Live from the Rose Garden as the Portland Trail Blazers meet their longtime rivals from Southern California, the Los Angeles... Clippers? Oh, wrong team. The Garfunkel to the Lakers' Simon (it was either that, or the Joe C to the Lakers' Kid Rock) a visit from the Clippers doesn't quite have the same flair as one from their crosstown neighbors. Their finest asset, the splendid beard on Baron Davis: a man so confident in his facial hair that he dispenses beard tips from his twitter account. Oh, they also have Chris Kaman. He blows things up.
In addition to peppering a '87 Taurus with bullets (in his backyard!), Kaman is having a career season, which is terrible news for a Blazers squad that lacks a center. In his last five games he is averaging nearly 25 points and 11 boards. He'll probably triple that night. The Blazers have no answer for the Kamaniac.
The big news for the home team is the return of Shavlik Randolph. That's great news for anyone still clinging to a replica Zach Randolph jersey. If he plays tonight, it means someone is winning by 40.
Despite Monday's disappointing loss to a mediocre Philadelphia team on Monday, the Blazers will be tied for first place with a win tonight.
10:11 - The Clippers should be better than a 13-17 record. Their starting five is a solid balanced between scoring (Davis), assists (Eric Gordon), rebounds (Kaman and Al Thorton), and blocks (Marcus Camby). Their bench isn't remarkable, but the team always seems like they'd be better with that starting lineup. 7-6 Blazers.
5:25 - Davis swats Andre Miller's turnaround jumper. Evidently that beard is not weighing him down. 12-10 Blazers.
3:57 - Aldridge, like most games, has been establishing himself early (seven points so far), and following his 0-7 shooting performance on Monday, Coach McMillan hasn't bothered calling for Jerryd Bayless yet. How the mighty have fallen. 17-13 Blazers.
1:04 - Juwan Howard buries a jumper, and then one possession later he slides past Kaman for a running layup. Impressive, but that's nothing compared to his behind the back assist to Jeff Pendergraph under the basket. That's two games in a row that he's done that. The Clippers are getting punished by the oldest man on the court. 25-17 Blazers.
12:00 - Welcome back Sebastian Telfair. Few players have lost more games in this arena than you. 25-20 Blazers.
10:43 - Seven rows. We all saw it coming but Marcus Camby just swatted a Steve Blake shot seven rows deep. I counted. 27-22 Blazers.
10:00 - The Blazers are clinging to the lead with a lineup that consists of Bayless, Pendergraph, Blake, Martell Webster, and Dante Cunningham. Never thought I'd see that lineup in the second quarter of any game. 29-24 Blazers.
7:45 - DeAndre Jordan just airballed a free-throw. It wasn't even close. That was so odd. Even the kid shooting for a free McDonalds meal hit iron on his shot. Maybe someone should have offered DeAndre a McGriddle. 35-28 Blazers.
6:54 - Something we haven't seen in about a week: Jerryd Bayless hitting a jumpshot. This just in: LaMarcus Aldridge is out with a sprained ankle, doubtful to return. 39-32 Blazers.
3:16 - Bayless misses a three (his second in a row) and Roy rebounds the miss, goes back up, notices Kaman closing in, and switches hands mid-jump before he hits the layup. He's just that good. But those things do not help on defense, as the Clippers just sealed up the gap following Rasual Butler's breakaway layup. 45-45 tie.
2:21 - I'll tip my hat to Telfair who appeared on the "Kiss Cam" with Camby and instead of ignoring it, he tosses an air kiss to his teammate. Anytime a NBA player isn't openly homophobic, it's a step in the right direction. 48-46 Blazers.
0:12 - Roy to the hoop. Roy fouled. Roy scores. The less time on the clock, the better he plays. 55-48 Blazers.
10:24 - Baron Davis misses a layup and ends up two rows deep into the crowd. I'm amazed more players don't get hurt from hurling themselves into the seats. Or at least try and grab a snack while they're there. 61-50 Blazers.
7:33 - Webster airballs a three. I wonder what could be worse than that? Webster misses a dunk. Yeah, that's worse. 61-54 Blazers.
6:09 - It's nice to see Pendergraph with a half dozen points and 11 rebounds, but the team's lack of depth under the basket is frightening. The Clippers have clawed back into this game. 63-61 Blazers.
5:10 - Nine of the 10 active Blazers have scored tonight. Will Shav make it an even ten? God, I hope not. 67-61 Blazers.
3:25 - Eight in a row from Eric Gordon. This is a tie game, and the Blazers are losing their lead at a similar time as Monday's loss to the 76ers. 69-69 tie.
1:11 - One way to keep a lead is to just toss the ball up and let Roy do the rest. He caps off an alley-oop pass from Blake and the Blazers get a little breathing room. 77-74 Blazers.
0:00 - On Monday the Blazers lost momentum on the final play of the third quarter. Tonight was just the opposite. Baron Davis took a soft runner that was cruelly rejected by Pendergraph as the buzzer sounded. Great way to end a quarter, and Pendergraph is having a career night: eight points, 14 rebounds, and a pair of blocks. 81-76 Blazers.
11:22 - More momentum. Blake hits a three while getting sent to the floor. Does he make the free throw? God, no. This is Blake we're talking about. But the three was nice. 84-79 Blazers.
9:54 - It took awhile, but Bayless is once again shooting like the guy who wants everyone's job. He just reeled off five points in a row to put a little space on the scoreboard. I haven't seen a guy score that easily off Telfair since, well, his last game in a Blazers jersey. 89-81 Blazers.
9:06 - It's all happening again. Bayless with long jumper, then a rebound, and he picks up a foul before he could finish the fastbreak. Anytime this team scores while Roy sits in the bench is a great thing. 93-83 Blazers.
5:28 - Eric Gordon is the real deal. How are the Clippers not better than this? He just knocked back his third three-pointer of the half, and follows with a driving layup. He leads all scorers with 24. 97-90 Blazers.
3:40 - Roy slices down the lane and hits a left handed layup. It never gets old. The lead is back to double digits. 101-91 Blazers.
2:14 - Where's Andre Miller? He's only logged 19 minutes on the night. Pendergraph has been absent most of the final period, but that very well might be due to his previous hip injury. His 24 minutes is a career high, then again his career is all of five games long. 101-93 Blazers.
1:15 - Butler with a fastbreak bucket off a Roy turnover and the Clippers just trimmed the lead to a comebackable (it's a real word!) four points. Los Angeles is on a 6-0 run. 101-97 Blazers.
0:56 - Roy with a... YAWN... clutch jumper with less than a second in the game. Death. Taxes. Roy in the final minute. Some things you can always count on. 103-97 Blazers.
0:18 - Blake misses a three. Now the Clippers have a chance to tie when Blake fouls Gordon (or Davis) when he hits a three. What? It might happen. 103-99 Blazers.
0:10 - Davis misses a jumper and Howard grabs the rebound to seal this game for the home team. Not bad for a team missing another starting player. It's just down to Blake and Roy. Ugh, this is so depressing. 103-99 Blazers.
0:08 - Blake throws the inbounds pass away. Clippers ball. He still has time to foul Gordon (or Davis) during a three pointer. Go for it, buddy! 103-99 Blazers.
0:02 - Davis takes a three point attempt from so far out that he might have committed an over and back in the process. Yikes. But that will do it. A little sloppy in the end, but given the fact that the Blazers now have more injured players (7) than starters (5), any victory will do. Your final score: Portland 103, Los Angeles 99. See you in 2010 (well, Saturday night to be exact).