Live Blogging the Season Opener(s)


Honestly, I’m so excited right now I can hardly type I’m so excited. But here we go with the Tag Team Live Journal of Blazers v. Spurs to commence the NBA season.

8:20 — LaMarcus opens up with back to back jumpers. I can’t believe I had to explain to someone that LMA would be a 20-10 guy very soon, and at least 18-9 this season. He’s the man in the post. And playing decent D on Duncan to boot.

8:26 — The Czar: “Roy can create any time he wants to off the dribble.” He’s right, actually. Webster takes a dribble baseline for the second time already, this time draining the pull up jumper over Duncan and Oberto. You can already see how much more confident he is.

8:28 — Aldridge makes a sky hook after slapping away Oberto’s hand. Again, LMA is really good. Timeout. I’d like to take this chance to point out how much more fluid the Portland offense is, if we haven’t pounded that into your brain already. At least four guys are touching the ball every time down when we get into a set — but as El Czar pointed out, we are also taking some Pheonix-esque quick shots.

8:34 — In case anyone was wondering, the Spurs are still the Spurs, and Tony Parker is still fast. Outlaw makes his first bucket of the season with his little dribble pull up.

8:47 — People are going to think I’m going crazy, but Travis Outlaw is making some very good moves on offense; a drive spin to the middle with the short pull up, a foul line dribble back pull up — so far he’s hitting some very smooth looking jumpers, now lets see if he’s going to take one all the way.

8:54 — Why do the new Blazers’ warm up shirts look like soccer gear? Maybe because they are made by Adidas.

8:55 — Outlaw finishes a alley oop from Steve Blake by spinning in mid air and flushes it behind his head. He was just sitting in the air waiting for the ball for at least a second. Ridiculous play. For some strange reason the TNT guys hardly mention it apart from Czarino saying ‘whoa’ and then we get no replay after a timeout is called. Nice job network guys.

8:58 — Dwayne Wade is playing ball, WITHOUT A BALL. Just like the old guy in Above the Rim, a incredibly underrated hoops movie by the way.

9:02 — Aldridge draws an and one going middle. With a lot of young guys one of the little things you can see as they get more comfortable in the league is the casual talk with refs after fouls. Webster goes coast to coast on the next posession. McMillan wasn’t joking when he said he wanted to play more up-tempo. I will personally guarantee that the Blazers will be in the top-10, at least, in ‘what should be on Sportscenter dunks but won’t because they are in a small market’ dunks.

9:12 — 55-41 with 3:20 in the half after Webster drains a pretty little fadeaway that can only be described as a flattering imitation of Mamba.

9:14 — I just realized this is the first time in over a year I have seen the Blazers is true blue network high definition. I forgot how much of a difference it made. Last year I must have just thought LeBron and Carmelo Anthony just had much clearer skin than Brandon Roy and Z-bo (yes I just wrote that).

9:17 — Apparently Manu Ginobili and Timmy D are the best boxers on the team. No surprise there, though I was hoping Oberto would secretly be a beast in the ring.

9:21 — Spurs haven’t missed a beat in really any facet of the game, but the Blazers are showing some of their youth on both offense and defense. The timing on Portland’s passes is pretty off and they aren’t rotating as crisply as I know they can on D.

9:22 — Spurs by 10, 59-49 at the half. I give the half a solid B for Portland. There’s some rust to shake off, but they look like an entirely new squad from the 2006-07 one.

9:44 — We’re back and the Blazers cut it to 59-54 in the first 90 seconds.

9:46 — Finley drains a 3, but that s not the important part, doesn’t Webster kind of look like a younger more muscular Michael Finley? In the meantime, lots, and I mean lots, of defensive miscommunication for Portland. Reggie Miller points out that they are confused in the zone. Aldridge especially has been out of position a couple times.

9:50 — Steve joins us now to kick in with some insight.

Steve: I like how Roy is going at Bruce Bowen, he’s really special. I don’t think I’ve seen this many passes. Don’t like Martell’s IQ on D so far — no need to force a layup he should have penetrated and kicked. That’s what the Spurs do.

