In-person 3/7 DEN/POR recap


I moved from Portland to Colorado 5 years ago and I think this was my 6th Nuggets/Blazers game here. There have been some good memories (a BRoy OT- forcing 3 pointer, a Sebastian Telfair halfcourt shot at the halftime buzzer), but of these 6 games, I believe the Blazers have only won 1 or 2 of these. Ugh. Whatever it is, the Nugs just seem to have our number whenever we head up there. I get an ominous feeling whenever Im at this game, but it is always a good time to go out and support the boys.

I went to the game with a crew of 12 friends. There were 300 level midcourt tickets for $30 a piece (plus a free beer and t shirt!) and we took up our whole row. Only two blazer fans in the group, but you best believe that didn’t faze me. Lets just say that section 380 got to know me pretty quick.

It is unfortunate that Denver is so good at home and their fans don’t even realize it. This was a nationally televised game as well as a ticket package giveaway night and they still couldn’t fill the arena or get any crowd volume whatsoever in a situation that didn’t involve Chris Anderson or Melo. On the one hand, it was an 830 Sunday night game but still. I don’t need to tell anyone here that at any Blazers/Nuggets game in Portland the Garden would be sold out and rocking no question.

It is always frustrating coming to these Nuggets games. Their fans have no idea how lucky they are to have such a tough, consistent, talented, winning team. Say what you want about JR Smith, Carmelo and Birdman (and lord knows I was), but they are playing really good basketball right now. Crazy to think that they were missing a starter and a rotation player tonight. I don’t know if they can beat the L*kers and Mavs this year, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

I don’t really feel like talking about the actual game, as it was yet another exercise in Blazer futility against the Nuggets, but here are a few things I took away basketball wise.

This was the fourth Blazer game I’ve seen this season. Brandon Roy didn’t play in two of them and he basically didn’t play tonight. As I was wearing my Roy jersey I probably don’t have to tell you how I felt about that. I don’t understand how he didn’t even really try to initiate the offense the way he usually does. He seemed really out of synch tonight, but did provide some good defense.

Its only been 2 weeks, but we clearly missed Camby out there tonight. Cant wait for him to get back.

Speaking of which- God I cant wait for Greg Oden to be good.

Jerryd Bayless this summer will replace Travis Outlaw as the most divisive blazer within the fanbase. Tonight was a perfect example of why. When he came in he took total control of the offense and started looking for the jumper way too often, breaking up any momentum any of his teammates had going and leading us into the 10 point hole we were in most of the game. His four turnovers seemed like 8. Though he ended up the leading scorer, I think this was one of my least favorite performances from him. He needs to hit that three when it matters, not when we are playing catch up. His evolving chemistry with Rudy is so key. The potential is there obviously, but I guess my main concern is that we don’t need a second year player at the backup one. We need someone that is past the hyotheticals and is an experienced NBA role player.

That being said, I had a revelation tonight- I think the Blazers will keep Andre going forward and dump Bayless for a Hinrich/ Conley/ Ridnour type somewhere down the road. We need someone who can get it going when Brandon can’t, and Andre has been that guy no question. Part of this is that we are no longer that young team with potential that we were last season. To progress to an elite team we need guys who are going to win games, not give them away.

The Birdman/Martell block was pretty impressive in person. When Martell went up at first it looked a little sketchy, but then he cocked back and it looked like it was time to fire up the poster machine. However, Birdman got UP on that one. Great play.

There was a giveaway during a timeout called “Threes for Trees.” I didn’t realize that at a BLAZERS and NUGGETS game that there needed to be more Marijuana innuendo than was already provided but I guess you gotta go for it if its there.

Before the game I was getting my tickets from will call and I started chatting up another gentleman in a blazers jersey. Turns out it was Dante Cunningham’s dad! He was a nice guy, totally friendly. Kind of funny that he had a 10 person entourage with him.

In my group was a friend from work who is from Peru. He is a total NBA freak and is (not suprisingly) a L*aker fan. This has lead to plenty of playful teasing around the office, but has also allowed a real friendship to blossom. Leading up to the game, I was just as excited about showing him the NBA experience as I was to see the actual game. The Pepsi Center did not disappoint in this. He was snapping pictures left and right and was absolutely captivated by the non-basketball entertainment. At one point another friend leaned over and asked if I could think of a bigger culture shock than going from small-town Peru to the loud, bright, sterile environment of an NBA game. I couldn’t. After the game he thanked me profusely and we decided that we need to go to another Nugs game before the season ends. I think I converted him.

All in all it was a great night. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the W, but Id be lying if I said I didn’t see this type of performance coming from the Blazers. I got to take an NBA junkie and some Nuggets fans to their first game, and the look on their faces all night was just great to see. I left the game disappointed in my team, but thrilled that I could share one of my favorite things (an NBA game) with friends. While it was an unsuccessful night for the blazers, it was a success for at least one blazer fan.