Here's TorridJoe with the report from the Moda Center during the Portland Trail Blazers' 102-86 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Center's Centerthe View from Section 216
Blazers v Lakers
February 11, 2015
Welcome back to the Garden of the Red and Black! Feels like last Thursday's Blazers-Suns game was ages ago, but another southwestern-oriented team has come a callin' tonight, the hated L*kers. Except you can tell from the lack of serious buzz in the joint that as long as the purple and yellow stink like rotten eggplant and warm urine, the sheen has gone off the matchup. Still, I think a classic rump-whipping will be almost as satisfying for the local denizens as a playoff-quality contest.
Trip Lee featuring Andy Mineo give us "Insomniac" for pregame warmup tunes, courtesy of Steve Blake's choice.
Speaking of tunes, DJ OG One is the official Blazers DJ. If given the chance I would ask him : so you're the Original Gangster, One? The first Original? Is that like trying to be the first plumber in the phone book by calling yourself AAA Plumbing? Was it like AOL where you had to act fast or else only DJOG64 and higher would be available for your login? I'm glad he got a low number for us though apparently OKC had to settle for DJ Derivative Gangster Four. (By all accounts DJ is a nice fella so I'm only playin')
I got here late and decided to go with the quick self serve option at Nook Market on the Club level. They have sandwiches, salads, snacks and a bao station(!), bao being a Vietnamese cross between a muffin and a dumpling, typically stuffed with meat and veg. I wasn't in the mood for a muffling, so I snagged an Olympic Provisions ham and Tillamook cheddar sammy. Sure sure, NY delis blow us away but we do OK with our cold cuts.
Dame gets a mild cheer from the crowd for the jumbotron hype regarding his eventual All-Star selection. Maybe we're just as ambivalent about it now as he is. But sometimes those pregame reels stir up the fans, sometimes not.
The Bobby Torres Ensemble did a jazz quartet version of the anthem. I love a lot of jazz though I confess I like the early stuff best. And this wasn't that "free" as jazz goes, ala Spinal Tap at their nadir. Still, I found it...distracting. I don't like diva riffs off-melody and I don't like Jazz Odyssey in my anthems either, it turns out. I'm glad the team staff pick a variety of performances from the auditions, though.
Crispin Apple Cider claims the big revolving ad banner courtside at tipoff. We also were treated to the DLillard1 shoe banner, perhaps the only court in the NBA to feature that pairing. Micromarketing!
The Moda has gone Mod! Disco lighting has been added, with colored spots highlighting center court during Blazer Dancer routines, and the whole arena now features "Hollywood" style roving spotlights. Everybody dance now, and whatnot.
The Blazers marketing team are no dummies; they jumped on the "Portland carpet" craze and featured a Blazer-themed version of the famous PDX floor pattern as their T-shirt of the night for sale. Someone's bright idea at the Monday morning comes to fruition. I might have liked SHEEEEED t-shirts but hey.
Wes hits the first attempted three of the night from a ROLO offensive board. Huzzah! say the assembled. (Wes Money does not live up to his name on the second, however. Ya bum.) Always feels like a good sign to break the seal from deep early.
A great Batum pass to a baseline-streaking Lopez draws an anticipatory "ooooh!" but he is somewhat surprisingly stuffed at the rim. The shock is audible. Didn't see that coming!
From a pure excitement point of view, nothing beats a series of missed threes and ORebs followed by a made three. With each miss you know the next one has a better chance of falling. By the third attempt you'd wager your mortgage on a make. Thankfully nobody who did lost their house: Portland triple FTW!
Late break! Refs finally call a TV timeout with just 4:56 left and the Blazers ahead 20-17. Feels like it should be more but ain't that the Blazer way.
The suspense on the Papa Murphy's 4:25 pizza promo is KILLING me, brah! (They were in fact ahead when the magic moment struck, woot. Go getcha pizza).
Dame's entry to the All-Star game is rewarded with another, more personal little tribute video, which now that the crowd is settled and in the swing receives a much more robust reception. Congrats to Damian.
Also congrats to Norma Panowicz, season ticket holder since the jump, who gets a slice of the '77 floor from...Blaze? Remember last game the woman had Schonz present to her? Blaze is cool and all but really? I'd feel ripped off. Kinda ruins the solemnity when your team presenter nods his head like it's on a bobble and hugs you with his tail.
A Swaggy three at the first quarter horn rims round and round and round before spilling out. The Blazers got sloppy at the very end and it looked like fairly strong dominance wouldn't amount to much of a lead. That missed three was a cheery relief.
"Amber" plays the price range game with the help of the fans in a vain attempt to win appliances. I've never seen someone fail to get a single one right, but I suppress the urge to boo. The fans, I mean. We were no help.
Family trike race! And for the first time in probably 100 Blazer games my section won! We won...McDonalds fries. Which we're a stone cold lock to get a freebie for already after the game (if we want one). Yay?
2:18 in the half and it's 50-42 good guys, but how is it that close? Five threes and 15 made FT in a half doesn't guarantee a big lead, but when your opponent is shooting 36%? Perplexing. I stumble out for answers hidden between Ruby Jewel ice cream cookies.
Two teams of 5th graders from Seaside dueled it out on the big court and when one of the peewees positively NAILED a corner NBA three, those left glued to their seats gave a Blazer-worthy "Ooooh." Kid won't forget that soon, I bet. There was also a kid who fell violently to the floor of his own accord and threw the ball at the rim helplessly. I hope he didn't hear me yell "Nice try, Harden!" at him.
Halftime local tunes: some big boys! Modest Mouse gives us "The Best Room."
You know what gets Portland fans off? Hustle. Wes makes the steal and chases it halfway up the floor, ending up kissing it with his backside but retains the ball, turns over like a wrong way turtle and finds Lillard for the pass, who crushes the jam with authority. We like. And that starts the 3rd quarter rally that basically ended the game and took all the tension out of rooting. We gonna win.
Fair number of L*ker fans here as usual, though not as many as when the Kobe Show used to roll through. Plus they're hard to spot when there's nothing to cheer about.
"Luke" gets to spin for the half court Toyota shot. He ends up shooting to win the pricey Highlander, and the dealer is definitely hoping for a miss. Luke is on line, but jumps a bit early and is a bit shorter still on the shot. Sad trombone Yadda Yadda, Luke.
The 50/50 raffle pot was $6838, good haul for a Wednesday.
Four (different) scrub L*kers come in with 5:30 left and LA down 20, appearing to give up the ghost with just one starter on the court for Portland (Batum). Fakers get it to 18 but Meyers claims the Fry Guy title for the night with a saucy three from the top. It's all over but the Claver sighting, and soon enough it's streamers and love throughout the arena. Blazers Win! Nine days until the next tilt; maybe say hi to your spouse and kids and see what's up with them?
All Meyers All the Time
Please Trade Barrett/Rice
Un Deux Trois
Lillard BAE (ask your kids)
Put on Your Dame Face
Rip City Rip City Tonight!
Blazer Mania Lives On
I See AllStars
Kobe Where? (with "who" crossed out)