Live from the Rose Garden as the Portland Trail Blazers welcome the Milwaukee Bucks. As is customary around these parts, here is a list of Blazers players that will not be playing tonight: Marcus Camby, Joel Przybilla, and Brandon Roy (plus all those others you already know about). Once again that means Portland does not have a center, which wasn't an issue against the feeble Golden State Warriors on Saturday, but will be against Milwaukee's lumbering big man, Andrew Bogut. Unless you count Sean Marks, which of course no one does.
Since I keep seeing them in the crowd, a little bit on the infamous Three Goggles T-shirt. They work! Rudy Fernandez had been shooting a dreadful 32.7% from three point territory, but since those shirts were made in his honor late last week he's been hitting 46% from beyond the arc.
Tonight marks the final—at least, for now—game that Brandon Roy sits out to rest his bum knee. So far this season the Blazers are 4-1 with Roy on the bench and 10-13 when he's on the court.
Nicolas Batum, who missed Saturday's game with a shoulder injury will be back in the lineup tonight. Przybilla isn't so lucky. Not only will he be absent tonight, but he might miss a week or two with his sprained ankle.
The Blazers aren't the only team playing the injury card tonight, the Bucks are limping into the Rose Garden (where they haven't won in over four years) missing starting point guard Brandon Jennings (and his Gumby cut), plus Carlos Delfino, and Blazers-killer Corey Maggette.
Earl Boykins is the Eddie Gaedel of basketball. Sorry, that just needed to be said.
11:48 - Hack-a-Bogut! The Bucks center is quickly fouled by LaMarcus Aldridge and he splits the free-throws, which is actually above his season average. He was shooting a Shaq-esque 46% entering tonight's game. 1-0 Bucks.
9:45 - The Bucks were wise to draw up plays to involve Bogut as much as possible—especially since he has four inches and about 40 pounds on Dante Cunningham. But that's all they did. When they can't get the ball to Bogut the Bucks offense hasn't had a single good look at the basket. The Blazers have no such problems, hitting three close-in jumpers with ease. 6-1 Blazers.
7:38 - Crap. Cunningham just went down clutching his ankle. He just left for the locker room. He was the team's center. Excuse me, "center." Sean Marks, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you. Again. 8-5 Blazers.
6:48 - Who let the child on the court. (Sorry, another Boykins joke.) Meanwhile, in an affront to the sport of basketball Marks took another shot. On purpose. 14-5 Blazers.
5:44 - Matthews with back-to-back threes, goggles and all. 17-7 Blazers.
4:35 - With Sean Marks and Earl Boykins on the court at the same time suddenly I am struck with the notion that maybe I can actually play professional basketball. It looks like a Make-a-Wish program out there. Oh, and Matthews just hit another three. 20-9 Blazers
4:30 - Marks lands hard after taking a shot. Whatever, I am out of Blazers injury sympathy. Where's Dante at? 21-9 Blazers.
3:16 - And the award for least convincing pump fake ever goes to... Sean Marks. Congrats, Oh, and then he hits a jumper. 23-9 Blazers.
2:31 - Mattherws has more points than the entire Bucks team combined. Matthews 13, Bucks 11.
2:20 - Dante is back on the bench. It's been over a minute since I wrote about Marks. Baby steps. 23-13 Blazers.
1:30 - Keyon Dooling has looked great for the Bucks, nicely making up for the absence of Jennings. 23-15 Blazers.
11:42 - Rudy takes it right at Bogut for a layup. Good to see him sticking with that move, it's a high percentage shot. 27-18 Blazers.
10:48 - Rudy with a no-look pass to Aldridge who drunks the ball down Bogut's throat. So that's how they make fois gras. 29-20 Blazers.
8:18 - Bogut, Marks, and Patty Mills are all on the court at the same time. Yay Australasia! Guess which one just hit a three? 38-26 Blazers
7:42 - Andre Miller to Batum for an alley-oop dunk. And a foul. One play later, Miller's owns up to a foul that was called on Aldridge, taking the blame so the Blazers only big man isn't burdened with foul trouble later in the game. He's the smartest guy on the court, coaches included. 41-28 Blazers.
5:25 - The Bucks are not a running team, and neither are the Blazers, especially recently with the dead weight of Roy slowing them down. But tonight, as Roy sits, the Blazers are running and it's worked quite well. Seven fast break points, 58% shooting from the floor, plus a quick tempo that has given the team 47 points is just over 17 minutes. It's not that I don't want Roy to return, it's just becoming more and more clear that he's a liability as a starter. 47-30 Blazers.
