Live from the Rose Garden as the Houston Rockets take on the what's left of the Portland Trail Blazers. Let's look at tonight's injury report for the home team: LaMarcus Aldridge (knee), Greg Oden (ankle), Dante Cunningham (cut eyelid), Coach Nate McMillan (ruptured Achilles tendon!) are all in the nurse's office and will be game time decisions. Rudy Fernandez is doubtful with a back injury.
Will Portland even have enough players to field a team? Lace up those sneakers and come down to the arena, tonight might be your chance to be a Portland Trail Blazer. (Literally.)
Dark days for the Blazers. A plague of injuries where even the coach isn't safe, zero team chemistry, a losing streak—technically, the New Jersey Nets are the hotter team—plus an upcoming schedule that includes an intimidating road trip out East and more than a few games against the elite teams in the NBA. This isn't how it was supposed to be. The silver lining? Um, Christmas is coming up. The holidays are always nice.
Well, there is Oden's growth as a player, that's been good. He has (finally) developed a game that doesn't just involving traveling, fouling, and the rare travel-foul. But his impressive numbers have yet to equal many wins for the team.
The old school "hardwood classic" jerseys will be dusted off for the game. Juwan Howard remembers those. It's throwback night for the team, and throw out your back night for Rudy. Ugh, that was terrible. Sorry.
Aldridge is starting. Oden, too. No Rudy.
Harry Glickman on the mic to talk about tonight's throwback theme. It's '70s night. Get ready for plenty of "Brick House" and Brady Bunch jumbrotron montages.
10;35 - It feels like quite some time since Portland came out to a strong start, but so far, so good: Martell Webster dribbles past Trevor Ariza for an easy layup, while Roy hits a jumper off a screen. 4-0 Blazers.
7:45 - Oden down. Oden hurt. Looks really bad. Goodbye season. 6-5 Blazers.
This is bad. Very very bad. He grabbed his left knee (his microfracture knee was on the right) before hitting the ground after an Aaron Brooks jumper. He is still down on the court, and the training staff went as far as to cover his face and prop his head up on a rolled towel. A stretcher is being wheeled out. It's still dead silence in the arena, as this entire crowd once again has to face both his injury-riddled past, and the team's now uncertain future.
If this ends up being an injury as severe as it initial appears, it's all the more tragic considering that after two years trying to free himself from Sam Bowie's shadow, Oden was finally coming into his own. Granted, people do leave the court on stretchers and turn out to be just fine, although everything about this incident (Oden clutching his knee, the amount of time spent withering on the floor, the "we've been through this before" silence of the crowd) seems to only point to one conclusion: we're not going to see Oden on the court again anytime soon. I hope I'm wrong about that, I really do.
0:36 - Back to the game. The Blazers have held tight, all things considered, thanks to a some key outside shooting from Roy and energetic play from Andre Miller. 23-21 Rockets.
0:00 - Unlike Elvis, Greg Oden has not left the building. That's a good thing, or it at least means he's not been taken to the hospital, out behind the shed, or the Elmer's factory. Can we just blame Aaron Brooks for this? He was already the Blazers Killer before the game, but he didn't have to take that title so literally.
10:31 - This game will not be won by Jerryd Bayless' ugly jumpshot. Not at all. 25-25 tie.
8:19 - This game might be won by Jerryd Bayless' reckless drives to the hoop. He's been a nice spark, especially when filling in for Steve Blake (11 minutes, two assists, zero points). 29-29 tie.
5:20 - Roy with a pretty reversal scoop layup over the pasty wall of intimidation that is Chase Budinger. 35-33 Rockets.
3:44 - Given the fact that Houston's former iconic bigmen—Yao and Mutumbo—have suffered a fate worse than whatever happened to Oden tonight, Portland should keep up the points in the paint. Miller with an and-one layup, but it's not enough as the Rockets pad their lead. 46-36 Houston.
