Rise With Us – It’s the Portland Trail Blazers home opener

This game has been anticipated in Portland for a while and just like the marketing slogan suggests “See What We Can Do”.  So when they come back from the commercial I’m going to see what they actually can do in the home opener against the Hornets.  Hopefully I’ll be around at the end because it will be a good game.

A message from upper management gets it started and wow they’re pulling out all the stops with a little pregame jam from the O’Jays with the hook that you’ve got to give the people what they want.  Um, I think they want some NBA action, actually this intro somewhat catchy and there goes the “Rise With Us” Banner into the rafters.

And we’re ready for action and the Blazers win the tap and miss their first shot.  Blake is on Paul ad the Hornets go to David West early, who gets the hoop and foul on Channing Frye. Anyway I took a few possessions off and the Blazers run then slow it down and Aldridge misses but Roy hustles for the board but Blake misses and Peterson rebounds it for the Hornets and that was too easy for Chandler, 5-5.

Roy from the elbow off a sagging defense under the pick off a pick and roll, 7-5.

Great defense on Peja by Webster, couldnt’ get space on the bump back and the first Zach Randolph mention.  The analyst points out how good a rebounder he he is saying how much the offensive rebounding and second-chance points are missed.  Now it’s 9-7 Hornets but Aldridge with a smooth jumper off the right elbow, 9-9.

West has already started the possession five times and the three-point play makes it 12-9. Frye top of the key miss and a Chandler rebound.  Foul on Aldridge and the announcers are pissed as Chandler knocked Aldridge’s hands away but Peja misses a fast break slows down double on Roy to an open Webster, nobody there to rebound the quick release.  Chandler throws an elbow on Aldridge and the third foul on Aldridge but a Paul three is short and Paul gets the rebound, time to set but Peja misses the three.  Roy with the top of the key jumper and Paul gets the rebound.

West goes up and under through a double team and it’s 14-9 and a we have a timeout with 5:40 remaining as Portland can’t get that important second chance on its offensive sets while presenting an ineffective double team.

This could be dangerous with Aldridge on the bench but Webster gets the pick for a long two.  He’s running off double picks on both sides and on that one was wide open, 14-11.  Coming off a turnover Webster gets another good pick for another long two, 14-13.  West goes into a double team resets and hits a jumper, 16-13.  Outlaw sets up inside the line 16-15. Chandler gets a hard foul from Outlaw (rightfully so after what he got away with earlier).  Sub – Jack comes in for Steve Blake and Chandler misses the second, 17-15

Another step back from Webster over Peja, they can do that all night 17-17.  Outlaw misses and Bobby Jackson into Peja, who is forced off balance by Roy and West misses, Peja pokes it away from a too eager Outlaw and we slow it down, two fakes for Peja but he sets and misses and West goes through everyone and scores, 19-17.  Chandler goes 1-on-1 and fouls Przybilla.  Time for a commercial with 2:15 remaining.  Chandler also got a technical foul for dropping the ball back to the action, Pryzbilla exploits his matchup with Hilton Armstrong and does a drop step and is now 8-for-9 from the line, 21-19 Portland. West gets in thanks to some late help defense, 21-21.

Anyway back to the action, Portland is doing a decent job so far with Aldridge on the bench with three fouls.  A Przybilla put back makes it 26-23 Portland.

Rodriguez starts the second and the ball gets tipped out of bounds.  Near-turnover but Jack recovers but then Jackson knocks down Rodriguez and goes in for the hoop, 26-25. Melvin Ely, you can run your offense against him and Outlaw dumps it into Przybilla, who is a foul shooting machine now and he hits both, 30-25 Portland.

Ely gives it up to Jackson a wild shot over Outlaw is not even close and Jack steps in for a transition jumper.  Ely starts the possession but Pargo strokes the jumper from the line.  A pick and roll with Przybilla and Jack results in a reset of the possession and Rodriguez misses a three. Chandler kicks it out to Jackson for the missed three and Ely pushes his man, 30-27 Portland.  Another rebound for Przybilla and the loose ball goes off Jackson and a loose-ball foul on the Hornets brings us into the break.

Back to the action and Roy crossover on Butler and Chandler is short. chandler backs down his man and misses the fade and Jack thinks three, steps in for two 32-27.   Another high pick and roll and Rodriguez gets by everyone for a kick to Roy for the missed three.  Paul dumps it to Chandler and Joel fouls him before taking a seat, 32-29. McMillian picks LaFrentz over Frye for that substitution by the way and Jack with a behind the back dribble and tries for the high arching layup but misses.  The Blazers have gone zone and three seconds for the Hornets.  Roy right down the middle, absorbs contact and goes off the glass, 34-29.  Outlaw follows with a great breakup of a lob pass but the Blazers miss.

As pointed out earlier, based on reading about Portland’s scrappy practice, I thought this would be that type of game.  I’ll be back later for the fourth if it’s close.

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