See you in the regular season.
There's still 53 seconds left, but this one is cooked. Jazz 93, Blazers 79. The final buzzer can't come soon enough.
Luke Jackson calls his own number, ends up with a bucket and the foul. Another three point play brings the score to 89-75 Jazz.
Joel Przybilla gets the lucky bounce on the putback, and a foul! Joel makes the freebie, which is nice for a guy battling bronchitis. Utah 89, Portland 72.
Gerry McNamara, he of Syracuse fame, checks into the game for the first time tonight. I wonder if he can Carmelo still talk.
Ike Diogu all but shoves the ball in Kirilenko's gut, and that's an easy dunk for Andrei. At 83-67 Jazz, this one is starting to get away from the good guys. Batum is still putting in work though, getting yet another block (against AK-47 of all people) and hitting a mid-range jumper. To quote a fellow journalist here in press row, "That kid can play."
In summer league, almost every time Bayless attacked the rim, something good happened. So far in the preseason, every time Bayless attacks the rim, he ends up on his can and without free throw attempts.
Jerryd Bayless shakes Kyle Korver with thanks to some fancy dribbling, but he loses the handle while blowing by Ashton Kutcher Jr. Korver ends up getting a three on the ensuing possession. You could cook a London broil on Bayless' head right now.
End of the quarter and it's Jazz 69, Blazers 59.
Batum, aka the Double Snowman (as in, No. 88) shows again why he's not about to settle for spending the season in the D-League. Batum makes an athletic play to get to the rim, misses the layin, but gets his own board and the putback. He's filling up the stat sheet.
For some reason the shot clock keeps malfunctioning. The preseason for the clocks, too.
Nic Batum, the official Frenchman of the Center Court Blog, hits a baseline three to bring the Red and Black to within two. Thin No. 88 is the MVP so far of this one. He's got 12 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks. That's yeoman.
We've hit quite the lull here in the 3rd quarter. Not many open looks or made shots. C.J. Miles gets a couple of free throws, and that puts the Jazz up 50-48 with 5 minutes to play in the quarter.
Travis Outlaw seems to have broken out of his preseason slump. He's 5-for-8 with 12 points so far tonight, which is like Christmas compared to his last three outings. Utah leads 46-45 with a little under 8 minutes to play in the 3rd quarter.
Shavlik jumps on Carlos Boozers' back in an attempt to corral the offensive rebound, but he's called for the foul. I salute Duke-on-Duke aggression.
End of the first half, and the score is Portland 38, Utah 35. It hasn't been pretty, but it has been quick.
It's an old joke, but I'm not busting out my A-Game until the regular season, so I'm going to go ahead and throw out the old "Welcome to the block party, Mr. Randolph." Shav gets the Blazers 8th stuff of the night, then draws a charge, then hits an open jumper. That's hustle.
Nic Batum is having the preseason game of his life (that's not really saying a lot, but you get the drift). He hits a three to put the Red and Black up three, then stuffs Kirlenko on the ensuing defensive possession. That's at least two blocks this afternoon from our friend from Le Mans.
G.O. gets his first big dunk of the night. He's missed two jump hooks since then, but hey, he's still learning.
By the way, I'm going to have to start pulling out the video camera every time it looks like Greg is going to get a dunk. He's going to break that backboard one of these days, and I want to be the first guy in town with the youtube footage. Big money.
Batum, continuing his torrid play on defense, blocks 7-footer Kosta Koufos. No man is safe from the long arms of the Batum. 27-27 with 5:40 to play in the half.
Nic Batum, who's ankle seems to be fine, just elevated over Kyle Korver for a putback. For my money, Batum has easily been the surprise of the preseason for the god guys.
Joel Przybilla gets hit with a technical for giving Andrei Kirilenko a slightest of elbows after the play was blown dead. Even the technicals are easier here in the preseason.
Looks like Nic "The French Connection" Batum rolled an ankle in the waning moments of the first quarter. He finished out the quarter, but he didn't look comfortable. At the end of the first quarter, Jazz lead 19-18.
And another comment, this time from "eazy"
I cant believe the beavers lost to stanford still. either way the blazers will dominate tonightThanks eazy. Personally, I can completely believe that the Beavers lost to the Cardinal. In fact, I'm never surprised when the Beavs lose on the road. OSU often looks unbeatable at home, but when they get out of Reser, it's always a toss up.
As for the Blazers dominating tonight, I'd be surprised if that happened considering the Jazz are playing their first-stringers.
As promised, lets check out and answer some reader submitted comments.
Mery Blazers Fan asks ...
Is Rudy Fernandez going to play tonight?Thanks for the query. No, Rudy will not play tonight. The ankle is feeling better, and if this were the regular season, you'd probably see him tonight. But as a precaution, Rudy will stick to the bench tonight.
Sergio drains a three, Oden stuffs a Deron Williams layin attempt, Travis Outlaw steals a cross court pass, and the Blazers are well on the way to making this game real respectable like. Shavlik at the line shooting two, makes one, and the score is Blazers 8, Jazz 7 with 6:26 to play in the first.
Trail Blazers come out looking crazy sloppy. We're less than four minutes in and the Blazers already have four turnovers. Greg Oden was called for a highly suspect offensive foul, Sergio Rodriguez threw a phantom pass into the second row and Nate McMillan calls a timeout. Not too hot of a start.
Pregame hoopla is in full swing, which means we're just a few minutes away from tip. Should be an ... interesting afternoon here at the Rose Garden, if for no other reason than we'll see some unorthodox lineups from Nate McMillan tonight. If you're a guy trying to get that 15th roster spot, tonight would be a good time to show your stuff.
The matchup of the night features two Duke power forwards at the height of their careers. Carlos Boozer laces 'em up for the first time this offseason, and Shavlik Randolph, coming off a 9-for-9 performance against the Hawks, gets his first start as a Trail Blazer.
Here are the starters, by the way
Portland Trail Blazers