If there was a moment to point to as the exact time when the game began to unravel for the Trail Blazers, it would be at the 7:26 mark of the third quarter, when LaMarcus Aldridge turned from his left post home into the lane and was immediately called for an offensive foul that was probably an undeserved makeup call for a no-call at the other end that the crowd disagreed with. After the whistle, Andrew Bogut gave Aldridge a little push, Aldridge took exception and whipped a quick bounce pass attack at Bogut’s well-stockinged shins, unpleasantries were exchanged, and the referees opted to assess double technical fouls to the Australian and the Aldridge. Whereas the last meeting in Oakland saw Bogut turning on commonwealth brethren Joel Freeland and lighting a fire in the aptly-titled Blazers, the event on Saturday provided the tinder for a Warriors run, turning what had been a 62-59 Golden State lead at the time of the incident to a 76-67 lead at the end of the quarter. Nine points can feel like ninety though when Mo Williams is throwing drop passes to his imaginary friends and LaMarcus Aldridge is unconscious in the bad way and Thomas Robinson’s post moves look like inhospitable jungles into which Bear Grylls would be dropped against his will for a new Discovery Channel show called “Bear Grylls Is Really Gonna Die This Time And We’re Not Fucking Joking” and meanwhile I’m looking over at Meyers Leonard’s glistening mug on the bench like, “Oh hey, kid. It’s been a little while now. How are things?”
But it doesn’t happen like that, really. Moments don’t hold that kind of importance. It’s all a continuum. Outcomes are created by what led up to them. Life is a process, and so is death – the 48-minute decomposition of a basketball team. The Blazers lost because they fell behind by too many points in the fourth quarter (as many as 19 with about 6 minutes left). They fell behind by too many points in the fourth because their third quarter performance looked like Wile E. Coyote trying to assemble a bench from IKEA (scored 12 points as a team on 3 for 19 shooting). Their third quarter performance was awful because the bench fell apart (assembled by Mr. Coyote, as mentioned earlier) and the usual stars never found their form. The bench was naturally shaky and the stars never found their form because the Blazers were playing the second game of a back-to-back on the road in a hostile arena against a dynamic Warriors team, featuring Andre Iguodala who missed the first meeting of these teams. Then, sometime before all of that, the first lungfish crawled out of the primordial sea and stood on two feet and became Robin Lopez.
Joel Freeland was hitting his jumpers though! Keep shooting, Joel! Big ups to you! Lots of hugs!