Good evening. Time for the Blazers to try and get back-to-back home wins for the first time this season against a “scrappy,” “tenacious,” “other words that mean pretty low talent with a great coach” Bulls squad. Refresh periodically for in-game updates.
Media room food update: Toffe nut brownies from the Harry Glickman media room surge into the lead for overall food stuffs. I brought coffee from home tonight, y’all, because it’s going to be a long season.
More national anthem thoughts: Is there anything more nervewracking than a child anthem performer? The young lady tonight nailed it—didn’t even shy away from “land of the free,” which even most veterans have to kind of be euphemistic about, tone-wise—but I swear that the whole time she was singing I was just thinking “oh God please finish well. We’ll love you no matter what. Your parents love you.” Tween singers: not worth the emotional distress.
Which brings me to another point: our anthem is crap. It is just completely unsingable. Why can’t we have something foot-stomping like “This Land is My Land?” What’s that you say? Socialism? OH HEY LOOK THE GAME IS STARTING.
8:00 1st Q: Great start for Noah, who is distributing with his usual creativity and also hitting open jumpers. With his topknot and bizarre jumpshot release, he looks so, so much like a bunny. Not a rabbit, a bunny.
7:30 1st Q: Damian was completely shook by Kirk Hinrich at half court. His defense bears watching; I understand that he’s not going to be asked to go full Payton on anybody this year, but so far he’s been pretty easy to get past. I mean, seriously: Kirk Hinrich crossed him.
6:09 1st Q: At Blazers timeout, Noah has 6 points on 3 shots, 4 assists, and 5 rebounds. In other words, it took Joakim six minutes to amass statistics that would make Blazers fans start talking Walton if Meyers Leonard posted them in 25 minutes.
5:34 1st Q: Hinrich just sank a right handed layup in a packed lane. That’s what can be vexing about the Blazers paint defense: they were in position, more or less, but Hinrich ended up with a pretty easy finish in traffic.
4:30 1st Q: LaMarcus backs Noah down for a pretty hook shot, and on the next possession, Hicskon puts back an offensive rebound to make it a 4 point game. Nice to see some offense coming down low.
4:00 1st Q: Aldridge up-fakes Noah into the air and drives to the hole. Draws a block, gets two free throws. Nice aggression early from LaMarcus “If I don’t have to bang a guy 20 times to score, why do it?” Aldridge.
2:38 1st Q: Trill Barton! Jared Jeffries! Meyers Leonard! Jeffries draws a charge! Not much more to say about that!
2:10 1st Q: Damian with a beautiful, twisting right-handed finish on the left side of the rim off of a screen from Batum. Nice that he’s attacking the basket early.
51.3 1st Q: After Stotts talked pre-game about how competent a shooter Meyers Leonard is, he passes up the openest 15-footer of all time to get called for a charge against Noah. Two early fouls, rough start for the rook. Stotts yanks him for Hickson.
35.1 1st Q: Marco Belly Nelly gets fouled hoisting a three, does not complete one of the least probable 4 point plays ever. Just shoots regular old free throws.
End of 1st Q: Bulls 30, Blazers 23. The best Jumbotron thing that has happened all season is Jared Jeffries singing “Call Me Maybe” in a falsetto while wearing headphones. A genuinely baffled looking Stotts says “I don’t listen to contemporary music.”
10:45 2nd Q: Will Barton corrals a rebound and goes one on fourish against the Bulls, and hits the weird looking left handed layup. Big potential for weird-looking effectiveness from this one.
10:07 2nd Q: Shout out to the dad who’s got his five-year-old son holding the “Blazers can smoke ‘em” sign. In other news, it’s very quiet in here. Smallish crowd, but also just a bit snoozy. This game’s not even out of hand enough for a big 3rd quarter run to wake fans up.
8:00 2nd Q: Extended minutes for Jeffries and Barton, which is succeeding in uglying up the game. Seriously—I think what this unit lacks in offensive cohesion is made up for by the peskiness. And let me tell you, Trill is just an unpredictable bundle of joy on the fastbreak.
5:45 2nd Q: Ronnie Price hits a 3, Nate Robinson answers with a three. This is what we call “mid-season form,” yes? It’s a tie game.
5:27 2nd Q: Let me be delicate with this one, and I apologize for being gauche, but as somebody who did not come to a lot of NBA games beforehand, I assumed that the dancers’ routines would be…wholesome? They are, pretty noticeably… uh, not. It’s best if we move on, but I just had to register some naive surprise.
4:00 2nd Q: I’m going to be harping a lot this season, I think, that the continued existence of a moving screen rule is a massive troll job. Noah half-heartedly crossed Hickson up, and then just sprinted into a Portland defender with his arms half-extended.
1:15 2n Q: Ronnie Price coast to coast with a little in-and-out! He’s got 5 points and 3 assists! MY GOD, DOES PORTLAND HAVE A BACKUP POINT GUARD!?
End of 2nd Q: Damian gets to the rim to finish the half with a layup. 51-43 Blazers. Can they avoid collapsing in this new psychological territory of a half-time lead? I’ll let you know after MOAR TOFFEE BROWNEEZ.
