A hard trail, this is

What can you say about a game where your best shooter is Shaun Livingston?

Okay, that’s unfair — to Livingston, who has busted a nut trying to get back into the NBA after that godawful knee injury in ’07 just about killed his career altogether. And indeed, Livingston’s return to active duty — he scored 10 points and reeled in three rebounds in 26 minutes — was the one ray of sunshine through the blackness inside the Ford as the Trail Blazers stomped all over the Thunder, 107-72.

I’m serious. Take out Livingston’s five-for-six from the floor, and the Thunder shot barely 32 percent. Then again, the Blazers’ defense was impeccable: they rolled up 57 rebounds (OKC managed only 35), and rookie forward Nicolas Batum bottled up Kevin Durant all night, holding KD to 13 points, the most any of the Thunder could manage.

Meanwhile, Portland poured in the points: LaMarcus Aldridge had 35, plus 18 rebounds to boot; Brandon Roy had 15; Steve Blake had 14 plus 10 assists. And Joel Przybilla hit only one bucket, but he hauled in 11 boards.

So for me, anyway, this was the Shaun Livingston Show, and once again, I marvel at the prescience of Thunder GM Sam Presti, who, unlike apparently everyone else in this league, didn’t think the poor fellow was washed up. One good game perhaps proves nothing; then again, Livingston did score in double figures five times in eleven games for the D-League’s Tulsa 66ers before getting the call. Besides, “all he has to do to earn a consistent spot in the rotation is be better than Earl Watson.”

The Pacers are here Sunday.







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