Live from the Rose Garden as the Portland Trail Blazers and the Denver Nuggets celebrate the birth of our one true king—Karl Rove—with a spirited round of basketball. Happy birthday Karl! In honor of your special day, all the kids get presents. The Blazers want another victory, following a grueling road trip that was most memorable for two improbable victories over Dallas and San Antonio.They also want a center not named "Juwan Howard." Joel Przybilla wants a new patella tendon. Jesus wants his birthday back from Karl Rove. All I want to do is live blog some basketball for you all...
Sorry for the late start tonight, I literally saved someone's life on my way to the game. [A brief sidenote: To the dozens of cars that clearly saw the elderly gentlemen fall off his walker and into traffic on MLK, yet still refuse to stop their cars, I hope you all die in a fire.) Okay, back to basketball...
Brandon Roy's bum shoulder had him on the probable list for tonight's game, but he's on the court and will be starting. Look for Kenyon Martin to dropkick Roy in the shoulder seconds after the opening tip.
Tonight's game between Northwest Division rivals isn't exactly for first place (Denver has a comfy two game advantage), but the Blazers want to make up for their October 29th loss at the Rose Garden. Granted, they'll have to do it with a makeshift lineup of players and shallow bench.
Juwan Howard just took center court to send a holiday message for the team. It would have been great if he also assured everyone in the arena that his knees are fine.
11:45- Roy is wearing some sort of shoulder guard, which basically looks like half a T-shirt. I'd like it more if he wore one of these. 2-0 Denver.
9:38 - The theory goes that the home team is easily distracted during Christmas games. Judging by the previous games (with the Clippers being the obvious exception) today, this has proven true. But so far the Blazers have kept the pressure on Denver, with all five starters scoring and the team shooting an astounding 75% from the floor. 16-13 Blazers.
4:47 - Between Martin, Carmelo Anthony, and Nene, the Nuggets have plenty of players that can score at the rim, while Portland's best two centers are currently in the sweet sweet haze of post-surgery pain meds right this very second. Juwan Howard is not on Percocet, although he is playing like it. 20-20 tie.
3:32 - Jerryd Bayless and Jeff Pendergraph (making his home debut) just got a robust ovation from the crowd. 24-22 Nuggets.
1:30 - The mid-break entertainment featured the Blazers attempting to name all the reindeer, and Travis Outlaw—god, how I miss you—had a lengthy explanation how Rudolph does not count because he's not a "full time" reindeer. Even the Blazers on the court were laughing. 27-22 Nuggets.
0:00 - The Blazers looked fine for the first period, but still trail by seven. Denver had 11 second chance points, this stat is clearly linked to the fact that the Blazers have no real center on the court. 31-24 Nuggets.
10:36 - Chris "Birdman" Andersen blocks a pair of layups at the rim, and Denver has their biggest lead of the game. I assume professional players are extra embarrassed when the guy who is the NBA equivalent of a Jersey Shore character blocks their shot. 35-26 Denver.
7:15 - Birdman blocks a basket that was already in the cylinder. I don't have the heart to tell him that doesn't count. Speaking of guys with tattoos and crying, does any player have the teardrop tattoo under their eye? I'm thinking Steve Blake should be the first. No one will pick on him if they think he shanked a man in an Aryan prison race war. Just saying. 39-33 Denver.
5:05 - After a pair of no-calls, and one where his mighty touched knocked over the tender leaf that is Birdman, Juwan Howard gets a technical foul. His grandkids are going to be so disappointed in him. Thankfully they are already in college. Senior year. I can keep going... 43-35 Denver.
4:32 - Kenyon Martin picks up a "T" as well, for delivering a Christmas gift (here's a hint, it was an elbow) to Pendergraph's throat. 45-36 Denver.
3:22 - Clearly studying up on their game tape, the Nuggets are not letting Bayless get any room on the court. None. He's missed his three jumpers and hasn't been within a half-dozen feet of the rim all night. Thankfully Roy doesn't have the same problem. He has nearly half the Blazers' points. 45-40 Nuggets.
2:15 - Bayless finally makes it to the rim, where Martin delivers a blow to his head. Martin picks up the flagrant foul and a round of spirited boos from the crowd. 47-41 Nuggets.
