Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Boston Celtics.
So this has to be the most traffic the Wikipedia page for thumbs has seen since, well, ever.
All that’s known at this point about LaMarcus Aldridge’s thumb injury is he’s wearing a cast, he needs to undergo further testing once the swelling finally subsides, and chances are he’ll be out for at least a few weeks, possibly a lot longer depending on the severity of the injury. Ugh.
On top of Aldridge’s absence, Neil Olshey confirmed that Robin Lopez will most likely be out until the All-Star break. Portland is holding its big man rotation together with duct tape and Axe Body Spray.
If there is any good news to be had, it’s that Nicolas Batum might have stopped playing like a pumpkin. His twenty-seven points (a season-high) nearly led the Blazers back from a twenty-five point deficit in Phoenix last night. The Blazers ultimately lost to the Suns, but if it means Batum rediscovered his stroke, that loss was worth it. How do you say “regression to the mean” in French?
WELL, SHIT. The injury gods strike again. News just broke before the game that Aldridge will need surgery on his thumb, and he'll be out 6-8 weeks. That translates to roughly twenty-four games, and is pretty much the worst case scenario. Get ready for all the Meyers Leonard you can handle.
The Blazers need to play roughly .500 ball from here on out to still make the playoffs, meaning they can't drop any easy games. Tonight's game is an easy game. These Celtics are in full on tank mode—they'll be good at some point in the future, but today is not that day. Seriously, Boston is having a fire sale and everyone is invited. If you dangle a second round pick, you can have pretty much anyone on this roster. Danny Ainge has amassed roughly seventy-eight draft picks over the next five years after trading away every veteran they had. Brandon Bass is next, and Portland may pick him up at halftime for a bag of peanuts and a few deflated basketballs.
This Aldridge news is a total bummer. The Blazers were playing so well this season. I'd feel worse, but a big man getting injured is par for the course in Portland. If there's any silver lining, it's that he'll be back in time for the playoffs. Assuming the Blazers can tread water and still make the playoffs, that is. Ugh. I hate everything.
11:17 - Brandon Bass with the first basket of the game. Keep this up, and he'll play his way off of the Celtics and on to the Blazers. 2-0 Celtics.
9:17 - Dame with the nice move along the baseline—cutting through the defense, keeping his dribble, and pulling up for a quick turnaround fadeaway in the lane. 6-4 Blazers.
7:40 - Thomas Robinson and Chris Kaman have combined for eight of Portland's points thus far. LaMarcus who? (Just kidding LaMarcus come back now please.) 10-6 Blazers.
6:17 - Another nice sequence for the Portland bigs, with Robinson tracking down an offensive rebound and finding an open Kaman for the easy put back. 12-8 Blazers.
4:30 - Batum is 0-3 on the night. He's back to being a pumpkin. 14-12 Celtics.
1:49 - The lineup the Blazers have on the floor just isn't working. That's where the injuries are really going to hurt—their bench is much improved this season, but not when they're stuck digging into the back of it to spell the starters. 21-17 Celtics.
0:58 - Tayshaun Prince is on the Celtics?! He looks like a sad puppy out there, being forced to slum it with this crew. Cue Doc Rivers offering a second round pick for him in three, two, one... 23-17 Celtics.
0:00 - An offense without Aldridge only mustered nineteen points against this Boston team? Go figure. 23-19 Celtics.
11:42 - If there's one thing CJ McCollum can do well, it's score one on one. He's had a couple of nifty moves to free himself so far tonight, and he's drained both of his jumpers. 23-21 Celtics.
9:40 - Kelly Olynyk versus Meyers Leonard is both the matchup we need and the matchup we deserve. The crowd gasped when Olynyk drained a pullup three in transition. To be fair, that hair really is glorious in person. 28-23 Celtics.
6:06 - After Olynyk left a three-foot shot short, the Blazers were able to leak out into transition. Batum threw a pretty bounce pass to a streaking Barton, but Big Willy Style was unable to convert on the layup. No problem. Thomas Robinson was running with them, and slammed home the miss. Timeout Boston. 33-33 Tie.
4:25 - Thomas Robinson got bumped on a layup but didn't draw the call. As he was complaining to the refs, Jared Sullinger ran the floor and dunked it home with ease. Coach Stotts was clearly fumed, imploring Robinson to get back on defense. 35-33 Celtics.
2:55 - Dame with back to back baskets, but he has just six points on the night. The Blazers are going to need a lot more than that with Aldridge out. 38-37 Celtics.
2:33 - Or not. Matthews came up with a steal, took it coast to coast around nearly every Boston player, and put it in for the lead! 39-38 Blazers.
