Live from the Rose Garden as the Portland Trail Blazers welcome the Utah Jazz. Unlike the last time we were in this building, Greg Oden—or the sad scraps of shredded ligaments that remain in his battered knees—is (thankfully) not the big news around these parts. Instead it's just a game between two longtime divisional rivals with identical records.
What's that? You need more of a hook to click the jump and read the rest of this blog? Um, how about everyone's favorite Blazer—Wesley Matthews—having a bone to pick with the Jazz since his former team didn't crack open the change purse and match his modest contractual demands of $34 million? Eh, seems like a stretch. Utah Mormons versus godless Oregonians? No, too easy. How about we just post a picture of Kyrylo Fesenko getting violently jabbed in the eye?
I knew you'd like that.
As weak as the Jazz usually are on the road, the have knocked off the Blazers four consecutive times in this building. Most notably in that streak was their February 21, 2010 93-89 win in overtime. In that game Utah embarrassed Portland, coming back from 13 down and holding the Blazers to just ten points in overtime. Let us never speak of that game again.
Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan—who has coached this team since the '80s—will miss tonight's game due to a death in the family.
The promo blimp just dropped a prize on my face. It was a coupon for a free Christian rock CD from 104.1 The Fish. Seriously. I refuse to believe that is a sign from God.
Matthews delivers a Thanksgiving message to the crowd before the game.
11:06 - Usually the Jazz double-up on LaMarcus Aldridge early and force the Blazers to find alternate scoring options—basically what the Phoenix Suns did in last year's playoff series. But so far they have laid off Aldridge and he has a quick jumpshot to show for it. 2-0 Blazers.
9:14 - Both Andre Miller and Matthews have broken out the 'ol Euro Flop technique to draw a pair of questionable fouls against the Jazz. Vlade Divac would be proud. Rudy approves as well. 4-2 Blazers.
7:51 - Utah might want to start double teaming Aldridge after he hits a turnaround jumper and follows that with a layup after a Miller steal and fastbreak. He has six of the team's eight points. 8-6 Blazers.
6:15 - BATUM! Nicolas Batum gets acrobatic with a ridiculous reverse layup directly under the outstretched arms of Andrei Kirilenko. Easily one of the best plays of this Blazers season. If he was sticking out his tongue and wearing a Bulls jersey, you'd have sworn that was a Michael Jordan highlight. 12-8 Blazers.
5:00 - Rudy to Miller for a little soft touch give-and-go. That was the slowest/quickest layup ever. One defensive stop later, Rudy for three. He just tied Isiah Rider (!) for 10th most threes in Trail Blazers history. 17-11 Blazers.
3:44 - Now Marcus Camby and Aldridge get into the highlight pass/dunk game. This first quarter is nothing but highlight plays so far. Very few actual jumpers and zero free-throws—just dunks, layups and threes. 19-13 Blazers.
2:10 - Before the ball was inbounded Deron Williams places his hand firmly in Armon Johnson's chest and nearly pushes him over. The Jazz announcers laugh. No one likes a rookie. 19-17 Blazers.
1:07 - Sorry, Isiah. Rudy moves to 10th on the all-time threes list. I'm sure Ryder doesn't care because he is a retired athlete with a vast fortune who only makes wise decisions in his personal life. Oh wait, never mind. 22-19 Blazers.
10:45 - After missing a series of easy defensive rebounds (result: two points for Armon Johnson), Paul Millsap picks up a technical foul. His frustration might be because the entire Jazz team is almost being outrebounded by Camby. 27-19 Blazers.
9:32 - So much for sweet sweet revenge, Matthews has zero points against his former team. But no complaints here, the Blazers defense looks fantastic thus far and the lead is now in double digits. 29-19 Blazers.
8:04 - CJ Miles for three. And then again. That big Portland lead is now just a lead. 30-25 Blazers.
6:38 - Hey, look, Matthews scores his first points on the night. 34-27 Blazers.
4:05 - You know what move where Miller slowly dribbles the ball to about six feet from the basket and while everyone excepts a pass he just buries an old man jump shot? Yeah, well he just did that. 41-30 Blazers.
2:50 - Millsap squares up with Aldridge and just tears the ball right out of LaMartha's tender hands. No, I didn't spell his name wrong there. 41-37 Blazers.
1:28 - Raja Bell flattens Rudy, but the Spaniard gets the foul. That was the makeup call for all that flopping earlier in the game. 43-42 Blazers.
0:58 - Just as they are about to lose the lead, Batum steals the ball and ends up converting a layup and and-on free-throw. 46-42 Blazers.
