The chant that took over Rip City and the Rose Garden on Halloween night was not trick-or-treat but went a little something like “Beat LA, Beat LA.” Anytime the Lakers walk into an arena the home crowd is actively rooting against them and it was no different in front of a sold out Blazers crowd. The Blazers made it two loses in a row for LA, 116-106.
The experience factor proved not to be one at all Wednesday night. The average age of the Lakers starting five is 32.4 years, while the Blazers’ starting five averages 24.4 years, so basically some Blazers were entering the world while some Lakers’ players were pulling pigtails and running from cooties in 3rd grade. There was a lot of running tonight with an up-and-down and physical game in the post. That’s what you expect when you pick up Steve Nash to run the floor and Dwight Howard to bang inside in the off-season.
It’s now his team, LaMarcus Aldridge proved it by scoring 19 points, while ROY candidate Damian Lillard chipped in 23 points and 11 assists. But the superstar of the night was Frenchman, Nicholas Batum who put up 26 points and was tasked with playing D on Kobe. The “Hack-A-Howard” approach to interior defense didn’t pay off too well for the Blazers as Dwight Howard showed up to shoot free throws going 15-19 from the line and finishing the game with a team high 33 points.
Great opening first game. The fans showed up. The team showed up. Welcome to the new era of Blazer basketball.