Tonight we go Old School as we're joined by Arthur Bradford, who gives us a report from inside the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Sacramento Kings, 112-97. Take it away, Arthur!
What was it like inside the Moda Center tonight while these two small market foes battled it out for bragging rights to 8th place in the western conference? It was fun, like always. The place wasn't full, and the announced attendance of 19,393 seemed generous, but 300 level was packed hosting a jolly sea of bobbing signs and raucous fans.
Watching Boogie Cousins in person is quite a thrill. He was clearly tired from his heroics the night before, but he still seemed to be having his way in the paint. Players like Vonleh and Plumblee look a size smaller next to him. Cousins got agitated early on and the crowd came to life as a technical foul was called. We were all doing our best to make sure his big game streak ended tonight.
My companion for the game was local comedian Bri Pruett, an avid follower of every Blazer player instagram account. She kept me updated on their personal lives as the game progressed.
Although the game was close for 3 quarters, it never really felt that way inside the arena. Frankly, it was little odd to see our team so in control. But I'm not complaining!
Bri and I had a spirited debate about the loud "swish" sound you hear when a player makes a foul shot. Bri believes it is a pre-recorded swish, triggered by some quick fingered staffer in the control booth, while I contend it's the result of sensitive microphone placement around the rim. Each foul shot seemed to provide evidence to bolster the other persons claim and we remained undecided throughout. I told Bri the good readers of Blazersedge would surely know the answer. Do tell!
A sign we liked said, "Allen Crabbe, I know a 3rd grader who says you stole his look!"
At halftime we roamed the halls scouting for good Blazer ensembles and kids with clever signs. Behold our findings!
It's always nice to see everyone in a group decked out in proper gear:
This dude, Jim, said "I've been following the team since they came to town in the 70's." We believe him!
If you're going to root for the visiting team, do it like this guy.
And now, the results of our best kids-holding-signs contest:
Bri had to explain to me the Erkel reference. She also confirmed that on twitter there has been some discussion of the likeness between CJ and this erstwhile TV star.
We also ran into Mustafah here, taking a group of kids to the game with Campfire Portland. He said they are really looking forward to Blazersedge night, when they get to bring an even bigger crew!
See the end of this post for info on how you can help send local kids to see the Blazers play!
For us fans, the most exciting development of the second half was the chippy play between Meyers Leonard and Boogie Cousins. Each time down the floor those two were banging into each other like drunken vikings. I bet Bri that a fight would break out, but was wrong. Cousins pushed Meyers a few times after the whistle and even checked him like a free-safety on a fast break attempt but to his credit, Leonard appeared to keep his cool. The crowd was solidly behind him for his efforts tonight, giving an especially big cheer after Meyers delivered hard foul in late in the 3rd quarter. I almost felt bad for Boogie, tired as he was.
At one point Cousins and Rondo collided and Boogie stayed down on his back throughout the ensuing timeout. Instead of meeting at their bench his teammates gathered around him and they had their talk there. It was about at this point the Kings appeared the give up all hope of winning.
It should be noted that the crowd gave Cousins a big cheer and clapped when he finally got up. The classiest fans in the NBA, right here.
It was also during this break that we witnessed an exciting development in the arena entertainment. This fellow appeared on the big screen:
He is known as "The Fiddler" and according to the announcer he had not played at a Blazers game since the 1980's. But now he's back! You'd be surprised how rousing his fiddle playing can be. They brought him out for a second break and the crowd started dancing in the aisles. C'mon back again Fiddler!
The fourth quarter was notable for a little more Cousins/Leonard scrapping, and then, later, for the appearance of the deep bench. The crowd roared when Chris Kaman hit his first shot. The kid behind us said, "He's still good for an old guy."
I have to admit I too think of Kaman as "an old guy" even though he's nearly ten years younger than me. Bri said, "I think of Damian Lillard as short even though he's a foot taller than me." Fan logic!
Most of the crowd had left, or was leaving, by the time Kaman launched an ill-conceived three pointer. Those of us who were watching would have been justly rewarded had it gone in, but alas, it did not. No one cared though because the Blazers won the game a few seconds later.
The hallways weren't as rowdy as they sometimes are after a home victory. We all left satisfied though. We'll take that 8th spot for now, Sac-Town, and we'll see you for the real showdown on Blazeredge night this spring!
Here's how you can help us send 2000 underprivileged kids to see the Blazers face these same Sacramento Kings on March 28th! Time is running short. We have only a couple weeks left to reach that number. PLEASE celebrate tonight's win by providing tickets to those kids so they can get the same great experience we do. It's easy! Just donate tickets to the cause through this link:
Promo Code: BLAZERSEDGE
Ticket Costs range from $7-13 (There is a $5 processing fee per order.)
You can also call our ticket rep, Lisa Swan, directly at 503-963-3966. You will need to indicate to her that you are donating the tickets you order to Blazer's Edge Night.
Thanks again to Arthur for taking us inside the Moda Center and taking us back with his coverage!