In probably one of the most relaxed, fun games you'll ever see, the Portland Trail Blazers ran roughshod over the poor Charlotte Bobcats, ending in a 44 point win. The Blazers opened it up early with bountiful steals, and sealed the win by halftime. If you ever wanted to participate in a Gameday Thread, tonight would have been perfect.
The Blazers were led by... well, everyone. But Jamal Crawford (24 points in 21 minutes), Gerald Wallace (23 points, 3 steals) and LaMarcus Aldridge (22 points and plenty of grins) led the team in scoring.
The Blazers started out the game as you'd expect, sprinting to a 14-2 run and an 11 point lead by the middle of the first quarter. Charlotte quickly looked outmatched, as turnovers helped them fall behind by 16 shortly after. The Blazers eventually shot 61% (on easy shots) to score 35 points, their season high for the first quarter. Meanwhile, the Bobcats looked up at a 17 point deficit as the buzzer sounded. LaMarcus Aldridge feasted on the Charlotte front line, getting DeSagana Diop in early foul trouble, and scoring 14 points.
A Wallace three pushes the lead to twenty as the raucous crowd screamed in delight. Jamal Crawford soon hit a three. Then another. THEN ANOTHER. And just like that, it's a 28 point lead for Portland! In a very funny moment, the teams swap turnovers twice before Charlotte gets a layup swatted into the third row by Marcus. Ok, it was a "you had to be there" level of funny. Crawford tore up the Charlotte defense for 15 points, leading to a 26 point lead.
The third quarter was.... boring. Seriously. It was a contest between a team that knew it was superior, and a team who clearly wished the game was over. Portland's lead soon stretched 29. At one point, I actively rooted for Camby to take an open three. Gerald Wallace completed a three-point play, leading to a 36 point lead and a "Gerald Wallace!" chant from the grateful Rose Garden crowd. A Crawford three and layup made the lead 44 at the end of the third.
The bench (plus Felton and Jamal) arrived to man the court as the fourth quarter started. Nonetheless, the lead was soon 98-50, as the rowdy crowd enjoyed some bench action. The Blazers, however, sat at 98 points to the extreme dissatisfaction of the crowd, ready to riot at any time. Despite Luke Babbitt's valiant attempt, the veteran Crawford finally took care of business. Unfortunately for Charlotte, there were still 6 minutes left, as the fans enjoyed a Babbitt three, Elliot Williams layup, and a Chris Johnson attempted three-point play. The game ended with Charlotte proud to announce they tied the Blazers in scoring for one quarter.
My favorite Gameday Thread comment of the night: HoodieNation describing the night's events while riffing on an old Rasheed comment, "One team played hard".
Enjoy the box score, then stay tuned for some probably-relaxed analysis from Dave and Ben shortly. The next game is tomorrow night in Sacramento, which will be noticeably tougher than tonight. -- Tim
Update from Dave:
My apologies for the lack of a proper recap to this game. I got called away to emergency duty just as it started. I just finished watching as of 12:05 a.m. Pacific...too later for a recap really. My overwhelming impression: this is what the Blazers look like when they play against a practice team. And it looked good. This is the ideal for this team: passing, scoring, rebounding, defense. You saw the whole enchilada, the true potential, tonight. You also just got an object lesson in what NBA defenses can do to you. We've not seen the Blazers play even close to this level for a sustained period, not even for an entire game. That's not because they're incapable, it's because they're defended. But at least for one night you got to see the dream as it was written on the dry erase board of the Blazer Brain Trust this off-season. Enjoy!