Perhaps you've noticed—the Blazers have been playing like garbage lately. Sure, they beat the Knicks Sunday on a prayer from Brandon Roy (and a foolish strategic folly). Before that Portland got beat like a drum by the very same Oklahoma City team visiting tonight. So this game—as well as being necessary to enter the all star break with momentum—is about pride and payback.
It's also about Greg Oden proving he's not a dud—which, when you're pitted against a brilliant, hard-working freak like Kevin Durant, is easier said than done. Having just stood next to him on the court, I'll say Durant is MUCH taller than he seems. Nearly as big as Aldridge.
A few more quick notes:
- Official line: Blazers -11 1/2
- Oklahoma, who have won 6 of their last 12, got a really strange intro from the Portland crowd. Lots of really strong boo'ing, which doesn't happen all that much before games unless you're the Lakers or Zach Randolph. I guess we don't feel the least bit sad for Seattle losing their storied franchise.
- Durant also got a lot of boo's, all of which came from Oden fans in denial.
- There's an absolutely WHORENDOUS video of Storm Large covering "Ballroom Blitz" for introductions. Sound is peaked out and broken, Storm is garbage. She's about as edgy as Wayne Brady with the talent of Kathy Griffin. Haven't we had enough of these fake tits yet, Portland?
7:21 - Here I was, just about to tell you how nice the Blazers had begun, then Sergio limp-wrists a pass, which the Thunder pick up and funnel to Kevin Durant for a smooth, high-floating one-handed dunk. No dribbles, just up and boom! Finesse and power. OK, was a little homo-erotic? No. It's basketball erotica—fantasizing about things that could've been. I think Oden is reading my thoughts cause he just notched four straight—points, not fouls, silly. Portland 15, Oklahoma 10.
4:22 - Bayless, with dancing feet, hits Aldridge on the break for a easy two-handed dunk. On the other end, Jeff Green breaks his face running into the Vanilla Gorilla. 17-13, Portland.
2:45 - The Thunder just had a possession as lame as any you'll see in game of bad streetball. Earl Watson dribbled around, dribbled around some more, looked around while dribbling, sort of got a pick but not really, then, as the shot clock expired, he shot. Brick. Next. 21-15, Portland.
0:00 - The Scrubs are out in full force tonight. The Blazers should sit Brandon Roy to make it fair... except, after a disjointed run the Thunder are back within three. A couple of quick baskets from Watson, and an answer from Bayless and there you go. 23-20, Portland.
10:03 - And... Durant can pass too. Jesus God... Hits a streaking Chris Wilcox for a ferocious alley oop on the break.
8:31 - Role reversal: Rudy drives, draws the defense and finds Sergio for three. Yes, that's correct. No typos. Here's something a little more expected: foul-a-sourus Oden whistled for his third. Wait! They're putting it on Brandon Roy. A little pity party perhaps for the Big Ox? No worries, I'm sure he'll pick up number three again in no time. 35-29, Portland.
6:56 - Chris Wilcox is killing it for the Thunder. Wait, let me re-phrase: Chris Willcox is keeping the Thunder in the game. He's got 11 points and five boards, much better than his season averages of eight and five. I've always thought dude was an underachiever. Maybe he's been spending to much time with Michael Phelps, if you catch my drift.
5:34 - Nenad Krstic lets Oden waltz to the hoop and tear the rim down like dinosaur slamming a basketball in a hoop.... or something. Anyway, Nenad failed to heed his hero Vlade Divac's advice and FLOP! Krstic has all the long-ish wispy hair, receding hairline and everything. Whoopso. But seriously, Krstic's hero really is the sultan himself, Floppy Divac. Thunder sticking around, despite the fact that home teams win in this series. But then again, if Oden keeps bricking pairs of free throws, anything is possible. Rudy gets it back with a three. Portland 40, OKC 36.
2:57 - OK, I know I need to give it a rest but I've just got to... Durant has an awesome signature shoe. The only thing happening with Greg Oden's feet is repeatedly being called for traveling. I'm serious. It just happened.
2:00 - This shit is tied. Aldridge turns it over after being whistled by a WNBA ref. On the other end Durant drains on from the top of the key and the Thunder take the lead. 46-44, OKC.
