The Blazers lost the final game of their season to end up with a perfectly lovely 50-32 record. San Antonio also lost tonight, giving Portland the 6th seed. Phoenix defeated Utah to claim the 3rd seed. Portland and Phoenix will be matched up in the first round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs.
You really only need to know a couple things about this game:
1. Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Marcus Camby did not play at all. Andre Miller played 8 minutes. The second unit split time with the third unit throughout the game.
2. Golden State was also short-handed. In fact their injury woes led to the weirdest situation I've ever seen with regards to a bench. Devean George picked up his 6th foul in the fourth quarter. The Warriors suited 8 players but two of them, Ronny Turiaf and Anthony Morrow, were not able to play because of injuries. Chris Hunter hurt his knee early in the game. When George fouled out the Warriors technically had nobody to rotate in for him. NBA rules state that if a team is reduced to fewer than 5 players the last player to foul out remains in the game but a technical foul is assessed in addition to the DQ foul and every foul that player commits thereafter. Personally I've never seen this happen but the Warriors were more than willing to go with it tonight. Except they couldn't, by rule. Hunter had not fouled out and had not left the bench after he was injured, so officially he was still available. The refs forced Nelson to put Hunter back in. He played a couple possessions but got banged up even worse trying to take a charge before Nelly went berserk and pulled the plug. The refs accepted that Hunter was now injured and could leave the game and the bench. But Turiaf and Morrow were still sitting there, injured but with warm-ups on. Each in turn had to rotate in for one possession during which the Warriors took a foul, pulled them out of the game, and sent them to the locker room. Finally when the bench was officially empty George was allowed to come back in. Nelly was turning purple at one point, yelling at the refs and trying to avoid putting his injured players in. It was a bizarre scene on a wacky night.
3. The Blazers scored copiously inside during the first half but eased up on the second half, living on the perimeter. Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis were better at that game than the Portland reserves and scrubs. Go figure.
4. Rudy Fernandez was whipping wicked passes to Jeff Pendergraph in the first half especially. Pendy had a career night on offense and showed a pretty good set of hands catching those balls. It was nice to see him get a chance to shine.
And that's about all the game deserved. On to the playoffs! More on that coming later.
All Jersey Contest stuff will happen tomorrow.