Live from the Rose Garden as the Portland Trail Blazers break out the fine dinnerware and welcome the Utah Jazz. As you probably already heard on this very blog, Brandon Roy is not playing tonight. Or tomorrow night. Or any night for that matter. The Blazers franchise player will be out until "indefinitely," which I believe is the month after Smarch.
Roy's prolonged absence should not come as a surprise, yet it's still a devastating blow to a team that is no stranger to the cruelties of the knee. There are still plenty of unanswered questions regarding Roy, including how long he will actually sit (he's been known to play hurt), and if surgery is an option. (Not sure what kind of surgery can be done to a man without any meniscus in his kness—unless they harvest some ligaments from a drifter under the bridge and are inserting it in Roy's knees, which is a fantastic idea.) The Blazers are 6-3 without Roy, included in that record was a win against Utah this past Sunday. It was the Blazers' finest moment of the season, one that lasted all of 24 hours before the team was hammered by a shorthanded Denver Nuggets squad the following night. So it goes when your record is 16-16 on the year.
If this blog has learned anything from CNN—other than the fact that John King has a neat computer monitor—it's that content is a pain in the ass to generate, especially when we can just copy and paste a few comments from Twitter. Let's see how the Twitterverse is handling this news about Roy:
From Roy's former teammate, and a man who probably wish Roy was hurt more last season, Jerryd Bayless (@JBay_5):
Pray for B-roy. He's going through a tough time.
yeah i gotta cut brandon roy from my fantasy league team smh<-join the mothafucking club smh
What's everybody doin' for NYE?!
Damn, Martell. That's cold. Even for an iced-vein shooter like yourself. But Roy is not the only player riding the pine tonight, the Jazz are hurting as well. Andrei Kirilenko, Mehmet Okur, and C.J. Miles (the man who single-handedly brutalized the Blazers with seven three-pointers on November 20) will all be inactive tonight. That means that Utah will start the pasty wunderkind that is Gordon Hayward. If Nicolas Batum fails to take advantage of this blatant imbalance in talent, Frenchy is dead to me.
Speaking of Batum, and Twitter, he caved to the pressure and joined last night as @nicolas88batum. One of his first posts:
those who wanna play FIFA11(or nba 2k11) online against me my ps name is batum_88
That makes me want to buy a PS3 more than anything in the world. My goal is to dunk on Batum... with Batum. I just blew your tender little minds.
11:32 - Andre Miller nets the games first basket, followed one play later by a quick Batum breakaway dunk (a play I plan on using when I beat Batum in NBA 2k11). 4-0 Blazers.
7:52 - It's always odd to see Paul Millsap on the court, especially considering what could have been. Millsap was the original Wesley Matthews, a Jazz free-agent that the Blazers attempted to break the bank and sign. One Utah player that Portland will never touch is Deron Williams, who just hit back-to-back threes. 10-10 tie.
6:48 - LaMarcus Aldridge has a quick six points, but he misses a chance to get eight when he fumbles an alley-oop pass from Marcus Camby. 14-10 Blazers.
5:48 - Al Jefferson misses a three foot jumper. Know what Jefferson never misses? Dinner. 16-10 Blazers.
5:36 - Matthews hits a three in front of the Utah bench. I'm sure his ex-teammates were pretty relieved he didn't pick up that ridiculous "three goggles" hand gesture last season. 19-10 Blazers.
2:52 - Miller draws Hayward into the air, gets a pasty forearm to the shoulder, the whistle, and drains the shot. More importantly, the rookie Hayward learns a valuable lesson: don't fuck with the old man. 23-15 Blazers.
1:42 - The Blazers have more dressed players on the bench (six) than the Jazz (five). To be fair, two of the Blazer "players" are just burlap sacks of grain with jerseys on. The other one is even more useless, it's Sean Marks. 26-18 Blazers.
0:34 - ¡Tres Goggles for Rudy! 29-22 Blazers.
0:01 - OH SHIT! Tyreke Evans you just got served. William just hit a buzzer-beater from 3/4 court. One night after Evans hit a halfcourt game winner, Williams just might have topped him. Wow. 29-25 Blazers.
12:00 - With the exception of the final two minutes, that was a great defensive quarter from the Blazers. They need to work on their 47-foot shot defense though. 29-25 Blazers.
9:20 - No scoring yet for the Blazers this quarter. But Batum did have one ridiculous swat of an Earl Watson shot. That should have been worth at least one point. 29-27 Blazers.
8:49 - Holy crap, Rose Garden house DJ has a book! For real. The Man Behind the Music: The Life and Times of David William (O.G. One) Jackson, Jr. exists, even better that the author's name is Rochell D. “Ro Deezy” Hart. This made my night. 29-28 Blazers.
7:35 - It was 0:35 left in the first quarter when Rudy hit that three, and since then the Blazers have zero points. Yet oddly enough, they still have the lead. 29-28 Blazers.
6:22 - We're over six minutes without a point. That is half the quarter. But Batum is now at the line, so this cold streak will probably end right now. And it does. He hits both. 31-30 Blazers.
5:53 - Batum for three. Way to dominate and score all of Portland's points this quarter, Frenchy. 34-32 Blazers.
4:03 - Technical foul on a Jazz coach and it's not Jerry Sloan? One of the assistants got the foul. He was probably pissed he was assisting the most stable, and longest running, coach in professional sports. Sloan will never stop coaching, you will never get a promotion, you might as well scream at the officials. 40-34 Blazers.
