Live from the Rose Garden as the Portland Trail Blazers welcome the New York Knicks. The Knickerbockers, from the Island of Manhattan, are less a basketball team and more a lobbyist group hellbent on wooing future free agent LeBron James to their city. Wins, loses, it doesn't really matter, they just want LeBron.
Portland just wants to go to the playoffs. And they will tonight if they win, plus if Houston and Memphis lose their respective games. Could a playoff berth be a few hours away?
The Knicks haven't swept a season series against the Blazers in over a decade, but following their early December win in New York, they can do just that tonight. Granted, the current Blazers lineup is playing on a far superior level than that unsure team that fell 93-84 in Madison Square Garden.
Kevin Pritchard was just spotted on court before the game. This is his first public appearance since the ridiculous fallout over his future with the team and the firing on his assistant, Tom Penn. I wonder if he had to pay out of pocket for his ticket?
Since Oklahoma City just knocked off the Celtics, the Blazers can't move any lower in the standings. They are currently in 7th, but could fall to 8th with a loss and a Spurs win.
Tracy McGrady gets the start for the Knicks. Considering that his knees are made of sawdust, he is hardly the former superstar that he once was. Sadly, Rudy's BFF4LIFE Sergio Rodriguez recently lost his starting point guard role to Toney Douglas. He'll be coming off the bench to turn the ball over later in the game. Can't wait, it'll be like old times.
The Blazers are wearing their red throwback jerseys. The Knicks are wearing their white and orange "We lose 50 games a year" jerseys.
10:17 - Someone likes to be guarded by Al Harrington. LaMarcus Aldridge with Portland's first five points, plus a steal as well. 5-2 Blazers.
7:54 - The Knicks are a Mike D'Antoni team so they are not known for their "defense" (or their defense, without the quotation marks). In fact, they avoid it at all cost. In fact, Portland has yet to take a fully contested shot and are on their way to putting chalupas in the mouths of this sold out crowd. 10-6 Blazers.
7:19 - Batum has hit both his three point attempts. He has as many points as the entire Knicks team right now. 13-6 Blazers.
5:31 - Batum with eight, the Knicks with eight. It's one-on-five basketball. 19-8 Blazers.
2:46 - With a lineup of Rudy/Roy/Camby/Howard/Batum, there was no point guard on the floor. That means Rudy Fernandez ran the point for one play, before McMillan quickly subbed in Jerryd Bayless. 23-14 Blazers.
2:20 - Sergio casually dribbles around Bayless for an easy layup. Don't ever let me see that again, Jerryd. 25-16 Blazers.
0:03 - Sergio is absolutely owning Bayless. He clearly has a chip on his shoulder. But other than that, Portland takes a commanding 11 point lead into the second quarter. 31-20 Blazers.
9:31- Not one to let Batum get all the attention, Rudy buries a three to push the lead back to double digits. 34-23 Blazers.
7:28 - Scoreboard watch: Houston is about to lose to San Antonio. Memphis is seconds away from falling in OT to Dallas. Portland is up 16. Looks like the Blazers might be playoff bound tonight. 42-26 Blazers.
4:46 - Juwan Howard has 12 points, which is more than any player on the court. This game is officially out of hand. 48-30 Blazers.
4:14 - Martell Webster just polishes off an alley-oop. LeBron can't come soon enough for New York. Surprisingly, Bill Walker is no King James. Who knew? 50-30 Blazers.
2:33 - Houston loses. Memphis loses. Blazers up by 22. Playoffs, here they come! 54-32 Blazers.
1:05 - Batum with a jumper while getting fouled. Could we have a 30 point lead at the break? 63-35 Blazers.
11:09 - Batum with the first four points of the second have. Four Blazers have scored in double figures and we are barely past the half. 69-41 Blazers.
8:35 - Harrington hobbles off the court for the Knicks. Look like he rolled an ankle in a unfortunate way. To toss some salt in that wound, Batum hits another three. Bad just got worse for New York. 80-44 Blazers.
6:35 - Andre Miller cuts to the basket and absolutely flattens Douglas. It's a clear foul, and one of the funniest plays I have seen this year. Miller is nuts. 80-48 Blazers.
4:06 - 31 point lead and a huge back-to-back game in Denver tomorrow. McMillan better pull these starters... NOW! 84-53 Blazers.
2:17 - After clearly outing himself as a Kelly Clarkson fan during a mid-game "Name That Tune" feature, Juwan Howard enters this game to "Since U Been Gone." That might be the highlight of the night for me. 92-63 Blazers.
0:44 - Roy with a monster dunk over David Lee, and Bayless follows one player later with a reverse layup. It's odd to see a 31 point lead and realize that it's not even that close of a game. 31 points in generous. 94-63 Blazers.
9:57 - Rudy tries to draw a foul with a majestic flop, but it's hard to get that call when your team is winning by around four touchdowns or so. 100-69 Blazers.
7:41 - Thankfully the starters have been pulled and now Portland can continue their beatdown with alley-oops drunks from Rudy to Webster. The worst part is that this game probably won't be the Knicks' worse loss of the season. 107-71 Blazers.
5:24 - Travis Diener alert! After months on the bench, he is finally making his Blazers debut. 109-75 Blazers.
2:21 - The Knicks are like a wounded animal staggering about. These final two minutes cannot go by quick enough for them. Hate to get all Mortal Kombat here, but finish them, FINISH THEM! 117-83 Blazers.
0:39 - Diener with two foul shots: He is now in the books with one point as a Blazer. Celebrate that shit. 118-88 Blazers.
0:00 - Your final score: Portland Trail Blazers 118, the New York Knicks 90. Oh, and don't forget the playoff clinching. See you next week.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!