1:00 - Update on Batum: still a pumpkin. He's 0-6 on the night. 42-42 Tie.
0:00 - You know when the game recaps on NBA.com just start at the second half and don't even bother showing anything that happened in the first 24 minutes? Yeah. That. 44-42 Celtics.
11:45 - The Blazers ran a beautiful first play to get Matthews a wide open triple. Nothing but net and bow and arrows. 45-44 Blazers.
8:28 - Matthews for another three. He wanted that one. 50-48 Blazers.
8:02 - Okay, Matthews, we see you. There was no hesitation on that pullup, and he sunk his third three of the quarter with a hand right in his face. 53-50 Blazers.
6:55 - Wesley, once again. This is getting ridiculous. 56-52 Blazers.
5:46 - Oh. Oh, no. Batum went back to the locker room holding his bum wrist. All these injuries are downright stupid. 56-54 Blazers.
5:01 - Meyers Leonard and Jared Sullinger trading three-pointers in an NBA game, just like everyone predicted. 59-57 Blazers.
4:02 - ....and it was just announced that Batum will not return. I hate everything. 63-59 Blazers.
2:36 - Dame finally gets another jumper to fall. He hasn't been able to get a single call all night, and is shooting just a paltry 4-15 from the floor. 64-61 Blazers.
1:18 - Dame for three! Hopefully that gets him going. 67-65 Blazers.
0:00 - Yep, that going him going. With the clock winding down, Dame drove left, shook Avery Bradley with a spin move, and took it right down the lane for the one-handed stuff over Tyler Zeller. Those are becoming a magical nightly occurrence. 72-67 Blazers.
10:13 - Matthews stopped a mini 4-0 from Boston with a high-arcing jumper. He can't miss this half. 74-71 Blazers.
9:25 - Things are unraveling for the Celtics. After there was a blatant no-call on a Brandon Bass dunk attempt, the Blazers ran out into transition and CJ McCollum was able to pick up a questionable and-one. Somewhere in the midst of all of that the Boston bench (as a whole?) picked up a tech for arguing with the refs. 78-73 Blazers.
7:04 - I don't know how Brandon Bass got up after that. I'd be in the fetal position, crying like a baby, and I know because of experience. Bass went up for the shot block, but Kaman only faked the shot. Bass had his legs taken out from under him and he hit the floor with a serious thud, landing right on his shoulder. Ugh. 79-75 Blazers.
6:51 - Great. Off of Kaman's second missed free throw, Olynyk looked to roll his ankle going for the rebound. Timeout Boston, and Olynyk is headed straight back to the locker room. Can we just call this one a tie and move on? Too many players are getting hurt. 79-75 Blazers.
4:55 - Seeing Gerald Wallace on the Boston bench, unable to get into this game, is so sad. 84-81 Blazers.
4:42 - But then Dame sinks a three, and I remember that Portland essentially traded Wallace for Lillard, and you just keep on keeping that bench warm Crash. 87-81 Blazers.
2:00 - Uh oh. We're all tied up. 87-87 Tie.
1:15 - Matthews to the line with a chance to put Portland up two, but he was only able to sink one of the freebies. It'll be Celtics ball after the timeout. 88-87 Blazers.
0:42 - Woah. The Blazers forced a miss, but were unable to convert on three good looks at the rim on the other end. Robinson saved a rebound from going out of bounds, but both Kaman and Lillard couldn't convert under the basket. The Celtics tried to run out into transition, but the pass was a little too far and Marcus Smart booted it out of bounds. Portland ball. 88-87 Blazers.
0:26 - Blake missed a great look from distance, but Robinson was able to grab another offensive rebound and pick up the foul on the put back. He went to the line for two freebies, but could only convert on one of two. Timeout Boston. 89-87 Blazers.
0:08 - Sullinger missed from deep! But the Celtics were able to get the rebound, and after this timeout they'll have a final chance to tie or win it. 89-87 Blazers.
0:01 - Shit. Matthews was able to knock the ball away and it looked like Portland might have been able to secure it. The ball was on the ground, and somehow Sullinger both came up with it and kicked it to Evan Turner in the corner. The three hit nothing but the bottom of the net. Does Dame have any clutch magic left? 90-89 Celtics.
0:00 - Dame caught it thirty feet from the hoop, with a double team on him, and couldn't even get the shot off. There had to have been a better play call than that. Oof.
FINAL: 90-89 Celtics. What an ugly, ugly game. Aldridge is out. Batum missed half the contest, and might miss more time going forward. The Blazers lost on a broken play. Things couldn't be going much worse for the Blazers. Hopefully all this bad luck now will mean good luck come playoff time.