JimE was so kind as to post this in his diary, and I'm lifting it wholesale to put on the main page because it's good (and because few of the rest of us saw the game).
MANY thanks, Jim!!!
But tonight was the topper. No negative feelings or comments allowed for least the rest of the month!!!!!!!!!!! I'll do the rundown now and let others do the hyperbole.
Brandon Roy started the game. He left after 6 minutes, went to the locker rooom and did not return to the bench. Hornets go up 10-0. No flow at all on offense for the Blazers. Zach does not even get to touch the ball for a very very long time. NO is double and triple teaming him. Finally Ime hits a 3. Desmond Mason is throwing up all kind of shots (inside and out) that hit the rim , then the backboard, then the rim, then go in. NO can defend and rebound, unlike Seattle, Lakers etc. No good news at all for the Blazers. T Law in for Mags and gets a great block. Then another. Then another, but it's called a foul instead. He's flying around the court. But the Blazers are hitting the front of the rim on every shot, and not getting offensive boards. Paul has some easy drives to the hole. Loose balls find NO every time. No defense except T Law. JJ is handling the ball pretty well and gets a few layups, but no one else can score. They give Dickau a try. After the 1st it's.... 38-13... and ZBo has 0 points - hardly touched the ball. That NBA Player of the Week honor might have slipped away. For the first time this year, I hear a few boos in the Rose Garden that are meant for the Blazers.
Blazers switch to a zone. NO gets a breakaway, but T Law somehow alters the shot without fouling, then runs downcourt, makes a difficult catch in traffic and lays it in. Just a bit later, another outrageous block from T Law. And he hits a couple jumpers. Blazers get a 13-4 run, with Mags getting a couple buckets. Martell gets 2 blocks in about 1 minute!!! Blazers giving great effort now but have no luck with shots/refs/bounces. At a timeout, a fan gets to try a halfcourt shot to win a new truck - he's middle-aged, balding, and chubby. Spins the ball back to his hands, 2 steps, lets fly, and nearly a perfect swish! Pretty damn good. Dixon playing a lot of minutes with no results. Late in the quarter, Zbo finally scores, then puts up 8 points very quickly, mostly on foul shots. NO is all over him, but Zbo doesn't care. He makes a variety of quick moves to the hole and gets fouled, and makes all of the shots. He racks up 12 points in about 5-6 minutes, and makes a nice steal. The lead is cut to 9 at the half, 53-44.
Shortly into the 3rd, Chandler gets a double-T for arguing and gets tossed. Trading baskets for a while. Peja and West are hitting jumpers now, but Mason has cooled off. West gets a ton of rebounds. Paul is not doing much, surprisingly. Bobby Jackson, not Paul, is guarding JJ now and JJ gets shut down completely in the 2nd half. But he moves the ball up the court quite effectively. Lots of zone defense for both teams. T Law still playing great, gets more blocks and a few more buckets. ZBo is going to war now. NO shots stop falling, and now Zach is getting the boards. Ime hits a 3 to get the Blazers within 2. Can't catch up completely, though... some turnovers and blown easy shots. Trail 71-67 after 3.
Dean D gets a technical. Crowd & team fired up now. ZBo fights for a really tough rebound, puts it in and gets fouled. The Blazers have their first lead at 78-76. 80-80 with 5:00 to go. Another big-time-attitude block from T Law. But then, after great D, the Blazers save the ball back into NO hands under the basket for a layup... yikes. And then Ime gets an offensive foul. But Zach cannot be stopped now. All the Blazers are determined to get him the ball every time now, and he delivers like a machine. He's triple teamed - so what? He gets no assists tonight - so what? The ball is in the hole, and he's is fighting like a monster for boards. 85-84 at 3:00. Zbo hits 4 FT quick. 89-88 Blazers at 1:00. NO relying on Peja now. T Law gets a steal. Then NO gets a steal, but the ball hits the ref and goes out of bounds, back to the Blazers. Dixon misses and Zbo called for a foul. But NO misses a shot at :08. Inbounds to Dixon, who gets fouled at :07. He hits both shots with a smile. NO - 2 timeouts burned. Then in to Peja, who strokes a 3 in one beautiful motion. Tied at 91-91 with :05. Ime almost panics on the inbounds, but gets it to Zach at the FT line.... a surprise burst to the left... FOUL! Zach calmly hits the 1st. The 2nd is a miss (on purpose, maybe - NO has no timeouts). 2.4 on the clock. NO chases it down, quick pass to Peja who launches from 3/4 court... no,no, look at that arch, it's gonna, please no... back of the rim... and the confetti falls. Your soon-to-be-named NBA Player of the Week Zbo gets 31-12, and T Law has 6 blocks.