4:20 - Miller to Rudy to Batum to a layup. Coast-to-coast in about three seconds flat. 49-31 Blazers.
3:25 - Dooling gets stuffed on a wide open dunk. Oh, he got stuffed by the rim. Keyon, that's what happens when I dunk, too! I feel your pain, buddy. 52-31 Blazers.
2:54 - Nerd alert! Supposedly "someone" from Battlestar Galactica is in the crowd tonight. It sure beats another Fat Baldwin sighting. 53-33 Blazers.
1:54 - Milwaulee rookie Larry Sanders misses a jumper by about four feet. Garry Shandling would have made that shot. 57-35 Blazers.
0:12 - When Mills scores they play Men at Work's "Down Under." Makes sense. But when Babbitt scores on a put-back layup and they play a portion of Midnight Oil's "Beds Are Burning." So confused by that. What are they trying to say? 59-35 Blazers.
Poor Bogut. I heard a fan say "Go easy on the Blazers, they have no center" when getting an autograph from the Bucks big man before the game. Yet halfway through this contest he only has one point and four rebounds. Ouch. In fact, for the second game in a row, no opposing player is in double digits at the half.
Meanwhile, the Blazers' 24 point lead is the largest they have had at the half this season.
9:23 - Down goes Rudy. Oh, he's back up. I need to stop writing about every time he falls down. From now on I will only talk about the times he doesn't tumble to the hardwood in faux agonizing pain. 61-39 Blazers.
8:21 - It took nearly 28 minutes before the Bucks scored their 40th point. They are 1-10 on the year when they score under 89. Looks like that 11th loss is coming shortly. 65-41 Blazers.
5:24 - Blaze the Trail Cat is on the court on a lowrider bike, dressed as Santa. That is all. 67-43 Blazers.
5:23 - Batum gets whistled for a technical foul for probably swearing at a referee in a language they do not understand. Excuse his French. Meanwhile Aldridge collects his fourth consecutive double-double. 69-45 Blazers.
4:49 - John Salmons gets a technical as well. The game doesn't seem particularly physical or chippy, so these fouls are a complete mystery to me. The refs just like the pretty noise their whistles make. 69-45 Blazers.
3:48 - Drew Gooden gets a technical for elbowing Rudy in his face. NOT THE FACE! ANYWHERE BUT THE FACE! 72-51 Blazers.
1:38 - Marks has more points than Bogut. Nothing makes sense anymore. 78-58 Blazers.
10:05 - Bucks with the first couple buckets this quarter. If the Blazers blow this lead—it was once 26 points—I will throw Boykins through a window. He just hit a three, by the way. 80-67 Blazers.
8:35 - Instead of giving up an easy two foot jumper, Gooden goes with the clobbering Aldridge defensive scheme. That was a nice half nelson. 85-67 Blazers.
8:01 - Oh man. Aldridge with a little alley-oop from Babbitt and he dunks it directly into Mbah a Moute's soul. He gets the foul and a trip to the Sportscenter highlight reel. That's 22 points and 16 boards (so far) for Aldridge. 87-67 Blazers.
5:15 - 20 point lead and Coach McMillan has four of the five starters still in the game. Good plan, it's not like this Blazers team has a history of devastating injuries. 92-72 Blazers.
4:26 - After a timeout, McMillan pulls no players. Poor Armon Johnson. 94-74 Blazers.
3:40 - Aldridge is a rebound away from a 20-20 night. His 19 boards are already a career high. 94-76 Blazers.
2:20 - Babbitt scores the Chaulpa points. That means he has to eat 100 of them, right? 101-78 Blazers.
1:12 - Aldridge leaves to a standing ovation, but no 20th rebound. 103-80 Blazers.
0:38 - Mills for three and for the Three Goggles right in front of the Bucks bench. Yes, rub it in. 106-80 Blazers.
0:00 - And that will do it. A very shorthanded Blazers team knocks off an equally as shorthanded Milwaukee Bucks team for their sixth straight home victory. Aldridge had a monster night, 29 point and 19 rebounds. Matthews had 22 and Rudy added 17 points with a season high seven assists. Marks finished with more points than Bogut. Your final score, Portland 106, Milwaukee 80.