Not since the opening game of the season had the Blazers found themselves on the winning end of a blowout victory. It finally happened again on this night against the lowly Atlanta Hawks. The Blazers won by more than 20 points for only the second time this season, but they looked good doing it, and it was nice to see the Moda Center rocking again after the rough patches of December. Blazers win, 110-89.
It would be easy to dismiss this victory against a last-place team as meaningless, but there was actually some pride at stake. The Blazers had been beaten badly by this same team back in Atlanta just a few nights earlier and losing to them at home would have been a boo-inducing embarrassment. Luckily that didn't come close to happening. It was a good effort all around, with Ed Davis scoring a season high 12-points and Evan Turner logging his third double-digit scoring outing in a row. Oh, and John Gourley, the singer for Portugal. The Man, was there:
The game started with the Blazers jumping out to an early lead, but no one felt comfortable with that given what had happened in Atlanta last week. Indeed the Hawks came back to within 1 before the Blazers pushed it back to a 6 point lead at the half. During the break we all wondered what kind of Blazer team we'd see come out for the third period. Here's a sampling of the fan vibe in the Moda Center on this night:
This die-hard lady had a variety of signs which she rotated in an out of use. One said "Revenge a la Moda", and another said, "I live for this."
Sisters! First game for one of them!
This dude looked radiant:
After I took this picture the woman in white said, "Now we've made it to the big time."
Savage AF shirt:
The Blazers kept their focus going into the third. No coming out slow and confused for them! They built a 14 point lead going into the fourth behind strong play from big men Ed Davis and Jusuf Nurkic. A few fans could be seen heading for the exits, assuming the game was over. But sadly, no lead has been safe for the Blazers at home this season. Wise fans stuck around to make sure this one ended right.
And fortunately, things did go right. The Blazers blew the game wide open within the first two minutes of the fourth quarter and suddenly they were up by 23 points. The crowd got to it's feet and cheered the return of a good old Blazer Blowout. Bench players like Jake Layman and Noah Vonleh subbed in as well as former Blazer oddball Luke Babbitt, who now rides the pines for Atlanta. The crowd gave him a small whoop of recognition.
It was an evenly spread effort for the Blazers, with everyone who played scoring at least one bucket. Meyers Leonard and Maurice Harkless did not enter in the game. Afterwards in the locker room players were smiling but also making clear they weren't going to sit back and call this win anything too special. The third place San Antonio Spurs roll into town on Sunday night, led by former Blazer all-star Lamarcus Aldridge, who is having one of the best seasons of his career. Now, beating them, that would be something.