Good evening from the Rose Garden. Tonight the Portland Trail Blazers face the worst-in-the-whole-league Cleveland Cavaliers. After Tuesday's commanding win against second-in-the-west Dallas Mavericks, it should most likely be a cake walk. I'm filling in for Tony, who was filling in for Ezra, who's still at SXSW in presumably sunny Austin.
You might know the story of the Cavaliers. Once they had Lebron James, King of Cleveland, but a mixture of bad management and unchecked ego led to Lebron leaving the franchise last summer. No one believed in the Cavs, who were now composed of underperforming supporting stars, veterans, and Mo Williams, but they started the season looking scrappy and playing cohesively. They skirted the .500 line (good enough for playoffs in the east these days) until Lebron came home and spanked them into submission on his former court. Since then the Cavs have faced injury woes along the lines of the Blazers last year, but with no one capable to step up and produce. They set an all time record for consecutive losses, traded Mo Williams for Baron Davis (my best friend), and scored a franchise low 55 points against the Lakers.
The Cavaliers have pulled off some upsets though, getting their revenge against a slipping Lakers in February, and apparently have a voodoo curse on the Knicks. As recently as last night they beat the Sacramento Kings (hardly a great team, but it features more hyped talent then the Cavs). In short, they're still professional basketball players, even if none of them average more than 13.2 points a game. Their blog is spending a lot of time looking wistfully towards the draft.
The Blazers have a
good nearly guaranteed shot at winning this one. They do tend to "play down" to terrible teams, squeaking by and even dropping games to the Kings, Wizards, and several other bottom feeders this season. But if they play at least 60% capacity they should give the Cavs a good home court beat down and we may be able to catch Armon Johnson in action. Otherwise the starters will be busy tiring themselves out in the fourth to pull ahead. But since everyone thinks we're going to win and is busy getting drunk, I plan on spending my time applauding multiple alley-oops and cracking Baron Davis jokes. (It's okay, he told me I could over cheese fries at Dots before the game.)
Tip off is at 7:10 p.m. Brace yourself.
They must have changed the intro video since the last game I went to. This new one is super melodramatic and, get this, it's raining and storming while the Blazers stare down the camera.
12:00 - Blazers win the tip and Batum scores like its nothing. 2-0. Blazers.
8:58 - Aldridge barely breaks a sweat hooking in a shot. 9-2 Blazers.
6:55 - Batum slams the ball in Alonzo Gee's face. He doesn't do that often, but he should. I'll text him about it later. 14-2 Blazers.
5:29 - The Blazers steal the ball. Gerald Wallace ends up with it and makes the slam. Oh yeah, the Cavs haven't scored since their first possession. I'm feeling some St. Patty Mills soon! 21-2 Blazers.
4:01 - Wes Matthews just committed a shooting foul and the Cavs get a chance to score again. The Cavaliers are literally as terrible as you can imagine. On the plus side, Baron Davis, my hero, is now in the game. 24-4 Blazers.
2:06 - Time out. Five of the Blazers have scored. Two of the Cavs have. For those of you at the bar, drink everytime the Cavs score and see if you're drunk by halftime. 30-4 Blazers.
0:38 - Daniel Gibson draws a three-shot foul from Camby and makes them all. Cleveland has made one field goal the entire quarter. LA has been sitting, probably cause the team can handle itself and he's been a work horse. 37-9. Do I even need to say it?
End of the first quarter. Baron Davis made a three-pointer. Sometimes he just has to remind people that he can play basketball if he chooses. 37-12. Blazers.
12:00 - Patty Mills arrives and Aldridge is back. The Blazers are shooting almost 70& The Cavs 14.3%.
9:00 - The Blazers are starting to play a little sloppier, inspired by the terribleness of the Cavs. Cleveland did manage to score another field goal, btw. 43-14. Blazers.
7:38 - The Cavs are starting to play D-fense. Roy misses a tough lay up but after two tips it goes in. McMillan puts Andre Miller back in for Patty Mills, JUST IN CASE. 45-17. Blazers.
5:22 - Rudy tries to get fancy, attempts a tough drive and misses, then steals the ball, runs the court, and dumps the ball to Aldridge for the dunk. Then on the next play Rudy steals it again, this time finishing the lay up himself. Get some, Fernandez. 54-19. Blazers.
4:51 - The TV time out competition involves three women racing across the court in sleeping bags, inching along the floor like worms. It's kinda weird.
3:49 - Ramon Sessions tries to dunk it in Wallace's face, but Wallace fouls him instead. Good. 57-25. Blazers.
1:30 - A turnover becomes a three-on-nobody practice drill with Miller to Matthews to Wallace for the dunk.
0:40 - It happens again, only Wallace misses the dunk this time. 64-34. Blazers takes us to Halftime.
9:45 - Coming in with a 30 point lead the Blazers make their first four shots and the Cavs miss theirs. All is right with the world. 73-34. Blazers.
5:24 - The Blazers continue to inflict pain on the Cavs, though Cleveland has upped their pace a bit and scored some more. Of course the price of a faster pace is Portland opening up a 39 point lead. 82-43. Blazers.
4:34 - So basically the offense is: LA gets the ball every other play, and in between someone else gets a chance to shine. We've seen Batum, Rudy, and Matthews score, and now Wallace with a three. 85-43 Blazers.
2:17 - A timeout. Hoping to see some of our lesser Blazers. Question: If you're Nate McMillan, do you feel comfortable putting in ALL our scrubs at once? I want to see it! Also the Trailbreakers, our break dancing squad, kicks ass. 87-45. Blazers.
End of third quarter. - Camby got himself a strong dunk. His knee must be feeling better. 89-45. Blazers.
10:56 - The Blazers get a little cocky, with Camby missing an alley-oop from Rudy. Plus a couple turnovers leading to easy buckets and just like that the Cavs have cut the lead to 40. That is until Roy gets fouled for three shots. 92-49. Blazers.
7:55 - WOW THE CAVS SUCK. I can't believe this team scored 97 points last night, even if it was against the Kings. 95-61. Blazers.
3:43 - Patty Mills throws up a shot and it's blocked but WAIT IT'S A GOAL TEND. That's the 100th point and now we all get free chalupas. The bench has officially checked in. It's Armon Johnson, Chris Johnson, Jarron Collins, Patty Mills, and Rudy Fernandez. Have fun guys, you may never see the court again this year. 100-64. Blazers.
1:16 - Armon Johnson is making the most of his garbage time, driving to the hoop on the last three possessions. He even has 6 points! 106-69 Blazers.
0:30 - Patty Mills drains a three to the delight of the Rose Garden. In a normal close game it would be a dagger. In this game it's more like cutting the ears of a corpse for a trophy. 111-70. Blazers.
Game over. As if I needed to tell you. Portland 111. Cleveland 70. Looks like the Cavaliers used up all their winning mojo last night. And I survived my first live blog without any abuse done to my avatar! Tony Perez will be back with you on Saturday when Portland hosts the Philadelphia '76ers.
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