Our Dan Fogelberg-Free Rundown of the Best New Year's Eves in Town!
The "BOOOO's" are raining down on Zach Randolph, the new Los Angeles Clipper and former Trail Blazer, during introductions here at the Rose Garden. Ouch. Not even a split decision—just pure vitriol. A quick note on Zach: Whatever you think about his time in Portland, Zach was a nice guy. When I was a Blazer intern, Z-Bo was much more outgoing, open and nice, actually wanting to say hello, talk, and slap fives than the other, holier-than-thou, players of the time. Also, the boo's are going to fire Zach up to drop 30 on us. Whether he can, is another question.
We should be thankful this Friday night begins with a lousy opponent, for a change. It's always a rotten way to start the weekend, or any night for that matter, with a loss. Hanging your emotions on a team is always a gamble, but tonight shouldn't be. The Clip Joint are 4-17.
Speaking of gambling, the official Vegas line is Blazers -9.5. Good thing the last two losses haven't dampened the oddsmakers respect of the Blazers.
One other note, or, really, a question: Two consecutive losses and back-to-back 30+ point performances from Brandon Roy. Coincidence? Share your answer in the comments, and of course, follow the jump for the play-by-play.
8:28 - Z-Bo getting BOOOO'd each time he touches the ball, and, as predicted, it's making him want to shoot. Hasn't made any yet, however. A Brandon Roy three puts the Blazers up, 7-4. I'm getting the feeling his is going to be easy. Then again, it don't take no genius to figure out how feeble the Clippers are—it's in their DNA.
6:58 - You know, I almost fell bad for Z-Bo. He finally drops the baby fat, starts acting somewhat straight and working hard for a class act coach, Mike D'Antoni, then is promptly traded after being on a team with a winning record for the first time in forever. Sorry sucker, back to the busch leagues and 20-win seasons. Damn...
5:46 - The Clippers starting lineup, actually, doesn't look so bad—or at least, as bad as their record would suggest. Baron Davis, Marcus Camby, Z-Bo and Al Thornton... How does that equal 4-17? Baron Davis injuries account for some of it, but still... I guess time will tell. But if Mike Dunleavy weren't also the General Manager, and they were anyone other than the LA Clippers, the coach would've been fired already.
3:16 - Roy being uncharacteristically agressive early. He's drawing fouls like free kitties. Already got nine points. On the other end Z-Bo drops a three, which he should never be shooting, and Blake gets it right back from the corner. Przybilla STUFFS Baron Davis and Roy jams, streaking on the break. Another stop and another easy two for the Blazers, this time from Joel inside—payback for that tough defense. Thanks Buddy. Portland 23, Clips 20.
2:32 - OK, I'm figuring it out. The reason the Clips are so horrible? Their defense is Atrocious!
2:13 - WHAT THE HELL!? Jerryd Bayless has checked in. In the FIRST quarter. In a game, theoretically, undecided. Am I out of the loop here? Does Sergio have the runs? What on earth... Maybe it just goes to show how little respect Coach McMillan has for the lowly Clippers. Then again, it's fucking tied, so I'm guessing Sergio has to poop. 26 All.
0:00 - Well then—in his first meaningful shot of the season, Jerryd Bayless nails a corner three. It's almost like having sex for the first time and not, well, you know, blowing it. In the quarters waining seconds, Rudy Fernandez drops one in from downtown as well. A quick six puts the Blazers up six at the end of one. Portland 32, LA 26.
11:11 - Sergio in WITH Bayless now. Maybe McMillian is just trying to shake things up after two-consecutive losses. For the Clips, Z-Bo is just hanging out round the three-point line. This works in a Mike D'Antoni offense. It doesn't, however, with Mike Dunleavy. But then again, I don't think Dunleavy is a good enough coach to make Z-Bo change his ways. Four-straight from the Clips and they're hanging around at 32-30.
