Live from the Rose Garden as the Portland Trail Blazers take on the Boston Celtics. Tonight will be Marcus Camby's first night in a Blazers uniform. Already handed the starting center position and the two vacant lockers of Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw (he has so much space he built a locker fort out of pillows and shoes), Camby should feel right at home on this court. Although initially he might be startled by the crowd noise, that should be expected from former Clipper players unaccustomed to "fans" and "applause."
Although his hamstring is being held together with bubblegum and unicorn stickers (the Blazers really need to get a team doctor instead of relying on seven-year-old girls for their medical needs), Brandon Roy will start tonight. After Tuesday's victory over the Clippers Roy hinted at his season being in jeopardy due to his hamstring trouble. But clearly not wanting to be a total Debbie Downer, or think about his longterm career, Roy changed his tune and will see limited minutes tonight. He hasn't broken the 20 minute mark in over a month, so don't expect too much from the All-Star guard.
Other notable things about tonight: The Celtics debut of Nate Robinson, the Rose Garden return of Rasheed Wallace, and it's a nationally televised game on ESPN. Let's start with the Slam Dunk Champion first: The aging Celtics wanted to make a blockbuster deal, but all they got was Robinson to come off the bench. Instead of that happening, Robinson has the flu and will be infecting his new teammates instead of playing tonight. Moving on the Rasheed Wallace. It's a shame, but like most ex-Blazers from a certain era, Wallace will be booed tonight. I'll always remember the good times, 'Sheed. You have driven your banana yellow Hummer right through my heart.
Marcus Camby is just introduced to a very loud standing ovation. Not bad for a 35-year-old who scores seven points a game.
12:00 - Camby is undefeated in opening jump balls. Close the book on it, the trade is a success. 2-0 Blazers.
11:05 - It takes 55 seconds for Camby to blow by Kendrick Perkins for a layup and his first points as a Blazer. Should we call timeout and let him keep the ball? Like they do in baseball? No time. Immediately following that, Aldridge breaks free for a layup while getting fouled by Kevin Garnett. 6-2 Blazers.
7:55 - Camby gets swatted by Garnett, then follows with a jumpshot that rims off. Damn you reality. 12-10 Boston.
6:14 - Celtics have hit eight of their first 11 shots. And if you were curious, who is faster: an injured Roy or an elderly Ray Allen? The answer is Allen. By far. 16-14 Boston.
4:02 - Did Steve Blake take the defense with him? The Celtics are feeling it, draining over 70% of their shots, and the Blazers porous defense is not helping things. Rajon Rondo already has five assists, to go along with a pair of shots made at the rim. 24-16 Boston.
2:33 - Roy bulldozes to the rim, gets smacked by Tony Allen (no foul) but his desperation shot attempt falls in anyway. Two points, plus a angry glare at the referee who shallowed his whistle. Meanwhile the Celtics can't miss. It's like Pop-a-Shot for them. 28-18 Boston.
0:40 - Aldridge with a soft hook shot and Portland has at least cut the lead in half. 30-25 Blazers.
10:39 - Watching Dante Cunningham guard 'Sheed is fun. Dante was nine when Wallace first joined the Blazers. Adorable. 32-27 Boston
9:51 - The on-basket mic just picked up 'Sheed shouting "BALL DON'T LIE" when Jerryd Bayless misses a free-throw shot. 35-28 Boston.
8:52 - The same mic must also be picking up the constantly clanking noise following every Blazer jumper. 37% shooting for Portland and Boston stretches the lead to the biggest of the night, 11 points. 39-28 Boston.
6:48 - The Blazers have given up 28 points in the paint on the night. Ouch. The only good news is that Boston is in the penalty, which means trips to the charity stripe for Portland the rest of the quarter. It's not much, but it's something. 43-31 Boston.
4:05 - Aldridge with a dunk and a looooong stare at Garnett. Nothing soft about that. It also marks the first field goal for Portland this quarter. Garnett gets his revenge with a three from the corner. His first of the night. Boston can do nothing wrong. 50-34 Boston.
2:44 - Miller gets some hustle points (not exchangeable for real points) by diving into the scorer's table to steal a pass and throw it off Allen's shoes. Blazers ball. Some momentum for the home team, but a long way to go. 50-36 Boston.
1:15 - Miller and Perkins get in a little loose ball scuffle and each pick up some technical fouls. It's a mismatch for Miller, since Perkins is well-fed and towers over him. Then again, it's not the size of the dog, it's how many razorblades you glue to its paws. Michael Vick taught me that one. 54-38 Boston.
0:01 - Rondo with a fadeaway at the buzzer. All net. Wow, that hurt. 56-38 Boston.
12:00 - LaMarcus Aldridge was the only Blazer to make a field goal in the second quarter. The consensus is that we have just witnessed the worst Blazer half of the season. You don't beat a team like the Celtics playing like that.
10:30 - From 28 points to zero. Webster just misses a three attempt by about a foot and he hasn't contributed at all tonight. This game is spiraling out of control. 61-39 Boston.
7:57 - Howard's jumper was the first field goal for Portland not made by Aldridge since the end of the first quarter. 65-44 Boston.
4:43 - Someone not named Aldridge (it was Miller) with a jumper. If Portland can trim the lead to 8-10 by the quarter, this would be considered a successful run. They still have a ways to go. 68-50 Boston.
3:57 - Perkins and Rudy come together after a hard foul, and Bayless gets some jawing in as well. Perkins is just racking up the friends here in Portland. 69-52 Boston.
2:23 - 'Sheed sends Bayless to the floor and—get ready to be shocked—he picks up a technical foul as well. I'm going to need to factcheck this, but I believe that is Wallace's first technical ever. Wait, no, I am mistaken. It's his 50,672,087,120 technical. 69-57 Boston.
0:05 - Aldridge misses a jumper that could have trimmed the lead to a less shameful 11. But Bayless steals the inbound pass and hits a layup with a second left. Could that be the momentum this team needs? 73-61 Boston.
11:37 - Rudy with a steal and a blatant travel during the fastbreak. Thankfully the refs were lost in his bedroom eyes and did not make the call. He hits the layup, is fouled, and makes the free-throw shot. The lead is down to single digits. Suddenly it's loud in this building. 73-64 Boston.
9:58 - Back to back offensive foul calls on Rudy. So much for those bedroom eyes. If he didn't look so out of control all the time he might avoid some of these whistles. 76-64 Boston.
8:32 - The wheels on the comeback express have fallen off. Those traveling calls, plus Bayless dribbling the ball off his foot, haven't helped things. Same can be said for the pair of three-pointers from Ray Allen. 79-64 Boston.
5:55 - Aldridge is called for a frustrating foul and gives the "aw, phooey" dismissive hand wave to the official. That ranks very low on the angry hand gesture scale. He should have just removed his white gloves, slapped them across the official's face, and challenged him to a gentlemanly duel by the polo stables or in his box at the operahouse. In other not-so-surpiring news, people are leaving. This game is done. 87-66 Boston.
5:20 - Roy is getting his leg iced up on the bench. All that risk, and for this? He should just pull out his hamstring and beat 'Sheed with it. 88-66 Boston.
2:58 - Patt Mills in the game and they play "Down Under" from Men at Work. The highlight of my night. 93-70 Boston.
0:40 - Boston is attempting to run up the score and get the rare reverse Chalupa (when the opposing team scores 100 and Portland doesn't, we then all owe that team's respective city a trip to Taco Bell). 96-76 Boston.
0:00 - And that will do it. Marcus Camby's debut was not a not to remember, and Boston tops Portland by a final score of 96-76. We'll see you on Sunday. Have a nice night.
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