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Blazers v. Raptors diary: Finding Nine



You knew this one was coming. When the Blazers are going for a nine-game winning streak and their no. 1 pick is out for the season, we do a running diary. SJ will be taking care of Suns v. Dallas.

A few notes before tip-off, LaMarcus Aldridge is expected to play but B-Roy is apparently only at 70% after a recent bout with the flu. What is it with this team and the flu? Maybe Paul Allen needs to hire a better cleaning crew for the locker rooms.

7:11 — Tip off. Always nice to see the Blazers in HD, thank you MOJO channel, whatever you are.

7:12 — Portland gives up back to back second chance points to Rasho. It hasn’t been said much lately, and I know LaMarcus gets sent on the break often, but he needs to step up his defensive rebounds.

7:15 — Blake hits a pull up jumper off a Pryzy pick. Nice shot. Pryzy then draws the offensive foul on Bosh. Key, key, key matchup there. Meanwhile, Brandon is showing some possible Flu symptoms, turning the ball over twie already. Aldridge looks perfectly fine on offense, though.

7:19 — Nice pass Aldridge to Pryzbilla for the dunk. That’s going to be even more beautiful with Oden around — not to take anything away from the job the Thrilla is doing right now. Portland is turning the ball over a little too much (Roy has 3 already), but when they hold on to the ball, the offense looks fluid.

7:23 — The Blazer Hippie is back! And he has kids! He should have been hired instead of Blaze the Trail Cat . . . ugh.

7:23 — Mike Barret just took the point I was about to type. Jason Kapono could destroy the Blazer zone tonight. Fortunately, he likes to foul, and he just gave B-Roy an and-one.

7:30 — 28-27 Toronto, 2:00 left in the first. Roy nails a deep pull up 3 to tie the game. Roy was something like 2 of his last 15 3’s, so thats a good sign. He’s also making up for some of Frye’s mistakes boxing out by rebounding.

7:32 — Martell got to the line, I think by mistake. He just saw Humphries in the air and decided to jump face first into him before shooting. Whatever works, man, but we all know he can finish better than that. At a moment like that, however, I have to tell myself that at least he is getting to the hole.

7:37 — McMillan calls for Outlaw in the post. I like that decision, as it is something Travis can learn to do to help us in the future, but I’m not sure it’s going to help today — like not passing to a cutting Sergio with two forwards in front of him.

7:41 — James Jones get a jumper with one second left on the shot clock. I’m not so sure that should have counted, but I’ll take it.

7:42 — Has anybody figured out what has happened to Bargnani? The rookie year was nice, to be sure, maybe not quite hinting at Dirk levels of greatness, but it certainly implied he could average a 15 and 7, not the 10 and 4 (rounding up) he’s throwing around right now.

7:45 — Wow, Outlaw just got his dunk demolished by Humphries. That might have killed his confidence. Sure enough, he comes down and misses a bad corner jumper. Someone get him an alley oop, and fast. Then another open miss.

7:51 — James’ 3-ball looks a little off tonight, but as has become custom, Roy is stepping up for anyone who’s offense isn’t coming easily. So much for the Flu.

7:56 — 54-47 Toronto. Brandon is keeping us in the game right now. Toronto has more energy, better defense, and is making more shots right now and if it wasn’t for Roy, the Blazers would be in a double-digit deficit.

8:02 — 56-51 at the half. Roy and Aldridge did their thing, but other than Blake, nobody else is playing very well at all, especially Travis and James. Toronto’s zone has provided for a number of open lanes and shots, but the Blazers just aren’t taking advantage of them, yet. If Nate makes the right adjustments, this should be close.

8:12 — I can never remember the names of those two guys who do the Blazer halftime show, but they always remind be of Fox’s laughter-stuffed NFL studio show. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not.

8:17 — Second half begins. Does Jamario Moon look like Shareef Abdur-Rahim’s illegitimate son to anybody? Parker hits a 15-foot banker. Toronto just has so many people that can hit open shots.

