The Portland Trailblazers beat (barely) San Antonio on Halloween, 100-99. The win was a long time coming; the Spurs had won the last 12 match ups going back to 2005. I was at the game and made a few observations . . .
- Nicolas Batum is a damn good player. I deliberately avoided paying much attention during the summer league and preseason, as they are seldom harbingers of things to come in the NBA. I had heard the preseason chatter about Batum, so I did expect hustle and defense, but knowing he was a 19 year old rookie I just assumed that’s all he brought to the table. Judging from his play last night, however, he also has a pretty shot, great all-around skills, and high basketball intelligence. He’s ready to go now; no question he’d be a starter on the Blazers circa 2005-6. For a rookie he makes remarkably few mistakes on either the offensive or defensive end. And I, and Brandon Roy, love how he gets out on the fast break and finishes.
- Duncan in unstoppable, but the refs help him out anyway. He doesn’t need the refs’ help, though of course this is the NBA so he gets plenty of it for large chunks of the game. (entire first half in this case)
- The Blazers have to come up with a new song snippet for LaMarcus Aldridge. When LA does something impressive a snippet of Randy Newman’s I Love L.A. is blared out over the PA in the Rose Garden. I cannot abide Lakers fans inside the Rose Garden, and I cannot abide that damn song being associated with a Portland Trailbazer.
The guy next to me was literally spraying me with spit while going on and on and ON AND ON about Rudy Fernandez. After a time out, the Blazers ran a play for Rudy to take the shot: he missed, but this was still enough reason for this clown to freak out about how “Nate drew up a play for RUDY!”
He’s obviously talented, but I am bemused by the hyperbolic reactions to him. This isn’t the first over-hyped Spaniard guard we’ve had join our team lately, and I’m withholding judgement till I see him play a few more (dozen) times.
Brandon and LaMarcus are the core of this team, and looked so, so good on Friday night. Batum, too. Even with Mr. Oden injured, we have a team capable of making the playoffs; even in the rigorous West where there are no easy wins.
Also, agreed with the “I love LA” song. I was looking around like, “…you do? Because most of the people in this building hate LA…ooooh, you mean LaMarcus…” Dumb choice.
Lucas – Rudy’s a fun player to watch, and despite being an NBA rookie I think he has demonstrated the poise and skill of a veteran. But you’re right; the season is young. Let’s see how he’s doing at the All-Star break.