Tim Duncan looks sad here because he's not playing tonight. I'm sad about it, too. One of my last chances to see one of the all-time greats and he's not in the building? That's a bit of a bummer. Though, honestly, I think the Spurs have a better chance of beating the Blazers from their bench than with a coupla tuckered-out veterans. [UPDATE: I was really, really wrong about this and clearly know nothing about basetball. Though I have seen these subs play some prettycrazy ball.] I guess Greg Popovich isn't putting much stock in this whole "winning streak" thing, huh?
After having seen a couple other teams' introductory videos recently, I think Portland's is kind of spectacular. I'll try not to doubt the Blazers' graphics folks in the future. If it were me directing the intro video, though, it might go a little something like this...
[CAMERA OPENS AT 7-11, IN CANDY AISLE]
Kid: "Man, all these candy bars taste the same. I wish there was a —"
[SHOCKED DISBELIEF AS MARCUS CAMBY APPEARS IN CLOUD OF SMOKE]
Marcus Camby: "Hey kid, try these"
[HANDS KID BIG PILE OF BLAZERBARS]
Kid: "Whoah, Marcus Candy!"
MC: "It's Camby, kid. CAM-BY."
[CUE MUSIC: "BLAZER RAPPIN' BY COOLIE D AND THE HANGOUT BOYS"]
MUSIC: "Rappin and slappin/ Away Loose Balls/ Stealin and Feelin/ Rad like Chris Paul/ Blazer Rappin Y'ALL!"
(I'll have to finish this later...)
Good rebounding and boxing out thus far against the Spurs—ahem—starting lineup. It's a Crawford alley-oop to L-Train to start off the Blazer scoring.
Maybe this time Nic Batum will just never cool down. Maybe this is who he is now. In which case I really don't think the Blazers will be able to afford to resign him.
Well, as much as I've been dogging on Ray Felton, the ball movement between Jamal Crawford and LaMarcus has looked pretty good thus far.
You know what doesn't look good? The Zers' defense on Leonard.
Guess who's going to look like a genius if Jamal Crawford keeps making three-pointers on the perimeter?
Gerald Wallace with the score. He's doing good things out there. He's still the heart of this team--the team has just had an irregular heartbeat lately.
You know what I liked about that Marcus Camby foul right there? He thought dude was getting to the basket and so he did two things—he looked across the court to make sure there was at least one Blazer defender up there with him before he fouled. That's a good move not risking the the breakaway foul, which gets the other team two foul shots and possession.
Blazers down one point. Can't get too excited early against a young, virile team. These boys are running. Still, this looks better than starting a game down 30 points!
So here's how you know that nobody is having as much fun for the Blazers as they were last year: Nobody is putting up three goggles. Jamal has drained three in a row and he's not putting them up. Wessy Wes ought to teach him the gogs. TEACH HIM YOUR GOGS!!!!
Blazers again moving really nicely on offense. Let's see about the defense...
Wow. This is kinda crazy. Yes it's against a pretty green San Antonio squad, but the Blazers have drained seven three-pointers this quarter and Jamal just got hacked for three free-throws. This is starting to look like Los Angeles in reverse.
Crawford holds for a final possession, but drives early and kicks to Felton, who hits his third three-pointer. The Spurs answer with one of their own and the crowd's excitement is tempered.
The Blazers just hit eight three-pointers en route to a 41-point quarter (the highest scoring quarter of the season). That was kind of unbelievable. If it would have been the fourth quarter, fans would be hugging each other in the aisles right now.
So, by my math, we're looking at a 164-92 ballgame. Way to go Blazers. My work is done.
Let it be said that Jamal Crawford just had a 15 point, 4 rebound, 5 assist quarter. Nate look like a genius right now.
Blazers miss their first three-point attempt of the quarter. I don't think they're gonna get shy about them any time soon, though.
Usually when Wes Matthews passes up his first shot (generally a three), it's for an inferior second shot (usually a well-defended two), but here he really made the "if at first you don't succeed..." motto work in his favor.
The Blazers are really pushing this whole Stomping Ground thing. Country singer started out with the national anthem and now there are a bunch of farmer's daughter cheerleaders out there. Whenever I hear a new country song I just think "wait, really? You're kidding, right?" This particular one is about boots knocking, and it features prominent use of a wah pedal. So confused.
"I [BLAZERS SYMBOL] BLAZERS"
Okay, that's all I had time for. They really moved things right along. But what does that mean??? You Blazers the Blazers? Too meta for this guy.
I regret to inform you that Matt Bonner, who is on the bench at the moment, is a non-factor tonight.
Also, Duncan and Parker are here, right? So why not just play them for like five minutes at the end of the game if its close? I mean, I know people talk about "coming in cold," but frankly that sounds like a bunch of bullshit. If you could wait until the other team is exhausted and then sub in two all-star caliber players (sad that Timmy's not in it this year), doesn't that seem like a good, relatively risk-free idea?
God, when I think of the way Andre Miller used to get to the hole in times of need, I get a little bummed. When I then see Ray Felton attempt the same kinds of moves, I get REALLY bummed. Felton, though, usually passes out. When his teammates are ready for it, that can work just fine. It works here with Gerald Wallace.
When they can get away with it, the Blazers' small lineup is really a thing of beauty. They couldn't get away with it—at least not in the first and fourth quarters—against Los Angeles.
Lead hovering around 20. That's good, but if you've seen this Spurs B-team make a run, you know it's not a safe lead.
