Blazers dominate Jazz 110-90 in preseason matchup

Stepping out from the MAX train on a cold bitter Monday night, it was a warm feeling to see the Rose Garden lit up, packed with fans who were storming into the building. We thought we would lose this feeling for a while, but it turned to be a perfect present just before Christmas.

Walking inside, I felt a sense of being back home. The smell of popcorn and burgers, the sounds of kids and adults alike, excited to finally see our Blazers in action. As I wore by black Blazers hat and Batum t-shirt, I blended in right into the crowd, right where I belong.

Elliot Williams was one of the brighter stars last night

The Trail Blazers opened their two-game preseason matchup with division rival Utah Jazz, a very different looking Jazz team. Gone were All-Star point guard Deron Williams, and for the first time since before I was even born, the Jazz were not coached by Jerry Sloan. Eerily this didn’t seem like the Jazz who always seemed to have Portland’s number, who made winning in Salt Lake virtually impossible. The Blazers had taken the last few games, but it was yet to be seen how this Blazers team would gel together, an almost entirely new squad from just a few months ago.

The final score gives you the impression that the game was much closer, and it wasn’t. Portland grabbed onto a hot lead from the moment of tip-off, and never looked back. Of course Utah had their hot streaks and got to within nine points at certain times, but the Blazers played some well oiled defense and shot the ball pretty well, something that is very encouraging and doesn’t happen very often. While LaMarcus Aldridge sat down to continue recovering from a heart procedure, Nicolas Batum started in his place, and every Blazer who played got to score. It was simply awesome to see these guys again.

  • I was highly interested on how Raymond Felton would take over the position after Andre Miller and I was surprised to see how good of a player he is. Yes, we get it that he still needs to lose some weight, but his basketball IQ is right up there with Miller and has the skill to not only get the ball down court and find the open man, he has a sweet jump shot and can drive inside the lane.
  • Marcus Camby hasn’t aged a bit. In fact, he looked younger. Aside from grabbing rebounds like an absolute monster, he’s stealing the ball, blocking shots, hitting the jump shot with that beautiful arc. The Camby man can do it all.
  • It’s crazy to actually see Nicolas Batum’s wingspan live in person, those long lanky arms swatting away from behind or driving to gently roll the ball into the basket. Mmmm……
  • I missed Wesley Matthews and his high-flying dunks on the fast break. He finished with a team high 17 points, 4 rebounds on 7-10 shooting.
  • Gerald Wallace sure treated this game just like any other. Crashing the floor, swiping the ball away, and even fell into the front stands thanks to a stupid move by Devin Harris. Wallace finishes with 10 points, 3 assists, 3 steals and made most of his points on the foul line going 8-10.
  • Jamal Crawford is pretty sick with the crossovers. You know it’s good when the crowd goes “oooooohhh” and “ahhhhhh”. Came in at the two-guard and shifted to the point, he looked to assist at first and then hit some sweet jumpers at the end.
  • Best looking rookie? Elliot Williams. This kid can ball, starting midway through the third quarter, he opens his career by going 3-3 from beyond the arc and finishing with 13 points (leading the bench). Nolan Smith looked alright too, felt he took too many contended shots inside the paint but got them in and had a modest 4 points in 12 minutes.
  • Williams was also the Chalupa-man and brought joy to hundreds of fans, including myself
  • Luke Babbit…….is still awful.
  • I don’t know what gets into people, but they will literally jump over rows of chairs and fight for those white envelopes from Wells Fargo. Also witnessed a brawl-in-the-making between two men.
  • Kurt Thomas would’ve ended the game shooting 100% but missed his last shot and looked like a good bench player to fill in for Camby, finishing with 8 points, 3 steals and 2 blocks.
  • Chris Johnson won his right to the 15th roster spot ahead of Earl Barron, played a lot of time and had 8 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks.
  • 32 points in the first quarter and just looked much faster, I hope Portland is adapting to a faster style of play, not just during the preseason.

photos courtesy of