Blazer Blogging

I’m going to try this out for the first time — blogging while watching the Blazers take on Cleveland [LeBron & Co.] tonight in Portland. I’m not in PDX (unfortunately), but am watching from my couch in Corvallis. I’ll be flipping between the Blazers broadcasting crew on KGW (8) and the ESPN broadcast. I think I know what Barrett & Rice will be saying, but its always good to get the national perspective when it’s available.

3:57 left 1st – Blazers on top 19-13 after LA puts down two free throws. After a terrible start shooting from the outside, the Blazers are getting more aggressive from the outside. A Gooden bucket makes it 19-15, but Steve Blake starts to heat up from the outside with his second trey. 22-15, Portland.

2:38, 1st – Brandon Roy hits another shot . Love how he just takes the team on his back and makes them better. The guys just respond to his leadership so well.

End of the 1st – LeBron and Martell Webster keep trading shots, elbows and probably some words as well. LeBron absolutely posterized Martell [and LA] with a huge dunk earlier. #8 responded with a big dunk of his own and his first three of the game, but Martell will have his work cut out for him tonight if he’s going to try to challenge King James all night. Danny Gibson hits a three with 10 seconds left to make it 29-20 Blazers.

Some first quarter stats…
LeBron: 3 for 7 for 8 points in all 12 minutes. Plus 5 rebounds and an assist for good measure.
Brandon Roy: 2-5 for 5 points, 5 boards and 3 assists in 10:37 of playing time.
LaMarcus has 8 and Martell’s added 7 for Portland. Blazers shot 38.5% in the quarter, after starting 1-for-9. Cleveland shot only 36.8% in the same quarter.

9:25, 2nd – Big block by Pryzbilla and Outlaw bucket at the other end extends the Blazers lead to 33-24. Cleveland gets a couple back as Damon Jones nails a three to pull within six. Can the Blazers white unit continue to put the pressure on James while holding Ilgauskas (don’t want to keep writing that name) off the boards?

LA comes back for Portland. Also: Jack, Outlaw, Rodriguez and Jones. In for Cleveland is LeBron, Ilgauskas, Gibson, Brown & Jones.

Rebecca starts to talk from the sidelines about LaMarcus. Time to switch to ESPN…
ESPN has Greg Oden on the sideline talking to their chica reporter, Heather Cox. Much better! Apparently he had Lasik eye surgery back in Indianapolis over the weekend.

7:35, 2nd – How do you miss that layup if you’re Jarrett Jack? Seriously. LeBron takes a breather while Gooden comes in and the Blazers miss another shot.

6:03, 2nd – Brandon R0y tells Devin Brown to get out of his way, with a nifty cross over and pretty floater in the lane for points six and seven. Blazers still holding on to the lead, up 35-31. Timeout.

5:45, 2nd – Jump ball. Much better in the NBA than they are in College Basketball. B-Roy loses the tip to Drew Gooden, who has four inches on him.

3:55, 2nd – Channing Frye grabs the offensive board off a J-Jack miss and gets the and-one. Free throw is good and extends lead to 42-36. Cleveland misses and on the other end, T-Law takes the foul and steps up to the line. First one is good. Martell in for Jones. Travis hits the second and lead is back to 8.

Nice words from the ESPN crew, first raving about the iRoy (awesome promotion by the top-notch Marketing team) and then talking about the resurgence of the Trail Blazers in Portland. There are many good stories coming out of the Rose Garden this year, including the 13 game winning streak, B-Roy’s evolution as the face of the franchise and the Trail Blazers fan base falling back in the love with their team. Rip City is truly returning, and I’m glad people are starting to take notice.

1:11, 2nd – Frye gets set and takes a big charge from LeBron. Cleveland doesn’t like the call and Mike Brown gets the T. ESPN guys say it wasn’t a charge. Looks like Channing got pushed in the back by Ilgauskas as he was getting set, but the Blazers converted the free throw and extend the lead.

:23, 2nd – LeBron slightly limps as he leaves for the locker room before the quarter finishes. Did he hurt himself on his last layup? Not good news for Cleveland if he is hurt. Although, Portland is playing well and I’d hate to see a good win be deminished nationally by a “LeBron was hurt” asterik.

Halftime – Portland 48, Cleveland 42.

Stats: Shooting: Blazers 33.3%, Cleveland 44.1%
Rebounds: Blazers 22 (8 off.), Cleveland 24 (3 off.) – one good thing about shooting poorly is that it allows a team to boost their offensive rebounds, if they are crashing glass like the Blazers are tonight.
Turnovers-Assists: Blazers 3-10, Cleveland 9-8

LeBron: 5-10 shooting, 13 points and 9 rebounds, but he has 4 of Cleveland’s 9 turnovers.
Daniel Gibson: 3-6 for 8 points, 1 dime, 1 board
B-Roy: 5-8 shooting, 11 points, 5 boards and 3 assists
LaMarcus Aldridge: 2-7 shooting for 8 points (4-4 FT), 3 boards (2 offensive) and 2 assists.

LeBron comes back with a heavily taped right ankle that was sprained after a layup in the first half. This game will continue to be a tight one, so I expect to see him for the rest of the night.

