"What? Gave up? No, this is just due to the solar flares! Strong Northern Lights, bad Portland Trail Blazers!"
Mark it down, March 9th, 2012. That was the night everyone knew the Portland Trail Blazers stopped trying. They walked into Boston, and simply handed the game to the same Celtics who lost by 32 points a few days ago. Ignore the final score, as the Blazers were doubled up until 6 minutes into the third (81-38), and the Celtics ran circles around them. This is the kind of game where you question the intentions of the players on the court, and wonder the status of the coach as the players get on the plane.
The Blazers were led by... well, clearly they're being led by nobody. The scoring leader was LaMarcus Aldridge, with 22, while Marcus Camby grabbed 10 rebounds. Don't ask about assists.
The Blazers turned it over three times in the first three minutes. That should have been a sign. However, Boston looked a lot like Portland early, and couldn't take advantage. But the Blazers gave them enough opportunities, and soon Boston picked apart the Portland D for an 8 point lead. But that was enough to make the Blazers fold like cheap laundry. Soon, Boston scored 22 straight points to take a 23 point lead. In response, the Blazers were inspired to let the lead grow to 30. Then they turned it over a few more times to make it 35, 58-23 with 2:30 left in the half. Nate called a timeout as every fan and analyst were openly calling out the team. Halftime arrived with a 65-30 deficit, and a "long locker room talk" according to Mike Rice.
It was at this point that I broke out the rum. Don't worry, not the good stuff.
Nothing changed as the second half began. Portland's attempts to score were easily stopped, and Boston had no problems scoring. With 6 minutes left in the third, the low point officially arrived, as the score was 81-38 and Nate called timeout. Finally, the Blazers made a small run to cut the deficit to 32, and it was still 34 after three.
The fourth quarter began with the arrival of Luke Babbitt. To their credit, the bench guys put in a strong effort. In fact, Luke scored in double-digits to cut the lead under 20. But shockingly, the lead was just too big.
The box score (and can't-miss play-by-play recap) is available here. Stay tuned for what I'm sure will be a memorable recap from Dave. The Blazers are right back in action (or something resembling it) tomorrow night, in Washington DC. The Wiz are rested and waiting tonight. -- Tim
PS-- The usual Gameday Thread rules apply here. But otherwise, vent all you want. Just don't forget we're all rooting for the same team. Unfortunately it's the one we saw on the court tonight.