Big game tonight. Well, at least, big only in the sense that for those of us who hate the Lakers, it would be damn nice to beat them in their own house (speaking of which, I'd like to nominate all of the "we have got to protect this house!" commercials as the dumbest in the history of tv ads but that's another story for another day). Anyhow, this will be Portland's first game against them this year. Did anyone notice that Portland only plays them three times this season?
Probable Starting Lineups ...
PG - Van Exel
SG - Stoudamire
SF - Patterson
PF - Randolph
C - Ratliff
PG - Chucky Atkins
SG - Caron Butler
SF - Jumaine Jones
PF - Lamar Odom
C - Chris Mihm
For any of you who have a gambling problem such as myself, the blazers are 3.5 point underdogs. I'm not saying you should bet against them because it's bad karma. I'm just saying that LA will probably cover.
In other news, this might be Rudy Tomjanovic's last game as the Lakers' coach. ESPN is reporting he may step down, due to a combination of the team's performance and health issues.
UPDATE: The Blazers have activated Viktor Khryapa for tonight's game. You all will remember that Khryapa was one of the club's first-round draft picks this past offseason, at #22 overall. He broke a foot during the Rocky Mountain Review summer league, and I had thought he'd be out for the year. Apparently not. Khryapa is a 6-9, 210 lb forward. This may explain the non-tender of James Thomas. Here is an exerpt from nbadraft.net's summary of Khryapa:
Strengths: Versatility. The way he plays the set offense as a wing player
is impressive. He somehow finds a way to score. His repertoire includes blowing
past a defender for a monster dunk, hitting the trey if he has the time to set
his feet or making the double team pay with a perfect pass (including
spectacular ones). Back door cuts have become a useful weapon which indicates he
is adept at the strategic side of the game. He knows how to play the low post
game when matched up with a smaller player. A player of certainly more than one
Weaknesses: Inexperience. Has not had the chance to demonstrate his ability
on the top level. Even though there have been rumors that big clubs in Europe
(Real Madrid and Barcelona) are after him, he has not seen any top level
competition to this point (20 years). Considering the fact that the shift of
interest to European players is partly due to their acquisition of high level
competition earlier than most US players, he does not have it.