Here we are, once again at the Rose Garden, this time welcoming the New Jersery Swamps, I mean the New Jersey Club Shirts... no, wait, it's the Nets. That's right. Good Lord though, if any team could be re-named... The New Jersey Sopranos? The New Jersey Manhattan's Buttholes?
If you'll excuse me, I'm still trying to forget about the Blazers horrible performance Wednesday against the Dallas Mavericks. It was just lazy crap—not the kind of effort that gets a team into the playoffs (even though the no. 9 seed Suns been falling apart faster than a Kia). Tonight is certainly a game to get that all important rhythm back before heading out on a five-game East Coast trip that begins Sunday.
- No Rudy tonight.
- If I told you, at the beginning of the season, that there'd be a rookie center here averaging 12 point, eight rebounds and two blocks, one who played in all the games so far would you have guessed it was Greg Oden? You would've. But it's instead that creepy twin, Brooke Lopez.
- Spread: Blazers -7 1/2.
11:00 - The Vanilla Gorilla stuffs the aformentioned Lopez (fucking creep) then finds himself wide open underneath the Blazer basket. So open that he travels. Then cracks up. It's funny, but the score staying at 0-0 isn't so much.
6:07 - Vince Carter, "half-man, half-asleep" says Ben from Blazersedge. I like it. Like it a lot. However, not so keep on Carter making weird, hanging, double-clutch bank shots. Things are still feeling a little sleepy here in the Rose Garden—not quite like a Friday night. And so far the Blazers energy and execution is lacking, a lot like how they came out in the loss to Dallas. New Jersey 16, Portland 15.
4:45 - Miss Junior Teen Oregon in the audience tonight. OH NO! LOOK OUT HONEY! RUBEN PATTERSON IS RIGHT BEHIND YOU! RUN!
2:12 - Channing Frye is blocked down low but the ball caroms to a cutting LaMarcus Aldridge who jams, cutting the Nets lead to four. 21-17 New Jersey.
1:01 - Jerryd Bayless is the first guard off the bench tonight, supplanting Sergio Rodriguez in the rotation. For how long? Probably until Rudy comes back, says coach McMillan. Bayless hits Travis Outlaw on a secondary break and Catfish flushes it. At the end of one, Portland 20, Jersey Boys 26.
11:30 - Again, this really feels like the poor effort and execution of Wednesday's let down against the Mavs. Nets lead in all first quarter stats: FG%, rebounds, three point percentage, and assists. In the face of another potential travesty, we'll go ahead and keep coming up with new names for New Jersey, and I think I've got The One: The New Jersey Shore.
7:42 - EEEEEeeek! The Blazers defense like swiss cheese—FULL of fucking holes. New Jersey is scoring at will. They're up 12. That's right, the 28-36 New Jersey Nets are up 12. If they win tonight it's like one of these assholes stealing your girlfriend.
5:59 - At least Pryzbilla is still trying. Bobby Simmons goes sky high on a dunk attempt but the Vanilla Gorrilla sticks his paw up and keeps Simmons from making the highlight reel. Now if only Joel could fire up his teammates... Portland still down 10, and points are hard to come by.
5:00 - Though he has three points, Brandon Roy has yet to make a field goal. He just misses again, in the key. It's difficult to think of the last time Roy took this long to hit from the floor... He is currently 0 of 5.
2:36 - Oh, and by the way, when people say Jay-Z is one of the Nets owners, it's quite a stretch. He paid $4.5 million for a share of franchise valued around $300 million. My math skills have gone the way of the dodo bird, but I think that means the Jigga Man owns something like 1.5% of the Nets. And where I come from, that means you don't own shit (relatively speaking). Meanwhile, the score: New Jersey 47, Portland 42.
1:18 - Roy misses another chippy in the lane, his usual bread and butter. It's OK though, as the Blazers grab the offensive board and find Catfish Outlaw for three. On the other end Nic Batum comes across the lane, out of fucking nowhere and swats the shit out of a Devin Harris floater. After another Roy attacks, is fouled, and makes a pair. All of his seven points so far have come from the free throw line.
:00 - Nets holding for the final shot. New Jersey all star Devin Harris is flopping all over the place, on picks and the like, and finally lures a Blazer defender into the air, then, in drawing the contact spins a full on 360 in the air and nearly makes the shot, as he's basically untouched. His two free throws put the Nets up four at the half, 47-51.
9:28 - So much for changing the tone early in the second half. Blazers have yet to score, and energy-execution wise, things are much the same. The one thing aspect differs, however, between today and Wednesday is the quality of opponent. The Nets are a pretty shitty bunch, whereas Dallas, when Dirk and Jason Terry are hitting, are capable of beating anyone. Therefore the fear of a loss, at least from this commentator, still remains relatively low. But if this crap continues into the fourth quarter... Blazers finally score their first points of the quarter, two LaMarcus Aldridge free throws. 49-60, Nets.