9:20 - Randolph still getting boo'd with every touch, but he's taking it in stride. Swishes a long two. He's got nine points. Clippers up, 34-32. Oh, and how bad a coach is Dunleavy: he just got a totally meaningless technical foul on what was clearly a jump ball, long after the call had been made. Way to slow what little momentum your team had.
Rudy misses the technical, just the fourth free throw he's missed all season. Or, should I say, just the fourth free throw he's missed in his ENTIRE CAREER. Hah... that was HORRIBLE. Not funny.
5:48 - Up until just a minute ago it was feeling pretty sleepy in here. Then LaMarcus Aldridge swatted Z-Bo, leading to the Spanish Connection, Sergio lob for a soaring Rudy dunk along the baseline. That play is pretty much expected and required these days, AT LEAST once a game. Still though, Clippers up. Z-Bo comes back and hits. 40-38, LA.
Note to a Blazer Dancer: your Rippling Six-Pack abs are a little freaky. Cool it. Thanks a lot, high-def big-screen.
Greg Oden Watch: Six point, two rebounds, one foul and two goal-tending violations. I don't think he's been blocked yet, at least, the one time he was, it rolled in anyway.
4:00 - LaMarcus posts and scores easily on a turn-around over the defensively challenged Zach Randolph for his fourth point. Why haven't the Blazers been going at this more often? Zach isn't long enough or strong enough to challenge Aldridge down low. This seems like a no-brainer, especially for a coach who so uniquely understands Z-Bo's defensive deficiencies. Portland 44, LA 46.
Despite all that, it's Randolph who leads all scorers with 15. Roy has been quiet after bursting out for 11 points in the game's opening minutes.
0:00 - Nifty little layup underneath by LaMarucs on a pass from Nicolas Batum brings the Blazers within three to end the half. Portland 54, LA 57. The Blazers have drifted from their usual tougher 'D', which coach McMillan is probably screaming about in the locker room at this very second. Pitiful effort on that end for sure. Expect a change in the second half. They'll need to hold the Clips to under 50 points and they should.
8:38 - Un, Deux, Trois. Is that how you spell it? Three points for Nic Batum, is what I mean. That tied it, but then Z-Bo ripped five quick points. He's got 20 and the Clips are up, 64,61.
7:50 - Crowd chanting "De-Fense!" and it's just what the Blazers need, however, Zach Randolph drops another fadeaway in Aldridge's eye. He's on fire.
6:03 - Greg Oden finally scores effieciently on a shot that's not a dunk. Gets the ball in deep in the key and, without hesitation, pivots quickly and drops in a jump hook. That was almost smooth, which is something pretty fucking refreshing to see from Captain Jitters. The bucket also puts Portland ahead, 68-66. Timeout Clips.
During the timeout the "Air Guitar Cam" is on the big screen. This is a new one, brought to us by the jerks at Guitar Hero. It's ironic that in the age of music drifting away from guitar, pretending to play guitar via video game, is the coolest thing on the block. (And if you want to see something REALLY strange, head down to Ground Control on "Rock Band" karaoke night...)
3:55 - Roy dibbles deep into traffic, dumps to Oden and he flushes it with two hands. Sorry for all the poo imagery, it was really an awesome play. Blazers starting to look a little more determined—as if they were coasting through the first half, knowing they could turn it on against the crummy clips. Offensive board, and a put-back slam for Joel puts Portland up five.
2:31 - Or maybe I spoke too soon. Six quick points, including two break-away dunks by the Clips has put the Blazers back in the hole. On of the dunks, by Marcus Camby, was a real rim-rocker. The basket was shaking back and forth, maybe a foot from side to side. Yow... No easy feat for a string-bean like Camby.
1:42 - Uh Oh. After an awesome save by Rudy where he landed in the Clipper bench, Brandon Roy wiggles and spins through the lane, scores on the finger-roll then gets checked hard. He's laying on the ground, grimacing, holding his wrist... he gets up, seems to be shaking it off, and makes the free throw. Maybe he's learned a little bit of the European Dramatics from his pal Rudy. A defensive stop leads to an Aldridge jam.
