Thu Aug 07 05:23pm EDT
I have a large and poorly-organized collection of NBA games on DVD. As the summer moves along, we here at BDL thought it a good idea to perhaps go through a game or 12 as if it were a live blog, throwing out some insight while never passing on a chance to act a right smart aleck.
11:58: The second half starts with Kevin Calabro ripping Rasheed Wallace's three-point, zero-rebound in 15 minutes effort from the first half. Meanwhile, an Arvydas Sabonis throwaway leads to Portland's tenth turnover.
I agree with Reggie Theus, though. Portland has made a few mistakes, but that 33-point half had more to do with Utah's defense.
11:10: Jeff Hornacek with the quick drive into and past players that are bigger, stronger, and quicker than him, and he tosses in the two-handed lay-up. I remember watching this game as it happened, a day after I turned 20, and thinking about how much I was going to miss watching this guy. Such a unique player who oozed orthodoxy to anyone who wasn't paying attention.
10:52: Theus is wondering aloud as to who, exactly, is going to step up as the alpha male for the Trail Blazers. With Rasheed on the bench after tweaking his ankle, Theus mentions Scottie Pippen, and Brian Grant as likely candidates. Pippen immediately responds with a quick post-up and jump hook. Pretty. Blazers down 43-37.
10:35: Grant, in a tough year coming off microfracture surgery, is really battling Karl Malone down low. Sabonis, almost inadvertently, blocks a Malone jump hook without even moving up to his tippy-toes, which causes both Reggie Theus and your humble narrator to bust out laughing.
10:34: I love the way Sabas would roll the ball around his back as a way to stave off ennui after grabbing the rock to inbound it. Always seemed to confuse Damon Stoudamire.
9:54: Pippen finds Steve Smith for the quick post-up off the two-hand dump down in transition for the jump hook. I don't care if it doesn't scan well, Hubie Brown enjoyed that description, and I'm cool with it as well.
9:48: TNT's Dei Lynam reports that Rasheed doesn't have a turned ankle, but a bruised quad. "The Blazers are hoping he can come back, because they could really use him."
Kevin Calabro: "They could have really used him in the first half."
9:01: Portland's overpassing, way too much, something that killed their chances during their almost-ran years. The Jazz recovered, Hornacek led the break and found John Stockton in the corner for the open-three-pointer.
8:49: Pippen responds with the drive and score, 15 points for Pip. Blazers down seven.
8:05: Stockton with the 25-foot no-look pass for Malone, which leads to a lefty lay-up and the celebrated double-"OH!" from the announcing duo.
7:15: Pippen rejects Olden Polynice (who he was once traded for) on one end, and is rewarded on the break with a pass thrown directly in back of him by Stoudamire, and a traveling call as Pippen tries to recover. Scottie Pippen does not like this team.
6:07: Olden Polynice just banked in a free throw.
5:29: Karl Malone has broken a sweat. He's moving without the ball, setting screens, moving to the open spot when Scottie Pippen roams, and passing the rock. He just hit a nice 20-footer, and has 17 points. He has eight in the quarter.
4:22: Pippen with the steal, he leads the fast break, fakes the pass, and goes up for the lay-in alongside a foul that isn't called. Pretty. Jazz up 56-52.
3:40: Wallace with perfect defense defending a Malone fadeaway.
2:25: Stoudamire hits a three-pointer out of a time out, and the Jazz are now up 59-58. Not sure I agree with that play call, but the ball did go in.
0:39.8: Tough, back and forth basketball with not a lot of points to show for it, until Rasheed nails a line-drive 18-footer that spun around the rim and dropped down. Tied at 61.
Malone hits a couple of free throws, and Steve misses a pair (!), and the Jazz are up two at the end of 36 minutes.
11:48: It's amazing that, for all his "veteran savvy," Greg Anthony does not have the patience to make a solid entry pass.
11:32: Armen Gilliam with the tip-in offensive rebound after Sabonis goes to help on Karl Malone. As a result, Sabonis voices his displeasure - wordlessly, while still making noises with his vocal cords and lungs - about the Blazer lineup which features him and two small forwards up front.
9:50: This is a great game, both teams are just living and dying with each possession, with all sorts of shots rolling in and out. The Jazz are still up, 65-61.
8:40: John Stockton shoves Greg Anthony and the refs don't notice, Anthony gets upset and shoves back, Stockton falls, and Anthony "inadvertently" nails Stockton on the back of the head with his shoe. Malone is upset that Anthony doesn't get a technical, he gets in Bennett Salvatore's face, and Salvatore responds with a "don't **** with me" for all of the national TV audience to see. Playoffs!
