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Blazers Blimp Fiasco Amuses Broadcast Teams

By Greg Rappaport |

A bizarre scene unfolded during the first half at the Moda Center in Portland on Thursday night.

No, I’m not talking about the two teams combining to shoot just 36% through two quarters of play. The scene I’m referring to is of course when a behemoth indoor blimp in the shape of a Ford SUV landed in the crowd and then was unceremoniously shoved into the concourse by a cadre of Moda Center employees.

The sight brought both Quinn Buckner and Chris Denari of the Pacers broadcast team, and Mike Rice and Mike Barrett of the Blazers TV crew, into fits of laughter.

“That’s priceless, whatever you want to call it, that is priceless!” Buckner howled. “And during the game no less! Priceless!”

“I’m glad that’s an inflatable,” Denari added; perhaps giving a bit of silver lining for the fans whose views were obstructed by the Hindenburg-eque scene.

On the Blazers side of the broadcast, color commentator Mike Rice was distracted from Robin Lopez’s foul shots by the downed blimp and exclaimed “Whoa!”

“Check out the blimp crashed in the stands,” play-by-play man Mike Barrett said with a chuckle. “Nobody was hurt, I think they’re trying to get it down the tunnel!”

Rice worried fans might retaliate with sharp objects, “Somebody will stick a pin in that thing if they can’t see the game!”

Eventually both broadcast teams were able to refocus their attention away from the indoor aerial fiasco and back on the game.

And as Fox Sports Indiana went to a commercial break, Buckner gave one final update on the aviatic mishap.

“Oh by the way,” he said, “For those of you who want to know, the car is gone.”

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A not-so-garden-variety, java-like blend of contributors bringing you the latest and greatest general Pacers news behind a veil of relative anonymity.

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