Live from the Rose Garden as the Portland Trail Blazers take on the Dallas Mavericks in what could very well be the final game of the season for the home team. The Mavs have pushed the Blazers to the very brink of elimination and Portland now needs a win tonight to prolong this series, and a win in Dallas on Sunday to advance to the next round.
If that doesn't happen, season over. The fans go home, the Blazers hit the golf course, and the Rose Garden goes dark... until May 19 when Jeff Dunham comes to town. Oh, for the love god. Hey Blazers, you want some motivation? That's it. The more you win, the less likely that hack of a ventriloquist will take over your arena. This isn't about basketball, or winning, it's about our shared hatred for puppets.
Forty-eight minutes of basketball live-blogging and Pupaphobia await you after the jump.
Do you want the bad news first? I mean, other than the on the cusp of elimination thing. Rodrigue Beabois has been activated for this game. The athletic guard has been out this entire series and if he gets serious minutes tonight, he'll give Dallas an additional advantage off the bench.
All bad news deserves some good news. The Mavs have lost eight consecutive playoff games on the road. In fact they've dropped 18 of the last 20 away from Dallas. Also, considering that Tyson Chandler hogged every rebound in game five, look for Marcus Camby to teach him a lesson in sharing. Camby only logged 20:17 on Monday, but he'll likely spend more time on the court tonight. Losing to the unguardable Dirk Nowitzki (or the slightly more guardable, but still talented Jason Terry) is one thing, but Chandler is not the player that should beat you.
It's official, winner of this series meets the Lakers in the next round. It'll take two Blazers victories to get there, but wouldn't that be sweet?
I'll say this, there is definitely more energy from this crowd tonight than in the previous two home games.
11:50 - Camby throws a wild pass out of bounds to Gerald Wallace. Hey, just like the start of game four. 0-0.
10:32 - Wow, it's loud here. Just imagined how loud it'll be if the Blazers actually score a basket. 0-0 tie.
9:36 - Two baskets, both from Wallace tip-ins. 4-2 Blazers.
9:03 - Look who showed up. Wallace with a top of the key three pointer. He has all seven Portland points. 7-5 Blazers.
8:31 - Make that nine. Wow. Dallas calls timeout. It's the first time this series they've had to worry about Wallace taking over a came. 9-5 Blazers/Wallace.
7:56 - Wesley Matthews joins the scoring party with a corner three. On the other end, Shawn Marion airballs a hookshot. Kareem would beat him with a pair of Shape Ups if he saw that shot. 12-5 Blazers.
6:40 - First it was Wallace, now it's Matthews. After he bricks a three, Andre Miller collects the offensive rebound and hits Matthews on the drive for an and-one layup. He makes the free throw. 15-7 Blazers.
5:59 - Marion airballs a layup (he is now 0-5 shooting) and LaMarcus Aldridge finishes the fastbreak with a dunk. Dallas might as well be packing for the trip home. They look flat, while the Blazers couldn't be any more inspired. 19-7 Blazers.
4:15 - I take it all back. The Mavs reel off six quick points. This team doesn't stay down for long. 19-13 Blazers.
3:32 - The Mavs eight point run is stopped by... Wallace. Who else? He slides through traffic and hits an off-balanced layup. 21-15 Blazers.
1:46 - Dear Andre Miller. Never shoot another three pointer again. Signed, Ezra. 23-17 Blazers.
0:20 - Blazers close on a high note: Brandon Roy and Chris Johnson team up for a little give and go, with Johnson dunking it home. Funny, a few months ago the last two players I thought I'd see in a Blazers playoff game would be those two. Well, maybe Luke Babbitt. 27-19 Blazers.
11:12 - Goddamn, Chris Johnson is skinny. Karen Carpenter's skeleton weighs more than him. Oh, Roy just hit a shot. Ten point lead. 29-19 Blazers.
9:31 - The Mavs have yet to score this quarter. 31-19 Blazers.
