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Suns Eyewitness Report

HarperDC sends in the following from last night's game:

Just wanted to add a few comments from the Suns game last night - I traveled up with a few friends/colleagues from work, and though we got in late in the first quarter (once parking, tickets and bathroom were done) all it sounds like we really missed was a disappointing start and Joel Przybilla. Watching Portland run small - at times utilizing Randolph and Outlaw as the front-line - was kind of weird, but with Outlaw providing a LOT of good quality minutes and Randolph playing well enough it worked. Aldridge's foul trouble lent a reason to running small too.

More on LaMarcus: I think it was because by the time I was really paying attention he was playing with four fouls, but he looked a little tentative and even slightly bullied by Amare. That's at least the impression I got. One play will stand out as huge from the game, though: Getting absolutely capped by Stoudemire on one end of the court, Aldridge hustled back; Amare eventually got the ball through the transition play and Aldridge took the charge brilliantly. Now, I don't like taking charges in intramural games, nonetheless an NBA charge, and even worse, a flying, almost-7-foot-tall exploding bull named Amare Stoudemire, but that's what Aldridge took. That's manhood.

This was the first time I got to see B-roy play in person...and I was very impressed. Both his shot and how he winds through traffic in the paint can be legitimately called "silky smooth." In two years this young man will have the city wrapped around his finger - we all know why, but seeing his play in person really emphasizes it. He'll get "star calls" soon.

Notes on the Rose Garden atmosphere inside the bowl and on the concourse: the Roy jerseys (now on sale!...along with LaMarcus', Przybilla's and Webster's) were almost gone from the store at halftime and were PLENTIFUL in the crowd. Lots of Blazers stuff in general, and while there were Suns fans there, it seemed like the crowd was out to see the black and red. Merch store just in general was BUSY at half, too. The crowd wasn't "full-ish," it was 17,000 announced and DEFINITELY looked bigger than that - and, what's better, for those last two minutes of the fourth quarter, it looked, sounded and FELT like a Duck home game at McArthur Court, minus the revved-up Pit Crew. I'm so used to such a raucous crowd in Eugene that seeing NBA stadiums almost dead is fascinating, but to see the stadium start to rock like that was great. And the video on the scoreboard during the timeout with Bluto's "Did we give up when the Nazis bombed Pearl Harbor?" speech from Animal House? Brilliant.

I've got a soft spot for the Suns after reading Jack McCallum's wonderful "Seven Seconds or Less" on them during winter break, and I sincerely think and hope they win the title this year. Don't get me wrong - I'm a Blazer fan through and through - but with our team in transition right now, and the Suns playing fun-to-watch basketball, why not pick up a little side interest? They did look like they were missing some little something out on the court last night - Nash being gone really affected them. Amare, I kept waiting for him to bite Jamaal's head off and then posterize him in the second quarter...Barbosa will be a star...and Marion? Nash leading a fast break is scary, but Marion finishing one is even scarier. the Matrix is for real.

All in all, a great night - I think the place would've exploded if Outlaw's lay-up had rolled in, but hell, regardless of the record, we've hung with two of the better Western conference teams in the last week. Considering we started the season counting ping-pong balls, I'm just happy to be competitive. Though, as my friend said of last night's game, that's one we'll win in two years...or, jeez, with this team's advanced scheduling, maybe next year. Who knows.

Cheers - harperdc

Thanks for the report!

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)