There are some positive and negative things that came out of the Trail Blazers season opener. Though they won I saw some things they need to improve upon. I get that it's the first game and they're still getting into the swing of things. But they do need to work on a few things.
One thing I saw that I didn't like was that they didn't look inside to Greg Oden. He only had 3 shot attempts and one of them was a put back dunk that he had his only score off of. He had the size advantage all night long inside over the Houston front court and the Blazers didn't take advantage of it. Though Oden's performance was very strong with 5 blocks and 12 rebounds and he did stay on the floor 26 minutes which is encouraging. He didn't pick up early fouls which is another positive thing. If he can do this for the rest of the season and add 8 to 14 points a night he will really help the Blazers.
The bench unit tonight looked really strong with Travis Outlaw leading not only the second unit, but all the Trail Blazers in scoring with 23 points. Travis shot the ball extremely well but I still want to see him crash the boards more often. He has the potential to be one of the best offensive rebounding forwards in the league. But he continues to not crash the boards. I guess that's his game though and he's still a solid player and a very good scorer.
Rudy didn't play great but he was good. He was 2 for 3 from three point range and 3 for 5 overall from the field. Again, everyone is still getting into the swing of things again and they still have to develop a chemistry with Andre Miller. Clearly Rudy will have stronger games then this as the season continues. But tonight was not a bad game for Fernandez.
Joel Pryzbilla did what he does and was yet again solid for them in the middle blocking 2 shots and grabbing 10 boards. Though I was surprised to see Joel foul out, he still was solid yet again for the Trail Blazers.
Lastly for the second unit Andre Miller played exceptional. He was a great creator for the Portland offense and in my opinion he outplayed Steve Blake. Miller ended up with 7 assists, one of which was a nice alley oop pass to Travis Outlaw. I expect to see more of the same from Miller as the season progresses. I still think he should be the starter but he was strong off the bench tonight also contributing 9 points.
As for the starters, Brandon Roy's point total will look good in the box score but I don't think he had that strong of a game. He was 5 of 18 from the field and at points during the game, to me at least, he seemed irrelevant. I understand that he had 20 points but it just wasn't one of his better games and I'm sure he feels that way too.
We weren't able to see much of LaMarcus due to foul trouble. But what I saw of him looked good. He was hitting that nice jump shot as he often does and he had a nice and 1 under the basket. So when LaMarcus was on the floor, he was solid.
Martell Webster looked a lot better then I expected him to ending up with 14 points. He even had a really nice dunk on Chuck Hayes I think it was. If Martell keeps this up the Trail Blazers will be fine without Batum.
Steve Blake was another player that seemed irrelevant to me at times. Other then the two 3's that he made I didn't really see him doing much else. But Blake will be fine as the season goes on. He's a good player and he'll contribute more as the season goes on.
Overall I wasn't impressed with the Trail Blazers performance tonight. They were going against a really short handed Rockets team without a legitimate all-star on the floor. Yes Aaron Brooks is good along with Trevor Ariza and Luis Scola. But none of those players are all-star caliber. The Blazers have two all-star caliber players on their roster with Brandon and LA. They have one of the best benches in the entire NBA and they had a size mismatch in the post all night long that they didn't take advantage of. I get that this was the first game and 20 games from now they'll look way better then they do now. But they need to start looking inside for Greg Oden because I don't think that many big men in the NBA will be able to guard him. Brandon needs to shoot the ball better and they can't turn the ball over 26 times a night and expect to win against a team like the Lakers or Spurs. The Blazers shot the ball well tonight (42.9%) and had good success as they often do shooting the 3's (47.6%). They also out rebounded the Rockets 51 to 33 as they should have. But the Trail Blazers need stronger performances from their stars to be able to hang around and beat the big boys in the west like San Antonio and the Lakers.