9:01 - Johnson goes right after Dirk and gets pushed to the floor, while picking up the whistle. Superstar beats D-League every time. But more impressive is how Johnson popped up and got in Dirk's face after the play. That kid has moxie. 33-25 Blazers.
8:39 - Too much moxie. Johnson horse collars Dirk (the dramatic flop wasn't called for) after a rebound and is called for a flagrant foul. He's my hero. 33-25 Blazers.
7:37 - Johnson might have woken a sleeping giant. With that layup Dirk now has 15, nine in this quarter alone. Also, Wallace has exited the game with what is being reported as a sore back. For Portland's sake, hope he is back soon. 35-31 Blazers.
6:33 - Jose Barea ties it up with a floating layup. Well, there goes the blowout. 35-35 tie.
6:24 - Two things I have found out about Andre Miller this week: He stays in his mom's house in Compton during the offseason. And according to the mid-game video they just shows, "I like Miley Cirus." Good to know. 35-35 tie.
5:03 - Dallas has their first lead with that Peja Stojakovic three. And then another from Terry. 41-37 Mavs.
3:20 - Terry blows by Roy for an easy layup. Roy's defense isn't quite what it used to be. And it never used to be all that impressive. 43-39 Mavs.
1:57 - Dallas is gunning for Roy. No matter who he covers, that's who shoots. Four plays in a row they've aimed their offense directly at Roy. 43-41 Mavs.
1:10 - Roy doesn't get back and Dirk dunks on a fastbreak. Not good. Not good at all. 47-43 Mavs.
0:01 - Mavs hold for the final shot and Terry converts a three. Dallas dominated the second quarter. Portland once had a dozen point lead but now trail by nine at the break. Could there be just 24 minutes left in the season? 52-43 Mavs.
The Mavs ended the first half on a 30-10 run. Roy has a -17 rating. Let me type that again, -17. In a dozen minutes he was -17. Wow. In some good news, Wallace is back on the court. Once he left, so did Portland's lead.
11:41 - No one guards Jason Kidd as he shoots a four foot jumper. On the other end, Aldridge airballs a jumper. Oh boy. 54-43 Mavs.
9:52 - Mario with a baseline dunk and Portland calls timeout. 56-45 Mavs.
9:52 - Wallace barely played the second quarter, yet he still leads the Blazers in scoring. 56-45 Mavs.
8:54 - Portland only has three free-throw attempts this game. Dallas has 10. 58-45 Mavs.
8:10 - Finally some whistles, Portland draws a pair of fouls. Then again, it's hard to be fouled when your offense consists of desperate three pointers and Aldridge back-to-the-basket jumpers. 58-49 Mavs.
7:37 - Speaking of fouls, Wallace hits Chandler hard to save a wide open dunk. That's a call that no one here will boo. 59-49 Mavs.
7:25 - Dallas has fouled Portland in five of the past six offensive possessions. Even still, the Blazers haven't been able to trim the lead. 59-49 Mavs.
6:35 - On a sloppy, broken play, Wallace hits an acrobatic turn around jump shot as the clock expired. It was desperate, but it worked. One play later, Dallas fouls their way into the penalty. They just opened the window for Portland to climb back into this game. 59-51 Blazers.
3:37 - Climb back into this game, or climb into the offseason. Portland has had plenty of chances, but their offense has been bogged down by careless passing and poor shot selection. Five misses in a row, and counting... 67-52 Mavs
3:37 - Roy is at -21 for those keeping track (of the misery) at home. 67-52 Mavs.
3:18 - Wallace goes up for a play I'll call the suicide dunk. He misses the dunk, is fouled, and somehow lives. 67-53 Mavs.
2:24 - Batum misses a three, but Wallace comes out of nowhere to tip the ball to Roy, who then buries a three. 69-56 Mavs.
2:00 - Damn, Jason Terry. The higher degree of difficulty, the easier he makes it look. 71-56 Mavs.
0:41 - Terry again. There goes the season. 75-58 Mavs.
