Live from the Rose Garden as the Portland Trail Blazers take on the Chicago Bulls. Before we get to the injury woes of the Blazers—shocking, right?—and the return of Brandon Roy later this week—okay, that was shocking—let's talk about the Bulls. Or as the great Harvey Sid FIsher puts it, "Talkin' 'bout the bully bull bull."
Chicago has been playing great as of late, coming out victorious in nine of their past 11 games and knocking off elite teams like Dallas, Miami, and Orlando in the process. While they haven't won in this building in over four years, this Bulls are now one of the top defensive teams in the NBA and hold opposing teams to a measly 43% shooting from the field (that's tied for the best in the league). I suppose the good news for the home team is that the Bulls' efficient defense won't come as a complete shock to the Blazers, since Portland is currently shooting 44% on the season, the fourth worst percentage in the NBA. It's going to be a long night.
Let's suffer together...
As we previously mentioned, Roy is on his way back. It's easy to play blogchair physician [*takes out prescription pad, writes himself a 'script for a bazillion percocet*] when it comes to player's injuries, but this definitely does seem like a suspiciously quick return for Roy. Especially considering how he hasn't been healthy since last season. But hey, whatever, it's Roy. If anyone can comeback from an unrecoverable knee injury, it's him. I guess.
In less dire injury news, Dante Cunningham fractured his right orbital bone—as an unlicensed professional blogchair physician, that injury sounds sooo fake—and will now have to wear a protective mask (not pictured here) for tonight's game. His mask will also have a shade on it as well. That, and his weird fake-tooth mouthpiece, will make for a lovely pairing.
OH MY GOD, HERE IS WHAT DANTE LOOKS LIKE. DO NOT CLICK, UNLESS YOU LIKE HAVING NIGHTMARES.
11:14 - The tables have turned. Nicolas Batum tricks Keith Bogans into committing a dumb foul (two points!) and then the Blazers' defense prevents the Bulls from getting a shot up before the 24-second clock expires. 2-0 Blazers.
8:35 - Aldridge scoring early is key to Portland staying in this game (when he goes dormant on offense, the entire Blazers system grinds to a halt). That said, he just scored. 8-6 Bulls.
6:27 - Damn, Derrick Rose is good. But know what's he's not good at? Woodworking. (That's probably not true. I heard he made a spice rack for Joakim Noah's kitchen.) 10-8 Bulls.
4:21 - Joel Pryzbilla gets his vanilla gorilla paw into the cylinder and takes away a basket from Amdre Miller. That's negative two points for Pryzbilla. 16-15 Bulls.
2:36 - Rose has made four shots on the night, each more difficult than the last. Nearly as difficult was that three that Rudy just drained. It must be the goggles. 22-20 Blazers.
2:02 - Rose has 10 points, Carlos Boozer has nine. The other Bulls are not even real, they are just cardboard cutouts of Michael Jordan. 22-21 Blazers.
1:52 - Miller to Batum for a 40-foot alley-oop. 24-21 Blazers.
0:07 - Kurt Thomas draws a charge from Miller. In other news, Kurt Thomas is still in the NBA. In other, other news, Kurt Thomas is still alive. When Miller collided with him, there was a cloud of dust. 26-26 tie.
0:01 - Batum hits a pair of free-throws and Rose falls about an inch away from swishing a halfcourt shot. That was a surprisingly fun first quarter. 28-26 Blazers.
12:00 - Portland shot 79% in the first quarter. Bold prediction: That number goes down as this game progresses. I am not afraid to put my reputation on the line with predictions like that.
10:59 - White guy convention! Rudy, Kyle Korver, Luke Babbitt, Omer Asik, and Przybilla. 29-28 Bulls.
9:16 - Asik shoots the ball five times in less than two minutes. This game just took a turn for the pasty and awkward. 9-0 run for the visiting team. 35-28 Bulls.
8:40 - Asik with a dunk. One Blazers turnover later CJ Watson was about to make it a 13-0 run but he got fancy and misses a wide open slam. That resulted in back-to-back conversions for Portland and the momentum of the game swings back in the Blazers' favor. That's not good. 37-34 Bulls.
6:45 - Batum flops, Boozer dunks on him. On the other side of the hardwood, Aldridge slips past Boozer and returns the favor. 41-36 Bulls.
4:44 - The Blazers now shooting 64%. That's still amazing. I assumed they'd be about 30 percentage points lower by now. Rudy tries to help things by flying through the lane like a man shot out of a cannon. No basket, but two foul shots. He make both. 44-43 Blazers.
2:46 - Boozer pays for his put-back layup by falling hard to the court. I could hear the thud from here. One play later Rudy cleverly sneaks away from the pack—or cherry picks, your choice—for a quick dunk. Back and forth we go. 48-47 Blazers.
1:51 - Rose tucks the ball under his arm and a second later gentle deposits it in the net. That was too easy. 49-48 Bulls.
