Live from the Rose Garden as the Portland Trail Blazers take on the Detroit Pistons. The big news around these parts is the drama surrounding Brandon Roy's sharp decline as of late. Following an offseason where he demanded the ball more, Roy then requested
less fewer minutes. More ball, less fewer minutes? It's the double rainbow of NBA superstar requests. What does it all mean, man?
It probably means that the Blazers' franchise player is hurting. The numbers point to an uncharacteristic shift in Roy's game—across the board—and even Dr. Ron Artest (PhD in Crazyology from the esteemed Queensbridge Projects University) thinks Roy is hiding an injury. But to his credit, Roy has held it together so far this season. And the playoffs are almost here, right?
/takes out Blazers schedule.
Oh crap. 74 more games left? It's gonna be a long season.
Before we talk about tonight's good news (the Detroit Pistons inability to play the sport of basketball well), let's look at the Blazers sellout streak for a second. The home team has sold out this arena for 118 consecutive games (dating back to December 21, 2007), a streak that very well might end tonight. The team went as far as to offer two-for-one tickets for tonight's game and while we're a bit a way from tipoff, it's empty in here.
Okay, let's talk Pistons. Detroit is a mere shell from the championship team of a few years back and they haven't won a game in this building since March of 2007. After dropping their first five games of the season, the Pistons are on a bit of a win streak, having won their last two—granted against relatively average teams (Golden State and Charlotte).
It's crowded-ish here. I see plenty of red seats, but I think they'll probably announce that the arena is sold out. However that works.
11:16 - Roy with a 16-footer. He's okay. Everything will be alright. The shot was so good it cured Greg Oden's knee. 2-0 Blazers.
9:54 - With that LaMarcus Aldridge turnaround jumper, Portland is still shooting 100% on the night. I will go on record and state that they will definitely continue this trend for the next 46 minutes or so. 7-3 Blazers.
8:07 - Aldridge with the first miss. Way to ruin perfection, dude. 11-7 Blazers.
6:15 - The Blazers defense looks a bit problematic, but my lord, the Blazers cannot miss tonight. They are firing away at a 81% clip. Nicolas Batum just drained a three to get in on the action. 20-13 Blazers.
4:29 - Ben Wallace swats an Aldridge jumper. That, and miss free-throws wildly, are his bread and butter moves. Although Aldridge has already matched his points/rebounding totals from Sunday night's loss to the Lakers. Then again, the Pistons are no Lakers. 22-15 Blazers.
2:36 - So, in his not-that-lengthy career, Batum has never taken more than four free-throws in a single game. That is so wrong, especially since while he does have a great outside game, he isn't afraid to go to the basket (cough, Rudy, cough) like some players. 27-20 Blazers.
0:35 - Wesley Matthews (finally) hits a three as well. Before that shot he was 4-25 on the season. 34-25 Blazers.
11:42 - Aldridge posts up, and over, Charlie Villanueva. Who, if Kevin Garnett is to be believed, is some sort of Make a Wish child. 38-25 Blazers.
8:58 - The Blazers' second unit features plenty more time with Rudy as the primary ball-handler instead of rookie Armon Johnson. Considering that—after getting off to a great start—Johnson has been dreadful as of late, it makes sense. Rudy does look great tonight. There's a sentence I have not typed since 2008. 40-32 Blazers.
8:35 - Tracy McGrady just scored. Twice. I swore the real McGrady was tied to a radiator somewhere and this guy was just an impostor soiling the legacy of his once-great career. This is just like that one Jodie Foster movie where her husband comes back from the Civil War, but it's really not him, it's a guy pretending to be him. It's exactly like that. 40-34 Blazers.
5:06 - Villanueva hits a three with an improbable 23 seconds on the shot clock. That was both selfish and kind of awesome. 44-41 Blazers.
3:31 - Hey Portland, where'd that lead go? In the past 8:27, the Blazers have scored eight points. So, I guess I answered my own question. 44-43 Blazers.
1:08 - Aldridge all alone under the basket, Aldridge dribbles off his feet. Pistons ball. 48-45 Blazers.
0:26 - Aldridge makes up for that boner—I think it's fair to use that word here—with an ugly lined-drive lay-up that somehow rolls in while he was getting fouled. It wasn't pretty, but it was three points. 53-45 Blazers.
If Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye aren't gonna eat those brownies, I will.
10:36 - Batum starts the half off with a dunk, which is great and all, but on the next possession his crafty little teardrop underhand shot was far more impressive. That's a shot he didn't have last year. 57-45 Blazers.
9:26 - Roy blows by Prince for an easy layup. Thankfully he arrived at the basket with all knee ligaments intact. 59-45 Blazers.
7:00 - Camby scoops up a looseball, dribbles it down the court like a truck careening down a hill with no breaks, then passes to Batum for the dunk. Disaster adverted and Camby now leads all players with six assists. 63-51 Blazers.
5:35 - Now it's trick play time: Miller flips to Camby for a wild dunk/lay-up and an and-one as well. The lead, it grows. 69-54 Blazers.
3:35 - Tonight's biggest surprise: Rudy. Looks like someone senses blood in the water with an injured (?) Roy getting less minutes in the future. 70-56 Blazers.
2:03 - Matthews has his shot blocked, so Aldridge returns the favor and Rudy (!) risks life and precious limb by diving into the crowd to save the ball again. Mark it down, tonight is the night where Portland starts to like Rudy again. 72-63 Blazers.
11:40 - It took eight games, but Matthews makes his first truly great play as a Blazer. With Stuckey in the corner, Matthews took him off the dribble, isolated the Pistons' best scorer, and stripped the ball in dramatic fashion. That lead to a Rudy-to-Aldridge alley-oop, then one play later, another Rudy three-pointer. Where was all this the past month? 79-63 Blazers
8:35 - Aldridge is having a helluva night: 19 points and 14 rebounds so far. Also, that means no Roy on the court, which is just fine by me (and his knee). 83-69 Blazers.
7:40 - Dante CunningJAM. I take it that nickname sums up what just happened. 85-70 Blazers.
6:14 - Camby in, Aldridge out. Not exactly resting the starters, but it's better than nothing. Bad news for him is that he finished one rebound short of his career high of 18. 91-70 Blazers.
3:56 - To say Detroit gave up would be unfair. They actually gave up about ten minutes ago. 95-73 Blazers.
3:19 - Pull Camby. Get Sean Marks in there. If anyone need to hit the Chalupa points, it's him. With a windmill dunk. 360. From three. 97-73 Blazers.
2:15 - Sean Marks sighting! Patty Mills sighting! Luke Babbitt sighting! Blowouts are fun for everyone... oh, sorry Pistons. I didn't see you guys here. Gosh, that was awkward. 97-74 Blazers.
0:18 - Patty Mills tumbles to the floor and loses the ball, yet it's adorable when he does it. Dude is half koala. Oh and Rudy hits the chalupa shot. Portland just got fat. 100-77 Blazers.
0:00 - It's over. Your final score: Portland 100, Detroit 78. See you next week.