0:50 - The Blazers had a chance to tie the score, but Bayless forced a runner that was stuffed by Nene, and following a steal, Webster dribbled the ball off his foot. Way to ruin Christmas, guys. 49-45 Nuggets.
0:02 - As always, with one shot to make and a few seconds on the clock, the Blazers turn to Roy who knocks back a jumper for his 25th (!) points on the night. 51-49 Nuggets.
10:00 - How Denver doesn't just double, or quintuple, team Brandon Roy is beyond me. He has 27 points, which is over half of all Portland's points, and no one on the court is even interested in shooting but him. Well, except for J-Bay, but he's on the bench, for now. 53-51 Denver.
The Blazers just announced the details of
today's Christmas yesterday's surgery (sounds fun) for Joel Przybilla:
PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Trail Blazers center Joel Przybilla underwent successful surgery today to repair a ruptured right patella tendon and will be out for the remainder of the 2009-10 season, it was announced by General Manager Kevin Pritchard.
The two-hour surgery was performed by Dr. Don Roberts at Southwest Washington Surgery Center in Vancouver, Wash. Przybilla is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for the Trail Blazers Fall Training Camp.
Okay, back to the game...
7:50 - Martell Webster has warmed up after a nearly-invisible three point first half. He just reeled off eight straight points, plus picked up the third and fourth fouls from Carmelo Anthony. Blazers lead? Blazers lead! 59-57 Portland.
5:59 - Woah, Martell. Anthony Carter had a clean breakaway dunk (er, layup, since he can't jump that well) but Webster met him at the rim and stuffed the shot without fouling. Well played, sir. 62-59 Blazers.
5:08 - Miller just delivered a pair of wonderful passes: the first to Roy under the basket for a layup, and second to Aldridge for an alley-oop dunk. For those wondering, of all the Blazers who have stepped on court tonight, Steve Blake has played the least amount minutes. 66-65 Blazers.
2:31 - Uh, the fans with the "Vaporize the Nuggets" and "Blaze the Nuggs" signs probably didn't need to get shown on the big screen. Glad to see the Rose Garden has camera operators with limited weed vocabulary. 74-72 Denver.
0:25 - Bayless tries to draw a foul, but instead he just got humiliated by Birdman. He ended up on the floor, lying next to the cameramen. He might also end up on a Birdman poster. 76-74 Denver.
10:26 - Bayless splits a pair of defenders—including his new nemesis, Birdman—and drops a mighty dunk much to the delight of just about everyone in Portland. That was his first field goal of the night. 78-77 Blazers.
8:57 - The good news is that Blake hit another three from the corner (he hasn't missed tonight, although he's only taken a pair of shots), but Portland was whistled for another team foul. They have four, and are now two away from entering the penalty with plenty of time left for Denver. 83-80 Portland.
7:11 - Roy has 38 on the night, Bayless has five, but the Nuggets seem more concerned with him than they do the Blazers' captain. Another open look for Roy equals three more points for the home team. 90-85 Blazers.
6:02 - Roy, again. He was left alone beyond the arch and just knocked back his third three-pointer of the night. Could he be aiming to break his career high (52) tonight? He's already gotten his third highest total, and counting... 93-85 Blazers.
5:22 - Juwan Howard with a spry (that is a word you only use for older players) move over a leaping Nene, and he hits the shot. No more jokes from me if he keeps making moves like that. 95-88 Blazers.
4:01 - Roy finally earns a double team, which leaves Blake open in the corner. Three points. Everything is coming up Blazers right now. 98-88 Portland.
2:48 - Except Bayless, he can't buy a bucket. He's 1-9 on the night after airballing a three. 98-90 Portland.
2:04 - Blake is now 4-6 from downtown. He just filled everyone's stockings with chalupas. I think that's a good thing. 103-92 Blazers.
0:22 - Who shoots threes in garbage time? The Blazers. Blake, again. And the crowd is giving a standing ovation to a Blazers team that had little business beating Denver like this. Granted, only one half of play from Chauncey Billups helped them, but Roy's effort tonight was pretty spectacular. 107-94 Portland.
0:00 - And that will do it. A fantastic effort from a very shorthanded Blazers team, your final score, Portland 107, Denver 96. See you Monday night.