The longest home opener winning streak in NBA history came to an end on Wednesday night as the Blazers lost a close one to a talented Denver Nuggets team, 100-108. The revamped Blazers had some fine moments, especially at center where newly acquired big man Hassan Whiteside racked up 16 points and 19 rebounds. Damian Lillard was awesome as always, scoring 32, but the Nuggets were on fire from deep, hitting an insane 56% of their three point shots, an edge the Blazers could not overcome. This was the first of four meetings between these two teams, and the Nuggets are sure to give our Blazers trouble all season long.

Bruce Ely -

Things started off well for the home team. The Moda Center crowd roared to life as Trail Blazer captain Damian Lillard welcomed us all to a fresh new season. The Blazers and the Nuggets were coming off a heated seven game playoff series last year, one of the best in recent memory, and the two teams picked up right where they'd left off. Denver center Nikola Jokic looked to be the main challenge for Portland, but Hassan Whiteside stepped right up, blocking shots, and gobbling up rebounds. Jokic got in early foul trouble, scored no points in the first half, and was forced to sit out much of the early action. Meanwhile, CJ McCollum and Rodney Hood poured in the buckets.

Bruce Ely -

The Blazer lead swelled to nine points midway through the first quarter and the crowd was loving it. Then the second unit came on and the offense stalled. Newcomers like Kent Bazemore and Mario Herzonja looked good, but weren't quite clicking as a group. Portland owned the inside in this game, mainly due to Jokic's foul troubles, but Denver took control outside with their deadly three point shooting. Time and again the Blazers seemed a step slow getting to the shooters and the Nuggets made them pay. The score at halftime was 54-50, Denver.

And now let's have a look at some of the Moda Center faithful as they strutted their stuff in their new Blazer gear for the new season: All you need is black and red clothing to show proper Blazer pride:


Throwback vintage shirts were in abundance for this 50th anniversary season opener, like this one from the 1990 NBA finals.

Legendary Blazer announcer Bill Schonely, the man who coined the term "Rip City" mingled with giddy halftime fans:

These guys met as students at University of Oregon and remained friends despite their divided loyalties:

Check out the shoes—Blazerstyle!

This guy wasn't going to let brain cancer stop him from attending the season opener. He was wearing a device which pulsed electric current through his head. "I'm doing alright," he told me. Keep it up man!

Okay, back to the game. The Blazer second unit found its footing a bit in the second half and, along with some stellar play by Lillard, clawed their way back into the lead. Whiteside continued to dominate the paint, but Denver stayed in it with their balanced attack from outside. Jockic came to life as well, scoring 20 points in the second half, including Denver's final eight, which made all the difference.

Bruce Ely -

The Blazers held a one point lead going into the final quarter, but they were forced to sit Whiteside, one of their most effective players, because he was unable to pop out to the perimeter to defend against those deadly Denver long range shooters. Whiteside's absence opened the door for Jokic's aforementioned late game scoring spree. Lillard seemed poised to lead a comeback with a couple minutes left in the game, but his shots didn't quite fall, and Jokic hit two three pointers in a row, plus a put-back after a Will Barton drive. Yeah, the Joker got the last laugh this time.

Afterwards coach Stotts pointed to that hot Denver outside shooting as the difference maker. "The three point shot," he noted, "the great equalizer." Portland will have to figure out how to defend better against this attack if they are to succeed in this year's NBA. But still, it wasn't a bad showing for this new-look team. The fresh faces comported themselves well, and there remains a lot to be excited about in this wide open season.

And soon enough, these, big guys Pau Gasol and Jusuf Nurkic will be back in the mix. They seem to be getting along well already:

Bruce Ely -

The Blazers now embark on a four game road trip, playing the Kings first on Friday and returning home to face Philadelphia on Saturday, 11/2.