:37.8 - Blazers 'D' has tightened. Clippers end up scoring just 20-points in the quarter. Sustain the same effort for another 12 minutes and things ought to work out just fine.
:1.8 - Roy delivers a killer cross-over, breaks through the lane, and attempts a monster jam. He's fouled, and frankly, he should be thankful as he had no chance of making that one. Dude is awesome, but a ferocious dunker he's not. At the end of the period, Blazers up six. Portland 83, LA 77. This is a little more like it.
9:17 - Z-Bo finally enters the key. On offense he grabs an offensive board and on 'D' he strips Joel Przybilla who was headed for an easy dunk. Blazers have yet to score in the period. Portland 83, LA 82.
5:41 - Randolph makes the ugliest, unlikely, twisting, contested shot underneath the basket. Soft motherfucking hands. I think we should cut them off and glue them on Greg Oden. Roy scores on the other end to take back the lead, but Jesus, this thing is close. Then Roy scores again, after freezing the defender with a between the legs step back. Portland 89, Clippers 86.
5:09 - Baron Davis has been relatively quiet so far, but he just nailed a three to give him 17. And while he hasn't been loud on the court so far, mostly deffering to Z-Bo, in a close game, Davis is every bit as scary as Roy. An open three from Rudy goes in-and-out. On the other end Blake fouls and the Blazers are in the penalty from here on out. Yikes. Even though the defense has been stingy, this is troublesome. Especially with Oden on the court, who at times becomes a walking foul. Blazers 91, Clippers 90 with 3:42 to play.
3:13 - Z-Bo misses inside but somehow manages to keep Oden from snagging the board over his back and Greg fouls him. It's LOUD in here with Zach on the line, but he calmly drains the first... then, takes some time to re-tie his shorts between shots, a big "fuck you too!" to Portland. He makes the second as well. Clippers up one, 92-91.
2:51 - Oden, fouled by Z-Bo, makes one of two. And Holy Shit, I don't know how, but it's come to me!
GREG ODEN'S NEW NICKNAME: "THE ELEPHANT!"
IT'S PERFECT! BIG, OLD, WRINKLY. PUSHES THINGS AROUND. NICE, CALM DEMEANOR, BUT NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH. OH MAN. SPREAD THE WORD.
1:06 - Big possession. Blazers can build a two-possession lead. It goes NOWHERE. Brandon Roy takes a fade-away three. Almost like deja vu from the Magic game. He clanks it. Gotta do better than this down the stretch.
:28.7 - After a stop, this time, Roy does. He gets into the lane, and scores on a jumper around the foul line. That's a little more like it. No idea why the Clips stuck with single coverage and didn't trap like last possession. Oh wait, yes I do—they're the CLIPPERS! Portland 96, Clippers 92.
:20.6 - Clips score on a jumper, Blazers get the ball back, Clips must foul. It's all free throws now. Portland up two, 96-94.
Foul before the inbounds, BUT BLAKE, of all people, MISSES. Blazers then unable to get the ball in. Timeout. This shouldn't be so difficult. Story of the night, really.
:18.6 - HOLY FUCKING SHIT. STEVE BLAKE MISSES TWO MORE. That's three straight bricks from the free throw line by Blake. He is about to have an aneurysm.
:8.1 - REDEMPTION! During the Clips final chance Blake cheats into the lane and steals a pass, and is quickly fouled. Makes the first, and SOMEHOW MISSES THE SECOND! Down three, the Clips still have a chance. Over/under on practice free throws Blake imposes on himself before the next game: 10,000.
:00 - BARON DAVIS NAILS A THREE! Rudy bites on a fake and B-Diddy nails it.
