January 27th, 2012 | by CASEY JARMAN News | Posted In: Sports

Almost Live: Suns at Blazers

hill
So, I might be the only person in the NBA world who finds a joke about Grant Hill drinking Sprite funny. I apologize. I'm a bit of a ham. But here's the good news: THEY GAVE ME THE GOOD SEATS TONIGHT, AND I'VE GOT A SPLITTING HEADACHE! 

Well, part of that's good news anyway. Now let's get ready for some weekend blogging action. Are you with me, Portland!?

FIRST QUARTER!

10:20
You know when they say "it's all ____," like "It's all you" or "it's all good"? Well, right now, it's all Suns. It's also quite early.

9:19
Oh, man! Did you see that? A perfect behind the back pass from Steve Nash to Gerald Wallace. If they were on the same team, that would be getting highlights all night! Beautiful. But wrong, so wrong.

9:09
The difference between being 50 feet from the court and 150 feet from the court? I can hear their shoes squeak down here. And I can hear someone barking a lot. At first I thought it was Nate, but I think it's just an irate fan who should maybe consider a career in coaching. 

7:50
Markieff Morris gets into early foul trouble and we get a glimpse of our old pal Channing Frye. Chan and LaMarcus' battles in the paint are fun to watch, because Aldridge is big enough to smash Frye, but Frye is determined enough to make LA's life really, really difficult. Sometimes that results in a foul, this first time out it resulted in LaMarcus laying it up, grabbing his own board and then throwing down a put-back dunk.

6:58
I've never seen Steve Nash miss a free-throw that badly. Ever!

5:49
Say, there's some scrap from old Ray Felton beneath the hoop. Granted, he's not the guy you'd usually want to depend on as a threat in paint in a halfcourt basketball game, but he came through in a pinch to get the Blazers within three. Suns look an awful lot quicker than the Blazers early, though, don't they?

7:25
I swear that Portland's announcer—whose name I should really know by now, right?—says "JumpBall Crawford" when he introduces number 11. It really weirds me out for a minute every time he checks in. I'm always like, "but a jump ball doesn't make any sense here!" And then he finishes with "Crawford" and I'm all, "oh, okay."

3:16
Kurt Thomas and Grant Hill share some exhausted-looking banter on the side of the free-throw line. Hill smacks Thomas while stretching, and it looks intentional. Thomas looks over at him with a WTF face. Hill makes eye contact and then they both laugh. Words are exchanged before Hill is substituted out of the game. What I wouldn't give to hear their conversation.

1:08
If you really want to watch basketball, and try to understand what's going on out there—and I'm not saying I know what plays or defensive sets are being used, because I don't, but bear with me—you've got to imagine all ten guys on the court in street clothes. Then you've got to imagine that the crowd and the coaches are all gone. Then you've got to imagine that the court is just a parking lot, not the centerpiece in a billion-dollar arena. And then you just watch their bodies—both the way they move and the way they move together. It's only then, without all the distractions, that you can see just how strange of a sport this is and just how different it is at this level than any other. Five-on-five street ball looks almost nothing like this. But occasionally you watch a player—and Sebastian Telfair is on the court right now—who has the same swagger in the pros as he would were he playing against the best in his neighborhood. That's special, in a way, but I think that watching an NBA defense operate—smoothly, effortlessly, in near-silence—is the thing that makes this an amazing game. The discipline of a good defensive team making all the right switches and stopping the offense from penetrating is a total ballet, even more than watching the ball come up the court and move around the horn or into the post is. And I've got to say, the Suns really have their defensive rotations down. They're letting the Blazers' corner threes go up, but then those haven't hurt them yet. 

SECOND QUARTER

11:05
Okay, that corner three actually went in.

9:41
Blazers starting to get steals and play really unselfishly with the ball. It's making good things happen. And that Nic Batum dunk was...well, not Jordan-esque, but Brent Barry-esque, anyway.

7:39
Nic Batum is looking quite nice this evening. Nice offense, nice defense, nice long arms. And the BLazers are definitely picking up the pace, something I'm not sure was in Nate McMillan's gameplan. Seems to me that he would talk about "our pace" here, and "our pace" would be "a lot slower than the Suns' pace." That last turnover is really going to chap his hide, even though neither of the two teams is in serious turnover trouble, and the Suns are in worse shape than the Zers. 

