Streak to 2
Opening night may not have gone the way the Portland Trail Blazers have wanted but the team has really turned it around since, winning their past two games while making quite the early statement in the process.
Taking on a San Antonio team that narrowly missed out on taking home the NBA Championship last year, the Blazers used their home court advantage to jump out to a 50-39 halftime lead that eventually proved just enough to hold back the Spurs.
Here are some things to love and hate form this game.
Moda Center Makes its Debut
In the hearts of many fans the Moda Center will always be the Rose Garden, but all the hoopla and frivolity surrounding the ‘official’ christening of the Moda Center was great. With music blaring, confetti flying, and players ready too kick the newly named arena off in style, the atmosphere in Portland last night was spectacular.
The win by the Blazers was just the icing on the cake.
The biggest flaw I saw in Portland’s opening night loss against the Suns was inconsistent and rather poor play from a few of their starters, eventually leading to their downfall. Last night things were completely different.
Not only did LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard still look on par, Nicolas Batum, Robin Lopez, and Wesley Matthews continued to step up their game and all played very well. Heck, even Mo Williams stepped up his game off the bench and contributed 13 crucial points on the night.
If the Blazers are going to make any significant moves in the Western Conference this year, they’ll need their starters to continue to evenly distribute the ball throughout the entire season.
Batum Heaves it Up
The game steadily in hand at the end of the fourth despite an attempt by the Spurs to rally and ruin the home opener for the Blazers, Nicolas Batum threw up a shot at the buzzer in celebration of Portland’s victory, and the ball just happened to go in, giving the starter one of the oddest triple doubles in recent memory.
While he apologized right after the game, it’s hard to believe Batum wasn’t trying to get the ball in the basket and attempted to own up to his choice after the game had been settled.
“It went in — I was like, ‘Oh, no’. I didn’t mean to disrespect this team. This is the San Antonio Spurs, the best team from the last 15 years in the NBA. I’ve never disrespected this team. I love this team.”
Aside from his antics at the end of the game (he could have just as easily kept the ball for a few more seconds), Batum’s apology should irk fans even further. Not only does he sound like a dog with his tail between his legs, Batum also sounds like he’s attempting to kiss-up to a program the Blazers should be battling against. So what if you made this one mistake?
You don’t have to go and proclaim your love for a San Antonio squad you should be competing against day-in and day-out.
Toughen up and play smarter.