4:15 - Steve Blake, by the way, WAS a 94% free throw shooter. Meanwhile, Baron Davis just drilled another three. Clips up by three.
3:00 - Roy hits. Blazers within one, and fortunate to be, as Baron Davis missed an open shot the previous possession. Portland 99, LA 100.
2:12 - Rudy drives, misses a soaring hook near the basket and it certainly looks like he was fouled, but for the rookie, no whistles blow. Clippers corral and Randolph scores. Shit. LA back up three.
1:36 - Roy finds Blake in the corner and he drains a three to tie the game. Maybe Blake can find that redemption after all. Tied at 102. On the other end it sure looked clean to me, an Aldridge block of Randolph, but Z-Bo is headed to the line where he swishes both. Clips up two, just under a minute to play.
:48.2 - Roy takes B-Diddy down low, fakes and turns the other way, drains the short two. Just another indicator of how dumb Clip Coach Mike Dunleavy is—any good game-tape will show you that you've got to trap Roy up top before he enters the lane. And certainly, don't let him go one on one.
:15.8 - Alright. This one is officially a total fucking Barn Burner. B-Diddy comes back and scores in the key, and Roy answers right back. Both these dudes, KILLING IT in the clutch. Clippers ball with 15.8 seconds and a chance at the final shot. 106 all.
:00 Baron Davis holds for the final shot, an off-balance fade-away after slightly shaking Nic Batum. It's long and we're headed to double-overtime.
And what's more, scores of people are leaving! What the hell is wrong with these people!? It's Friday night for Godsakes. It's 9:47pm. It's not late. Who cares if the kid stays up a few extra minutes. Things get better and better and then they leave. Fucking morons. I don't care when bottle service at Banana Joe's starts. This is better.
4:20 - Z-Bo, first to score in the second OT. Roy answers quickly and we're tied again at 108.
2:51 - Clips score, Blazers don't and Z-Bo scores again. Shit. Blazers down four. Still plenty of time... And... Aldridge fucking travels... dang dawg, that was fucking dumb. Blazers 108, Clips 112. Offensive foul Clips, whew. That was a life-saver.
1:48 - Good God. Roy misses in traffic, and the rebound falls into Oden's lap and he's unable to keep hold of it. Clips cruise down and score and easy layup. Portland 108, LA 114.
Did I mention Roy has a new career high? He's got 38 at the moment. His previous was 33. He's going to have to score over 40 so it doesn't come in vain.
1:29 - Well, 40 didn't come on that possession. Roy misses a one-handed floater in the lane. On the other end Z-Bo grabs a offensive board on a B-Diddy miss, outdueling Oden. What the hell. Where is Joel if Oden can't get a fucking board against the much smaller Randolph. Z-Bo is fouled, hits both, and the Clips are up eight. Aldridge hits quickly and the Blazers are within six. Clippers are taking their time, and, if played properly, should steal this one.
Yeah, that's it. Oden blocks B-Diddy but the ball careens to Eric Gordon, who nails a two as to beat the shot-clock. Clippers 118, Portland 110 with 41.9 seconds to play.
Let's all remember this one was well over, before Steve Blake choked it away, missing three straight free throws towards the end of regulation.
34.5 - Oden finally gets a rebound, a putback slam on a Roy miss. Nice of you to show up, buddy. Too little, too late. Clips answer, still up eight, and this place is pin-drop quiet. Roy still stuck on 38. Actually, after a number of Blazer misses, that's the number he'll finish with.
Oden finshes with a new career-high, 15 rebounds, but when they were needed most, he couldn't get 'em. What a fucking mess. Just horrible. Three-straight 30-point games from Roy and three-straight losses. But this one is all on the shoulders of Steve Blake, and his incredible choking at the free throw line. Depressing, depressing night here at the Rose Garden. And to think this poor crowd now has to enter the night with that hanging over them... as if the freezing rain and dark clouds weren't enough.
In double overtime, Portland 112, LA Clippers 120.
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