Live from the Rose Garden as the Portland Trail Blazers welcome the Utah Jazz. How about that Marcus Camby debut on Friday? Two points, five turnovers, and 20,000 disappointed fans. Camby's first game in Portland came on the night of the Blazers' worst loss of the season, a 20-point drubbing courtesy of the Boston Celtics. Following that with a matchup against the Utah Jazz—who have defeated Portland three times already this season, winning each game by an average of 13 points—is a potential recipe for 20,000 more sad fans.
Hide the sharp objects, here we go.
Truth told, Utah is arguably the best team in the NBA right now. Winners of 16 of their last 18 games, the Jazz took pride in exploiting Portland's center-less defense in their last two meetings and play a much bigger, physical style of play than the Blazers. The Jazz are also motivated by money, as in lack of it. After Portland lured Paul Millsap into the Blazers' overpriced offer sheet honeypot, the Jazz were forced to match the offer, and thus destroyed their cap space. Hence the term "toxic offer." The Jazz have made a pair of trades this year just to get contracts off their books, including the recent deal that sent quality role player Ronnie Brewer to Memphis for a some shoelaces and a few Disney dollars (actually it was a protected 2011 draft pick). Portland angered Utah, and now are paying the price.
Injury report: Brandon Roy will play, despite us unqualified internet doctors telling him to sit until his hamstring heals. Why doesn't anyone respect this online degree I purchased from NigerianDoctorCollegeofMedicines.com?
10:57 - Camby's jumper is a thing of beauty, until it clanks off the rim. 4-2 Jazz.
9:12 - How can the Jazz be bigger, stronger, and faster than the Blazers? Throw in Kyle Korver and you can make that handsomer as well. Well, at least we can buy regular beer here in Portland. Drink enough real beer and you'll feel big/strong/beautiful. 6-2 Jazz.
7:36 - Back-to-back layups for Miller and Portland goes up. After three games where Utah has scored north of 30 points in the opening quarter, this is going quite well. 8-7 Blazers.
4:12 - With Roy leaving after only 2:57—for fouls, not an injury—it's forced Portland to play a more up-tempo style with Rudy Fernandez and Miller running the show. For the first time in a long time, the Jazz are not controlling the tempo of the game. 16-13 Blazers.
1:00 - Batum for three and somehow Portland is now schooling the Jazz. Utah is shooting 5-for-20 so far. It took four games, but it's finally happening for the Blazers. 27-14 Blazers.
11:40 - It wasn't that Rudy just tossed a behind the back pass to Dante Cunningham (he made the shot, which is 11 in a row) but it was how he casually walked away from the play, back turned, knowing the the shot would be good. 29-14 Blazers.
7:11 - Utah just seems flat. Perhaps they were distracted by the rare sunlight in town, because since January they have played airtight basketball and not relied on sloppy passes (9 turnovers so far) or settling for outside shots. 37-24 Blazers.
5:47 - We all saw it coming and it was a thing of beauty. Deron Williams costs to a wide-open layup, only to be met mid-air by a high flying Nicolas Batum. Lebron James does that, but few other players are as quick and agile. That sparks Portland's offense and stretches the lead to the largest of the night. Hooray for Frenchy 88. 42-26 Blazers.
1:50 - It's been a Batumsplosion this quarter. He has nine points and ignited the team just as Utah was trimming the lead to single digits. 49-36 Blazers.
0:27 - Lightning does not strike twice. Batum tries for another fastbreak block, but he misses by a few inches. 50-38 Blazers.
0:00 - The Blazers nearly come up with an impossible Rudy steal and alley-oop to Batum, but it's broken up as the buzzer. We'll have to settle for a 12 point lead. 50-38 Blazers.
10:26 - With just four points in a quite 11 minutes of play Roy wakes up the Blazers' offense with a three from the corner. His movement also seems improved from the two games last week where he looked like a mere shell of his All-Star self. 53-39 Blazers.
9:18 - Camby hasn't scored, but he did just block a Carlos Boozer shot so hard that he fell to the floor after swatting him. One player later, he does the same thing but stays upright. 58-39 Blazers.
8:14 - Where has this Blazers team been all year? They are absolutely dominating right now. 61-39 Blazers.
