. Sorry, that was just Walter Herrmann. If given the option of points and ponytail, or no points and no ponytail, I am happy to see Portland go with the ladder. 29-21 Pistons.
9:20 - Pryzbilla misses a layup, gets the rebound, misses again, gets the rebound, misses again while being fouled. He then clanks both free-throws. So if you are wondering how things are going, I think that sums it up quite well. 30-21 Pistons.
6:39 - Portland's offense: Five points in about six minutes., Detroit's offense: A whole lot more points in about six minutes. This just went from bad to blowout. Can I go back to making jokes about Walter Herrmann's majestic locks? I can? Good. I want to use his flowing hair to hang myself from the rafters. 38-25 Pistons.
5:39 - Rudy Fernandez for three! Greg Oden for three... fouls! Have a seat young man, you won't be playing again until next quarter. 40-28 Pistons.
2:32 - Rudy with a little fancy-lad move all the way to the rim, but clank goes the layup. It's surprising that Detroit's lead is not north of 20 points by now. 48-37 Pistons.
0:24 - Points! Glorious points!! Rudy with a dunk, and then following a Pistons turnover, Blake for three. He ended up two feet into the Blazers bench (say hi to Channing Frye for us) after getting a (non-called) foul on the play, and all of a sudden Portland (and the crowd) are back in the game. 49-42 Pistons.
11:36 - As heard from the screaming guy in the luxury box above us: "Goddamn, another foul on Oden. Oh great, now he is coming out of the game." True, it was another foul on Oden a mere 30-seconds into the quarter. But he is still in there, so expect foul number five to come shortly... 54-42 Pistons.
6:12 - Iverson goes coast-to-coast for an easy layup and Portland looks flat. Again. 60-47 Pistons.
4:34 - Points! Again! Sweet sweet points! Jerryd Bayless brings a little life to the walking dead Blazers offense, and Portland flips the switch from "beatdown" to "respectable deficit." 60-54 Detroit.
3:43 - Jerry D. Bayless, Esq. The rookie again brings the pep, and Portland claws within a couple baskets. 62-58 Pistons.
2:42 - Steve Blake with a deep touchdown pass to Bayless for a dunk. Portland makes a comeback and it's all on the shoulders of Bayless. 64-62 Pistons.
0:00 - Well, that airball wasn't how he wanted to end his breakout quarter, but Bayless exits the third period with a career high in points—a whopping eight—and credit for pulling the Blazers back into the game. 68-65
10:52 - Outlaw with a running layup, and Portland is down by a lone point. Who ever thought this day would come? 68-67 Pistons.
9:55 - It took about 38 minutes, but for the first time tonight, the Blazers lead! Sergio Rodriguez with a drive and layup. 69-68 Portland.
7:17 - Kwame Brown has some choice words to Przybilla after a hard foul. Get in line. tubby. The line to beat up the Vanilla Gorilla has much bigger names—Garnett, Chandler, Bryant, Bin Laden (okay, I made that one up)—than Kwame in it. 73-73 tie.
6:23 - Rudy para très! 76-73 Blazers.
5:38 - Blake joins the three-point shooting party, and now Portland has an actual lead. Those early moments of the game, where no one wanted to shoot, now feel like a lifetime ago. 79-75 Blazers.
2:21 - A couple bad possessions and the Pistons have now retaken that lead. Where have you gone Brandon Roy? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you. 81-79 Pistons.
1:36 - Pistons are kicking it in the penalty and Aldridge misses a golden chance to tie the game up. Clank goes the free-throw. 81-80 Detroit.
1:19 - Kwame with a dunk. That's some clutch defense when the guy just south of 300lbs slides around you for an uncontested dunk. Outlaw quickly responds and the one-point game continues on. 83-82 Pistons.
0:43 - Portland needs a defensive stop here. Or at the very least, don't let Kwame Brown punk you.
0:18 - They get it. Iverson misses the layup and Rudy hustles over to capture the loose ball. Portland with a chance to win. Or lose. Or maybe tie. I assume it will be one of those. 83-82 Blazers
0:08 - Outlaw, with a pair of defenders in his grill, knocks down the basket. The only problem? They did it too quickly. Now the Pistons have 8 seconds—a basketball lifetime—to win the game. 84-83 Portland. It's about to get either really loud, or really quiet, here in the Rose Garden.
0:00 - It got loud. Very loud. Iverson missed a short jumper and Portland somehow squeaks away with the victory. It wasn't pretty, but they'll take it. Your final score, Portland 84, Detroit 83.