January 23rd, 2012 | by CASEY JARMAN News | Posted In: Sports

Almost Live: Kings vs. Blazers

     
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PRE-GAME

The Blazers always come out to music that one of the players picked for the evening. Generally the players pick some dirty south rap or club cut.Tonight it was Nolan Smith's turn. He chose "Party in the U.S.A." by Miley Cyrus. He bounced along to it and smiled real big. I'm not sure if this was hazing or if Smith actually likes Miley, but either way, it made for the best shootaround I've ever seen.

GAME!

So it's Portland winning the tip and the tip bouncing into the stands and Wes Matthews running up the Rose Garden stairs about eight rows after he saves the tip from going out-of-bounds. Oh yeah, it's going to be another freaky Blazer game. Good to be back!

10:59
Lately I've been dreaming of a basketball with three refs on the court and another five or six up in a booth somewhere, watching instant replays and fixing all the bad calls. There's got to be a way to make that happen, right? Some people might argue that it would hurt the integrity of the game, but I think a perfectly called game is the best kind of game. 

10:30
Well, my boy Marcus Camby has already picked up two fouls, and he'll make his way over to the bench for awhile. I feel very strongly about Marcus Camby's impact on a game, so I am thinking this is real bad news.

9:20
Wes starts out hot from the corner. How come nobody says "SPLOOOSH!" when a three-pointer falls?

7:42
The Kings can't pick up a foul for trying—everything is going their way early as far as the officiating is concerned, but Ray Felton lays it up and makes it just a three-point game, 10-7 Kings. You know when announcers say "this team will let you right back in it?" The Kings are the ultimate "this team will let you right back in it" team.

6:47
The Blazers call a timeout and a frustrated-looking Ray Felton goes over to talk to Nate on the sidelines. I have to say, it's kind of hard to look at this team and not think of Felton as a bit of an awkward puzzle piece. He plays loose where Nate likes his guards to play tight and he is not the kind of perimeter defender McMillan usually prefers. So what is he, exactly? Well, he's a firestarter—a twisted firestarter—and he's certainly responsible for a lot of the Zers' fastbreak plays this season. But is it worth it? And will Felton ever seem at home in a Blazer jersey? I still can't see it.

6:29
Little girl holding a sign that says "D + (picture of a fence) = Win!" I like this not just because it's an oversimplified equation that the young lady likely does not understand, but because someone probably just explained the whole "D + (picture of a fence)" to her, and I bet it seemed like just about the coolest thing in the world.

5:16
The Blazers' D + (picture of a fence) actually looks pretty good thus far, even if the Kings are helping with some weak-sauce layups that can't quite drag themselves over the rim.

4:53 
Jimmer alert! We have a Jimmer alert! Code purp!

4:23
Just noticed that after Nic Batum adjusts his shorts, he does a little shuffle move to get them to sag down to his sweet spot. Ladies and gay fellas, take note. 

3:57 
Sarcastic applause as the Kings are called for their first foul. The Blazers have picked up five of them.

3:05
Are there any players nicknamed "Fountain of Truth"? There should be. I remember that Channing Frye coined the nickname "Buffet of Goodness" for himself once, but "Fountain of Truth," if applied to an old player, might be a good idea. WAIT, we've got the oldest player in Basketball right here. Kurt "Fountain of Truth" Thomas. And it is written.

1:57
Speaking of truth, there's so much of it in this Smashmouth song.


1:48
Jamal Crawford is getting physical. Real physical.

1:16
The fouls are evening out, but this crowd still thinks shit is fucked. Of course, taking away Craig Smith's apparent and-one and turning it into a late-whistle-offensive-foul was a pretty mean trick. Wanna see it get real ugly? Wait until these refs issue the Blazers a second delay of game warning at a key moment. It's coming—you heard it from me first.

0:01
Miss. Miss. Miss. Gerald Wallace! Let's make that a thing. Wallace tips in an errant shot at the buzzer to tie the game 21-21. It would be worth rooting for, but this is the Kings. The Blazers should probably murder the Kings. Especially when they're shooting 31 percent. Sheesh.

SECOND QUARTER

11:35
Some might poke fun at Travis Outlaw's receding hairline mohawk. Not me. I think it's cool. If you got it, flaunt it, I always say. And Travis Outlaw has a pretty decent chunk of it still. Good lord are the Kings a horrible fit for him. Portland should buy him back for a quarter.