0:49 - That was incredible. Korver looses the ball, Miller tips to to Rudy who instantly fires a long pass (while falling out of bounds) to a streaking Matthews for the score. Wow. 50-49 Blazers.
50 points for Chicago. 50 points for Portland. 50 bags of popcorn for me!
The halftime performer? On the Rocks. They just did a TI song. And now Lady Gaga. I want to die, but fear they will haunt me in the afterlife.
11:09 - Yay, the acapella band stopped. Double yay, Miller opens the third quarter with a jumper. That's three Blazers in double figures. 52-50 Blazers.
8:27 - Chicago is ice cold to start this quarter. Portland isn't fairing much better. Ice warm? 57-52 Blazers.
6:57 - Aldridge, go long. A football pass to Aldridge doesn't net a dunk, but he is fouled and the Bulls are already in the penalty. The Blazers don't have a single whistle against them in the third. 61-56 Blazers.
5:59 - Przybilla misses. Miller misses. Aldridge misses. Aldridge misses. Aldridge misses. Aldridge dunks. Just like Coach McMillan drew it up. Meanwhile the Bulls are shooting 30% from the field since the half. 63-56 Blazers.
3:52 - Reverse alley-oop to Aldridge from Miller. Woah. That's 27 and seven boards for LaMarcus so far. 69-64 Blazers.
2:28 - Blake Griffin is jealous of how much Aldridge has dunked the ball tonight. 71-64 Blazers.
1:06 - Rose is smacked in the head by Sean Marks. Don't go into the House of Marks unless you want to ger hurt. And by hurt I mean fouled. And by fouled I mean gently grazed. 73-68 Blazers.
0:14 - Despite the audible protests of the entire arena, Marks shoots a jumper. And hits it. 75-71 Blazers.
11:34 - Luol Deng finally wakes up and joins the rest of the Bulls. He has a very quiet seven points on the night. In fact, it's still all Boozer and Rose, the only two Bulls players in double figures thus far. 77-74 Blazers.
9:58 - Three goggles for Rudy. 80-74 Blazers.
9:30 - Domestic Rudy (Kyle Korver) answers right back with a three of his own. Handsome fight! 80-77 Blazers.
7:50 - Taj Gibson mows over Pryzbilla without a whistle. Joel commits a revenge flagrant foul in 3... 2... 1... 82-81 Blazers.
6:25 - Someone might want to not Rose waltz in for that layup. Just saying. 84-83 Blazers.
5:48 - Rudy waits on a three until Rose crashes into him, then he shoots and draws the foul. Cowardly? Yeah sure. Effective? Definitely. He hits all three. 89-83 Blazers.
5:14 - Miller scoops up a loose rebound and take the ball to the basket before the Bulls defense gets settled and draws a foul on Boozer that pushes Chicago into the penalty. Smart play. 91-83 Blazers.
4:33 - Rose just dunked his way onto SportsCenter. Christ. 91-87 Blazers.
3:45 - Portland has twice the number of trips to the charity strip than Chicago: 27-28 for the Blazers, 7-14 for the Bulls. 93-87 Blazers.
3:32 - Aldridge splits a pair from the line. He is now barely ahead of Rose in the points department. 32, to 31 for Rose. 94-91 Blazers.
2:49 - Aldridge wacked again. Free-throw party! He hits both. That's 15 free-throws for Portland this quarter, while the Bulls have two. No comment. 96-91 Blazers.
2:22 - Deng with an airball. Dang. 96-91 Blazers.
2:17 - Miller to Aldridge for an alley-oop. That's 36 and right for him. Dang! 98-91 Blazers.
1:11 - Aldridge gets bored of dunks and sinks a 16-foot jumper instead. In doing so he gave away about 20,000 chalupas and he just might have won the game as well. 100-93 Blazers.
1:05 - Clearly those chants of "DE-FENSE" do nothing. Rose takes six seconds off the clock before hitting a three. Not over yet. 100-96 Bulls.
0:48 - LaMarcus again. This time a turnaround jumper. He then tops that by drawing a charge on defense. Wow, this might top the San Antonio game from last week as his greatest career game. 102-96 Blazers.
0:30 - The Bulls are forced to foul. Miller heads to the line with a chance to clear out this arena. Hits the first. Hits the second. That might do it. 104-96 Blazers.
0:23 - Deng hits a reverse layup, and only uses seven seconds to do so. 104-98 Blazers.
0:21 - Miller gets the expected foul. He hits the first. He hits the second. 106-98 Blazers.
0:14 - Okay, now it's over. Rudy will pad his stats with this trip to the line. He splits the shots and Korver hits a three on the other end. 107-103 Blazers.
0:04- Aldridge at the line with a chance to topple his career high. I love how the crowd recognizes that. Smart fans. He hits the first. Same for the second. 109-103 Blazers.
0:00 - Aldridge finishes with a career high 42 points, plus eight boards as well. Miller sets his season high with 27, with 11 dimes, and six rebounds as well. Your final score, Portland 109, Chicago 103. See you on the 16th, when New Orleans comes to town.
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