Live from the Rose Garden as the Portland Trail Blazers welcome the Minnesota Timberwolves. The big news here is not Brandon Roy's three game
benching vacation, the reports that Roy is an "unhappy camper," or the rumor of Joel Przybilla and Nicolas Batum being shipped off to Philadelphia, nope, it's the Three Goggles T-shirt. Because there is nothing like a T-shirt that honors Rudy Fernandez for a shot that he can no longer make. Can I get a shirt with 32.7% on it? Because that's Rudy's percentage on three-pointers.
From the stat vault! Here is the Blazers starting lineup from the last time the Timberwolves won a game in this building: Sebastian Telfair, Zach Randolph, Joel Przybilla, Martell Webster, and Viktor Khryapa*. Ouch. That was December 7, 2005, and since that game Portland has won a dozen consecutive contests against Minnesota. Will they make it lucky number 13 tonight?
* Ironically three of those five players will likely see minutes tonight, although Webster and Telfair are on the Timberwolves. No clue what became of Khryapa.
Ah, Minnesota, the cure to what ails you. The six win Timberwolves are 1-14 on the road this year, with their lone victory coming in Sacramento early last month. Former Lake Oswegian (Oswegoian? Osweeegoooian?) Kevin Love will dominate the boards, the vastly-improved Michael Beasley will score 20-plus points (without playing a lick of defense), and the walking punchline that is Darko Milicic (the shame of Novi Sad, Serbia) will try to make up for the first seven years of his career—and those are their good players. After that, it drops off in a bad way. But hey, Martell Webster is no longer hurt and will be suited up and ready to take his revenge on the team that traded him for pasty rookie (and current D-Leaguer) Luke Babbitt.
For the second time today, this rumor has made the rounds. As much as I'd like to see Marcin Gortat in a Blazers uniform, to trade Andre Miller (without another starting PG in return) is a sign of this franchise throwing in the towel. Although his tattoo sure would make a certain Beaverton company quite happy.
In the absence of Roy, Wesley Matthews will move to the SG position and Nicolas Batum will play SF.
11:59 - Darko Milicic falls down on the opening tip! My night has peaked, I can go home now. 0-0.
11:15 - One LaMarcus Aldridge jumper later, Darko sizes up Marcus Camby, posts him up, turns dramatically, leaps into the air... and has Camby unceremoniously swat the ball away. Oh, Darko. 2-0 Blazers.
7:25 - The Wolves are pushing the ball recklessly, in that Phoenix Suns "aw, fuck it" offensive scheme that involves lots of quick shooting and not much defense. It's worked well so far. On the other end of the court, LaMarcus. That is all. Aldridge has all ten Blazers points. 10-10 tie.
5:48 - Following that alley-oop reversal dunk, Aldridge is on pace to score 100 points and personally hand out chalupa coupons to everyone in attendance. 14-12 Wolves.
4:41 - Webster checks in to a very generous round of applause. Bonzi Wells never got such love. Ten second later he scores in a layup. Uh oh. 18-12 Wolves.
3:40 - Webster with yet another jumper, and Batum answers with his own. The first non-Aldridge basket comes nearly nine minutes into the game. That is a very bad thing. 20-14 Wolves.
2:34 - Three Goggles! Rudy hits a three to justify your T-shirt purchase. 22-19 Wolves.
1:25 - Matthews finally wakes up from his early game slumber. He passes on a three and instead scores at the rim, one player later he knocks back a jumper, then he steals the inbound pass, only to get fouled in the process. 22-21 Wolves.
1:07 - Rudy hits a regular 'ol jumper, which in the long run is more promising than him heaving up another three. The more he can score from mid-range, the better his looks will be from beyond the arch. Plus, come on, you are in the NBA, learn how to shoot a jumper (this statement does not apply to Joel Przybilla) 23-22 Blazers.
0:20 - Patty Mills in the game. Patty Mills throwing a terrible pass. Patty Mills out-rebounding Nikola Pekovic (!) and putting back the lay-up. Dude is nuts. 25-24 Blazers.
