Live from the Rose Garden as the Portland Trail Blazers meet the Phoenix Suns. The Suns have won 11 consecutive against the red and black, a streak dating all the way back to the birth of baby Brandon Roy (fact!), who coincidentally was born in a manger (double fact!). Roy will need to be pretty Christ-like on the court tonight if Portland plans on waltzing away with the victory.
While their 7-second offense is a thing of the past, the Suns like to score, and fortunate for them they posses a lineup of guys who can give them buckets at will. They usually play seven players a night, and all seven score in double figures (if you count McNugget connoisseur Grant Hill's 9.3ppg average), which is as dependable as you can get. A recent trade for Jason Richardson has added some spark in the Valley of the Sun—winners of 4 of their last 5—plus they stack nearly 600 pounds in the paint with Black Jesus and Kazaam.
Are the Blazers screwed? Probably. But if they want to make some victory snow angels after the game, they better have a good showing from their bigs—this means you, sad sad Greg Oden—and they better run the Suns to the point of exhaustion. Plus, maybe Phoenix coach Terry Porter will be too distracted by his glistening jersey up in the rafters to notice the happs on court.
That was cute. When introduced, Terry Porter was putting on his best I'm-trying-so-hard-not-to-smile face, but it wasn't working. He also glanced up at his freshly retired number. I knew it would be a distraction.
10:08 - Greg Oden with a nice swat on a short jumper by Stoudemire, but the Suns retain possession of the ball and Shaq pushes his way under the basket for a dunk and an and-one. But the big kid gets his revenge with back-to-back dunks on the other end. It's nice to see GO not look like a rooted tree under the basket. 6-2 Portland.
9:21 - Points! Points! So many damn points! The Suns drain a pair of three-pointers, but Portland regains the lead with a Brandon Roy make from beyond the line. 11-11 tie.
6:26 - Shaq already has eight points, all of which have come on graceful finesse shots as he glides through the... oh who am I kidding? They've all been on ugly dunks. His dunk is the basketball equivalent of the dry heave. 16-15 Phoenix.
3:23 - Da Chinchilla Gorilla (Przybilla's new handle, I hope it sticks) with a ridiculous above-the-rim stuff of the goofy looking Robin Lopez, aka the other Lopez twin. We're all tied at 22.
2:12 - But what goes around, comes around, as Przybilla is going to require a long shower after being violated on that Stoudemire dunk. That was painful to watch. 24-24 tie.
0:26 - Stoudemire again! He's hogging the highlight reel, this time with a downright holy Black Jesus stuff of a LaMarcus Aldridge layup. Yet B.Roy gets his revenge with a circus play where he scores on a driving layup while getting sent to the hardwood. Dude spends more time on his back than your mom. Burn! Hey, lookie lookie, Portland has the lead, 31-28 Portland.
12:00 - Interesting that Ike Diogu is in the game for Portland. I assume it's to crack some skulls and pick up some fouls, since his presence usually signals a Blazers' blowout. His court time is also a sign that Channing Frye is so far in the doghouse that he might as well be live-blogging this game with me up here in press row.
10:18 - Leandro Barbosa is not called the "Brazilian Blur" because he's slow (or has poor vision?), he picks off a lazy pass from Rudy and ties the game up with a layup. 32-32.
8:50 -Diogu gets bonus points for clearing out the lane, but he misses an easy layup, then gets a chance for an easier layup. He clanks it. This leads to a Suns fastbreak, and the Blazers lose the lead. 36-35 Suns.
6:49 - The Blazers missed layup ticker is now at three, which is inexcusable considering that those six points will be sorely missed by the time they're done here. Plus, toss in an unnecessary alley-oop pass from Rudy that sailed over Roy's head, and you have even more lost points. 43-36 Suns.
5:47 - For a team without much reserve power, the Phoenix bench has torched the Blazers' second unit. Barbosa has nine points in less than seven minutes of action, while Matt Barnes has added a pair of three-pointers as well. The Blazers would be smart to trim this deficit before hitting the locker room for halftime milk and cookies. 48-38 Suns.
4:45 - Lakers fan Anthony Kiedis is here as well. Yeah, I know his dad lives here and all, but chillaxing in Portland hasn't ceased the audio abortion that is the Red Hot Chili Peppers from still releasing records. Let's all pray for an errant t-shirt gun misfire... 52-45 Phoenix.
2:34 - Steve Nash is forced back into the game after an unguarded Steve Blake breaks off a pair of open jumpers and a nice thee-pointer as well. Too bad Phoenix is keeping Portland at bay by hitting a redonkulous 77% (what?) from downtown. 57-52 Suns.
0:06 - LaMarcus Aldridge just got all his dreams to come true as Stoudemire gets his third foul and a trip to the bench. LA better comes out swinging—and flopping— in the third quarter. Meanwhile Rudy hits a three, then picks up a Steve Blake steal and tosses to Roy for an easy dunk. The Blazers are desperately trying to keep it close. 63-59 Suns.
Oh, and much like Tuesday's Terry Porter lovefest, tonight Bobby Gross' #30 is sent to the uniform heaven in the rafters. Sadly, he no longer rocks the classic mustache he wore during the Blazers championship run.
11:00 - Ezra, how ridiculous was the Suns shooting in the first half? Well, glad you asked. They shot 78% from three-point land, which is higher than the Blazers shot from the foul line. If they keep that up—which, odds are they will not—this game is all but over. But if they come down to earth—which, odds are they will—Portland can pull their way back into the game. 70-61 Suns.
