Live from the Rose Garden as the Portland Trail Blazers welcome their divisional foes, the Denver Nuggets. Tonight is the second Portland appearance by the Nuggets, who as we all remember were toppled by the Blazers 111-102 in late December. But that was so last year, back when we thought Portland might be able to win on the road (they can't) and losing Andre Miller (nostalgic swoon) for the elephantine Raymond Felton wouldn't be that big of a deal (it is).
Let's start looking up more words to describe Felton and get this blogging party started.
Portland at home (10-1) is as safe as a bet as you can get, but the Nuggets are one of the better Western Conference teams when away from the thin Denver air. Then again, they might be running on fumes, after coming up short in Los Angeles less than 24 hours ago. Denver also lost hulking Russian Timofey Mozgov who flattened his ankle like a blini (Russian pastry joke! Tell Raymond Felton!). That means we're about to see plenty of Kosta Koufos, a development that will should Portland fans giddy.
In addition to the return of Dre, Rudy—not Moody—Fernandez will be back on the court to shoot threes and get booed by the crowd.
I just worked a shift behind the bar so I have a good reason to smell like booze right now. Sadly Portland Roundball's Rob Simonsen has no such excuse. If his "coffee" was any Irish-er it would be reading James Joyce and listening to If I Should Fall from Grace with God.
Oh sweet, a (newish?)
Offspring Nickelback song is being played. Loudly. That'll get us motivated. FUCKING PUMPED, BROSEPH! (I'm ashamed I mixed up Nickelback and the Offspring, what kind of ex-music editor am I?)
"The Star-Spangled Banner," you got nothing on Nickelback. Tough break following this song.
11:09 - Danilo Gallinari, the Italian Rudy, for three and then Felton answers with his own. [Something, something, about Felton loving Italian]. 5-3 Blazers.
9:22 - Gerald Wallace with a pull up jumper, in lieu of his usual reckless charge through the paint and violent collision with the first row of seats. Eh, whatever works. 11-3 Blazers.
7:35 - Felton turnover, Gallinari scores. Felton doesn't turn the ball over, Gallinari still scores. He is the Tim Tebow of Denver basketball. 11-9 Blazers.
5:09 - Wallace plows over Gallinari and converts. Oddly enough, Gallinari returns the favor on the other end. Denver has 16, a dozen of which belong to Gallinari. 21-16 Blazers.
4:00 - This is an uptempo game with both teams converting over half their shots. I can practically taste that Chalupa coupon. (No, I know, but the piece of paper tastes better than the actual item of food.) 23-18 Blazers.
3:28 - Nicolas Batum is back in the game. Earlier this week I swore he'd be joining Greg Oden on the gurney by this weekend. Good news Greg, more room for you. 26-20 Blazers.
2:23 - Oh way to make me look bad, Koufos. He has eight points so far. 27-22 Blazers.
1:41 - Nevermind, Koufos totally Koufosed a pair of easy layups directly under the rim. 29-22 Blazers
1:17 - Can't believe Rudy made that shot with all those soft tears in his eyes after being so robustly booed by this crowd. 30-24 Blazers.
11:13 - Wesley Matthews played eight minutes before shooting. Even better, he made his first shot. Just stop now! Leave your shooting percentage at 100%. 35-28 Blazers.
10:22 - Batum for three! Perhaps a near career-ruining close call is what we all need in life. 38-31 Blazers.
9:13 - Kurt Thomas with a Camby-esque block and then a few seconds later Batum hits a three. And then another three. 44-31 Blazers.
8:47 - My theory: Greg Oden's body—via a deal with the devil, or Paul Allen, or whatever—is now a collective vessel for the Blazers' pain. Batum hurts his knee, Oden has surgery. Whatever happens to the team, it'll be physically felt on the reverse voodoo doll that is Oden. This sounds like the plot of the worst Goosebumps book ever. 44-34 Blazers.
7:50 - Batum for three. He has four makes, all from deep. 47-34 Blazers.
7:15 - Batum for three. Again. That is five. Hold tight while I dig up the single game three point shooting franchise record. I bet it belongs to Dan Dickeau. 50-37 Blazers.
