Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

I'm listening to the game in Utah right now. The Blazers are going for 14 straight. Today has been a mess of a day, with me trying to figure out what's wrong with my car. There is something messed up with the transmission, which I thought was just the fluid, then thought it wasn't, but now I think it might be again. Then there's the debacle with my tire. The way the Ducks destroyed USF today was pretty good for getting my mind of the other stuff, but not completely. But if Portland can pull out this fourteenth win, well, the car worries will fade at least for a little while.

My brother Stephen and I showed up at the Rose Quarter box office around 4:00 on Friday to pick up the tickets for the game. While we were there I asked about tickets to the Sunday game with Philly. The woman at the window told me that the three levels of tickets we would have been willing to buy were all sold out already. This was on Friday afternoon. That was disappointing and also pretty cool.

We stayed around so we could get into the arena early and explore a little bit. Even though I had been to games in the Rose Garden, this was the first time I really walked around much. There were a few cool exhibits, particularly some stuff celebrating the championship team from 1977 and the finals teams from the early 1990s. Once we got to our seats we realized that dad was stuck next to a particular type of fan. This was a 30 or 40 something year old man, pudgy, with a beard. He was talking during the game to the players and coaches. Yes, talking. And he was saying some amazing stuff. "Nate, get them to play 'D.'" Stuff like that. At halftime dad moved over and sat on the other side of Stephen.

I was hoping that the rest of the crowd would be crazy, but I was kind of surprised that it was a little subdued. Well, it was subdued until the latter part of the third quarter. When the team really turned it on the crowd got rowdier, and that was a lot of fun. I enjoyed being part of the "M-V-P" chant during Brandon Roy's free throws. Most of the time that chant started in one of the other cheap sections. But there was one time that the chant was nearly automatic throughout the crowd, and it was pretty exciting. It was that sort of thing that happened often at the end of the game, and it was great to experience.

Two notes about the game:
  1. Martell Webster's game didn't look very good on offense or with his stats, but I loved watching him play. He was hustling, he was working hard on both sides of the court, he was rebounding, and I just loved it. Outlaw and Jones are great too, and they really do give us a pretty formidable trio of small forwards. But I love Webster.

  2. Brandon Roy had another ridiculous layup in this game. I don't know if the highlight is floating around anywhere, so I'll just describe it. He got the ball at the top of the key, saw an opening, and took of for the hoop. As he took off, one of the Timberwolves stepped into the lane. I think it was Al Jefferson. Roy would have been called for a charge had he continued going up that way. So he didn't. He changed the axis of his body. Imagine a clock, with the ball as the center. His body rotated from six o'clock to around 7:30. He continued gliding through the air, and finished the layup softly with his right hand. It was beautiful. We all went nuts.

  3. Alright, I know I said two, but since I'm actually putting this up long after the streak ended tonight, I'm including this part. LaMarcus Aldridge decided to show up on offense tonight. For real. He had a career high. And even though we lost, it was good to see the kid put the ball in the hoop a lot. I think that will continue this season some, but I am fairly certain he'll be doing this sort of thing consistently in the next few years.
That's as much as I really have about the game from the other day. It was great to see, and I'm glad we ran the streak to 13. Now it's important to see how the team responds on this road trip.

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