Here's how my intro video ends: While Camby and the kid are doing the Cabbage Patch in the candy aisle to "Blazer Rappin," the rest of the Blazers enter. There's a break in the music and Armon Johnson says "Did somebody say paarrrrrrr-tay?" Then, one by one, the video showcases each Blazer doing a different dance. LaMarcus is doing the lawnmower and Nic Batum is doing some French dancing. Gerald Wallace is barely dancing at all and Ray Felton is chomping on candy bars and doing the happy dance. Then the final shot is all the Blazers leaving the 7-11 in slow motion with Mission Impossible music playing, and the 7-11 explodes behind them. That's when all the lights go of, and police sirens start up and then a single spotlight picks up the team on the court. They're wearing prison uniforms and looking real mean. The announcer says "Ladies and Gentlemen, your TRAAAILLLLLLLL BLLLLLLAZERS! And then the game starts. That's all. Simple!
Blazers attempt some fast break-y stuff and it doesn't exactly work out, but Jamal Crawford winds up getting a clean three off anyway. Blazers up by 23 at the half. Not bad. Not bad at all.
HALFTIME ENTERTAINMENT! I FORGOT THE HALFTIME ENTERTAINMENT!!!!
The Blazersstart out looking rather dominating with a Nic Batum three and an Aldridge hook-shot. New dude on media row: "I don't know how more of this shit I can take!" Nobody likes a blowout. Danny Green puts three Spurs points on the board to make it less awful.
LaMarcus puts the Blazers up 29 with a free-throw. The game has slowed down in the third, just where you'd expect San Antonio to push things. But then maybe I'm just spacing out a bit. Operation: Re-engagement underway.
It's funny, Greg Popovich doesn't look nearly as concerned as he would in a normal ass-whooping. He's standing with his arms crossed, sure, but he's not throwing fits with a red face and bulging veins on his forehead. He's just standing there, watching, barking the occasional request at his players. It's weird to see him like this. Like he went into the game knowing he might just lose. Who does that? Who gambles on breaking a big winning streak because your big guy (who is about to get like five days of rest, right?) is feeling a little tired? I mean, I do get it: Pop is a big-picture guy. But how can you play a game of numbers and be okay with a very impressive number coming to an end? It has to be tough. I bet on the inside he's like "FUCK! THIS WAS SO DUMB! STUPID FRENCH BASTARD AND D&D GUY SHOULD BE OUT THERE!"
Now it's a 33-point lead for the Zers, by the way. Who wants to see Chris Johnson in the fourth quarter? THIS GUY.
IDEAS FOR FORMAT-BUSTING TIMEOUT ENTERTAINMENT:
Who's That Blazer?
Pictures of Blazer Bench Warmers from the past are shown on the big screen, and longtime season ticket holders are asked to ID them.
Much like the once-popular television show, wives in the 300 section are taken from their husbands and swapped with wives sitting courtside. The crowd checks in with them at each timeout break.
You're the Coach
In blowouts such as this, young Blazer fans are asked to pick the Blazer lineup until the next timeout. (An alternate version of "You're the Coach" lets fans vote for starters via text message.)
Sing For Your Supper
In this Pizza Hut-sponsored contest, fans are plucked from the crowd at random to compete for personal pan pizza dinners...but they've gotta sing the hits of the '70s to get them!
Fans are chanting chalupa. It's a 37-point lead.
Wes Matthews hits a three. Make that a 40-point lead. Wowowowow.
That was the cleanest block I've ever seen. The players are bitching about it, which is fair, though they're up 38 points...kinda looks small of them. Some dude in the section next to us is screaming "WE NEED A REFEREEEEEEEEEE!" or something that sounds like that. Perhaps he's yelling "BRING ICE CREAM TO MEEEEEE!" or "I WANNA SIT ON SANTA'S KNNEEEEEEE!" It's hard to say. I'll tell you who can't hear the guy: The referees. I'll tell you who can: The people sitting around him, who hate him.
Surprise, surprise. Nate does not trust his bench to keep a 38-point lead from crumbling away. Gerald Wallace remains on the court, as does Wes Matthews and Ray Felton (both starters until this week). Things could get chippy out there soon.
I gotta say, though, it was all worth it for that gigantic block/alley-oop combo.
Things happened. Luke Babbitt is in the game. Blazers killing. Dancers doing a routine to Motley Crue's "Girls Girls Girls." Is it sexy? I don't know. The guy that successfully proposed to his little lady earlier is still here with her. That's a little weird, idnit? Also, you think they'd feature a gay proposal at the Rose Garden? Somebody should give that a shot. "Will you Civil Union Me?" Maybe I'll set one up and ask John Canzano to Civil Union me. He's taken, though, it won't work. There are a couple guys who might go for it, but I won't name names.
Keeping Ray Felton out there probably feels a little condescending at this point, right? I know the point is like "See, you're still getting plenty of minutes!" But the reality is "Hey, now you play garbage time! That's your role now!"
Blazers up 42. They have the ball.
Wait, maybe that was the wrong clip? I wanted Hitler face-shooting. I'm scared to watch it, what with all the swastikas and stuff.
Luke Babbitt hit the three. It's nearing a 50-point lead. Those are rare in the NBA. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker must be feeling reeeeeal full of themselves right now.
Chris Johnson is a rad dude.
Blazers up 42
Wow, one of the Leverage dudes was here and it's not a TNT game. He must actually like the Blazers...or the SPURS! ALVIS!!!!!!!!
Oh my god, this is still going. And the lead has been cut down to a mere 38. It could really go either way this time. "Happy Trails" plays overhead, and the half-full arenat that's left gives the Blazers a nice ovation.
Goodnight, folks. Final score is 137-97. Blazers win by 40. Happy All-Star game, we'll see you next week.