Sometime around the middle of the third quarter, my girlfriend called to let me know she would be home a little later than expected. Toward the end of the conversation she asked me how the Trail Blazers were doing down in New Orleans.
My reply: "There's no way we're going to win this game."
Shows what I know.
When Chris Paul left the game with a strained groin, I thought we might be able to make the final score respectable. And when Jerryd Bayless scored 13 of his 19 points in a crucial seven minute stretch, I thought we might get find a way to have at least a chance at a W late in the game. But Bayless was called for a truly laughable offensive foul with the game tied at 81-81, and I figured that if that was the way it was going to be, a Trail Blazers victory was again out of the question.
Turns out my paranoia was unwarranted. Bayless and Travis Outlaw kept making timely buckets and Joel Przybilla played smothering defense on David West on the way to a 97-89 victory. Hello fourth-best record in the Western Conference.
People are going to point to Paul leaving with injury and say that's the reason why Portland escaped with a win. And those people aren't necessarily wrong, but the Blazers got next to nothing offensively from four fifths of the starting lineup (and even though LaMarcus Aldridge ended with 22 points, he did so on 9-of-21 shooting) and still managed to comes away with a win. A road win. Their first road win against the Hornets in the last seven attempts. Their first road win against a