an ancient Indian burial ground the Rose Garden Arena as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Denver Nuggets. The big news of the moment is the loss of Greg Oden for the year as he undergoes microfracture surgery number two. Unless someone has a spare suitcase filled with adamantium lying around, this very could be the end of the Oden era in Portland. Blazers President Larry Miller claims Oden is still in the team's long term plans, but considering he will have only played in a combined 82 games over four seasons after this year is complete, the future looks bleak.
But hey, according to Meatloaf's logic two out of three franchise cornerstones ain't bad, and as long as Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge stay healthy, the Blazers have a chance of competing at a high level. Wait, what? Roy is out tonight—and indefinitely—with a knee injury?!
Hopefully the Nuggets remembered to load up a suitcase full of knee braces and extra cartilage, because entering this arena is like Sudden Death, except replace the terrorists and Vice Presidents with debilitating knee injuries and Paul Allen.
The Nuggets—for the time being—still have Carmelo Anthony on their roster. But with Anthony on his way to New York—either by trade or by bolting at the end of the season when his contract expires—Denver is a team in flux, one that is half entering the rebuilding phase and half still almost-contenders in the West. Until they decide what to do with Mr. La La Vazquez, the Nuggets are going to remain a simply mediocre team, one capable of giving up 54 points in one quarter to the lowly Indiana Pacers.
Both Chris "Birdman" Anderson and Kenyon Martin are out tonight for Denver, hobbled with knee injuries. Hopefully, for their non-injured knees' sakes, they are staying in their hotel rooms with the lights out and the doors locked.
10:29 - It only took a minute and a half, but finally somebody has scored some points! On free throws! Wait, that isn't exciting. 2-0 Nuggets.
7:55 - Nicolas Batum has so far been the only bright spot for the Blazers, knocking down a three to give Portland their first lead. He has five of their seven points, a ratio that will stay constant the entire game. Book it. 7-6 Portland.
6:34 - Andre Miller just stole the ball from Chauncey Billups at the top of the key. That was the best old man on old man steal I've seen since that one game of pickup I played at the Tualatin YMCA. 10-6 Portland.
4:30 - Wesley Matthews just had a pass go directly between his legs and out of bounds. Hey, at least it wasn't another knee injury. Sorry, that's my last knee injury reference for the night. Only positivity from here on out. Look! Portland is winning! 16-11 Portland.
1:11 - So, about that lead. Gary Forbes (who?) just finished an amazing dunk, and picked up the foul. But hey, at least he missed the free throw! In other not so positive news, the Blazers haven't scored in four minutes. 26-16 Nuggets.
0:00 - The Nuggets finish the quarter on a 17-0 run. Portland hasn't scored since the 4:11 mark. 28-16 Nuggets.
11:19 - LaMarcus Aldridge finally finishes the scoring drought! It only took five minutes! 28-18 Nuggets.
9:45 - Wesley Matthews hits three three-pointers in a row. Three. Portland comes back with an 11-0 run of their own, and the Rose Garden is erupting. 28-27 Nuggets.
6:00 - Camby finishes the fast break with a nice layup. He missed an earlier easy layup, which begs the question: why doesn't Camby ever dunk? Both teams seem to be done streaking, but I'm just getting started. World, get ready for Soy Bob-omb! 33-33 Tie.
2:53 - Wesley Matthews has 15 points, 8 rebounds, and is +10 for the night. Portland, meet your new favorite Blazer. 38-37 Nuggets.
0:00 - Andre Miller finishes the half with a mid-air put back off a blocked Wesley Matthews three pointer. 45-43 Nuggets.
Alright, Quick Change is the halftime entertainment! Wait, I don't see Bill Murray anywhere.
10:47 - Denver is currently 16-19 from the free throw line. Portland? After a pair from LaMarcus Aldridge, they're up to a whopping 3-8! 47-45 Nuggets.
9:19 - After a pair of wide open threes from Arron Afflalo (who has now hit 4-4 on the night), Denver takes a double digit lead. Hey, Blazers—I'm no defensive genius, but you may want to guard that guy. 55-45 Nuggets.
6:30 - Much like the last Memphis game, Andre Miller is currently putting the Blazers on his back. Eight straight points and we have a game again. 58-53 Nuggets.
4:18 - Batum hits his second three for the game and, again, the Rose Garden erupts. For the first time since the second quarter, Portland has the lead! 62-60 Blazers.
2:19 - Carmelo Anthony gets burned backdoor by Batum who finished the easy alley-oop from Andre Miller. Melo then, visibly angry, starts barking at his teammates who didn't offer any sort of help defense. New York, get ready, because this man is leaving Denver. Soon. 64-61 Blazers.
0:00 - Someone just brought popcorn to press row. I got distracted by buttery goodness. Apparently the score is now 71-69 in favor of the Nuggets. In other news, my belly is pretty happy right now.
11:14 - Dante Cunningham makes one of two free throws. This news normally wouldn't be significant, but that is the first point scored by any Portland bench player tonight. 71-70 Denver.
8:51 - Carmelo Anthony picks up his fifth foul on a moving screen, and he just straight doesn't look happy. Which would you rather have? An injured star who can't play, or one who can play but doesn't look like he wants to? 76-74 Portland.
6:07 - Al Harrington pulls the chair out from Aldridge who lands on his ass. Turnover, both of the ball and Aldridge's pride. A foul on the other end, and Nene makes both free throws. 79-76 Portland.
4:18 - Wesley Matthews scores his twentieth point on the night with a little running hook. Good news, Blazers lead 83-76. Bad news, Denver is now in the penalty, which means free throws from here on out. 83-76 Blazers.
3:08 - Nicolas Batum does an amazing job getting in front of a charging Melo on his drive, and just like that, Anthony has fouled out of the game. 84-77 Portland.
2:05 - After a near miss from Batum, Chauncey Billups hits a three on the other end to close the gap. This one looks like it's going to come down to the final possession. 84-80 Portland.
1:00 - Aldridge misses from the top of the key, but Matthews is there for the rebound, his tenth on the night. Matthews gets his first double-double as a Blazer, and Portland looks like they'll squeak out of this one with a win. 85-80 Portland.
0:22 - Nene with the three point play. Were Portland shooting better than fifty percent from the free throw line (11-22), I could be relaxing easy with my bag of popcorn. As it stands, my keyboard is buttery as all hell. 86-83 Portland.
0:00 - Wow. After a miss by LaMarcus Aldridge, Denver races down the floor without calling a timeout even though they had two left. Billups missed a long three pointer that bounced around and looked like it had a chance to go in. Denver secured the rebound, yet couldn't convert on another awkward three. Portland escapes going to overtime, and nobody got injured! Your final score is 86-83, Portland.