Live from the
Rose Garden Memorial Coliseum as the Portland Trail Blazers take on the Phoenix Suns in completely useless preseason basketball. Tonight is the first meaningful event to take place in this building—My Chemical Romance concerts and Motorcycle Ice Racing do not count—since May 2nd, 1995, when Phoenix (ironically) eliminated the Blazers from the playoffs and ended the team's run in the coliseum. Enjoy it now before this building is demolished and becomes "Jumptown." In fact, the section I'm blogging from will be the future site of the T.G.I. Fuddruckers Family Fun Wing Emporium. Order up a platter of Exxxtreme Jalapeno Nacho Poppers with Chipotle Ranch Dippin' Sauce and let's get going...
All Jumptown jokes aside, this is actually a blast. The coliseum looks great; far less sleek than most arenas, it has this cool dusty old charm and the curtainless top windows make for some great natural light (while it lasts). This place is far from a dump.
In actual basketball news, Martell Webster wil get the start tonight, joined by Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Oden, and Andre Miller. The team will be sporting the throwback "Rip City" jerseys. Former Blazer, and celebrity blogger, Channing Frye is getting the start at center for the Suns. Evidently he'll be starting there all season long.
We're sitting behind this gentleman. Why tuck your Larry Steele jersey into a pair of dockers, and over a dress shirt?
My dot matrix print is at the ready and my Commodore 64 is booted up, let's get to blogging this basketball game at the Memorial Coliseum...
Um, the national anthem was not sung. Isn't that illegal or something? Bill Schonely did "America the Beautiful" and "God Bless America" (there wasn't a flag-draped bald eagle in the crowd that didn't tear up on that one), but then they just skipped the anthem and went into the introductions. Godless.
11:36 - Jason Richardson scores the first basket. A fastbreak dunk as the Blazers fail to get back on defense. 2-0 Suns.
8:36 - It's just nice to see Webster playing basketball again. He's knocked back a couple shots so far, but he does look rusty, getting scored on with ease by Carlos Powell. Yeah, that is a real person. 13-9 Suns.
6:04 - Halfway through the first quarter, Webster's defensive is clearly the weakest link so far. Getting schooled by Powell (he's real, I swear) is probably not the way you wrestle that starting job away from Nicolas Batum. 15-11 Suns.
5:01 - Webster hits a three and then is hit with not one, but two, gorgeous running passes from Miller. Steve Blake, you just lost your job. 20-17 Blazers
1:41 - Channing Frye looks terrible. He posted up Andre Miller (center vs point guard) and preceded to clank the shot, missing the basket entirely. More impressive is that the Blazers have the same organ player tonight as they had during the championship season. I think he lives in the basement and haunts the coliseum. 24-21 Blazers.
10:47 - Blake turns it over, but Batum comes up with the steal and passes it to Travis Outlaw (now with hair!) for the dunk. 31-30 Suns.
9:04 - A pair of bad passes from Blake on the same possession. The first was a blown alley-oop, the second was a pass to the guys in the purple jerseys. Point guard FAIL. 38-36 Suns.
6:05 - When he's not getting the ball smacked out of his hands by Jared Dudley, Oden looks better. A bit more agile than last season, granted the Suns are basically a team without a center. 41-40 Suns.
4:40 - Too bad there are no television cameras here to capture the acrobatic layup (and foul) from Outlaw. Following his and-one miss, Webster gets the rebound and fails miserably on a dunk over Amar'e Stoudemire. 47-45 Suns.
1:00 - Miller to Aldridge for a stellar alley-oop dunk. Miller tossed it up from behind the three point line. I think we're going to be seeing a lot of those this year. 55-54 Blazers.
0:07 - The Blazer dancers should really dance to "Bust a Bucket" during every game. That will never get old.
10:07 - Following a pair of effortless Nash-to-Stoudemire dunks, Portland calls timeout. For a preseason game, McMillan is taking this pretty seriously. 61-57 Suns.
6:52 - In a situation that would have easily been a traveling violation last season, Oden scoops up a pass, pump fakes a pair of defenders and scores a layup. He looks significantly less deer-in-the-headlights than he did this time last year. 68-67 Suns.
1:42 - ¿Dónde está Rudy Fernandez? He is not on the bench, and looks like he never came out for the second half. Interesting. 77-74 Suns.
11;46 - Outlaw was either coughed up or airballed three plays in the last minute. It's all that luscious hair weighing him down. 81-76 Suns.
10:34 - Another turnover for Travis. He sailed a pass over Przybilla's head. He follows it up by clanking a three pointer and missing the rim entirely. 81-77 Suns.
8:31 - Diagnosis Rudy: Sore back, not returning. Not good, just like this game. 89-79 Suns.
6:42 - The main difference between Miller and Blake—if you need to pick just one—it's that Dre can create points most anywhere on the floor. Blake is either a long distance bomb or a pass, but Miller has pulled the team back into this game with a pair of close shots, while getting fouled, and a great layup in traffic. 92-86 Suns.
3:24 - Leandro Barbosa is absolutely killing it. Any chance the Blazers have of crawling back are being snuffed out by the Brazilian Blur. Just like 1995, Phoenix is making sure the Blazers last game in this building will be a loss. 103-92 Suns.
0:30 - It's over, but don't tell that to Miller, who scores a quick layup and delivers another (via goaltend) while getting fouled. 107-102 Suns.
0:00 - That will do it. Your final score in this disappointing, yet meaningless, game: Suns 110, Blazers 104. Goodnight Memorial Coliseum. See you at the next Nickelback concert.