Back when the Blazers were the bane of the Portland sports world—like the Lumberjax, but in a more recognizable sport—they could always find a way to muster a win against the Western Conference elite at the Rose Garden. Not always, but when Kobe strutted into town, you knew the Blazers were going to at least give the Lakers a good game and keep it close.
But not Phoenix.
Oh no, the Suns have dominated the Blazers for quite some time now—five straight wins in Portland, two more already this year in Arizona—and, in fact, the last time the Blazers came out with the "W" was way way back on March 12th, 2006, when even Viktor "The Wolverine" Khryapa had a solid game for the team (11 points, 6 boards, a couple blocks). Hell, even their mascot is better.
But tonight is as good as chance as any for Portland to shake loose the death grip of Phoenix, considering that the Blazers are still brutal on their home court (granted, getting punked by the Clippers didn't really help things), and actually play more than 5-6 players on any given night. (The Suns should just eliminate their bench entirely, play five guys all the time, and then get more leg room on the charter plane). Of course, for this to happen Greg Oden will have to cease playing like a weak little Make-a-Wish kid visiting the court, especially when it comes to posting up against the mass of muscles (and poor tattoos) that is Amar'e Stoudemire and Big Daddy Shaq Diesel.
Tonight, 7:30pm (on TNT, and live-blogged on this here site) at the Rose Garden. Do it for Viktor Khryapa.