Me: If Travis Outlaw can become a smarter player, anyone can. No doubt in my mind that Martell will figure out the little things.

9:54 — Steve: Overall I’ve only seen six minutes of this game and these Blazers are about twenty times more fun to watch. LaMarcus….whoooo.

Me: I concur.

9:59 — Aldridge just showed some incredibly fast feet guarding Manu on a drive.

10:02 — Webster feeds Aldridge from half court (a bounce pass no less) for the jam. I am loving this team more and more by the minute, if that was possible.

10:04 — Cheryl Miller does the obligatory Eva Longoria Parker interview during any Spurs game, ever. Always a fun 60 seconds.

10:08 — The jury is still out on what Channing Frye is going to offer this season, but he did just pull down an offensive rebound in the middle of all the Spurs.

10:10 — I don’t think I’ve mentioned how silky smooth Webster’s jumper is today, so here is my shameless endorsement, courtesy of that 3 that made it 77-79. Meanwhile, Roy is having a sort of rough outing thus far. Things just aren’t going his way, but it’s not the 4th quarter yet anyways, when he generally steps up.

10:18 — Webster again from deep to make it 80-84.

Steve: That whole sequence shows we aren’t quite ready to hang. Gotta be happy for Darius Washington that’s a nice story. Martell doesn’t get or hit that three last year.

We just don’t know how to win. SA does. We are young but I’m still liking what I’m seeing. Spurs looks beastly again.

10:26 — Timmy D just got really lucky that Outlaw was stripped going up in the middle. Outlaw almost made the Champ look foolish.

10:28 — Webster again. Three more points. Steve says he isn’t ready to crown him, but admits he has improved.

10:53 — Blazers lose, 106-97. Can’t say I’m surprised the Spurs pulled away in the end, but there were plenty of encouraging things here, the least of which were Martell Webster becoming the shooter we all know he can be, and LMA proving the remaining pundits wrong.

11:47 — Steve bumrushes Coup’s thread because he can.

Thought I’d blog the nightcap while Coup works. I can’t just not give Rockets/Lakers it’s proper due, plus its so refreshing to sit here and watch a basketball game I couldn’t help myself. I’ll have more thoughts on the Blazers tomorrow but I’m highly encouraged and pleased with what I saw. Onto my thoughts on this game so far.

11:56 — Derek Fisher hits back-to-back jumpers to put the Lakers back up 43-42. So much for him being completely broken down. Ronny Turiaf cheers as I wonder exactly what year in his career will Turiaf stop being excessively cheery.

11:58 — We’re tied at 43 at halftime. Onto the thoughts before Charles and the gang say what I think and I feel like a copycat.

Halftime Thoughts: Houston’s offense looked jagged and rough to start but their second unit gave them some life and they look pretty dangerous. The interesting part is that their defense hasn’t exactly fallen off of the face of the earth and has actually kept them in the game. The weapons they possess like Mike James and Bonzi Wells give Houston a major league lift. Not only that but you can see players are really flowing in the offense instead of going from Point A to Point B, praying not to turn the b
all over and passing it to T-Mac or Yao. They definitely have more playmakers on the floor at all times. I thought it was neat when Shane Battier was in at the 4. I don’t like the high amount of turnovers they have so far but getting 11 points from James is nice. On the Lakers side…Kobe has 19 points on 16 shots, although he has gotten to the line 10 times. Still though, it isn’t good when he has shot more shots than the rest of the starters. No one else is really stepping up or doing anything. But you do have to love the camera on Bynum/Phil conversating after Bynum showed up late.

12:07 — Blazer highlights come on…highlight is Charles punking Jay Mariotti and Skip Bayless, giving KP love and mentioning that Oden named his dog after him. Plus, him and Magic actually give the Blazers love for the future. I love this so much. I mean seriously, even when we were good did we ever get love from those guys? I feel like the geeky girl who stopped being awkward and got boobs.