6:53 - Sorry Frenchy, Aldridge just takes over the leading scorer of the game (15 for LA) title from Batum. Wait, LaMarcus, that's French, right? 64-43 Blazers.
3:45 - Clearly touched by the hand of God—or Benny Hinn—Roy's hamstring doesn't seem to be bothering him at all. He just sliced to the basket, dodged two defenders mid-air (just like the final scene in Iron Eagle!) and hit the layup. 68-53 Blazers.
0:44- After 11 rebounds and a pair of blocks, Camby finally gets his first points of the night. I was hoping he'd finished with zero and 20 rebounds. 73-58 Blazers.
10:41 - Bayless nearly crashes into the Fat Baldwin. Go for it, Jerryd. His soft like a pillow filled with marshmallows. 73-61 Blazers.
9:54 - Bad jumpers and weak rebounding have allowed the Jazz to trim the lead to ten. Where is the panic button to press that bring Aldridge and Roy back into the game? 73-63 Blazers.
7:48 - Big three from Korver—again, thanks to Portland giving up an offensive rebound—and the lead is now single digits. Brandon Roy, our nation turns its humble eyes to you. Coo, coo, ca-choo. 75-66 Blazers.
6:38 - We're nearly halfway through the quarter and Portland has only scored three points in nearly six minutes of this quarter. Not good. No reason for this game to be this close. 76-69 Blazers.
5:42 - CJ Miles for three. That lead is getting smaller and smaller and smaller... 76-71 Blazers.
2:59 - Roy answers with a jumper. Millsap responds with an agressive layup against the team that wanted to sign him. With those sort of manners, they surely won't mistake that mistake again. 80-76 Blazers.
2:42 - Roy misses a pair of free-throws, then gets the rebound, and misses a layup while fouled by Millsap. That's six on Millsap, so I guess the whole plan was to get him to foul out, since given another chance Roy hits both. Odd. 82-76 Blazers.
2:10 - Korver for three and now a lead that was once 25 is down to a single basket. 82-79 Blazers.
1:49 - Camby with a huge block and then an offensive rebound. He just saved a pair of plays in a row. Aldridge scoops up a Miller misses shot and Portland fails to score, but they do trim a minute off the clock. Like the Millsap fouling out thing, it's not the best result but it's a small victory. 83-79 Blazers, Portland ball with 18 seconds on the clock.
0:35 - Roy misses and Williams races the length of the court and is fouled while missing a layup. He makes the first. He makes the second. 83-81 Blazers
0:05 - Batum for three and the game... misses! Utah ball with 5.4 seconds and a chance to win/tie. Uhoh. 83-81 Blazers.
0:00 - Williams misses a jumper, but Boozer picks up the rebounds and banks it in as the buzzer sounds. Folks, we are going to overtime. 83-83 tie.
4:34 - Roy for three. Nice start for Portland since Boozer's buzzer shot had just taken the energy out of the arena. 86-83 Blazers.
3:06 - Following misses by Aldridge and Miller, Boozer scores with ease under the basket. Jazz have the lead. P-A-N-I-C. 87-86 Jazz.
1:47 - This game is sliding away. Kyrylo Fesenko dunks while being fouled. He misses the free-throw, but Portland can't get the ball and Utah gets the ball with a fresh clock. Williams hit a jumper and it's a five point Utah lead. 91-86 Jazz.
0:51 - Rudy with a layup attempt that results with a missed shot and him two rows into the seats. He should just stay there. 91-86 Jazz.
0:23 - Hope? Rudy for three and it's a two point game. 91-89 Jazz.
0:12 - Boozer on the line for Utah. He makes the first. He MISSES the second. Portland ball with a chance to tie. Dear nonexistent God, please grant the Blazers this comeback. 92-89 Jazz
0:04 - It was close, but Roy's three rims off and C.J. Miles gets the rebound. Ugh. 92-89 Jazz.
0:04 - Miles misses the first but hits the second. That's game. Excuse me, I need to pound my head into the desk for a few minutes. 93-89 Jazz.
0:00 - And that will do it. A soul-crushing loss for the Blazers. Your final score, 93-89 Jazz. Who needs a drink?