I don't think anyone called tonight's game. Not even the Lakers. I mean, when preparing to play a professional basketball game, most see the other team as a [james] worthy opponent. Unless they're playing the Bucks. Seriously, have they ever been good? But tonight, especially the first half, looked to me, and 99% of everyone else, like some JV team was getting their Make-a-Wish playing against a pro team in LA.
After getting the first three points of the game, the Blazers went on a no-scoring run. The Lakers posted 32 in the first quarter, to the Blazers' 7. Yeah, I wanted to put that in numbers so you wouldn't accidentally read it as a typo, or think it was missing a -teen. SEVEN. 7 point. 07. Yeah, that happened.
So the Lakers started out like a real team, hitting real baskets, and the Blazers started like they all were Raymond Felton. 3-17 in the first quarter. That's an average of one make every 4 minutes. And only 1.42 shots per minute. The Lakers were on a 2 point per minute pace. I didn't want to waste the good mood I was in from a delicious meal of tomato soup and cornbread, so I went ahead and stopped watching. I didn't take off my beanie or shirt, but I turned my eyes to other forms of entertainment. Like watching grass grow.
I didn't feel much remorse, either. I'm a Blazers fan for life, but the Blazers didn't even show up. Their jerseys did, but the players did not. I saw some black and red, but mostly red. Their blood. Cuz they were getting bludgeoned out there. It was like the entire team got off the plane and wanted to show up fashionably late to a party they weren't even invited to. Everyone knows, if you want to go uninvited, you go early and help set up. How can you get there 24 minutes late and still expect there to be any corn dogs left?
But, at halftime I imagine Nate did what he does best and coached. I probably would've snapped a clipboard in half, cut my losses and had a good old-fashioned thumbwar with left foot, but they came out with a little gusto in the second half. Hit some shots, cut the lead to the low twenties. All the Stanley Yelnats-ing they did the first half, they tried to make up for by Hectoring Zero-ing in on the basket. My puns may be behind the times, but they are clever.
But, second half moves like Jagger still have an expiration date of 24 minutes, and that's precisely where it ended. They got within ten, which was nice to see. Much nicer than seeing the Hollywood Floppers put on a clinic. If Matt Barnes is outscoring you, scoring on you, or playing at all while you're losing, you have to be ashamed of yourself.
But the Blazers weren't the only ones that fell behind. Ron Artest fell on his behind a few times. Did I say fell? That was only to force the joke. He flopped. One time he flopped (after a foul was called, even. Good timing) right into teammate Pau Gasol. Yeah, he got bumped while dribbling – which, for him is hard enough as it is – and fell sideways into a running Pau Gasol. I would've liked to see an offset call there, Matthews foul on Ron offset by Pau's foul on Ron, but instead all I got to see was to Fakers writhing on the ground while the Blazers walked around tying to make sure their knees were all still good.
It all came down to keeping the pedal down, but the Lakers aren't cut from the same clothe as Van De Velde, so they still won by eleven. Props to Portland for blazing through 30 points and getting close enough to force Shobe Cryant back on the floor. Maybe next time we skip the trip to In-N-Out on game day, and work on our free throws instead. Or, maybe everyone take rip off the bong that Batum's been aspirer-ing. 4 blocks, to cap off a decent shooting night? Batum-shakalaka only begins to describe how fantastic this guy is.
That said, he is definitely the tonight's Brilliant Blaze. 18 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 4 sensational blocks.
Oh, and Greg, hope you made it through the surgery okay. I also hope those five knee surgeries make you five times as good at rebounding. Because 25-7 after 12 minutes is not CUTTING it. 7 is MICROSCOPIC compared to 25. We kNEED you Gregory Oden, you're our only hope. More Collecting Le rebounds. Gotta CAP the opponent's shot attempts, and FRACTURE their rebounding. See you next year.