"I predict this many wins before the season is over!"
UPDATE: Ben reports on Twitter that Elliot Williams is going in for surgery, and is closed down for the season. He's expected to be out for four months.
The Portland Trail Blazers were outplayed and outclassed by the red-hot Milwaukee Bucks for most of the night, en route to an ugly 29-point loss. This wasn't a "we gave up" road-trip loss, where the Blazers simply didn't care. The Blazers gave effort all night, but the rising Bucks were quite clearly the better team. Portland's defense sputtered, and their bench was almost literally non-existent. Milwaukee was more crisp on offense, solid on defense, and forced their will on the Blazers all night. The Bucks earned this win. Whether due to exhaustion or just inferior play, the Blazers looked more like a lottery team than a playoff team.
The highlight of the game was Brandon Roy, who unexpectedly walked down the tunnel to an enormous ovation. For the active players, LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews led the team in scoring with 21 apiece, but the Bucks dominated the assists and field goal %.
The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair. The Bucks tried to pull away, but a quick Blazer run gave them a short-lived lead. Near the end of the quarter, a Milwaukee run gave them a 2 point lead at the end of one.
The second quarter was a whole different story. As the Blazer youngsters came in the game, the Bucks' eyes got wide, and they took advantage. Steals, three pointers, dunks, fast breaks. The fans got whiplash watching Milwaukee take it to the Blazers. Coach Kaleb gave the young guys some room to dig out of the hole, but they just grabbed more shovels (disguised as turnovers and poor defense) instead. LaMarcus Aldridge returned as the deficit reached double figures. However, that didn't stop the turnovers. The Bucks packed the passing lanes and the Blazers were happy to oblige. Repeatedly. As the Bucks lead reached 16, the Blazers finally fought back, cutting the lead to 11 at halftime.
Back to back three pointers for Milwaukee stretched the lead back to 15 earlier in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Joel took a shoulder to the privates and headed to the locker room for an icedown. From there, it just got uglier. More Blazer turnovers. More easy Milwaukee buckets. At one point in the fourth, the bench was 0-22 on FG's for the game. Add in some booing from the Rose Garden fans as the deficit passed 25, and let's call it a night on this recap.
Check out the box score, then stay tuned for Dave's recap and Ben's media row report. The Blazers are back on the court Thursday, at home against Memphis. -- Tim