5:55 - Batum with an acrobatic layup, a shot somehow more impressive than his last five three-pointers. 52-39 Blazers.
3:20 - Ty Lawson does his part to bring Denver back from the Batumsplosion. He has a quick eight points in the quarter and the lead is down to ten. 57-47 Blazers.
1:35 - Wallace passes up a wideopen three, palms the ball, and then guns a pass to Aldridge for an easy layup. Who needs a point guard? 59-49 Blazers.
0:30 - Lawson with a steal and for some odd reason Felton backs away from him at the other end. I assume he was faked out by the presence of a superior guard. Lawson didn't seem like he was going to pass, so Felton's defensive vanishing act seemed bizarre, to say the least. 59-53 Blazers.
11:23 - Gallinari with a jumper. Lawson with a steal and a layup. Aaaaaand it's a one basket game. 59-57 Blazers.
9:41 - Matthews with a shot off the top of the backboard and it's tipped in by Aldridge. Totally called it. 64-59 Blazers.
8:27 - Wallace with a breakaway off a steal and he... lays it in? My, how far we have come from this. 68-63 Blazers.
6:51 - Felton is down. And hurt. He is being helped off the court. "There going to need more guys to carry him off than that."—Press row writer who shall remain nameless. 70-63 Blazers.
5:25 - Crawford with a flaming bag pass to Aldridge. Oh Steve Blake, where have you gone? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you. 70-63 Blazers.
4:38 - Oden appears on a timeout video about the Super Bowl and is booed. Wow. So it's come to that, huh?
3:49 - Al Harrington charges over Wallace, who is then slow to get up. Looks like he bit his tongue. As in, Wallace bit his own tongue. It would have been weird if Harrington bit another man's tongue. 78-63 Blazers.
2:48 - Rudy with a steal and dunk. The crowd boos. Meanwhile in a Portland area Goodwill store a pile of "I Heart Rudy" shirts collect a thick layer of dust. 80-65 Blazers.
1:41 - Aldridge with a couple All-Star plays and then Batum sinks another three. I predicted a 20 point lead by the end of the quarter, I might not be far off. 85-67 Blazers.
0:05 - Oh damn you, Rudy. I wanted 20 points. 85-71 Blazers.
12:00 - The official word on Felton: Left foot sprain. Probably a gravy clog. Zing!
10:46 - Harrington with a three. Dozen point lead. 88-76 Blazers.
9:56 - Batum passes up a three, gets the ball back and then pulls the trigger. Three more points. He has 27 so far, seven of which have been from beyond the arc. 91-76 Blazers.
8:24 - A broken play leads to an Aldridge dunk. Allstardridge™. 95-80 Blazers.
6:53 - Oh, nevermind, After reading this I no longer like Aldridge. Trade him. 97-80 Blazers.
5:34 - Crawford with a jumper, while getting fouled, and hitting the Chalupa shot. Don't worry Felton, I'm sure he'll share his. 101-81 Blazers.
5:18 - Christ, Marcus Camby has 20 rebounds this game. Quietly. How can you do that and barely anyone notices. Meanwhile, Batum hits a three. A noisy, noisy three. 105-82 Blazers
4:42 - A big *clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, Nic Batum* chant going on here. 105-82 Blazers
4:16 - And then he hits another. His ninth. Wow. 33 points for him, a career high. 108-83 Blazers.
3:17 - Batum's nine three-pointers is best in the NBA this season. Keep in mind, his season almost ended about five days ago. 110-85 Blazers.
3:17 - They just showed the Batum stat on the big screen and while Batum noticed and turned away, Crawford gave him a nice golf clap. Seconds later, Elliot Williams flies in for a put-back dunk. So, guess he is in the game now. 112-85 Blazers.
2:43 - Luke Babbitt in for Batum. Of course he is. 112-88 Blazers.
0:00 - And that'll do it. Another home court blowout, this one highlighted by the absolutely absurd shooting of Batum (that was a franchise best three-point shooting), plus another solid performance from Aldridge (29/9). Your final score, Portland 117, Denver 97. See you Monday.