12:11 — Live Look at Utah/Golden State. The Warriors are clearly missing J-Rich and Jackson. They also still have absolutely no answer for Carlos Boozer who just took Biedrins to the rack with ease. Great for my fantasy team. Bad for the Warriors.

12:13 — American Gangster better be the best movie I’ve ever seen after all the hype, trailers, commercial and the fact that Jay-Z was so inspired after he saw it that he made a CD based on it.

12:21 — Houston busts out a quick six points to make LA call timeout. Zero emotion from Kobe who has an almost complete blankface. Who knows what Kobe would be doing if Derek Fisher wasn’t on this team.

12:23 — ‘Nobody named Pookie is getting in my Fave 5’. And they keep getting better and better. Charles Barkley should just be in every commercial.

12:24 — Luke Walton scores, then on the next possession Kobe actually makes a pass to a wide open Ronny Turiaf who promptly clanks the mid-range jumper. He may not pass for the rest of the game.

12:26 — Kobe shoots a mid-ranger jumper over Yao Ming. He’s not 7″6′ or anything. Best player on the planet huh Coup?

12:27 — Kobe scores. Still no pass.

12:31 — Rockets are going wild in the third quarter with easy buckets while Kobe continues to go 1 on 5.

12:33 — How many Lakers does it take to tip a ball in? Two. Bizarre because it was only them under the basket. It’s going to be that kind of year. Kobe with a fadeaway. Still no passing. They’ve scored nine points in this quarter; 2 from Fisher, 2 from Walton and 5 from Kobe.

12:35 — The replay the tip-in…creepy. The ball bounced, hit Kwame’s hand, then hit Luke’s hand and went off the glass and in. Kobe update: 22 points on 21 shots or as I like to say, disgusting.

Jazz/Warriors update; Jazz are up 86-72 with 46 left in the third. Boozer has 24 and 12 while Ronnie Brewer has to be putting a smile on Coup’s face with 18 points and 4 steals. 15 turnovers and a lack of D are killing GS.

12:40 — Kobe isn’t in the game which means we might actually see some teamwork. I’ll laugh if they go on a run. Luis Scola is quickly playing is way off my fantasy team.

12:57 — Kobe looks awful in this game. He’s not really moving the ball and he’s forcing everything. We’re at 27 points off 25 shots with zero assists in the second half. Chuck Hayes officially has won the ugliest free throw award. Good lord.

1:03 — Kobe shows some competitive spirit (finally) by sprinting back and blocking/fouling Bonzi Wells after he got stripped.

1:04 — Kobe takes another challenged shot. 9/27, 27 shots. He’s not playing very well. I’m not sure I want to say he’s dogging it but it’s definitely ugly. No energy, no teamwork.

1:06 — How much more obvious can you make this?? Kobe got the ball, two dribbles, crossover, spin move and throws himself into three players and forces up a shot. No call, no nothing. This is gross. How many people will be saying ‘Trade Kobe’ tomorrow.

1:07 — Derek Fisher debuts his ‘I Didn’t Sign Up For This S**t’ face. Kobe shoots and makes a pullup while Lamar Odom claps.

1:10 — Coup chimes in with “I guess that whole Kobe passing thing is over.” I’m not sure whether it is just him attacking or forcing it. Maybe I’m reading into it too much, maybe it is just a bad game and that wrist is playing more into it than we think. He just doesn’t have the Kobe look about him. I think we can all agree he’s trippin a little bit though.

1:15 — Derek Fisher with a pullup jumper to bring it down to 6 with 5:35 left. If it’s close nothing I’ve written before will matter. The crowd is somewhat into this again.

1:16 — Kobe actually makes a pass to Luke Walton. They could cut the lead to 4. This is Kobe time, his competitive nature looks to be kicking in.

1:17 — Walton misses the first. A part of Kobe dies inside.

Coup agrees with me that the wrist might be playing a bigger role than we think but he also thinks Kobe could be neglecting his teammates to try and force a trade.