7:45, 3rd – One of the most vivid basketball quotes I remember from my time as a sports reporter came from NAU Mens Bball coach Mike Adras. He once told me, “Basketball is a game of runs,” which is pretty much the most basic quote that is still holds truth about the game. Blazers started the second half with a 9-2 run to build their lead.

5:09, 3rd – A reply of the Martell Webster fumble that led to a fancy reverse layup by B-Roy is another example of why you just have to like watching Brandon play basketball. He plays killer defense, can get to the hoop from anywhere on the court and is good for at least two or three “did you see that?” plays every game. [Usually its 2-3 of those plays in the fourth quarter]

4:30, 3rd – Blake’s layup off a fast break pushes the lead to 12 at 64-52.

Yes! Friday’s game [vs. Knicks] is Pet Appreciation Night at the Trail Blazers game. This could be something our brass crew could really take and run with. Wonder if pets are allowed on the Rip City Row?

End of 3rd – Blazers switch to man-to-man defense. Martell challenges LeBron, who dishes to Brown in the post. Shot’s no good, but LeBron LeTips it up and in to pull within seven at 68-61. Blazers fumble the ball at their end and LeBron brings it back down and is fouled. He misses the first as Sergio checks in. Hits the second and with 5 seconds left, Sergio takes the ball the length of the court and puts up a running shot from the side of the key. No good and the quarter ends with the Blazers up by six, 68-62 as we go into the last 12 minutes. Cleveland really responded in the last part of that quarter, cutting the Blazers’ lead from 14 down to just six, thanks to a 10-2 run to finish the quarter.

A graphic earlier in the game showed that the Cavs and the Blazers lead the NBA in fourth-quarter comebacks this season. The Cavs have comeback to win 17 [of their 24 wins] times, while the Blazers have comeback to win 13 times. Should be a great quarter. Who will step up for Portland?

Start of the 4th – T-Law looks like he wants to step it up, nailing a shot to start the quarter. Travis has been Mr. Fourth Quarter for the Blazers all season. Joel finishes pretty off a miss (or a lob pass?) as he throws it down. On the other end, he blocks the Cavs attempt and Blazers get the ball back. Travis from the corner, misses but the rebound is tipped out by Joel again. The Thrilla also stepping up to start the quarter! James Jones drains an easy two and the Blazers go up by ten at 74-64.

9:14, 4th – BRoy returns for the Blazers and plays decoy on the offensive end. Travis handles the ball and easily converts another basket. LeBron takes on Travis, spins through the lane and misses the bucket. Six guys go for the rebound and Sergio saves it for Portland. An errant pass by Sergio goes past Joel, but Brandon hustles to recover it before it goes out of bounds. The Blazers are out-hustling and out-working the Cavs, just like Nate’s teams should do. Brandon gets called for a charge (BOGUS!) and the Cavs get the ball after a timeout.

5:33, 4th – Blazers broadcast just showed an interview with LeBron, who talks about how much he loves playing fourth quarters. Just after, LeBron tangles with Sergio Rodriguez and comes up grimacing, holding his left hand. A few plays later, Brandon Roy gets knocked to the floor and comes up holding his left hand too. Close game and both teams’ stars are having to gut it out at the end. As I write that, B.Roy shakes off another defender and hits a shot to put the Blazers back up by 9.

Brandon Roy has 16 points to lead four Blazers in double-digits. LeBron has 26 points, but no other Cleveland player has more than 8 points.

2:56, 4th – The Blazers have used Webster, Blake, Jones, Outlaw, and now Roy on LeBron. I think we’ll see B.Roy defend LeBron for the rest of the game. Uh-oh. LeBron shakes off Roy for a three, Gooden hits from the post, and [after a B.Roy miss] LeBron comes back down the floor and hits another pull-up “3”. A quick eight points brings the Cavs back in sniping range at 78-81. Ugh, another pull up three ties the game at 81. Outlaw, on the Blazers end, dribbles in and hits a quick two to get the lead back, for the moment.

My last post was just deleted, and with 4.9 seconds I don’t have enough time to re-write the post. LeBron gets the ball from the inbounds and drives through the lane to get a pretty easy layup. He gives the Cavs a one point lead with only .3 seconds left. Catch and shoot from Outlaw or Brandon Roy? What will Nate draw up? We’ll find out quickly…It’s a lob to Outlaw off the inbounds, but LeBron is there and grabs the ball to save the W. Game over.

Final score: Portland 83, Cleveland 84. LeBron leads all scorers with 37 (17 points in the final quarter), while Brandon & LA lead Portland with 16 points each. A sickening loss that could have easily gone the Blazers way with a couple more hustle points and defensive stops. The game seemed to slip out of Portland’s hands very quickly at the end, before they had a chance to stop and regroup themselves to secure a “W”. Maybe that is another mark of a young team that they haven’t quite overcome yet. I hope the team can rebound from this before their next game on Friday – Z.Bo makes his return to Portland with the lowly NY Knicks. I will be there, along with my friends from brass, cheering on Brandon, Martell, Sergio and the rest of the boys from a Rip City Row. Yay!

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Blazer Blogging