8:25 - Brandon Roy finally hits his first field goal of the night, a layup right at the rim. He's now one for nine.
6:22 - However, Roy's effort at the free throw line can't quite match Devin Harris'. The Nets guard has hit 10 of 11 attempts at the line, plus a few field goals. He's got 23. On the other end Batum hits a much needed three, which gives a much-needed shot of adrenaline to this crowd. Unfortunatly Vince Carter quickly sucks it all back out, with matching three of his own. 66-59, NJ.
3:38 - The New Jersey Tar Pits forget to play defense all together, allowing Nic Batum to cut freely to the hoop. Blake hits the Frenchman and boom, two-handed jam. Add that to a bit of Nets offensive futility and the Blazers are back within three at 68-65.
:00 - Bayless drops a nice little flop-a-roo on Devin Harris to create the turnover. Then Travis Outlaw puts his head down, drives, and finishes on a dunk that peaks high above the rim. At the end of three, 77-71 New Jersey.
12:00 - If tonight's game didn't reek of Wednesday's pitiful loss, you could almost sit back without worry, assuming Brandon Roy would come to the rescue as he so often does. But something just feels lost here at the Rose Garden. Add to that Brandon Roy's 3/15 shooting from the floor and confidence is hard to come by. Which is OK, because it demands effort—exactly what the Blazers lost on Wednesday.
10:40 - Brandon Roy finally has a play worth talking about—he takes a hard foul, and scores with sweeping left hook at the hoop. And one. His next attempt, however, an out of control prayer under the basket fails to draw iron or a foul call. 81-75, Nets.
9:23 - Batum drains another much-needed three. He's got 17, which ties a career high. Offensive foul, Nets turn it over, and this time, on Brandon's prayer-redo, he gets hit, spun around, and somehow flips it in with his back to the basket. Two points, but no foul called. Vince Carter answers with crowd-quieting, rim-rocking dunk. Portland 79, NJ 83.
6:40 - Ugh. That creepy fucking TWIN! Two BIG buckets and one offensive rebound for Lopez, who is proving to Portland fans that he is a completely better player than Greg Oden. Lopez even has a few moves to create his own offense. That is just sad.
6:10 - Roy finally finding his flow. Splits New Jesery defenders at the hoop and scores a scooping layup to bring the Blazers back within a point. They haven't led since the first quarter. Portland 86, New Jersey 87.
5:37 - Blake hits the Gorrilla inside and he's fouled. In a turn from the norm, Joel hits both his free throws and give the Blazers a one-point lead. Blazers steal and Roy, who gets away with a whole bunch of carries, hits one of two. 89-87, Portland.
2:53 - Huge offensive rebound by LaMarcus Aldridge, who kicks out to Blake, who kicks it to the Nets. Blake's horrible pass results in a Devin Harris fast break dunk. Blakey makes up for it, however, with a corner three on the next possession.
1:53 - Shot clock winding down, Catfish Outlaw stuck in the middle of a double-team, two... one... he raises up for a difficult and VINCE CARTER FOULS! THAT'S SIX! CARTER IS OUT! What a mind-bendingly stupid foul. It would've been a difficult, if not impossible shot, and instead Vinsanitary-napkin reaches in. Wow. Sucker. Travis hits them both to go up four. 98-94, Blazers.
:42.3 - Brook Lopez scores, Aldridge misses, then Jarvis Hayes throws it away, right into the heart of the Portland defense. Blazers, up two, call timeout. 98-96, Portland.
:29.4 - Lots of trapping breaks both the offense and the defense and Steve Blake finds an open Nic Batum for three. Swish! With that, Batum has a new career-high with 20. Also huge for him to get some meaningful fourth quarter minutes (he rarely does) and to come through, hit a high-pressure shot. This performance, one of the best in his short career, ought to inspire more faith in the mind of Coach McMillan.
:22.9 - Devin Harris darts to the rim, misses, and Creepy Lopez jams back the miss. Goddamnit. It's still over, but come on! Get that greasy simian out of here. Dammit! Portland 101, New Jersey 98. Free throws will do it for the Blazers.
:15.6 - Lopez scores again at the rim, but more a product of Devin Harris nifty passing and drawing the Blazer defense. After Steve Blake nearly throws away the inbounds, Brandon hits two free throws. And although he shot a dismal 8 of 21 from the field, and didn't hit from the floor until the second half, Roy will finish with 31 points. He made 15 of 17 free throws .
:00 - Because of a crazy flagrent foul (no fights, nobody even falls down) the Blazers score four in the final seconds. After the game is wrapped up, Brook Lopez fouls anyway, and Roy tacks on two more. So it's not as if the Blazers won going away as much as it appears, but damn if the Blazers didn't need this one. Badly. Five-game road trip begins Sunday morning in Atlanta.