The Portland Trailblazers visited beautiful Salt Lake City to play their inaugural game against the Jazz. The last time I was in Salt Lake City, it was for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. I remember being a tall, dark, handsome, single, mature, responsible young adult dreaming of bumping into the Canadian women’s snowboarding team in a sparsely inhabited bar filled with microbrews with the thermostat cranked to 101 degrees. After strolling around the doublewide streets of downtown SLC, I couldn’t find any bar, much less any women available for a nice friendly conversation. I later found out that the party was at the Olympic Village, but being a non-Olympic athlete, I was barred from all the fun. My dreams of finding the “one” for the week were crushed. This is how Utah Jazz fans must feel about Gordo Hayward.
Gordo went 0-8 in the first half in 14 minutes of play. After missing his first three shots, Gordo thought he had an easy breakaway but because he was completely unaware of his surroundings, only to find Crash blocking him from behind. The next play down, Gordo gets pick pocketed by Crash for another easy Blazer score. I’m pretty sure every white guy outside of Utah thought he could play NBA basketball for the Jazz after watching Gordo in the first half.
Utah is a funny place. People are superb, genuine, and passionate. The one thing missing from the town back then was a good Barber Shop. I was in such a rush to get to SLC for the 2002 games that I didn’t get my hair appropriately faded for the event. I looked everywhere around my hotel and eventually found a place called the Sophisti-cut. I figure that was the only location that can make the right fade for such a complex style on my noggin. Well, it sucked. I could have put a bowl on my head and made it better. I’m pretty sure Kanter and Gordo both go to the Sophisti-cut. They easily win the “teammates with the worst hairdo” award in the association.
Other than the suckiness of Gordo and his hairdo, Gerald Wallace brought his aggressive style on both ends for the Blazers in the first. Aside from that, the only other notable development is Nic being first off the bench and Craig Smith entering as LMA backup after rumors of him being the odd man out on a shorten rotation. Freak out much people?
45-39 Blazers lead at halftime.
Although my dreams of being in a hot tub full of Canadian women Olympic athletes were crushed, I still had fun in Park City. I remember getting a kiss from Kelly Clark, the US Gold medal winner of the women’s half pipe event. I wish she kissed me while she was still wearing her full helmet/gear so my image of her would stay intact, but some things in life are meant to be a Monet – much like our Blazers – good from afar, far from good.
LMA comes out hitting his first handful of shots in the third quarter and stretch our lead to nine. LMA is easily the best player on the court, and I would say most of us wish he felt the same way each time he enters the court. If he brings that type of confidence and aggressive play, I’m not sure many players can stop him. Without any help from his teammates, the Jazz cut the lead to one entering the fourth.
Nico also brought his restricted free agent game, hitting 4-4 from three in the fourth quarter. Kurt Thomas was so impressed that his crazy eyes almost popped out of their sockets.
The Jazz lead by three with 18 seconds left after Gordo missed one of two from the line. The Blazers take the ball down and pass it like a hot potato before calling a timeout. Nico passed up an open three. If he wants to take the next step, he needs to take that shot especially after going 4-4 from the three in the fourth quarter alone.
Out of the timeout, Nate calls a great play going through LMA for an inside out three but instead of taking the shot, Wesley drives to the hoop for an easy two. Down one with five seconds left. Wes fouls CJ Miles. CJ makes the first and misses the second, but we couldn’t grab the rebound so game over.
89 – 93 Jazz win
I could have written this ending last week when I went to Taco Bell during my lunch break. Did you know that SLC has the most Taco Bell location in a 10-mile radius of any city? There are so many Taco Bell locations that Josh Howard wears seven layers of sock in honor of the seven-layer taco. Next time we play in SLC, I’m going to Taco Bell to reminisce about 2002 Winter Games.
Players that sucked more than Creed singing at the 2002 Ceremony:
- Wesley Matthews
- Raymond Felton
- Blazers shoot 5-20 from three (1-13 from our guards)
- Jazz outrebound Blazers 51-37
- Craig Smith, 19 PER, plays 8 minutes
- E.Will plays 20 seconds to secure Nate’s 10 man rotation
- Blazers still have three guys on the bench that don’t belong in the NBA: Babbitt, Armon, and Ociepka
Questions real media people should ask:
- Nate, we scrapped tonight, how come we didn’t win?
- Raymond, shouldn’t you demand a trade since Portland fans hate you and your sucky play?
- LaMarcus, when is it a good time to yell at your friends on the team?
- Kurt Thomas, can we get one of those crazy eyes for a photo op?
Fake Quotes of the Night:
- “I can’t see myself playing anywhere but in Utah. To be honest, I’m too afraid to play for another NBA Team.” – Gordo
- “You better be scared if you see me a dark alley.” – Coach Corbin
- “I hope I never see Coach Corbin in a dark alley.” – Luke Babbitt
- “Scrap ain’t worky.” – Nate
- “I’m so happy my best friend on the team, Jamal, didn’t suck tonight. I’m thinking about getting a tattoo that says “Play Harder” so my teammates can get a hint versus me telling them to their face.” – LMA
- “Shit, I don’t want this team.” – Bert Kolde