2:54 - BlazersEdge is reporting that Oden is currently getting an MRI on his knee. The Blazers MRI machine is getting a lot of traffic these days.
2:23 - Turnovers aplenty. This game is getting out of hand. 48-36 Rockets.
2:06 - Shrill panicked comment #1: Hello NBA draft lottery, Portland just can't quit you.
0:27 - Ouch. Bayless closelined by Aaron Brooks at the rim. Blazer Killer Aaron Brooks gets a flagrant foul. 48-43 Rockets.
0:25 - It's kind of fitting that a Blazers '70s throwback night would feature a devastating injury to their center.
0:00 - According to BlazersEdge, looks like Oden has a "fractured left patella." There have also been reports of it being a dislocated knee, but the patella is the latest. The other word—ready for this—Greg Oden will most likely be out for the remainder of the season.
9:54 - I wonder if the Blazers know about Oden's fate? They are playing like it. The Rockets bring the lead back to double digits. 55-45 Rockets.
9:24 - Ben Golliver brings up the good point that Oden will (probably) never be able to come back from this injury. Two season-long knee injuries, not sure if it's been done before. More than anything, this is just a sad night for Greg Oden, not as a player, but as a person.
7:16 - Fast break, 3-0, and Steve Blake tosses the ball into the seats. 57-50 Rockets.
5:12 - Mark it down: I just heard the first press row "Oden injury equals 9/11" comment. 59-56 Rockets.
4:16 - Not surprise the game is a bit more emotional than just your average visit from the Rockets. Both Roy and Miller (14 and 18 points, respectively) are keeping the Blazers in this game. Miller just connected with one of his god-ugly three pointers. 61-60 Rockets.
2:31 - Look at you, Joel Przybilla. Six points and a dozen boards so far. 61-60 Rockets.
Just in case you feel the look, here is a video of the Oden injury:
0:04 - Miller is on fire. This is the Dre Miller I thought would be showing up all season long. He drains another "jumper" (although his feet barely leave the hardwood when he shoots) and now has 22 on 9-12 shooting for the night. 69-68 Rockets.
10:59 - Bayless puts Portland back on top. Didn't think they had it in them. This team was looking for a spark, too bad it had to happen like this. 70-69 Blazers.
8:27 - Nice to see the third Blazer—behind Miller and Roy—to make it to double digits be Bayless. Hopefully his days of being a garbage time player are over. 74-74 tie.
4:43 - Lowry pushes Houston back on top, then Aldridge returns the favor with a turnaround jumper. It's been back-and-forth all quarter as Portland attempts to will itself to a (very) shorthanded victory. 80-79 Blazers.
2:42 - Not content with letting Miller lead the team in scoring, Roy hurls himself at the basket, picking up the foul along the way. A pair of charity stripe makes later, Portland up three. 84-81 Blazers.
1:08 - Przybilla was about an inch from stuffing Carl Landry at the rim, but instead he raked Landry's arm and picks up foul number five. 85-84 Rockets.
0:53 - Roy with his usual expected heroics in the final sixty seconds. He splits the defenders, and hit a left-handed layup while falling to the floor. On the other end, Landry is fouled after getting an offensive rebound. He hits both free-throws. 87-86 Rockets.
0:29 - Roy, of course. He hits a jumper despite Trevor Ariza's hand being placed directly in front of his face. 88-87 Blazers.
0:09 - Scola! As his greasy mop of a mullet gently flaps in the breeze, Luis Scola hits a 12-footer and now the Rockets are back on top. One more chance coming for Portland (and Roy). 89-88 Rockets.
0:03 - Wow. Roy, again, with an absolutely ridiculous circus layup that rattled around the rim before falling through. He left some time on the clock, but given the degree of difficulty on that shot, you can't blame him. 90-89 Blazers.
0:00 - Aaron Brooks drives and misses a wild runner, and Portland—on the worst night of the season—pulls out a last second victory. Final score: Portland 90, Houston 89. Now off to the Oden press conference. We'll keep you updated.