11:40 - Mills with a quick jumper. I think this crowd would rather see Mills score and the team lose, than they win with him on the bench. 27-24 Blazers.
11:24 - Poor Darko. He lasted all of 0:57 of the first quarter before exiting with an ankle injury. Hard to sum up your entire career in less than a minute, but he just did it. 28-26 Blazers.
10:26 - Rudy with another jumper. And it wasn't even with an expiring shot clock. 30-29 Blazers.
9:12 - After hitting a putback basket, Webster gets walloped by Przybilla and comes away clutching his arm. Sensing blood in the water, Matthews drives right into his arm and hits a layup. One play later, Rudy barrels through the sad sack Kosta Kouflos for a layup and and-one. 36-33 Blazers.
7:26 - Calm down, Patty Mills. Calm. The. Fuck. Down. 39-35 Blazers.
6:52 - Rudy takes it to the rim for a layup. He needs to make that a nightly thing. One play later, Mills throws the ball into the seats. Please see previous post. 41-38 Blazers.
6:04 - Andre Miller coming in the game for Patty Mills is like a soothing cup of tea after a week long meth binge. 41-38 Blazers.
5:01 - Just spotted a guy in a Sergio Rodriguez replica jersey. I assume that was a dare. Unless it is actually Sergio himself, which is also possible. 43-40 Wolves.
4:19 - In a sentence I thought I'd never type: Rudy Fernandez now leads all scorers. He has 15 with that three from the corner. Someone should have made that Three Goggles shirt months ago. 46-42 Blazers.
4:06 - The natural order has been restored, Aldridge is now the top scorer. Four horsemen, please return from where you came. 48-42 Blazers.
3:32 - Nevermind, Rudy hits another Three Goggles shot. Nothing makes sense anymore. 51-44 Blazers.
1:55 - Wesley Johnson hits a three for Minnesota, proving that this court is indeed big enough for two Wesleys. I wish that was true for Wolves' bench player Lazar Hayward. Now that's a name. 55-52 Blazers.
0:00 - Halftime! Seven point lead! Cookies in the media room! 61-54 Blazers
12:00 - In his last three quarters, Aldridge has a combined 40 points. His former teammate Webster had 10 points for the Wolves, but five turnovers as well. That's a sign of a guy trying too hard. We call it Patty Mills Syndrome.
11:13 - No Camby to start the second half. No Batum either. Both players are not even on the bench. Crap. 61-58 Blazers.
10:47 - Dante Cunningham with the defensive play of his career, chasing down a much bigger Love and blocking him from behind. Camby who? 61-58 Blazers.
8:50 - Love has a jump shot? Huh, that's news to me. 63-60 Blazers.
7:38 - Miller, the slowest man on the court (including the officials), slices through traffic and scores before half the Wolves defense even realizes what happens. 67-62 Blazers.
6:03 - Dear fucking God, that was incredible. Matthews steals, passes it to Rudy, who hangs in the air and tosses a perfect alley-oops pass to Aldridge for the dunk. Highlight reel. 69-64 Blazers.
5:18 - No word on Batum and Camby yet. But why worry? It's not like this sort of thing has happened before. Oh crap, Sean Marks is checking in. 69-66 Blazers.
4:50 - 28 seconds before Marks picks up his first foul. That's 27 seconds behind schedule. 72-66 Blazers.
3:50 - Rudy steals, to Miller, to Aldridge = DUNK. Meanwhile, the official word has come down: "Marcus Camby (right shoulder contusion) and Nicolas Batum (right shoulder strain) will not return." Crap balls. 74-68 Blazers.
2:57 - Matthews for his very own Three Goggles shot, but Portland really has yet to pull away in this game. 77-70 Blazers.
2:29 - Mills and Marks on the court and it's not a blowout. Go, Southern Hemisphere! 77-72 Blazers.
1:44 - Now it's Przybilla and Marks on the court together. This is madness. Sheer madness. 79-74 Blazers.