A very, very nice stretch for Portland. 

4:15
I think maybe Michael Redd's feet are too small for his body. It's not that he has small feet—I bet he wears a 13, which is what I wear—but those feet just look too small for his body. Am I crazy? Folks at home?

2:22
LaMarcus gets more power-points in the paint (PPPs!), but you know how he can fade in the second half. And to me, this seems like it might be the toughest game to win this week. You play three games in three days, then you get one day off for all your lingering injuries to catch up to you, and then it's back to the court. I mean, one game of full-court basketball sounds fucking awful to me, but even these conditioned athletes must really be feeling it today. Once inertia stops you, it has to be awful tough to start cranking the engine again. I'm pretty surprised at the Blazers here today.

1:57
This new "two timeout whistles and then you get a technical" rule is not being enforced. I'd be surprised if had been called all season—I certainly haven't seen it.

0.0
There was a big non-foul and a lot of arguing about nothing. You didn't miss much, it's cool.

HALFTIME ENTERTAINMENT!


Still the best video ever.


Also, I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but cheerleading is just stripping with clothes on. That goes for the guys who cheer, too—glorified Chippendales. Also, somebody should get those Beaver dancers some hamburgers. And that's all I'm gonna say about all that.

THIRD QUARTER

WHY WON'T IT START!?

10:57
Wes Matthews had to hit a three at some point. I'm starting to think he's more comfortable being just off the top of the three-point line than he is shooting from the corner. Or maybe it's just a quarter-by-quarter thing. In any case, he swished that a-one, and the Blazers are poised to pull away here in the third. 

Also, Marcus Camby has 14 rebounds already. If this game stays close enough for him to stay in it, we could be looking at another huge rebounding night from him.


9:22
There's 15...

8:47
Nash hands off to GOR-TAT THE DESTROYER, and GOR-TAT takes the basket for everything it's worth. You know, I'm so focused on the actual movement on the floor that I've neglected to tell you just how shitty of a first half the Suns had! They scored only 33 points! That is unbelievable. It's hard to accept that this team has run its course, but there will be no playoffs this year unless the Suns swing a major trade. Either way, this may very well be the last time we see Steve Nash in a Suns uniform here in Portland. What a run!

7:41
Oooooh, that Camby-LaMarcus connection is so so sweet. I also dig their customary back-of-the-hand high-five. Blazers go up by 24 points, and you can't spell YOWCH without ouch. I mean, you can, but why would you waste your time spelling either of those non-words?

6:29
Steve Nash has missed two free-throws tonight. As I often do, I wish I had a stats monkey this evening. I'd be curious to know when the last time Steve Nash missed two free-throws in a game was. I know it's not really indicative of anything greater, but his whole game tonight is kind of sad for me: It's like watching the end of an era. The Blazers are playing well, but the Suns are downright imploding. And Steve Nash has been on the floor more than I've seen in a long time. Meanwhile, Wes Matthews is just draining threes left and right. Something snapped in him.

If Alvin Gentry keeps his starters in this game, which is now a 29-point thrashing (and frankly it feels like it should be more), I think even the mild-mannered Suns might start to lose their temper. It might be about time to bring out the B-team.

4:56
Very nice pass from Chan Frye to Jared Dudley in the post, and Dudley bounces it in. That's the first good thing we've seen from the Suns in a while, and—OH MY GOD WESLEY MATTHEWS YOU ARE SUCH A JERK WITH THOSE THREE-POINTERS! Can't you see that this team has absolutely nothing right now? I mean, they just look like total trash.

3:48
The threes are contagious. What is that, six or seven in the quarter? Keep 'em coming, Blazers.

2:59
Gerald Wallace getting a very loud standing ovation in here after jumping out over the growd and crowd-surfing on a bunch of Blazer fans, then getting back on the court to finish a play after the Blazer steal. Wes Matthews has to be feeling a little bit under-appreciated out there. I mean, he did just make like four threes in a row. Five? Was it five? God, sometimes I miss Mike and Mike. It was four, stat machine says.

