USA TODAY Sports
Welcome back to Earth. Population: The Portland Trail Blazers.
The Blazers were led by the usual folks. Double-doubles abound for LaMarcus Aldridge (20 points, 14 rebounds), Damian Lillard (26 points, 10 assists) and JJ Hickson (15 points, 12 rebounds). Wesley Matthews added 21 points, and Nicolas Batum had a quiet night after hurting his wrist in practice.
First Quarter: Quiet start for both teams. Neither team could grab control early, until the Bucks started trapping across half court. As Nolan Smith came in, the Bucks took the Blazers out of rhythm, and added a few easy buckets. Combined with a few three-pointers, and the Bucks took an 11 point lead. A timeout didn't help, as the Bucks absolutely demolished the Blazers, expertly foiling their offensive sets, while grabbing steals and easily scoring. In three disheartening minutes, the Milwaukee Freakin' Bucks scored 17 straight points in the Rose Garden, to take an 18 point lead. That brought Lillard back into the game, and the Blazers scored 7 straight points to close the quarter down "only" 11.
I stepped out of the room for a few minutes. What the #%$& happened?
by Chuck Nevitt
Second Quarter: The Blazers were able to cut the deficit to 10, but single-digits were elusive. Lillard helped settle the team down, while Batum did some cleanup work, and the deficit was only 9 halfway into the quarter. Lillard rolled his ankle slightly, but only had a short bench stint before returning. The Blazers just couldn't slice into that lead though, as the Bucks worked the ball inside, got a few breaks, and headed to the locker room with a 17 point lead. Their 62 halftime points were a season high, as the Blazers were broken down inside repeatedly.
Ellis goes left then goes right and Barton stays in front of him. Good instincts and wing span. If he ever learns how finish at the rim and draw fouls he’ll be the new Stacey Augmon.
by Hipster Olympic Team!
Third Quarter: Let's save some time: 6 minutes later, the lead was 22. The Blazers had nothing, and they were getting destroyed by the recently-woeful Ersan Ilyasova. The Bucks were freely rolling to the wide-open rim for easy layups, and had no problem stopping the Blazers from doing the same. After consecutive Luke Babbitt three-pointers cut the lead to 15, Larry Sanders was ejected, cutting the lead to 12 and taking away one of the Bucks' best defenders. Within seconds, Hickson cut the deficit to 10. Milwaukee stemmed the tide, but Lillard rattled in a three-pointer at the buzzer, cutting the lead to 8.
The Lakers could play better defense.
Fourth Quarter: The Blazers botched their first four possessions, and the lead was quickly 15 again. After re-digging their hole, they started crawling up again. It's hard though, when you don't make a field goal in the first 5 minutes of the quarter. That's why they needed a timeout, down by 15 yet again. Portland (both the team and the fans) had little left in the tank. The Blazers made a last-ditch comeback attempt, hitting multiple three's to cut the lead to 4 with 45 seconds left. After a Bucks turnover, Aldridge was tripped on the inbound pass, but the refs missed it, and it caused a turnover. That was the straw that broke the camel's back, as there would be no miracle comeback afterward.