8:22 — Martell hits back to back 3’s to make it a one point game. Good sign, to say the least. The trend continues of Martell and Jones never being able to get hot on the same night. Unfortunately, just about everybody on Toronto is breathing treys.

8:26 — Martell AGAIN after a Joel offensive board. Then Calderon hits another jumper. Toronto has a jumper for everything right now. Then Blake hits. 70-68 Raps. Moon finally misses a 3.

8:27 — Blazer timeout, 72-68 Raps. You have to think the Raptor shooting would cool down at some point, but the offense is coming from so many different people that it’s going to be the Blazer defense that makes the difference. So far, it’s not.

8:30 — Amazing dipsy-do switching hands layup around half the Raptor team. Gorgeous move. He even faked out Bosh in mid-friggin-air.

8:33 — Bosh can’t get by Aldridge, but he hits that nice soft jumper. He does seem to take awhile once he gets the ball, like Mr. Zach Randolph, but the difference is that Bosh is trying to fake to get to the bucket, while Zach would all too often be trying to create space for a jumper.

8:38 — Aldridge beautiful backdoor pass to a cutting Martell for a jam. More, I say, I want more of that. Of course, Parker comes back with a 3, go figure.

8:40 — Jack gives Humphries the and-one with 2.7 left in the third. He’s made a couple hustle plays, but other than that Jack has not added much of anything to this game. Brandon played that entire quarter, and the guy needs a rest. The bench needs to step up here (Outlaw I’m looking at you) or Portland is in trouble.

8:44 — Well Sergio comes out with a layup and Travis hits a jumper. Maybe the bench will pull its weight after all. Now if Kapono would just stop hitting contested shots. 85-80 with just over 10 minutes left.

8:50 — I’ll tell you, the Blazers just have not been able to take the lead when given the opportunity. It’s been moving picks, missed dunks and stepping out of bounds getting in the way, that, and Kapono in the 4th.

8:53 — There we go Jarret, hitting a 3 to make it a two point game. Kapono travels when Jones smothered him at the free-throw line. Will the Blazers tie it up?

8:54 — They might, Outlaw got himself to the line with a shot fake. That’s a play he would not have made in the past. Mike Rice just said the exact same thing, which scares me. Tie game.

8:58 — Roy splits the D and takes the lead. Always funny when the other team’s best offensive player just walks up to the bucket uncontested. Wow, Toronto just comitted a lane violation on the first of two free throws. That’s a first.

9:00 — Blazers on a 10-0 run. Doesn’t last as Calderon hits another jumper.

9:01 — Roy a spinning layup. I’m out of words with this guy. Outlaw blocks a Calderon layup.

9:02 — Portland timeout, 92-89 lead. Blazers getting over the hump at the perfect time, and Roy is leading the way. No surprise there.

9:05 — Huge offensive board and put-back Travis. Good to see him keeping
himself involved. Calderon is missing jumpers now, he had to cool down at some point. Travis gets the ball back the next posession and gets to the line thanks to Moon. You can’t underestimate just how much Travis has grown. 95-89 Portland.

9:07 — Parker gets fouled on a jam. Big-time play there from a medium-time guy.

9:08 — Another tough jumper in the paint from Travis. But Calderon responds with a layup. Raptors just won’t go away, Nate calls the timeout. Blazers up by three with 1:42 remaining.

9:12 — Outlaw with a huge tip to save the offensive rebound, then, for some reason, Toronto wastes about 18 seconds apparently thinking about fouling. Then they don’t foul Blake after James Jones passes to him, only to foul Mr. I’ve missed one free throw all year Jones. 99-94 Blazers with 11.7 left.

9:16 — Travis forces Kapono into a travelling call. Toronto won’t foul. Game over. Blazers Win. Portland has the longest winning streak in the NBA. Roy’s final line, 25 pts, 8 assists, 9 rebounds. Give the man some all star votes.