9:36 - Aldridge needs to keep the shots coming, since not only has he only missed a pair of buckets (out of nine attempts), but it also keeps the pressure on Stoudemire not to stock up on fouls. 72-65 Phoenix.
8:39 - Oden got a little too overconfident after scoring on Shaq. He followed up his make with a terrible airball from about 3 feet out. It missed everything. Meanwhile, Blake does not airball his three-point attempt, instead it makes it all the way over the rim and through the net. Three points. 76-72 Suns.
6:49 - Good lord, Phoenix is now shooting 80% from beyond the arc. Plus tack on a bad call on a Shaq turnover, which costs the Blazers three points courtesy of Steve Nash. 84-72 Suns.
5:14 - The Suns miss a three-pointer! Finally!! The team that usually shoots 38% from three is down to a measly 75%. It couldn't come at a better time, since now Roy has changed into his Superman cape (first Jesus, now Superman?) and is intent on taking over this game. He just knocks back a ridiculous three pointer as the shot clock expired. 86-82 Suns.
3:29 - Oh hell no, Roy isn't done. His sequel to the bold three-pointer was a driving layup while getting fouled. He'll be on the line in a second with a chance to make it a one-point game, and make this loud crowd a wee bit louder. He makes it. 86-85 Suns.
2:55 - Blazers lead! Thanks to a three in the corner from Blake. 88-87 Blazers.
1:26 - If you're going to foul Shaq, you might as well really foul Shaq. Przybilla does just that, as he hangs off Shaq Daddy like a (Vanilla) Gorilla hangs off a tree. 94-91 Blazers.
0:12 - Portland has the ball and a few seconds to make this lead a little more comfortable. Roy hurls up a tough three which misses, but Przybilla tips it in as the clock expires. Wow. Not only did Portland erase a dozen point deficit in a matter of minutes, they did it with all-around contributions from the entire roster. Well, I guess Roy 38 points (and counting) helps a bit. 98-93 Blazers.
12:00 - With the exception of the superstar combo of Kobe and Lebron, is there any other player you'd want on your team more than Brandon Roy? Not only are his stats ridiculous, there might not be a more clutch player in the game, one capable of carrying an entire team on his back for extended periods of time. It seems like most Blazers fans spent the majority of last season lobbying for Roy to just barely make the all-star team, and now he gets "MVP" chants every time he is on the line.
11:18 - Gosh, I guess Phoenix isn't going to just go away quietly. More three-pointers! Barboso nails one to make it a one point game. 100-99 Portland.
10:05 - Bust out the ice cream cake and party hats, Brandon Roy has a new career high in points: 40! 104-99 Portland.
8:55 - A game with this many points is always entertaining, but tonight is just a little bit more impressive since Portland has played a pretty balanced game of hoops so far. The Blazers have only four turnovers, and if it wasn't for the Suns' unnatural three-point shooting this game would be a blowout. 106-101 Blazers.
8:10 - Travis Outlaw—who is just killing it out there—drives and dunks over a trio of Suns, only for the play to be called-off due to carrying. Ugh, a carrying call is akin to being whistled for having shorts that are too baggy. Weak. 106-103 Blazers.
7:03 - Remember that lead? Gone. Thanks to that 73% three-point shooting of the Suns. If they don't start missing some of those outside shots, Roy's big game will just be win number 12 in a row for Phoenix. 108-106 Suns.
6:05 - Hey, Portland, wanna win this game? Keep driving and getting fouled by the Suns. Roy draws a pair of whistles, so just one more and Phoenix is in the penalty. Oh, and also stop the Suns from scoring at will. 110-106 Suns.
5:16 - Or just have Roy hit a three. Countdown to 50 points... seven more to go. 110-109 Suns.
5:16 - Oh the humanity! Anthony Kiedis just got hit in the face with a blast from the t-shirt gun, there's blood everywhere. You could even say there is sugar, sex, and magic to accompany all the blood. Thank you, I'll be here all night.
4:42 - Travis Outrageous (ugh) hits a jumper while getting pawed by Barbosa, but no bonus point as he misses the free-throw. 112-111 Suns.
3:33 - As always, when points are needed Roy wears the big kid pants. He gets fouled on a drive (I feel like I have typed that sentence thousands of times) and hits both free-throws. That would be 45 points, but still the Suns are up. 114-113 Phoenix.
2:30 - Steve Blake on the line for a pair. And unlike that Clippers game—which we shall never speak of again—he makes them both. 117-117 tie!
1:50 - Aldridge gets foul number five (yikes) and Nash hits both to push the Suns back up by two. 119-117 Phoenix.
1:01 - As the shot clock expires Aldridge nails a jumper to tie it, then the Suns actually miss a three, and then HOLYFUCKINGSHIT Brandon Roy (who else?) gets to 50 with a three-pointer and (more importantly), a Blazers lead. 122-119 Portland. If the Blazers pull this off, and given the national TV audience, look for Roy's superstar status to reach far beyond just the 503.
0:25 - Nash misses a three, and the Blazers don't fair any better, but are lucky on the bounce and get the ball back with 12.2 ticks left away from sweet sweet victory. 122-119 Portland.
0:09 - Roy is fouled. He makes the first. He makes the second. 52 points, a little treat to match his buddy Oden's number. 124-119 Blazers.
0:00 - Nash misses a layup and we are done here. Roy delivers a night—52 points, 6 dimes, 4 boards—that we will tell our wee grandchildren about, as they are perched on our knee, and the Blazers beat Phoenix for the first time in years. Final score: 124-119 Blazers.