Who here is willing to take the ball to the basket and get hit? That's where you miss a guy like Gerald Wallace. No one on this team—save for perhaps Felton, who's out tonight—seems ready to throw their body into a post defender and see what happens.
Every time something promising happens out there, something Durant-y happens. It remains a 20-point Thunder lead. The most interesting stretch in the game came with Jonny Flynn at point guard, so let's see if Coach K throws him in early.
Nope. And Smith rewards coach's patience with a nice dish to a baseline-cutting Nic Batum. OKAY, IT'S A TWO-POINT BLAZER RUN! AGAIN!
It's a four-point Blazer run, and they've got the ball again. The defense is definitely a touch stepped up. And somebody turned up the Batum, too. Blazers cut it to 13.
Oh, MAN! The whole building just got worked into a frenzy and then left dangling. It was a like a bad handjob. Nic Batum with the steal and the full-court bolt and the behind the back dribble and then—UNGH!!!!—he is met at the rim by two large men in blue. They all sort of crumpled back to earth together in a big ball of arms and legs, but no foul. Blazer fans not stoked.
Blazers look like a ball club. Weird, where did that come from. Also, it's nice of the Thunder to keep getting three-second violations.
The place is as loud as it has been since the trade deadline. Very nice reaction to what I'm pretty sure was a 14-2 Portland run.
Missed, reasonably open shot from Kevin Durant, who doesn't miss a lot, really. I'm waiting for him and Westbrook to explode, but the duo is having tough times at the moment. It has slightly less to do with the Blazers' defense than it does with them being a bit of, but the Blazers will take it. It's a very loud, very engaged crowd here at the Rose Garden. Nice to hear this late in what will likely be referred to by historians as "the lost season." When the Blazers run and hustle, they get a lotta love in the RG.
Mr. Westbrook is coming on strong, though. Look out.
I hate to say it, but that goofy layup is the reason no one in Minnesota looks back fondly on the Jonny Flynn era.
I'm not sure it's a good idea to show the ex-Duck on the big screen right after the military guy. The Duck is always going to steal a bit of thunder, right?
Wes Matthews getting what we in the business call "bounces."
Jonny Flynn having a very tough time with Russell Westbrook. As does everyone. Seven point game. Ugh, make it a nine-to-ten point game after that Westbrook magic. That kid is pretty good. A little mouthy, maybe, but good.
If it seems like I'm only talking about Jonny Flynn, that's because he's the guy making all the moves, for better or worse. A lotta worse at the moment, as he puts Thunder players on the line and goes 1-for-2 at the line. You just wanna tell that guy to breathe.
I wouldn't say that the Blazers "whittled it down" to nine points, but they did sort of waltz it to nine. That's pretty good. Good money would be on the Thunder to take this, but as the man says, "the Rose Garden is Our House."
There's JJ again, taking it strong to the rim. Unfortunately, free-throws are not really in his wheelhouse. The deficit remains nine points.
You've got to hand it to Derek Fisher, the man knows how to take a charge. He's had more men knock him over than your average bowling pin. (There's a dirtier version of that line, just use your imagination a bit and write it in the comments section below.)
The Hick: Getting it done, then undoing it.
YES! NAME THAT TUNE!
Kurt Thomas on Willow Smith: "It's a young, young lady. I don't know her name."
"Welcome Back Joel Go Blazers Win Win"
Well folks, it's an 11-point game, which means the Zers haven't hemorrhaged much since the break. But Nolan Smith seems to take time to get into the flow every time he enters the game, and he's just entered. Jonny Flynn, kinda weirdly, is already on the sidelines waiting to check in. I wondered for a moment if coach K was going with a double-PG lineup, but he's just making the call. Flynn seems like a defensive liability to me, but he has got the team passing and moving on offense.
It looks like he just sprained an ankle. Great.
No? Just a stinger? The Blazers' coaching staff isn't asking and Flynn is not volunteering any information, so he's in for now. This team needs to make some baskets, though. Total drought the last few minutes.
Threes stopped raining, LaMarcus stopped bossing, Flynn stopped running things. All the gears screeched to a halt together.
So this will go in the books as another absolutely awful game for Jamal Crawford. Somebody explain to me why he has been so terrible?
Oooh, chippies between LaMarcus and big Perk. That's a fight I'd pay to see.
Flynn continues to do some nice things on offense and the Blazers continue to look disorganized and ill-equipped to handle distance shooters on defense. There's just no stopping these guys, who are still shooting at 60 percent to the Blazers 43, which has now just become the story of this team, sadly.
Russell Westbrook just cleared the arena with back-to-back shots. Goodbye, folks. Goodbye, lingering playoff hopes.
Thabeet checks in. Blazers playing both Flynn and Smith at the guard positions while Thabeet, Hickson and Babbitt round out the roster. WHO ARE THESE GUYS!?!?!?!?!
I'm trying to figure out why the crowd is so excited, and it's either because the Blazers are nearing chalupa territory or because JJ Hickson is still treating it like a game. Anyway, Blazers lose. See you in two days.
P.S. Do we have to have that conversation about LaMarcus Aldridge fading down the stretch again?