I will not be live-blogging tonight's Blazers/Wizards Valentine's Day matchup (too busy being romantic, I'm afraid), but I didn't want to leave you empty-handed. So tonight I give you A Lover's Guide to Portland's Valentine's Day Match-up. It is aimed at the fellas, but please feel free to switch all the gender-specific terminology to suit your needs.

If your Valentine isn't as turned-on by sweaty men running the basketball court as you are, you might have to run a few set plays in order to get her in the mood. Explain that you love basketball "because it's about rhythm, and the language of the human body." What could be more enticing? Try using only the sexiest language of the game as you tease her into sharing the loveseat with you for two-plus hours of hot dribbling action. Words like "swish," "alley-oop," "[full-court] press," "dunk," "Camby" and "Nicolas" (careful now, don't pronounce the "s"), for example, have sexy undertones that will woo your lover. Avoid the sport's less-than-exotic words while making your case: "Violation," "Blatche," "jump-ball" and "Bullets" are all red flags that could be potential deal-breakers (next thing you know it, you're having pasta by candlelight with no televisions in eye shot...worst Valentine's EVER). And unless freaky boundaries have already been established, be sure to avoid any mention of the "double-team,' "triple-team" or Wizards assistant coach Sam Cassell.

Papa John's is making those heart-shaped pizzas. Order the pizza—with all her favorite toppings on it—but don't tell her about the pizza. Girls love pizza. When the pizza arrives at your love den, say "I wonder who that could be?" and then pay for that pizza...WITH CASH. She'll make little doe eyes and say "awwwww" at first, but when you open the box and she sees that that shit is shaped like a heart, you best have defibulators at the ready because she is gonna go BONKERS!

This is a special night, and it's not about you—it's about her. Well, her and the Blazers staying in playoff position. So come on, live a little! Steal her iPhone or iPod or whatever, then make a playlist of all her sexiest songs (remember, avoid Toto IV). This will put her at ease easy, but also in a romantic mood. Now dim the lights, mute the television and give this game a very special soundtrack. How about a smooch or two during commercials? It's the least you could do. 

Shhh, shhhh. No, really, SHHHH! Don't talk. And don't check in on your fantasy team—not tonight. Tonight you two are going to play a game of a different sort. Every time the Blazers score, squeeze her hand, look her right in her eyes and say a little something romantic. Actually, you might want to make a list of romantic things to say ahead of time, because on an average night the Blazers are going to score like 50 times. When the Wizards score, look her eyes and say "Que Sera, Sera." French is romantic, and that's the only French I know.

Talk a bit about the game first, but don't linger on it. Remember, this is her special night. Ask her about her feelings; ask her how the game could be more romantic next year. Ask her if she needs some water to wash down all that pizza. And oh, look, now it's 10 pm. Being the smooth-ass lover you are, you've already got that last episode of Downton Abby recorded, and all you have to do is say "baby, this next game is ALL YOU." Then push play on the DVR remote. Deal sealed. You're welcome.
flowers! also a great idea!