Live from the Rose Garden as the Portland Trail Blazers take on the Liberty Bell crackin' Philadelphia 76ers. It's nice to be back from my untimely three week absence due to
kidnapping and forced Mormon deprogramming knee surgery. But I wouldn't miss the Blazers' homestretch—and glorious ride to the playoffs—for all the sacred undergarments in Joseph Smith's dresser.
The prophet has spoken, let's watch some basketball!
Philadelphia has done a nice job of rebuilding following the disappearance of onetime franchise icon Allen Iverson (rumor has it that, at the Wachovia Center, a cornrowed ghost has been seen walking through walls and not passing the ball or practicing). The team is lead by a pair of Andres (Doesn't A Pair of Andres sound like French sitcom?), at the point it's Andre Miller, and Andre Iguodala at SF. While the 76ers are little more than your typical late seed Eastern Conference team (or, if they were in the West, a last place team), their undersized play makes them the sort of team that gives Portland fits.
As for the home team, Nicolas Batum (he's a huge fan of A Pair of Andres) is "probable," but other than that, the team is more or less back to full health. A win tonight, combined with a loss by Denver (they are in Phoenix tonight) would push Portland into first place. Gosh, mister, first place sounds awful nice.
11:29 - Iguodala with an around the back pass (!) and a quick layup from Thaddeus Young. Yikes. 2-0 Philly.
6:12 - To this point both teams are swapping buckets, although Portland's shot selection (very little close to the rim) leaves much to be desired. Meanwhile the 76ers are shooting 86% from the field. I definitely see that continuing throughout this game, and Philly scoring 242 points. 12-12 tie.
4:44 - Fi fi fo fum, Greg Oden trudges onto the court. It's his first home game since his February 12th knee injury. 40 seconds later and instead of a foul, he hits a layup while getting hacked. 16-15 Philadelphia.
3:46 - 58 seconds later Oden gets that foul. 18-15 Philadelphia.
2:37 - Woah, Oden. He just sliced through the key for a thundering dunk. The backboard was still shaking when, seconds later, he picked up foul number two. That should be a stat: The ratio of time that elapses after an Oden dunk, but before an Oden foul. 20-19 Philadelphia.
0:48 - The defense has not bothered showing up tonight. Channing Frye is acting as a human traffic cone—efficient for maneuvering around, but will not stop a damn thing—and the 76ers are shooting a ridiculous 81%. They missed three shots, one of which they got the offense rebound on. That, my friends, is inexcusable. 31-26 Philadelphia.
9:36 - Portland is going to lose them game—it won't even be close—unless they find a way to put the brakes on Philadelphia's offense taking the ball to the basket with such ease. This has gotten ugly, and fast. 38-28 Philadelphia.
5:15 - It's Philadelphia's night. Seems no matter where they pull up, the shot falls. Przybilla understands this and takes the high road... by plowing over Reggie Evans, sending him flying to the floor. Maybe that will liven up this sleepwalking team some. 49-36 Philadelphia.
3:37 - Welcome back to Portland, Theo Ratliff. Sorry we traded you for Brandon Roy (or at least, his draft pick), but I think you probably understand. 51-40 Philadelphia.
1:19 - Sergio Rodriguez clanks a three, and then somehow is beat downcourt by a pair of Sixers. For a man who specializes in unsightly plays—please, for the love all of all things holy, put in Jerryd Bayless—that was damn ugly. 56-40 Philadelphia.
**** Okay, so here's the story: The Rose Quarter free wifi signal went out right about this point in the game. I tried to get back online but had no luck. So in 25 words or less, here is how the night transpired:
Blazers came back.
Brandon Roy shot an airball as time expired.
People booed Steve Javie.
76ers score more points.