2:31 - A man just proposed to his indifferent girlfriend. Both were wearing matching Aldridge replica jerseys. She just sort of shrugged. He then did the three goggles hand gesture. Darling, you better run far away from this guy. 42-38 Blazers.
0:45 - Looks like Portland will take the lead into the half, unless Williams hits another shot from the state line. 44-40 Blazers.
0:02 - It was sloppier than Williams prayer shot, but almost as impressive. After Matthews misses a desperate three, Aldridge picks up a looseball and hits a wild jumper as the shot clock expired. The glory lasted all of a second, when Aldridge then needlessly fouls Jefferson with 0:002 on the clock. 46-41 Blazers.
What started out as a graceful battle between these two rivals has devolved into a slugfest. Plenty of missed shots all around, with the Jazz rounding out the bottom with a dismal 41% mark from the field. The Blazers bench is a bit worrisome, having collected a combined one field goal, one assist, and three fouls between a four players.
11:44 - Hayword for three. That is a very bad sign. I would have have rather seen four horsemen trot onto the court. 46-44 Blazers.
10:38 - Alridge finishes an alley-oop from Miller and one play later Batum draws an offensive foul from that knuckle-dragging thug, Hayword. 52-46 Blazers.
8:52 - Batum is banged up following a nasty fall after a rebound attempt. He gets up and waves off help, but McMillan still pulls him from the game. 54-51 Blazers.
7:21 - Rudy nearly doubles the bench scoring with that three. Yes, there were goggles. And yes, it was embarrassing for a grown man to do that. 59-53 Blazers.
6:12 - Williams is clipped by a pick and hits the hardwood, the Blazers sense his injury and call a sympathy time out. Just kidding. Matthews hits a wide open three from the corner. No mercy, just like the Cobra Kai dojo. Biggest lead of the night for Portland. 64-53 Blazers.
5:30 - Williams is back in the game, and Matthews celebrates this by draining another three over his former teammate. 66-55 Blazers.
4:43 - Clear path foul on Williams. That's a bad break for the Jazz, but better than a Shining Path foul. That's the play where a Peruvian Maoist rebel kills you. 70-55 Blazers.
3:04 - The lead stretched to 15, but Utah pulls it back to 10. Even more troubling is the thundersticks which have been handed out to every single fan surrounding press row. If you are an adult banging on those deafeningly loud things, while sitting in the luxury box directly behind our heads, you should be ashamed. 70-60 Blazers.
1:38 - It's been a familiar script to the game so far: The Blazers build a lead for ten minutes, then watch as Utah trims it down in the final two minutes of the quarter. Winning teams always finish well. The Blazers, well, not so much. 70-64 Blazers.
0:35 - Williams and Sean Marks collide under the basket. The foul could have gone either way. Who gets the whistle? The NBA's best point guard or... oh, never mind. Two shots for Williams. 76-66 Blazers.
0:01 - Matthews had ten points entering this quarter. He now was 26. An incredible quarter against his former team for the second year player. 79-68 Blazers.
11:51 - Patty Mills with his first points of the night on a driving layuop to start the quarter. At least there won't be any six-plus minute scoring drought here. 81-68 Blazers.
11:19 - Wondering how the Blazers might blow this lead and let Utah back in the game? How about three fouls. All on the same play. In a row. Two more and the Jazz are shooting free-throws the rest of the night. Oh, and the Jazz are in the top three in the league in free-throw percentage. 81-68 Blazers.
9:48 - Rudy with a cheap move against Earl Watson—he sliced in front of him, causing him to dodge the collision—that results in a Jazz turnover. It was crafty, but still pretty cheap. Looks like Watson won't be wearing his "I Heart Rudy" shirt any more. 85-72 Blazers.
7:19 - With that (questionable) call, the Blazers are now in the penalty. Get ready for the nonstop thrilling action of free-throws, free-throws, free-throws! 85-76 Blazers.
6:29 - I don't trust a seven point lead over Utah, especially a Jazz team that will be on the charity stripe from the remainder of the night. 85-78 Blazers.
5:43 - Aldridge wraps up an alley-oop and gets fouled by Millsap for some reason as well. Jerry Sloan might unhinge his jaw and swallow Millsao for making a mistake like that. 88-78 Blazers.
4:29 - Okay, maybe that lead is safe. Time for everyone to relax and let Captain Sean Marks come in the game and set course for victory. 91-79 Blazers.
3:36 - Two victories over Utah on the season is a good thing, but a pair of wins over their division rivals in a four day span is downright fantastic. It's all over but the Chalupa. 95-81 Blazers.
2:50 -Twenty boards on the night for Camby (a career high as a Blazer for him). A very quiet 20 rebounds at that. Much like Miller, he does his finest work outside the spotlight. 98-81 Blazers.
1:54 - Miller puts a few pounds around Portland's waist with the Chalupa bucket. That is also my DJ name: DJ Chalupa Bucket. I'm spinning at Aura this weekend. It's house and trip-hop with a spicy Latin flavor. 100-83 Blazers.
0:00 - And that'll do it. A monster night for Matthews. He ties his career high with 30 points, and Camby finishes with 20 rebounds. Aldridge didn't need to do the heavy lifting on the boards (only three on the night), but he added an impressive 27 points to the cause. Your final score, Portland 100, Utah 89. We'll see you here on Sunday night when the Houston Rockets come to town.