Live from the Rose Garden as the Portland Trail Blazers put out the good china and cloth napkins and welcome the New Orleans Hornets. According to Brandon Roy, tonight was supposed to mark his glorious return from dual knee surgery, but the team disagreed with that medical assessment—despite a note from his esteemed physician, Dr. Roy Incognito, MD—so he'll sit until after the All-Star break.
Your prescription for boring basketball live-blogging awaits after the jump.
When this season started the Hornets were quick out of the gates (hives?) as the best team in the NBA. But that surprising run has slowed as the year has progresses and Chris Paul and company now find themselves teetering for the fifth slot in the Western Conference playoff jamberoo. If the Hornets are on a slow decline, the Blazers are headed the opposite direction. Winners of five straight, the home team has been sitting on their hands and watching LaMarcus Aldridge dominate on a nightly basis. During this streak—in which he picked up Player of the Week honors—Aldridge has been averaging over 31 points per game.
Did you know that the Hornets have won their past three games in the Rose Garden? Well, you should. I just typed that.
I just got my pair of Brandon Roy headphones. I might just wear them during the game so I don't have to hear the "Cotton-Eyed Joe" dance remix they play every game.
Dante Cunningham is still wearing his scary (face protecting) mask. After this game he's headed up to Camp Crystal Lake. To, um, camp. Yeah, that's it. Camp.
11:40 - The last two games in this building ended with Aldridge eclipsing the 40 point mark. It takes about 20 seconds for him to notch his first two points of the night. 2-0 Blazers.
10:06 - Aldridge again. Running hook shot this time. But he was too busy making sure I wrote that down and didn't defend David West all alone under the basket. 7-6 Blazers.
9:35 - Andre Miller to Aldridge for the alley-oop. Let's just call it an Aldridge-oop. Wait, let's not. That sounds terrible. 9-8 Blazers.
7:23 - Miller gets boxed into a corner and coughs up the ball. Willie Green waltzs in for a wide open layup. I hope Miller gets an assist for that. 14-12 Hornets.
5:29 - Wesley Matthews models his new three goggles. One play later, another Aldridge alley-oop. Then Nicolas Batum steals the inbound pass and scores. Seven points, just like that. 19-14 Blazers.
5:14 - Make that nine points. Batum can't finish the fastbreak layup but Aldridge is there for for the tip-in. That's 11 points in half a quarter. Hot damn. 21-14 Blazers.
3:44 - Aldridge reluctantly tosses up a 16-footer. All net. He might as well just start jacking up half court shots at this point. 24-18 Blazers.
2:56 - Batum adds to the shooting parade with a three from the corner. That's 73% shooting for Portland so far. 27-20 Blazers.
1:15 - David West does his part to keep the Hornets in the game, but Rudy answers back with a quick three of his own. Defense didn't bother showing up tonight for either team. 32-36 Blazers.
0:01 - Matthews hit a three as the quarter comes to a close. That's 13 for him, and the Blazers finish the first dozen minutes with an impressive four-for-six mark from beyond the arc. 35-26 Blazers.
10:32 - If you want defense, shield your eyes. If you want to watch a bearded Spaniard bury another three pointer, you have come to the right place. 38-28 Blazers.
9:42 - Trevor Ariza is on the receiving end of a baseball pass and hits the easy layup. Again, defense. It ain't pretty. 38-30 Blazers.
8:49 - Jarrett Jack returns to his old stomping grounds and hits a jumper, Ariza follows with an uncontested three. 38-35 Blazers.
7:00 - West tips a ball towards the sidelines, but for some reason Miller tries to chase it down and steps out of bounds. That results in two more points for the Hornets. New Orleans is on a 11-3 run to start this quarter. 38-37 Blazers.
4:14 - Batum posts up Paul, backs him under the basket, and tosses up an airball. I don't think that went as he had planned. Portland has seven points in the eight minutes. 42-40 Blazers.
3:22 - Paul takes advantage of the slow Blazers defense and draws a whistle on Matthews. Still seven points in the quarter for Portland. We're closing in on nine minutes. 42-42 tie.
2:51 - Aldridge with a block that saves the lead and an easy layup. Hello, defense. Nice of you to show up. 44-42 Blazers.
2:34 - Aldridge with a layup, but the big screen is too busy showing a marriage proposal. Really? You couldn't wait until a full timeout? 46-44 Blazers.
