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Sunday, November 30, 2008

The bandwagon's going to get awfully crowded

December has often been a kind month to the Trail Blazers. I can remember several amazing winning streaks during that month, even in years in which the team wasn't too good.

This year, of course, the team is pretty darn good, and it's going into the month with a record of 12 wins and 6 losses -- tied for second best in the Western Conference, which is the better half of the NBA. Portland is one of only two teams in the league who have won all their home games so far, and today they beat the Detroit Pistons, a perennial powerhouse, albeit one that's on the decline these days as its players get creaky.

Between the bright young players who joined the Blazers in the last couple of years now coming of age, and the additions of Greg Oden and Rudy Fernandez, the Portland team is hitting on all cylinders. It has dangerous shooters, big guys who can score inside, and Brandon Roy, who's a threat any time he has the ball in his hands. So far, Portland has won with an inside-outside combination that has kept defenses on a yo-yo.

In past years, those defenses have eventually caught on to the Blazers, and the successes of December have turned to frustration in the spring. But given this Portland squad's athleticism, growing experience, and depth -- not to mention a .667 winning percentage at the end of November -- it's not going to fade away the way the Blazers of the recent past have inevitably done. Barring a collapse that seems highly unlikely at this point, the Blazers will be selling out most of their home games and competing in the playoffs. Depending on their opponents, perhaps they will even go a round or two into the post-season tournament.

It's still hard for me to look at Paul Allen without cringing, and I still think he's going to move his basketball hobby to Seattle at the first opportunity, but everyone else in the organization is smelling like a rose right now. The best moments since Y2K are here.

Comments (9)

He can't Jack, he has an ironclad lease with mega penalties til 2030....

A Sunday in late November - perfect NFL viewing, right? Wrong. I now look forward to Blazer games and today I watched them beat Detroit in the Motor City.
Every great team has that one complete surprise who turns out to be excellent: With this one it's Nicholas Batum. The kid is a star. Today he chased down Prince and blocked a lay-up from behind. Amazing.
Aldridge lit up Rasheed for 28. Brandon Roy is the resident superstar.
The Spanish connection is remarkable.
And Oden? He swatted away a couple of Iverson shots and is starting to look like the player from Ohio State. Gone is the Amish beard and the forlorn face from the injury. Oden is a force field. Some of the rebounds already look historic.
This team is a joy to behold. I'd have to go back to when we got Danny Ainge and added him to the Clyde years to approach this kind of enjoyment for me. I think I actually paid to watch a preseason game on TV back then - that's how psyched up I was.
And so many games are on TV now, including Friday night at Boston.
It's like having one of those special sporting events that you look forward to, but there's 4 a week with these guys.
My hunch is that this is the road trip that will catapult them into the NBA spotlight. And if not, so what? Everybody's young. Today we had a 19 and 20-year-old excelling against Detroit on their court. This could go on for years. The only time they looked scared was against the Suns, but just about every game lately has been tremendous to watch. Following this current Blazer team is rapidly becoming one of the best experiences I've ever had as a sports fan. I love these guys.

He can't Jack, he has an ironclad lease with mega penalties til 2030....

Allen owns the building. The lease is with himself.

The exclusive site agreement with the city expires in 2023. But Allen could find ways around it. Certainly he could sell the Blazers (there were prospective buyers on the line recently), buy another franchise (say, New Orleans or Charlotte), and move his new team to Seattle. In which case, as I say, Paul's hobby has gone elsewhere.

Or he could move the Blazers to Seattle once a replacement franchise was bought by new owners for Portland. Portland might have to be paid a few millions, but Paul wouldn't feel it much. And if the New Orleans or Charlotte team moved to Portland, the city's damages might not be so great.

There are a lot of NBA teams that are going to have attendance problems this year.

Allen is a Seattle guy, not a Portland guy. I don't see him here for another 15 years now that there's a gaping vacancy up north.

All I know is that I've never been much of a basketball fan; but consider my purchase of half season tickets in the first level one of the most enjoyable things I've done in at least a year or two. I won't even mention how many new "friends" I've acquired looking for choice seats at Blazer games. These young guys are great to watch; and just prior to yesterday's Detroit game they flashed a statistic showing the ages of the Detroit Starting five vs. the Trailblazers. The ENTIRE BLAZER STARTING ROSTER had less NBE experience than just two of the Detroit starters. GO BLAZERS!

I doubt Paul is looking to move the Blazers to Seattle anytime soon. One of the reasons the team left is Seattle residents are tired of opening their wallets for sports teams. In Portland there is no other major team competition for the money.

Facts sometimes get in the way of hard felt opinions. Go Blazers!

It's amazing to see their growth over the course of 18 games... To add Oden, Batum and Fernandez (all rookies) into the rotation with significant minutes is no small feat. They've learned quickly to play together and earn wins in a myriad of ways. You can see they're starting to discover that killer instinct; not satisfied winning close games, they're breaking teams' backs at the 6 minute mark. Or sooner.

I've always liked Outlaw, but Batum is rapidly making him expendable. That Pritchard had the sense to give him a roster spot when nobody gave him a chance further illustrates his genius. What a steal.

Right now, aside from the Lakers and probably Boston, the Blazers could beat anybody. Check out the Hollinger Power ranking on ESPN:



Jack , I am shocked , shocked I
tell you , that your admirable
hard-headedness when discussing SoWhat or the city council , turns to mush with the TBlasers.
A bunch of massively overpaid guys in a 'fixed' game. Ever notice how many games feature one team going way ahead , followed by the 'NBA Comeback'
in the 4th... If you want to cheer for quality sports , look no further than BOTH great squads at the Civil War. oh yea,

I agree with you, except Oden is never going to be a big offensive threat.

He looks clueless and pretty much every move on the offensive end of the court is to run to the top of the key and then make a dash to the basket. I'll take the inside defense, though. He needs to get his footwork right and keep the fouls down.

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