I didn't go into this game expecting anything good to come out of it except lottery position, and through 3 quarters that's what I got. But when the fourth quarter was through I was very glad I had made the effort.
For most of the game the primary thing I noticed was how really, really good TMac and Yao are. Raef LaFrentz was made to look really bad a couple of times in the offensive post solely because the guy on the other team is crazy tall. I could have seen him scoring in those positions on 20 other starting centers in the league. Both MacGrady and Yao can score at will. Portland did a fair (not great, mind you) job on both of them (except for a few slow rotations) but they were just better.
The big surprise to me for the Blazers was Freddie Jones. Apparently he can shoot, and take guys off the dribble, and pick up and-1 fouls on Yao, and pretty much carry the Blazers for a stretch. He had two opportunities for MONSTER ALLEY OOPS but was fouled on one and had Dickau running the break for the other (our whole section was bummed out because it looked like a guaranteed slam!!).
During the fourth quarter I was really impressed by both the Blazers and the fans. The instant there was a sniff of a comeback there was noise and energy. That noise carried through to the 3 minute mark when Houston bumped the lead back to 10 and a few started to file out. It picked up again big until the one minute mark when more people filed out. The amazing thing was that even with about 5000 (approx.) people in the stands they were still able to get some volume into the arena. It was great!!!
I believe next year will be a great year to be going to games. The energy hasn't been this big in a long time. I don't feel like an outcast anymore for cheering and that is really, REALLY nice. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!