Well, my apologies for recycling an old Brandon Jennings cartoon (I mean, sheesh, it doesn't even look like the guy), but I'm just back from Texas and a little overwhelmed at work. Should be nice, then, to see my two favorite Blazers, Marcus Camby and Gerald Wallace, take down the Bucks!
Oh, wait. What's this? I'm looking at the roster and it seems that...yeah, it looks like both Gerald and Marcus are inactive tonight.
I'm sure it'll be fine. Coach Nate will sort things out—he'll have these young Blazers playing under his strict guidance. Things will be just—
Okay, maybe this is a typo? Because it says here that Caleb Kanales is coaching the team tonight. Did everyone come down with the flu or something?
In any case, I suppose this means more minutes for Chris Johnson, and that can't be a bad thing.
WAIT, WHAT!?!?! No CJ, either?
Hold on a second, I'm going to do a little Googling...
So, uh, wow. Looks like, in some sort of Twilight Zone-esque scenario, the BLazers are a completely different team than they were when I left for the SXSW festival last week. I must be in an alternate universe, because Luke Babbitt has short hair and I can't imagine anyone trading all those players for Hasheem Thabeet and Johnny Flynn. No way. Anywhoo, I might as well embrace it. Bizarro-Blazer-Blogging is go.
Ladies and Gentlemen, your leading scorer...Joel Przybilla!
I'm definitely dreaming. Ray Felton doesn't make three-pointers!
Another way I know I'm dreaming. It's three minutes into the first quarter, and the Blazers are tied up.
Sometimes I think the Blazers fall into an in-between trap at home. They are good enough that teams bring their A-games against eh Zers, but not good enough to be intimidating. So you get a lot of really bold play from visitors who think they can actually win. And the Bucks, when they think they can win, are a damn good team. They just got a lot better with Monta Ellis, one of the most underrated players and amazing scorers in the league. Should prove to be a tough night.
This arena, even seven minutes into the ballgame, doesn't look anywhere near sold-out. I would imagine that it will be announced as the 181st consecutive sellout, but there are a lot of gaps out there tonight. Which is funny, in a way, because I think that a lot of fans were frustrated with the halfcourt play under Nate, and will now get to see a little looser of a style of bball on the court. So those folks who left their seats empty, I'm not sure they know what they're missing.
Dang, section 118 is really tearing up some refs tonight. Good on them.
You know, I bet everyone whom Drew Gooden has ever shot a three over has said to themselves, immediately after: "Oh yeah, Drew Gooden can shoot threes!" I don't think the guy often hits two threes in the same game.
They were just playing some Grateful Dead up in this joint. Never thought I'd say this, but that should happen more often. By the way, a clean-cut Luke Babbitt is in the game. No one seems to want to pass it to him, though. Blazers up one point and playing a good passing game, if nothing else.
I'm of the opinion that if you're going to trade away half your team, your coach and your shoulda-been franchise center in the same day, you might as well go ahead and stick your promising rookie point guard in the starting lineup. But I suppose Caleb Kanales doesn't want to be the undertaker here. Maybe he thinks things have ben shaken up enough already.
Well, if you pass the ball to Beno Udrih, I guess Beno is going to take that ball and score on you. And by "you" I mean Joel Przybilla.
Well that came out of nowhere. Camera captures Brandon Roy coming out to his courtside seat and the crowd gives him a standing ovation. The theme from Rocky is played. Brandon—unlike Greg when he was on the sidelines—is all smiles.
Blazers could sure use Brandon Roy right now. Milwaukee is on a big run, up nine points. I'd tell you who scored those nine points, but Brandon Roy was more fun to watch than the game was for a minute there.
You think Caleb's going to get Flynn or Thabeet in this game? I bet he talked about it pre-game and I missed it. I'm thinking we won't see those guys unless this turns into a blowout. Really curious about Flynn, though. Maybe he'll have just enough of a chip on his shoulder to be interesting on the court. I remember a few impressive games in Minnesota, though his early NBA years have been largely forgettable. Hell, I honestly forgot that he was IN the NBA until the Zers signed him.
In case anyone was wondering: The Blazers are still bad at defending the three-pointer.
Carlos Delfino proves that point again. Slow rotations for the Zers. Down 13. I think some folks will leave at halftime if they don't get this thing going the other way.