0:00 - Ooooh! Hot damn. Blazers score the final seven points of the half, capped by an Outlaw three from the corner then a streaking, bad-as-shit two-handed dunk. Woke up this place, thank God, not to mention squashed the confidence the confidence a close game at the half would've given the Thunder. Portland 53, OKC 46.
9:34 - RRRRRRRRRRRRRAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh! Jesus Christ. Would it kill Oden, who just dunked, to show ANY EMOTION WHATSOEVER? Like, scream "YEAH!" or pump a fist, or at least crack a hint of a smile? Can we relate? Thunder are getting back at it however. Durant is getting to the line at will and Jeff Green is just fucking Good. Durant steals, gets it back on the break and finger-rolls it in. Portland up two.
6:26 - OK. Due diligence here: Oden just shrewdly took a charge from Durant. Well played sir, well played. Russel Westbrook just poster-ized Bayless. Yeeek! Portland 65, OKC 63.
—-Score Correction: A OKC three pointer from about six minutes ago was changed to a two. Something tells me Mike Rice got to work...
5:30 - Roy's three gives the Blazers a little six-point cushion. Still, this should be easier, right? If this is truly a playoff team shouldn't they be soundly beating cellar dwellers like the Knicks and Thunder at home? (SPOILER: They should.)
3:37 - Durant picks up his fourth. He's headed to the bench. Alright. Make a run, dammit. Sew this fucker up BEFORE the fourth quarter. Or at least before the final seconds. Jeff Green says no, and scores easily, bringing the Thunder within four. Outlaw has swag, though, and nails a three then Oden sends a gnarly block across the court, which results in a easy Bayless dunk. Blazers, in a matter of seconds, expand the lead to nine. Time out OKC.
Some terrible Barbie music is pumping.... Stuff white people like? HA! Portland 77, OKC 68.
0:00: - Rudy Fernandez may be a rookie, but he complains like a pro. After missing a three at the buzzer Rudy heads to the ref and points at his arms. Nice. Maybe in his past life Fernandez was David Beckham. Hah! I kid. I love Rudy, and dammit, I'm down with EVERY Blazer who shoes a bit of emotion and fire. Portland 80, OKC 74.
10:30 - While the Vanilla Gorilla was at the line, a bastion of fans are yelling "SUPER-SONICS!" Hard to tell if they're sad Seattle fans or dicks. Either way I guess... On the ensuing Blazers possession Rudy flubs an alley-oop from Bayless at the rim to the crowds stinging disappointment. One of the loudest groaning "AWWWWW's" I've ever heard. Better luck in the dunk contest, champ. Meanwhile the Thunder have gone a bit cold. Blazers have stretched the lead to 13—AKA, where it should be.
8:01 - Rudy makes up for that missed jam. He blows into the lane and scores at the rim on a finger-roll, then swishes a three on the break. He nearly steals on the Thunder's next possession, ending up running over the scorers table and into the crowd. They're psyched. I am too—I just thought of a new nickname for Fernandez: Jacknife (sp?). A stop, and an dunk for Outlaw, who's left alone under the basket give Portland an 18 point lead. This is all but over now.
5:29 - Sometimes I think Nate McMillan is Maurice Cheeks. Get that? No? OK... sometimes I think Nate McMillan has no idea what he's doing. With a 20 point lead and 5:30 to go McMillan just put Brandon Roy BACK IN the game. Why? I don't know. Seems like a great time to give Channing Frye some pity minutes, or maybe perhaps a few for Ike and Shavlick. Or you put Roy in a game that's sewed up and risk injury. What do I know? 100-82, Portland.
2:57 - 17 point lead, under three minutes to play, Roy is in. With Aldridge. Durant, on the other hand, is on the bench. Thunder are waving the white flag, yet Nate is risking injuring his stars... What in the? By the way, the Blazers are playing tomorrow night, meaning they have to travel TONIGHT and play TOMORROW. Portland 102, OKC 89...
0:00 - What was a forgone conclusion for the last five minutes (to everyone but Nate McMillan) the Blazers walked away with this one. 106-92. Finally, and easy one and a win going away. See you after the All Star break.