1:48
I feel bad for Channing Frye. He just can't get shots to fall lately. It's not the first time he's had a dry streak in his career, but to start out a starter and then basically shoot yourself out of that starting spot has got to feel pretty awful. Misses a wide-open one here.

1:46
Blazers have the ball and are up 35 points. Three of their starters are still on the floor. The Suns will likely avoid posting a historically low score because at least half of the fourth quarter will be played by reserves on both sides if this trend continues. 

42.6
Ooh, vintage Bassy! He had a few good games here, remember? And a lot of bad ones...

0.0
So, a 31-12 quarter in the Blazers favor. Wow.


FOURTH QUARTER

11:17
Sooooo, you don't mind if I just watch this one for awhile, right? I mean, it's down to a 33-point lead, but I think that's pretty much done deal territory.

9:54
Is there always a gaggle of Vegas-looking bros down on the floor, standing up after every play and laughing like Muppets and cheering each other on? It looks like a budget version of Entourage down there. Cheering's cool and all, but I kinda think the NBA needs a "shut the fuck up" rule, and it needs to enforce it. Maybe it's a bachelor party. Or a football team? I don't know, but wow. The world is those dudes' for the partying and we're all just taking up space in it.

7:43
Why would you slow down a game this bad, refs? There's no need for this agony to keep dragging on and on.

7:14
Sebastian Telfair is still fun to watch, for real. Not kidding. And Phoenix has some dunkers, but at least one of them is really ONLY a dunker.

6:33
MAKE IT STOP! Soon a wave will start. Oh god, they're really trying to start a wave! No!

5:38
At least it's Chris Johnson time. I am a big fan of Chris Johnson time.

5:20
CHRIS! JOHNSON! TIME! BITCH!

5:10
I'm sorry to have used the b-word, I just got carried away.

4:24
Bassy: I'll show you, Blazers—I'm a one-man-team! Blazers: Yeah but we've got like 10 dudes on our team...

3:44
The fans demand Luke Babbitt. They show this by leaving the arena. They are literally going on strike as fans because Luke Babbitt is not on the floor. And who can blame them. Friends, I am thinking about walking out myself. This is against God's Plan!

Score is 100-64. Jamal Crawford is the evening's Chalupa King.

3:44
John Hollinger is OUT. Day is done.

3:38
And Babbsy is in. Let's see what he can do.

3:13
Scratch that, I don't care about Babbs—Elliot Williams is a ba-dunk-a-dunker. He needs to be in the dunk contest this year. Do you have to actually play to be in the dunk contest? 

Hell, Williams might just fetch some playing time if he keeps playing like this. Long two goes in cleanly from him. Too bad this all means nothing, because he could really be helping out. He looks completely exhausted, though.

1:32
Did the jumbotron just show an ironic replay of Luke Babbitt's after-the-whistle dunk? Seems in poor taste somehow. Lukey came to play tonight, though. He's cashing in those layups. The Blazers now lead by 42 points. Jeeeeez. 

37.3
Well, it has been a pleasure blogging for you. Let's talk about Luke Babbitt's stat line, shall we? He has 2 points and one rebound. But Elliot Williams is looking really, honestly sharp. And Sebastian Telfair just got kicked out of the game for a tech. People are cheering. That seems mean to me. He overreacted, but man, I can't hate on Bassy—he's had a tough run. And yeah, there's the guns and the whatever, but I think he's a good kid at heart and I'm bummed to see him go out like that tonight.


By the way, Alvin Gentry is fucking pissed. I watched his lips, and after a couple of curses, there was the line "WHAT ARE YOU DOING? THE GAME IS OVER!" I believe he then asked the ref to look in his eyes, which Gentry would not. The Blazers win by 38 points. It's the kind of game coaches get fired over, so I can see why Gentry—in addition to having his players' backs—is pissed off. It's the end of an era, and any hope that this season would be better than the last for the Phoenix Suns looks like nothing but wishful thinking tonight. The best we can hope for is Steve Nash getting traded somewhere nice. New York, perhaps.

Goodnight.

 
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