Right before 3rd Q: With 53 points in the first half, that means announcer dude is already getting people amped for chalupas. Irskome, though, that he says CHA-LOOP-AH, the way unclever goobers yell “opah” when a bartender drops a glass. And PA dude does this repeatedly. Like, it’s not once an announcement, it’s every time he says “chalupa.” I wonder if he speaks the rest of Spanish this way. Lol at the idea he speaks any Spanish. OH HEY NIC BATUM 3 GAME ON.
8:00 3rd Q: Batum hits a 3 off the dribble right over Luol Deng, and then on the next possession Lillard gets one of his own. Blazers shooting 56 percent.
6:51 3rd Q: Nic again!If I were the Blazers PA guy, I’d say he was “on feu,” because if I were the Blazers PA guy, I would be the type of person who says “with the trois” because apparently completing a French phrase with the SAME NUMBER OF SYLLABLES just would not even be an option. I’ll let this go soon, I promise.
3:00 3rd Q: This has been a really good offensive effort so far. Lillard with 14 right now, LaMarcus with 15, Batum with 14. Hickson has 10, but I think we’re learning that if the Blazers can get all three of their marquee scorers going at once, they’ll stay in most games. Outside of those four players, Blazers have just 16 points. Lead is currently 69-60.
2:30 3rd Q: Leonard bites on a Boozer head fake and gives up a bucket. Before the game, Stotts said that post defense was Leonard’s weak point, in his eyes, and that’s showing tonight. He struggles sometimes in situations where his speed can’t be a difference maker and he has to play smart and grounded.
End of 3rd Q: It’s Portland 73, Chicago 68. Blazers missed their chance to blow it open when Batum was heating up and the office was clicking early in the quarter.
WHAT IS THIS EVEN. Okay so an inflatlable version of the catscot and a dog counterpart are doing a real slapstick dance routine to a medley including, but not limited to, “Turn Around Bright Eyes,” “Gangnam Style, “I Believe I Can Fly,” etc. I assume this is the sort of inanity that season-ticket holders, say, eventually become inured to, but if finding this ridiculous is wrong I don’t want to be right.
10:00 4th Q: This is when the grim reality of the Blazers bench begins to rear its head. Price has looked pretty good tonight, but he, Leonard, and Pavlovic are sharing the court right now and it’s going to be hard to keep the Bulls from exploiting that. It’s 37 all right now. What’s frustrating is 2 of those 3 guys should be strong defensively in theory, but Meyers’ mental game isn’t there yet in the halfcourt. WHOA HEY RONNIE STEPBACK! I’VE ALWAYS LIKED HIM!
8:32 4th Q: Sasha Pavlovic hits Ronnie Price for a fastbreak And-1. I’ll be blogging the rest of this game from my fallout bunker, where I’ve been stockpiling weapons and canned goods for this precise moment. DOST MAN’S EFFRONTERY OF NATURE KNOW NO BOUNDS, THAT THE BLAZERS BENCH SHALL BE EXTENDING LEADS?
7:30 4th Q: This Frankenstein unit just forced the Bulls to use all 24 seconds to get a tough shot, which the Blazers corraled. On the other end, though, LMA turns it over because of the double team. Nobody really out there to make Bulls hesitate on that.
5:43 4th Q: Stotts going with Price/Lillard/Matthews/Jeffries/Aldridge. It will be interesting to see if he’s just stealing minutes against an opponent he doesn’t think can take advantage, or if he’s going to start using these weird veteran-heavy lineups more going forward. My suspicion is the latter. The Bulls’ offense has really struggled in the second half.
4:20 4th Q: LaMarcus at the line extends the lead to 11. Batum subbed in a moment ago for Price, and Matthews hit a jumper on a broken play to push the lead. Nate Robinson hits a floater in the lane, and the Blazers are in “hang on” mode with a 9 pt lead with under 4 to play.
2:33 4th Q: The Bull’s offense is not really able to get anything going, and a Matthews putback layup puts the Blazers up by 9, 90-81. It’s not a frenzy in here, but it’s certainly more alive than it was earlier in the game.
Also: If I manned the t-shirt sling, which is far superior to the t-shirt gun, I would live for hitting LCD screen that encircles the lower bowl. That’s funny to me.
1:25 4th Q: Wes Matthews hits a 3 to put Portland up 12, and that seems like a ballgame.
Wait, Hulk Hogan Jumbotron thing? Is he, like, around here? Wait, no seriously why is Hulk Hogan on a Portland Jumbotron?
23.6 4th Q: Little bit of intrigue here as the Blazers are struggling to put this one away. It’s a five-point game off a turnover and Jimmy Butler dunk.
13.9 4th Q: This game will not die. Nate Robinson hits a 3, and it’s 98-94 Blazers. We’ll see how it goes with the next inbounds and foul situation.
End of game: CHA-LOOP-AAAAAAHHHHS. Interesting that, with 2 seconds left and the Blazers up 6, Lillard went up for the dunk. Blazers finish this one 102-94, in probably their best win of the season. Certainly their most balanced. Check back for postgame content, including videos from Terry Stotts’ press conference and the Blazers’ locker room.