0:32 - If you want to know how Utah got back in this game, here is the only stat you need to know: 5-8 from beyond the arc. That is an incredible 63%. 48-45 Blazers.
11:44 - Two fouls for the Blazers in 16 seconds. At this rate, everyone in the building will foul out by the start of the fourth quarter. 48-47 Blazers.
10:58 - Millsap with a jumper and Utah takes its first lead of the night. 49-48 Jazz.
9:13 - In a battle of toxic contracts, Millsap flips up a short jumper over Matthews. Then both players laugh and laugh about how much money they are paid. 53-53 tie.
8:10 - The Blazers are up 12-1 in offensive rebounds, yet only two on the scoreboard. That ain't right. 57-55 Blazers.
7:25 - Three more offensive boards, yet no points to show for it. And then Camby clanks an alley-oop inches from the basket. Yikes. 57-57 tie.
5:56 - Matthews gets closelined by Millsap. Maybe there is some bad blood between him and his former team. 58-57 Blazers.
5:13 - Millsap picks up a pair of offensive boards and a put-back layup while getting fouled. But right after calling the foul, the ref immediately turns and whistles Kirilenko for a technical foul. It should be pointed out that Kirilenko was sitting on the bench in his warmup gear while picking up that foul. 61-57 Blazers.
4:32 - Kirilenko back in the game. No telling what sort of fouls he might get while actually playing. 65-61 Blazers.
3:24 - The Jazz clank three consecutive shots from beyond the arc in a row, the last of which gets stuck ontop of the basket. Game over. There is only one ball in the building. Your final score... oh wait, Batum uses the swifer mop to dislodge the ball. Crafty! 66-61 Blazers.
2:07 - Rudy fouled hard at the rim. Looks like Miles scraped his face. NOT THE FACE! It's all the man has. If Rudy loses his looks he might as well be Sergio Rodriguez, and no one wants that. 68-63 Blazers.
1:26 - An impressive 30 combined turnovers and this game is still not even close to being finished. Plus the Blazers have slipped to 38% shooting and have somehow managed to expand their lead. That's what happens when you are up 18-3 in offensive rebounds. 70-63 Blazers.
0:20 - Rudy to Aldridge over Kirilenko. It's been a bad night for the Russkie. 74-65 Blazers.
12:00 - The Blazers are undefeated on the season when holding teams under 100 in a game. I think the under-100 part is safe for tonight, but we're about to see if the undefeated streak continues.
10:04 - Johnson has all the tenacity of Jerryd Bayless (during his stay as a Blazer), but with far more restraint and control. He's still raw, as second round rookies tend to be, but he's a blast to watch as Miller rests on the bench. 76-72 Blazers.
8:18 - Portland is shooting 2 of 15 from three. That might explain a lead that is fading fast... 78-77 Blazers.
6:25 - Panic! Ronnie Price caps a furious run from the Jazz with a far-too-easy layup and now Utah is up. By four. What the hell just happened? I blame tonight's "Faith and Family" promotion. You don't have a faith-based event against a team from Utah. Duh. Wait until New Orleans comes to town for that. 84-80 Jazz.
5:39 - Earl Watson for three, then a steal from Aldridge which leads to another three from Miles. He is six for nine from downtown. Please tell me this is not happening. 90-82 Jazz.
3:50 - Funny how I was so confident Utah wouldn't score 100 tonight. Oops. Got that one wrong. 94-89 Jazz.
3:24 - After a tough call, Batum fouls out. Rudy comes in. Not a good sign for a Blazers defense that has been hemorrhaging points in this quarter. 96-89 Jazz.
2:45 - Rudy for three. At least that woke up the crowd. 96-92 Jazz.
1:51- Rudy draws a charge. Batum who? 96-92 Jazz.
1:25 - Aldridge with a long jumper and it's down to a single basket lead. 96-94 Jazz.
0:29 - Woah. Rudy for three. Missed. Matthews for three. Missed. Matthews for three again. Missed. Aldridge with another rebound and he is fouled, but no whistle. That is your game in a nutshell. Again, woah. 99-94 Jazz.
0:28 - If you are keeping track at home—and not slamming your head repeatedly into your desk—that's 4-of-20 shooting from three for Portland. As for CJ Miles of the Jazz, he's 7-for-10 from the other side of the arc. Miles shot the Jazz back into this game, while Portland clanked their way to a crushing defeat. 101-94 Jazz.
0:00 - That's five straight wins for Utah here in Portland. In fact, the Blazers haven't knocked off the Jazz since March of 2009. Your final score: Utah 103, Portland 94. Tough lose for the home team. We'll see you next Friday.
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