0:01 - Wallace scoops up the board and desperately makes his way down the court and is (barely) fouled as the quarter expires. He hits both. With the season on the line, Portland has a dozen minutes to make up a 13 point deficit. 75-62 Mavs.
11:40 - Camby with a short two foot jumper. Old Man Camby is going to "Roy" this comeback himself. 75-64 Mavs.
10:36 - Even more surprising than Roy passing up a three is that Rudy hit one. 77-69 Mavs.
10:03 - Aldridge draws a whistle under the basket and will shoot a pair. After two lackluster quarters, the Blazers seem motivated for the final 12 minutes. Aldridge hits both. 77-71 Mavs.
9:20 - Following a ridiculous Dirk turnaround/flailing jumper, Matthews cuts to the rim and his fouled. He hits both. 79-73 Mavs.
8:50 - Dirk is hitting everything. It's never pretty, but his shots all are net. I think that's eight straight Dallas points for him. 83-75 Mavs.
7:46 - Barea for three. The guy in front of us screamed "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?" I'm with him. 86-79 Mavs.
7:26 - Dallas has missed one shot this quarter (5-6 shooting) and Portland has still cut the lead from 13 to seven. 86-79 Mavs.
7:02 - Dirk misses a shot! Dirk misses a shot! And then Wallace misses a shot. 86-79 Mavs.
6:31 - Matthews senses that the outside shots are a bad idea, so he takes the bill to the rim and is fouled. Dallas is one foul away from the penalty. Matthews makes both free-throws. 86-81 Mavs
5:51 - Aldridge is long on a jumper, but Wallace swoops in for the rebound and the put-back. The Blazers have scored more points in the past six minutes (21) than they did in either the second or third quarter. Three point game? Three point game! 86-83 Mavs.
5:24 - Wallace the steal. Wallace the dunk! One point game. 86-85 Mavs.
5:03 - Kidd for three. 89-85 Mavs.
4:29 - Two misses, two offensive rebounds, and then Aldridge loses the ball. Terry responds with a quick jumper. Portland just blew a few chances to take the lead. 91-85 Mavs.
3:43 - Low percentage shot time. Matthews clanks a three. 91-85 Mavs.
3:07 - Wallace goes hard to the basket and then hard to the floor after a Marion foul. That can't feel good on his sour back. He hits them both. 91-87 Mavs.
2:56 - Foul called on Wallace for being awesome (and for trying to rip Terry's arm off). 91-87 Mavs.
2:55 - One second later, Terry coughs up the ball for an over-and-back penalty, On the other end, Dirk picks up his fifth foul. One more and he gets a seat on the bench. Aldridge on the line. 91-87 Mavs.
2:34 - Aldridge misses the first. He misses the second. Ouch. 91-87 Mavs.
2:10 - Mario with a short jumper. On the Blazers' end of the court, Marion bumps Wallace to the floor. More foul shots for Portland. He hits the first. He hits the second. 93-89 Mavs.
1:42 - Terry with a baseline jumper and Portland can't get a good look before the shotclock buzzer expires. 95-89 Mavs.
0:46 - Kidd misses a three but Dallas gets the rebound. Instead of running down the clock, Terry somehow (?) has another over-and-back violation. Wow. Not much hope for the Blazers, but they have a chance. 95-89 Mavs.
0:32 - Wallace for three? Why?? Ugh, ball goes out of bounds. Dallas has it. That might be it. 95-89 Mavs.
0:30 - Dirk hits his free-throws. Well, see you later 2010-11 season. 97-89 Mavs.
0:25 - Matthews hits a three to prolong the season and delay my arrival at the Tune-Yards concert. Thanks, Wes. Following that, Dirk is fouled. He hits both. Of course he does. You know what, I'm beginning to think that Free Throw Guy does little to actually prevent opposing teams from making free-throws. 101-94 Mavs.
0:09 - And that will do it for the season. Your final score Dallas 103, Portland 96. Since this is the end, I want to say thanks to everyone who labored through this season and commented along the way. See you next fall.