Live from the Rose Garden as the Portland Trail Blazers welcome the Indiana Pacers. Since the Pacers only make a single visit to Portland this season, here is some information on the team: Coached by Norman Dale (who lost his previous coaching position after physically striking a student) their best player, Jimmy Chitwood, does not intend to play on this season's team, and faculty member Myra Fleener warns the new coach not to try to persuade Jimmy to change his mind. Dale needs a new assistant coach and invites a knowledgeable basketball fan known as Shooter, the alcoholic father of one of his players, to join him on the bench. This, too, confounds the town, including Shooter's son.
Oh wait, that's the plot to Hoosiers. Sorry.
Truth be told, the Pacers are not a good team. With just seven road wins on the year, Indiana is coming off a 23 point thumping courtesy of the Lakers last night. Danny Granger is a pure scorer and then... um, that's about it. They have a foundation of decent role players, but they are a franchise currently struggling through a rebuilding season and might be better if a drunk Dennis Hopper coached them.
Things are looking much better for the Blazers. The team just won four-of-five on the road (granted, only two wins were against teams with winning records) and are no longer teetering on the edge of the playoff race. The team is closer to a home court slot (the 4th seed) than they are missing the playoffs altogether.
Fans of scrappy white guy who rarely play will be excited that Travis Diener makes his Blazers debut (on the bench) tonight. He fills the "Travis" gap left by the trade of Travis Outlaw, and offers the team the pasty complexion they lack without Steve Blake (and with Joel Przybilla out for the season). A white guy with pale skin and a bad beard, he should fit in quite well here.
10:23 - As normally is the case, LaMarcus Aldridge sets the pace early. He has a pair of jumpers over the slack-jawed gaze of Troy Murphy. He might have been an extra in Hoosiers. I'm pretty sure he shoots underhand free-throws. 4-3 Blazers.
9:12 - A few miscues, an unlucky tipped rebound, one turnover, and a three from Granger: 11-4 Pacers. What the what?
5:55 - The Portland defense that has held seven of their past eight opponents under 100 points is not looking too sharp right now. The Pacers aren't getting lucky, they're just getting opening looks. Plenty of them. 18-11 Pacers.
5:45 - Not only did Andre Miller just come up with a quick steal, he was this close to dunking it but was fouled by Brandon Rush. Nooooo! Now we'll never know if he can actually get above the rim. I hate you Brandon Rush. 18-13 Pacers.
2:26 - Jerryd Bayless with a fastbreak layup and the Pacers' lead is no more. I'm still trying to get over the fact that Andre Miller almost dunked. That was like missing Haley's Comet. Have fun waiting 75 more years. 23-22 Blazers.
0:30 - I think the Pacers have shot three airballs tonight. Unlikes Rudy, who just hit in a three in Portland's final possession. 32-26 Blazers.
11:22 - Rudy picks up where he left off, draining a three following a steal from Dante Cunningham. Standing ovation for Kevin Pritchard for draft a rookie that good in the second round. 35-26 Blazers.
9:35 - Juwan Howard with a baby hook shot (Adorable! I just want to take it home it home and snuggle it.) and now the Blazers' bench has pushed the lead over the double digit mark. 39-27 Blazers.
8:04 - Clearly not concerned with the score—and awhile from their expected fourth quarter meltdown—the Blazers are playing the loose style of basketball we all pictured at the start of the season. Bayless is barreling down the lane, Rudy is pretending to be a point guard, and the unlikely combo of Cunningham and Howard are holding it down in the paint. This is more fun to watch than the mascot (it's Blaze's Birthday) party going on throughout the arena. 45-29 Blazers.
5:40 - How are the Nets worse than the Pacers? This Indiana team has plenty of issues, a fact summed up nicely by TJ Ford dribbling a rebound off his foot. 45-32 Blazers.
3:09 - Miller has to be one of the best passers in the game, but in a loose game like this Rudy is making a good case—especially when it comes to trick passes. He's like a Globetrotter out there (but without the Harlem). 47-37 Blazers.
1:22 - There goes that big lead. Portland gets sloppy and allows the Pacers to crawl back into this game. Don 't be ruining the mascot's birthday and blow this game like you did against Utah. If that happens, fur and tears. No one wants that. 48-41 Blazers.
0:00 - Miller hits a three and Portland pushes the lead back to a dozen. All is well. Dry your oversized, plastic eyes, mascots. 53-41 Blazers.
As previous mentioned, Granger really is the only scoring option Indiana has. He scored 21 in the first half, his teammates combined to score 20.
10:24 - TJ Ford just attempted to hit a shot from the other side of the basket. You are doing it wrong. So, so wrong. 55-43 Blazers.
8:10 - Nicolas Batum gets his first points of the night, via a monster dunk off the baseline. He might be soft spoken but on the court he is definitely not subtle. 61-49 Blazers.
4:14 - It's Granger vs. Portland. The Pacers still don't have another scorer in double digits. He has 63% of their points on the night. 69-55 Blazers.
2:00 - Batum for three. If Granger tried a bit harder maybe he could make up the difference. He only has 30 points so far. Slacker. 74-57 Blazers.
0:25 - Rudy for three. 20 point lead time. 79-59 Blazers.
11:41 - Since Diener is technically inactive tonight—always keeping the white man down—let's see some Patty Mills. It's time. 81-64 Blazers.
9:06 - I get nervous seeing Roy this late in blowout games. Patty, please. 83-66 Blazers.
7;59 - Run up that score Rudy. That is his fourth three-pointer of the game. Wait, why is Roy still in this game? 87-66 Blazers.
5:51 - Oh dear God. So many mascots. So many firing T-shirt guns. This is worse than Vietnam. PTSD kicking in... 89-66 Blazers.
5:38 - Finally. Patty Mills time. Brandon Roy takes a seat for the night. This might be Mills' longest stretch of his career. 91-66 Blazers.
4:52 - Wait, Roy is still in the goddamn game. Now Webster comes in for him. His hamstring is not a toy, stop messing with it, McMillan. 93-66 Blazers.
2:37 - Near fisticuffs between Jeff Pendergraph and Roy Hibbert! Knowing the Pacers luck, Hibbert would have swung at Pendergraph and hit the backboard. 98-72 Blazers.
1:55 - Pacers just might finish the game with one scorer in double digits. What would this team do without Granger? Well, instead of losing by 20, they'd lose by 50. 100-76 Blazers.
0:00 - And that'll do it. A resounding Blazers victory, your final score: Portland 102, Indiana 79. Portland is happy, the mascots are happy, and all is well. See you next Tuesday night when Sacramento comes through town.
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