8:52
Nolan Smith with the high-flying non-finish. He'll head to the free-throw line after a timeout. Blazers pulling away just a little, currently up 4 at 29-25. Still, if I were home I might take an extended halftime siesta. Maybe I'll try it here...

8:16
Ugh, I should have slept. Nolan Smith missed both free-throws. The Blazers are shooting a lowly 50 percent in that department. not good enough.

7:52
Maybe Marcus Camby should be the Fountain of Truth. I feel like he lays the smack down a little harder and therefore is a better truth-speaker than Thomas. Ohhh, Camby rejects Isaiah Thomas and takes the ball from him. There was some truth in that. The truth in that was, "kid, you do not deserve that basket. You didn't work hard enough for it. Maybe when you're older."

Portland has a lot of big men that can't make their layups. This is a problem.

6:11
Anyone ever tried the lemonade at the Rose Garden? Seriously considering buying some. I bet it ust tastes like sugar and hose-water, though. I mean, I'm not knocking the Rose Garden--kids really love that sugar/hose-water taste.

4:12
LaMarcus Aldridge is having a difficult evening, but Marcus Camby ust helped him out pretty good with a tip. On the next play he sets up Wes Matthews for an easy layup, but Matthews misfires and the ball careens to Aldridge. He finally gets one to go in, and he's fouled in the act. But he misses the free-throw. Late night, maybe?

3:31
Another foul on Cam Cam a.k.a. the Camby Man a.k.a. Fountain of Truth. I don't like this. Age discrimination, that's what it is.

2:48
And just like that, these are looking like the alert, scrappy, opportunistic Blazers we came to love at the start of the season. Where has it been? Some dudes up by our section try and get a "Ger-ald Wal-lace" chant started, but it was Wallace finishing those last two plays, he didn't start them. 

1:27
Jimmer time!

56.2
Okay, now you can chant for Gerald Wallace. A three-pointer and a big block back-to-back. The steal turns into a Jamal Crawford three-pointer and the Blazers are up 19. The Gerald Wallace chant starts again. Still not catching, though. The Kings are upset, their coach picks up a technical foul. The Blazers now lead by 20. DeMarcus Cousins is mad, too, something he displays by throwing down a big one-handed dunk against the body of Gerald Wallace. 

0.0
A looooooong Tyreke Evans buzzer-beater curbs Portland's enthusiasm. Still up 15 at halftime. But the Blazers are a team that will let you right back in....

53-38

HALFTIME ENTERTAINMENT

Oh, let's just do this again.



THIRD QUARTER

So, the good thing about a back-to-back-to-back is that a team can leap up in the standings in very short order. Right now the Blazers are in what, eighth in the West? Roll a-the-dice; coupla fortuitous turns; a little fairy dust; soulful wind; a few repairs; maybe a fortune cookie...and...fuck, I don't remember what I was talking about now.

10:27
We just don't see enough Wes Matthews two-handed dunks. That was a good'n.

9:18
Having Marcus Camby in the post is like _____________. Somebody fill that in for me because I'm not feeling particularly clever.

8:25
I watched a bit of that NFC championship yesterday. I never watch football. I tell you what I liked, though—I liked that the referee took the time to fully explain all his calls. It was nice, like watching Hubie Brown call a game on the TV. Suddenly I understood some things I hadn't understood before. Though, in retrospect, I still think that NFL overtime is total stupid bullshit. Why don't they just play for 15 minutes, for crying out loud? Only penalty shots in hockey are dumber than whatever that dumb thing they did yesterday was. That was so dumb.

7:50
I'm glad DeMarcus Cousins isn't hurt. He went down grabbing his ankle and I thought "damn, drawing him crying looks like it was in really poor taste now." Thing is, when a guy goes down like he's been shot and then comes back into the game looking just fine, it actually sorta proves my point. Still, lesson learned. Don't be mean to a man who could snap your head off with a flex of his pinkie finger.

6:39
Re: 9:18— "...is like putting up a No Vacancy sign." That will do.

5:03
Blazers string a few defensive deficiencies and fouls together and the lead is narrowing. Makes you wonder when that second delay of game is gonna get called.

4:17
And the Blazers get the lead right back to 17 with good post play. 

Okay, I have an idea: What if Portland fans start rooting "Ray-mond Fel-ton" in unison the way they do for Gerald Wallace on a good night? Might that snap him into confident mode? Because, really, confidence is the biggest problem that I can see.

