Portland at Boston
7:30 P.M. ET
Boston: 106.6 points/100 possessions (9th)
Portland: 103.4 points/100 possessions (17th)
Boston: 98.0 points allowed/100 possessions (2nd)
Portland: 104.7 points allowed/100 possessions(17th)
Probable Portland starters: Andre Miller (PG), Brandon Roy (SG), Wesley Matthews (SF), LaMarcus Aldridge (PF), Marcus Camby (C)
View From The Opposing Bench: Portland Roundball Society
Two creaky, injury-boondoggled teams both playing on the second night of a back-to-back. Brittle elbows clattering into each other. Late-30s centers losing their wind after five minutes. Kneecaps popping out of their sockets and flying every which way. Should be fun. Fitting that this is the Big Three’s 200th regular-season game together.
The only NBA team with two words in its name is currently at the crest of what The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman called “time to press the panic button.” They’ve lost two in a row to the Nets and Sixers, four of their last five, and six of their last eight. Not so hot for a team that some very smart people picked to win their tough division.
Sad, too, because I think we all kind of like the Blazers. Good guys, lots of talent, generally easy to root for, great basketball city. Truly amazing how far they’ve come since the early 2000s, when Rasheed Wallace spent an entire Christmas charity event on his cell phone and refused to wear a Santa hat. That said, here’s hoping the C’s beat them while they’re down.
WHAT THE BLAZERS DO WELL
Force turnovers without making them. The C’s are playing the league’s number-one team in turnover rate differential for the second time this year, as Portland’s taken over that spot from Memphis. They take the ball about three more times than they give it up. Wes Matthews takes a lot of charges and Andre Miller picks up two steals per game, which could cause problems for Rondo because he stayed up way past his bedtime last night.
WHAT THE BLAZERS DO POORLY
Finish games. In their four straight losses, they’ve lost the fourth quarter by an average of 11 points. That quarter was the difference in three of those games, including a Jazz game last week where they entered the fourth up by nine and left it down by nine. Fourth-quarter meltdowns, as we all know well, are a banged-up team’s cry for help, and it doesn’t bode well for them on a SEGABABA.
PLAYERS THAT MAKE ME WORRY
Brandon Roy, knees and all. Kobe just called him his toughest cover, so you can imagine the trouble he poses for Ray Allen. If his shot’s falling, he can always make trouble, because he can get it off against anybody.
Andre Miller. Not worried, per se, but curious. We haven’t seen Rondo guard a good post-up PG in a while and I’m interested to see how it goes, because last year guys like that tended to have some success against him, including Andre Miller, who dropped 28 on Rondo in that overtime game last year where Brandon Roy wasn’t playing.
PLAYERS THAT DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY
The centers. For the whateverth consecutive season, the Blazers are extremely thin at the center position, to the point where they don’t actually have any playing right now. Ghostface Pryzbilla has a stomach virus and a right knee recovering from surgery, Sean Marks has a sprained ankle and didn’t play last night, and Greg Oden is out with a gypsy curse. That leaves Camby and LaMarcus Aldridge, neither of whom is listed as a center, to take care of Shaq. Camby’s 35 years old and Ichabod Crane, and Aldridge has a lava-spewing KG to worry about.
NIC BATUM IS PEPE LE PEW
Hope to see this Portland team bounce back, but not tonight. Tonight they can go straight to hell. C’s 94, Blazers 86.
TRIVIA OF QUESTIONABLE VALUE
Brandon Roy’s middle name is Dawayne and Marcus Camby’s middle name is DeWayne, although in most places Camby’s is just listed as “D.”