Holy crap I miss Gerald Wallace. AND Marcus Camby. What a weird season.
Ray Felton is about to get booed out of this place. And Nolan Smith wasn't faring any better while he was on the court. The vibes in here are very, very strange. You can feel a lot of uncertainty about management and about the team that is on the court. After six years of mostly increasing fortunes, fans expect a certain stability in Rip City, and this team looks anything but stable. Interim coach, random lineup, unofficial General Manager, owner who prefers Seattle...the whole thing is teetering a little right now. When your retired superstar gets a better ovation than anything happening on the court, you best be very, very careful about your next move. The folks in charge are saying "wait for the draft," but you look at how many of the Blazers draft picks have been busts and that becomes kind of a hard sell. In Portland, the draft = heartbreak. Weird, weird times in Portland basketball.
I've said it before: I don't really understand the appeal in winning a championship. Making the playoffs is cool. Only one team can win a championship every year. Seems like a longhsot. Why not just be happy with going out in the first round or maybe, once in a great while, making it to the second?
So, this is coming to the Rose Garden...
Can this please be a good quarter? I just don't think I can handle another crappy one. Meanwhile the Ducks are down three points in the NIT Quarterfinal in Washington. Eeeew, make that five points. OH! Make it two points! Wow, this is more exciting than the Bucks/BLazers.
Caleb Kanales is real good at both clapping and squatting like a real life coach. He's probably been working on that for years. He was probably the weird kid in grade school who dreamed of being an NBA coach, and everybody was like "WHO DREAMS OF THAT!?!" He showed you!
Can we clear this up? I thought it was "Mon-tuh" Ellis, but the Zers announcer is saying "Mon-tay" Ellis.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Kurt Thomas creating his own dribble-and-layup is pretty desperate. A little too desperate, actually. He kinda airballed the layup.
Now THIS feels like a Blazer first quarter.
Blazers just plain getting booed. Playing sloppy, uninspired ball with the exception of Nic Batum. Even LaMarcus looks bad, despite his numbers. Throw a Flynn in the mix and see what happens!
You think the Blazers called Ray Felton's references when they hired him?
Caleb might not be the ideal coach for these guys. They might need a Tom Thibodeau bootcamp or something. Especially Luke Babbitt.
The boos come out again. Blazers down 24.
Brandon Roy's seat has been empty awhile. Though it must be said that basketball players are rarely good basketball watchers.
Okay, that jump ball took like two minutes to make happen. I'm pretty sure Joel Przybilla was just trying to be a shit. Man, that guy can't be real happy about coming back to Portland, can he? I mean, I know he loves the area and all, but you sign up and then all of a sudden you're the starting center again and the team is lottery-bound? Can't feel good.
Having an Udoh and an Udrih on the same team has gotta get confusing.
It'll be interesting to see if Caleb adopts Nate's "never bench the starters" philosophy or not in a couple minutes here. It's your team, Caleb: You can punish them by benching them if you like.
A "WHERE'S JONNY FLYNN!?" just came down from the rafters. I'm kinda wondering the same thing. Give the kid some minutes.
Blazer timeout--could this be the big one?
Well, this game was worth it just to see the Heavy Metal Bowling League getting wasted on the Sprite Rip City Row. Good game, guys.
You know when they say "these guys are putting on a clinic"? The Bucks are putting on a clinic. And I like the bucks, and I think the Bucks are going to get better after this trade for Ellis, but the Bucks probably shouldn't be up 22 on anyone but the Bobcats right now. Blazers gonna have a little soul-searching to do. This was a must-win game if they really thought they had a chance of getting into that eight spot. Now it's more of a "win every game and you MIGHT make the playoffs" situation. Not looking good.
Flynn checks in, too, albeit in the two spot. Let's watch!
I have watched each of these guys for like 90 seconds. Neither of them will be on the team next year. Flynn loses his man, Thabeet misses a rebound despite his ridiculous height. Too harsh? Yeah, probably. Thabeet does make two free-throws. That's nice!
Aw, the Flynn-to-Thabeet alley-oop narrowly fails. There were a few oohs and aahs on the way up, too.
Well folks, those last three quarters were packed with some thoroughly unenjoyable basketball. Probably time to decide if you're getting off the bandwagon. Or you could wait until Thursday, when the Grizz come to town. Can't imagine that will be any easier.