1:18 — Alston hits a three to put Houston up 82-74. Lakers get the ball back and they are all watching Kobe. I guess the Triangle turned into a straight line over the summer. I will commend Kobe for getting to the line 20+ times. He knocks them both in to cut it to 82-76.

Coup: T-Mac on Kobe…this is entertaining.

Agreed, the two stars guarding each other in the fourth quarter. Refreshing.

1:21 — This would have been fantastic. Kobe passes up a shot to hit Turiaf on the post, who kicks it out to Luke Walton for a wide open three. He misses. 2002 that’s an automatic make. Adelman just looks like he wants to get the hell out of there, he’s seen this ‘Laker Comeback’ movie too many times.

1:22 — Fisher clanks a three as Luke Walton fouls Tracy McGrady. 86-78 Houston with 2:43 left.

1:25 — You can trap all you want but when there is a 7 foot 6 guy who can throw up a hook shot at will it doesn’t matter. Yao puts them up 90-80 with 1:55 left.

1:26 — Yao drains another jumper to put that final nail in the coffin as Houston looks forward to a nice road win.

1:29 — Kobe takes it to the rack and gets an And 1 opportunity by bumping into Yao. 39 for Kobe on the night. A bad 39 though: 11/30 and 17/25 from the free throw line.

1:31 — Kobe hits a three-pointer to cut the lead down to 6. And they get a turnover. Farmar with a layup and the Lakers are only down 4 with less than a minute left. Adelman may want to cry. So much for the nail in the coffin.

Terrible foul call on Farmar, too bad they shouldn’t have put themselves in that position.

1:32 — Mike James bricks both free throws. Kobe has the ball and gets an easy layup to cut it to 92-90 with 24.9 seconds. What the hell is going on?

This reminds me of last season when the Rockets were up by like 20 in LA and I decided to go to sleep, only to wake up the next morning and see that the Lakers won. Repeat? Rick Adelman has to be shaking his head.

1:35 — Rafer Alston panicks and turns the ball over. Kobe makes a PASS to Derek Fisher who nails his typical shot to tie the game. Houston then keeps their composure and get a big time three from Shane Battier.

Unbelievable…I love this game. 95-92 with 2.5 left on the clock. We were a Battier three from Kobe’s terrible game meaning nothing.

Coup: Whoa…whoa whoa whoa…You know Kobe is making this..80% chance that Kobe makes this.

1:37 — He never gets the chance. Battier goes for the foul and barely times it up right so Kobe has to go to the line for two with 1.3 seconds left. Coup’s thoughts: That was lame.

Funny how Kobe has to depend on someone else to tie the game…he misses it and as soon as I typed it the ball goes right back to him and gets hit away. Houston escapes a wild one.

Kobe intrigued me. I’m not e
xactly sure what to say. He dogged it (in his own way) but competed (not to the max though). Meaning he played and tried and worked hard but showed a lack of energy, enthusiasm and desire to share the ball. Yes he is the primary scoring option and yes his wrist was bothering him, but I mean some of those shots were ridiculous. Why force a jumper over Yao? I’m puzzled because he showed his great spirit and he attacked the basket at will (27 free throw attempts) but he also took a lot of bad shots (32). Can we go on a limb and say that he was overcompensating for Odom’s absence? Can we say that he was neglecting his teammates? Was it the trade? The wrist? There are so many different ways to speculate and angles to look at it. I will say this at the end of the day he did more harm to his team than anything. The body language was just bad. Kobe didn’t looked interested at all and didn’t lead. He has to help those guys out and get them involved. 45 points off 32 shots isn’t effective. It would have been a neat story that Kobe’s only assist of the 2nd half was the game winner to Derek Fisher. Too bad it was a two…and Shane Battier nailed the three.

Houston unbelievably almost pooped the game away courtesy of Rafer Alston’s turnovers and Mike James missing free throws. Wow.

Jazz blew out the Warriors 117-96

I completely agree with Magic when he said the Lakers need to make a decision. They either need to trade him or say that they are keeping him. That way Kobe knows what’s going on and he can’t tank the whole year to try and get traded.

Charles is excited for the first time in a long time. Preach.