8:14: Scottie Pippen with one of the better passes I've ever seen him throw, finding Detlef with a one-handed one-bouncer from 35 feet for the lay-in. Blazers down 67-63.
7:43: Another gorgeous pass from Pippen, and two-hand bounce feed for Brian Grant, who throws in the two-hand slam. A young Jermaine O'Neal cheers from the sidelines.
7:25: Stockton nearly singes off the ears of two different Portland Trail Blazers as he finds a cutting Karl Malone for the lay-in, Jazz up 69-65.
7:05: Does anyone else think Arvydas Sabonis kind of looks like Ewan MacGregor in a certain light? No? OK.
6:01: The Mailman is delivering on both ends. We'll see how he does in the second half of the quarter.
5:55: Sabas with the jump hook over an overmatched Olden Polynice. Greg Ostertag has yet to see a single second of game action.
4:42: Rasheed with suffocating D on Malone, leading to a fast-break. Stoudamire misses Sheed in transition, finding Detlef instead, and Schrempf misses what seems like his fifth open shot of the game, this time a finger roll. He'd finish 2-8 from the floor.
3:59: Rasheed Wallace is on the baseline, a foot away from being out of bounds, and missing an 18-footer.
3:52: Rasheed Wallace is one foot in front of the rim on the other side of the court, and he just rejected a Karl Malone jump hook, while on the ball (and in back of Malone). Wow. Amazing timing and athleticism. Just about 94 feet in about five seconds, before rejecting a shot. Blazers down two.
3:10: When you're all legs, like James Posey or Bryon Russell, you can hesitate and still find enough after crouching to rise up and nail the longer jumper. As Russ just did. Jazz up four.
2:30: Pippen hits two free throws, the Blazers are within two, the crowd is going nuts, the Jazz bring it up, a faint whistle is heard ... illegal defense.
I don't miss that.
2:02: Off a Stoudamire missed trey, Brian Grant gathers the offensive board, misses the put-back, but tips in another follow. Tied at 75.
1:47: Russell catches Pippen trying to guard three people at once, shows the ball, and dives into the lane for the tough 14-foot jumper with the Dick Barnett-like leg curl. Jazz by two.
1:30: Great defense by the Jazz, but Steve Smith just had an open dash to the basket off a Pippen feed and had the ball taken away by Olden Polynice.
1:22: Pippen is guarding Stockton ...
1:15: Pippen takes away the screen and roll, Stockton throws the pass into Malone in the post, his jumper is short, Pippen with the rebound.
1:09: Pippen's lay-in in transition is negated by a flop and Brian Grant getting called for setting a screen in transition. Jazz still up, 77-75.
0:47.9: With the Blazers switching on everything and time running out, Pippen takes away Bryon Russell's dribble, Rasheed overplays on Stockton and won't let him get the ball, and Karl Malone answers by driving past Brian Grant and into Grant and Steve Smith for the tough, tough lay-in. Jazz by four. Malone has 27.
0:38.6: A quick post-up for Rasheed results in a turnaround jumper. Beautiful and efficient. Why the Blazers couldn't do this a few weeks later in the fourth quarter against the Lakers is beyond me.
0:12.6: The Blazers overplay on everything while managing to keep themselves in front of their man defensively, and it results in a Stockton three-pointer that never had a chance. Blazers ball, down two, and they take their final timeout.
0:07.3: Pippen with the pull-up trey in Bryon Russell's face, the Jazz are suddenly down one point, and a little shook. Timeout. Antonio Harvey cheers from the Blazer bench.
0:03.4: Stockton gets past Damon Stoudamire and Wallace on his way into the lane, where he finds Bryon Russell. Pippen stops the lay-up, but sends Russell to the line. He's 2-2 on the game from the stripe.
Russell short-arms the first.
The Jazz are complaining, claiming that someone along the baseline messed with the basket stanchion, but unless someone moved the basket a good six inches back, that ball didn't have a chance of going in.
Russell misses the second one, short-arming it again. It wasn't even close. Pippen rebounds the ball, and is fouled. With 1.7 seconds left.
Pippen makes one of two.
0:01.4: Schrempf takes a delay of game warning on purpose. I don't miss that.
Russell tries to get some contact after taking the in-bound pass, jumping into Rasheed Wallace , but it doesn't matter and the shot misses. Blazers win.
Pippen was the difference, with 23 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, three steals, a block, and the game-winner.