0:53 - And down goes Matthews. He is fouled hard then collides with Love and hits the floor in a big pile of pain. He is able to get himself off the court but leaves the game. The Blazers are down to eight players and the lead is down to three. 79-76 Blazers.
0:17 - That bench was looking lonely, but thankfully Matthews returns from the locker room. On the court, just as the lead was slipping away, Armon Johnson of all people buries a three for a little breathing room. 82-78 Blazers.
12:00 - The Blazers are running out of warm bodies with a dozen minutes left. At least they don't have a back-to-back game tomorrow night against a high energy Golden State team. /checks schedule. Aw crap.
11:19 - Przybilla is now down. He took a tumble and looks like he hurt his back. A 20 second timeout later, he is back. The Vanilla Gorilla knows no pain (except in his knees). 82-78 Blazers.
10:50 - Mills wins a loose ball scrum on the floor. It's an Australian/rugby thing. He then cracks open a Foster and rides off in a Kangaroo's pouch. 84-78 Blazers.
9:05 - After watching Webster do it on the last play, I would definitely do that cool post-dunk pull-up thing. It makes you look like a badass. That is, if I could dunk. Or do a pull-up. 87-82 Blazers.
7:57 - Rudy for three and the foul. He took a shot to the bread basket (pan basket?) and looks to be in some pain. Sure, why not? Who's left? Distraction time: Here's video of that great Mattews-Rudy-Aldridge play from earlier. 91-84 Blazers.
7:30 - Rudy to Aldridge for another fantastic dunk. Good lord. The Wolves are going to end up on the losing end of a lot of posters after this game. Aldridge has 32. 94-86 Blazers.
4:57 - And then Rudy dunks. He now has a career high of 26. If you think the Blazers have problems at the center position, the Wolves have it so much worse. I don't think Rudy has been that close to the rim since the 2009 season. Biggest lead of the night for the home team, 98-89 Blazers.
4:44 - There is now a "Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!" chant going on here. I guess no one remembers last season. Or the offseason. Or the start of this season. 98-90 Blazers.
3:43 - Webster for three and now the Wolves are back in it. Too bad he is one assist, and three turnovers away from a very off triple-double. 98-94 Blazers.
2:29 - One good thing about this skeleton Blazers crew is that Miller has logged less than 24 minutes on the night. He'll be rested tomorrow. He'll be the only one rested tomorrow, but hey, it's something. 101-96 Blazers.
1:38 - Aldridge with a put-back three footer and Portland gets a little more breathing room. That is 36 on the night for Aldridge, tying his career high. 103-96 Blazers.
1:31 - Matthews called for a bad foul on Beasley, which is made even worse when it's determined to be a three-shot penalty (it shouldn't have been). That's a bad break. Three points later... 103-99 Blazers.
1:16 - A little Rudy and Aldridge (who else?) give and go results in LaMarcus getting fouled. Two shots. He misses the first, he misses the second. That would have been his career high. Ugh. 103-99 Blazers.
0:28 - Matthews clanks a three, but Aldridge somehow scoops up the rebound—over Love, which is not easy—and 23 second later Matthews redeems himself with a little running jumper. That might be enough. 105-99 Blazers.
0:20 - Webster guns a wild three attempt which misses by a mile, but Cunningham travels after picking up the rebound. Bad move, kid. Another chance for Minnesota. 105-99 Blazers.
0:13 - And they don't waste it. Beasley hits a wild three to pull the Wolves within a basket. 105-102 Blazers.
0:12 - Matthews gets the inbound and Beasley curbstomps him. Makes those fouls count. Matthews for two. He hits the first. He hits the second. That should do it. 106-102 Blazers.
0:00 - And that does it. A very loose Blazers team—credit the combination of a weak Timberwolves defense and perhaps the absence of Roy—looked good tonight, despite losing a pair of starters to injuries. Aldridge finished with 36 points, 10 boards, and five blocks. That is 71 points for LaMarcus in his past two games. His Spanish partner in crime, Rudy, finished with a career high 26, plus six dimes, and three steals.
Your final score: Portland 107, Minnesota 102. See you here tomorrow night.