1:19 - The Hornets are out-rebounding the Blazers 19-11, one of those just came from Ariza, who was surrounded by four Portland players. That lead to a three point play from Willie Green. 47-46 Hornets.
0:00 - Ouch. Two failed shots for the Blazers in this 13 point quarter. Somehow Portland is only down by a single point at the break. 49-48 Hornets.
11:20 - Green wastes no time. He has 13, four more than his season average. 51-48 Hornets.
9:57 - Green, again. He is the new LaMarcus Aldridge. 56-50 Hornets.
8:23 - Realizing that no one else will do it for him, Aldridge sinks a running hook shot while getting fouled. Three points. 58-57 Hornets.
7:26 - Aldridge gets the foul, but Cunningham screams at the official for him. That mask does not help his cause. Seconds later, Miller picks up a stupid foul, pushing the Blazers into the penalty. It's all unraveling. 60-57 Hornets.
6:33 - Sensing a timeout, half the Blazers walk to the bench, followed by the Hornets, but Miller keeps the ball alive and converts on the sneaky layup before New Orleans knew what was developing. That was fun to watch. 65-59 Hornets.
5:10 - Just as their offense flatlines for the second consecutive quarter, Batum hits a three to (temporarily) save the Blazers. 68-62 Hornets.
3:21 - New Orleans joins Portland in the penalty party. Ice cream cake for everyone. 70-66 Hornets.
1:41 - Jack drives to the rim. No one bothers guarding it. Two points. I think he was just as surprised as everyone else on that play. 73-68 Hornets.
0:00 - Rudy misses a three at the buzzer, and the Blazers head into the final quarter down six. it's taken the Blazers two full quarters to match their 35 points from the first quarter. Not good. 76-70 Hornets.
11:32 - Rudy tosses up a desperate three, but Aldridge drunks it home. One handed. That just woke up the crowd in a big way. 76-72 Hornets.
10:22 - Rudy might want a mulligan on that missed layup at the rim. That won't help things. 78-74 Hornets.
8:38 - The Blazers had a five-on-three break and Miller turned it over. That has to be the worst turnover I have ever seen him make. Even Patty Mills wouldn't have done that. Or Armon Johnson. Maybe Sebastain Telfair. 80-76 Hornets.
7:57 - Following a West free-throw, someone just screamed, "LET'S GO FREE-THROW GUY, DO YOUR JOB!" Well played. 82-78 Hornets.
7:15 - Green again. He has 22, five away from his career high. You might want to guard that guy, Portland. 84-81 Hornets.
5:10 - Aldridge with a fancy layup, but he misses, yet somehow gets his own rebound and converts. Not many All-Stars could do that. Good thing he isn't one. 86-83 Hornets.
4:52 - Aldridge to Batum for a give-and-go dunk. Nice play out of a timeout for the home team. 86-85 Hornets.
4:13 - Aldridge the shot and the foul. Swish and swish. Three point play that pushes the Blazers into the lead. 88-86 Blazers.
3:36 - In a familiar sight to Blazers fans, Jarrett Jack gets to the rim, is wide open, then clanks the layup. Miller fairs better for Portland, he converts a short jumper. Techno mix for the Rose Garden to celebrate. Yay? 90-86 Blazers.
2:05 - Matthews hits an ugly little running layup. I'm sure it was pretty on the inside. The Hornets come up short on their next possession. Looking good for Portland. 92-88 Blazers.
1:34 - Matthews with a pretty cut to the basket and a quick layup. Beautiful all around. 94-88 Blazers.
1:04 - Rudy could have iced it with his wild three attempt but comes up short. No matter, Aldridge swats away a Green layup attempt on the other end. Following that, Paul panics and sends Miller to the line with a two shot foul. Makes them both. 96-89 Blazers.
0:42 - Jack's layup ends the Blazers 17-5 run, but Miller is fouled again and collects another two points that pretty much close this game out. 98-91 Blazers.
0:29 - Matthews is tossed to the ground by Paul on a loose ball scrum. Eh, he's smaller than you, so no complaining Wesley. 99-91 Blazers.
0:25 - The man in the mask just gave everyone in the crowd a free chalupa. Thanks Dante. I guess. 101-94 Blazers.
0:00 - And that'll do it. Your final score, Portland103, New Orleans 96. Aldridge finished with 34 and seven boards, Matthews added an impressive 24, while Miller had 18. Portland will go into the All-Star break in the fifth spot for the playoffs and eight games over .500 (their best record of the season). See you next week when the second half starts and the Lakers come to town.