3:38
I don't think Gerald Wallace is going anywhere. I think he's staying in Portland. Just a hunch. I think he really likes the love he gets from the crowd, even if he's low-key about it.

3:08
Wow, DeMarcus is in FULL-ON CRY-FACE. Look out, because the tears are about to start flowing with the Blazers up 20.

2:54
Wow, a lady asking a man to marry her on the big screen. THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN! Between this and the Miley Cyrus earlier (see my intro), I'm wondering if maybe the gender barrier has been irreparably broken somehow here tonight. I mean, usually pro sports are about ten years behind the curve when it comes to progressive politics, but no one is worried about looking manly at this game. The guy who got married was more convinced with looking like Ricky Gervais. Good on you, buddy.

1:22
Say, that little spin move and fadeaway jumper reminded me of somebody...who was it...BRANDON ROY. Thanks for that, Jamal Crawford. Blazers up 19.

FOURTH QUARTER

It's getting weird in here. Real weird.

11:28
I guess Nic Batum played in the fist half, but I really only noticed him in the second. He has had a ghost game. Currently he has two rebounds and...two rebounds in his 14 minutes. But having a Frenchman on the court brings in a lot of European viewers. 

10:24
I don't think Kurt Thomas has ever done anything flagrant in his life, let alone fouled someone flagrantly.

9:43
Kings have worn this down to just a 13-point lead. Without Camby, who is on the bench because of some groin strain issues (sounds gross), the Zers are just kinda letting the Kings score in the paint. You don't want to let a bunch of losers start thinking they can win. If movies from the '80s taught me anything, they taught me this.

9:10
Craig Smith wills one in and it looks really unnatural. This is the Blazers' go-to post guy right now, and that's a problem. P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S. Putting dude in the Marcus Camby role means some awkward, high passes and some really stressed-out-looking post moves.

8:52
That awful free-throw shooting was no joke. Jamal misses his first of two and the Blazers are at just 52 percent from the line.

8:23
Throwing spiral football passes into the crowd seems like an awful idea. And I say that as a supporter of many awful ideas.

7:15
Does Jimmer have attitude problems? I thought you had to have attitude problems to play for the Kings.

7:02
What you think the chances are that Kurt Thomas and/or Marcus Camby will be playing two days from now in Golden State, on the third night of a back-to-back-to-back? I am thinking slim. Slimmer than most of the Golden State Warriors, anyway. And I don't know if you've looked at Stephen Curry or Andris Biedrins, but they are pretty skinny.

6:14 
The lead keeps hovering in the 15-20 area, but Raymond Felton is pushing the Blazer offense right now and it's great to see. Isaiah Thomas can't stop him. Not THIS Isaiah Thomas. Sorry, dude—no one should be compared to the dude they were named after. Who, in this case, was not Isaiah Thomas' father. This Isaiah Thomas' father apparently named him that on a dare. Thanks, Wikipedia.

5:11
Isaiah Thomas JUNIOR misses the three. The junior sticks.

3:50
Godzilla stomping on the jumbotron while the Kings pick up a couple hustle points. Of all the racist stuff I find myself wishing I could say, "Godzirra" probably tops the list. Alas, I try to keep it at bay. I'm sure one racist joke would lead to another racist joke and the next thing you know I'd be shamed out of Portland. I shouldn't have even confided in you this far. It was wrong.

2:52
LaMarcus has, predictably, buffed up his stat line since that slow start we were talking about earlier. He's got 13 points (missed an and-one free-throw, but that's more the rule than the exception tonight) and 15...no, make it 16 rebounds.

The Blazers are in chalupa rane after all, and Ray Felton, hoping to increase his stock with Blazer fans, takes what would be the taste-tingling taco shot. Alas, he rushed it and these grease-thirsty fans are angry as hell.

1:21
Nic Batum, Elliott Williams and Nolan Smith check in for a rare Portland bench-clearing. Then, after some initial hesitation, LaMarcus gets to the bench, too. 

1:10
And OH MY GOD! LUKE BABBIT replaces Jamal Crawford, who I am kind of shocked I didn't write more about.

35.2
Luke Babbitt for Chalupa! Now he's un-fucking-tradeable!

0.0
Good win for the Blazers to start the two-game home-stand. I am running out of hyphens, so it's time for me to go. Final score is 101-89, and though the Kings are not a real worthy opponent, this must feel a lot better than losing to the Pistons.

See you tomorrow night, Blazer people.
 
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