Sunday, November 7, 2010
Blazers beat Raptors 97-84; my game experience
Growing up a kid I was a Seattle Supersonics fan despite living less than an hour from Portland. The Sonics were my team and growing up it easy to like the Sonics as they won 55 games or from 1993-1998 so when I was in first grade through sixth grade. The Blazers were in a transition my age group had just missed the Drexler run and they were a rival. I hated the Blazers growing up because it was fun tossing their fans crap growing up just like with Cougar fans(Back then Beaver and Duck bandwagoners hadn't exist yet). The Blazers themselves well were a rival to the Sonics but not really. Both teams were only good one season at the same time back in 1978 so seven years before my existence. When the Sonics had their run the Blazers were barely making the playoffs.
Just like all rivalries things change and in the late 90's the Sonics fired George Karl and the Blazers came out of nowhere during the strike season. I found myself pulling for the Blazers that playoff run as they made the Western Conference Finals. When they choked to the Spurs in game two blowing an 18 point lead I was sad for the Blazer fans. At school that's all everyone talked about. The following year the Blazers were a great team in fact everyone knew the championship was going to come down to the Lakers and Blazers. Although I was a Sonics fan I was so upset during that game seven collapse to the Lakers. I realized then it wouldn't be the end of the world if the Blazers were to have success.
Flash forward to a few years later and Sonics after winning a division title had some horrible news. Nate McMillan would leave the Sonics an organization he had been a part of since 1987 would leave after the 2005 season. He left to the "rival" Trail Blazers who were owned by Seahawks owner Paul Allen. The Blazers then selected Martell Webster from Seattle Prep high school. The following year the Sonics were sold to Clay Bennett and drafted some player named Sene. That same draft the Blazers selected Brandon Roy from the University of Washington and Garfield High School. Then as we all know the NBA left Seattle. The Sonics moved to hijack city. I was left without a team and was very hurt that my first favorite sport growing had left me. Last year I went to a Blazers game with my mom(can't turn down free tickets) and the atmosphere sucked me in. I even bought a Brandon Roy RIP City jersey and a blazers hat. I had a fun time and the Blazers destroyed the Timberwolves.
Well again I got free Blazers tickets and decided to go to the game. This time I brought a friend who might be the biggest Blazers fan I know. He is such a huge Blazers fan he currently has four Blazers on his fantasy team and not one of them is Brandon Roy. I was excited to go to the game although I couldn't name three players on the Raptors heading into the game. Before the game we stopped by the team shop and looked around as he was telling me that every game he goes to if you walk around the arena you'll find Blazers president Larry Miller walking around.
So before the game me and my friend are walking around the arena and standing by the concession line my friend goes "Hey its Wheels!". I look over and it was Mike Wheeler the play by play man for the Blazers on the radio. Strange seeing a Blazers employee getting food at some concession stand that some normal person can get food. So we were walking around and stopped to get a beer while watching the Arizona-Stanford game. Notice Larry Miller walking around and I chuckled as my friend was right about him.
Then it's game time so we walk down the section but it was the wrong section(we were 108, this was 110) and standing behind us was you guessed it Larry Miller. My friend goes hey Larry and then Larry despite being the team president extended his hand to shake my friends hand. Well we go down our right section this time and there playing the national anthem I look in front of me and it's Larry Miller. So after the anthem I go to shake his hand and he shook my hand and said "Hey Larry". Talked a bit with him which was nice. The Mariners preach family friendly at the games but I never see Mariners brass do stuff like that probably because everyone hates them. I thought that was awesome because he was the president of an NBA team and easily could have big leagued me but chose not to.
The game was ready to begin but first the starting lineups. I'm starting to finally like the Blazers warm up song. The video on the big screen gets you pumped up and they did the starting introductions where Brandon Roy of course got the loudest ovation. The game then began and it was kind of a boring first quarter. The Blazers led only 18-17, would go up 6 then fall back. The Blazers starters were outplaying the Raptors starters but the bench wasn't very good.
The second quarter towards the end of the quarter the starters for the Blazers started to take over led by Brandon Roy. The Blazers led at halftime 45-34 over the Raptors. The Blazers starters looked great in the first half like I said. While the recently acquired Sean Marks was horrible. As were the fans sitting behind me saying such stupid statements like "I think Wesley Matthews is from either Utah or Denver but he's been in the league for six to seven years", "Where is Sean Marks at? Why isn't McMillan playing him?". I can't think of any more off the top of my head but it was ridiculous. At halftime grabbed another beer with my friend and went back to watch the second half.
In the second half the Blazers did like they did in the first half pretty much coasted to a win. At one time the Blazers starters had outscored the Raptors 67-29 but the bench was outscored 24-5. The Blazers had a 20 point lead throughout the fourth quarter and the only drama was would the Blazers get the fans free Chalupa's. The Blazers did not winning 97-84 as McMillan emptied the bench. Without Rudy Fernandez and with Wesley Matthews in foul trouble the Blazers bench wasn't very good. The starters were terrific though.
Let's start with Brandon Roy who took over scoring when the team would go through their offensive woes. Roy added 26 points on 9 for 19 shooting and had a +/- of +29 in his 37 minutes. His other guard Andre Miller struggled scoring having made just one bucket and scoring just six points. He did however dish out 13 assists and grab six rebounds. Marcus Camby was fun to watch. I love watching big men battle for boards and he was battling former Sonic Reggie Evans all game long. Evans would end up with 9 rebounds in just 21 minutes but Camby was a beast posting 8 points but 16 rebounds. Nicholas Batum has improved a lot on his scoring shooting 7 for 14 including 3 of 6 from three point range scoring 20 points. LaMarcus Aldridge had a nice 20/10 game scoring 22 points and having 10 rebounds including 6 offensive. Aldridge shot 9 for 18 and I'd like to see him shoot in the 16-20 shots a game range.
Overall I had a really fun time at the Blazers game. I might break my streak and actually pay for an NBA game when they play a decent opponent. For a lame opponent on a Saturday night that saw their team(Oregon Ducks) play the same day to sell out the place was pretty fun. The crowd like Qwest Field was very electric and I'll go to some more Blazers games. I'm still am and always will be a Sonics fan at heart. Until the NBA returns to Seattle I will slowly adopt the Blazers. I hope most Seattle fans can make it to one Rose Garden game because it truly is a great experience.