In case you haven't heard, The Portland Trailblazers are on a hot streak, riding a wave of heroic play by their team captain Damian Lillard. The 14th place Sacramento Kings rolled into town on Tuesday night and received a mild beatdown from these newly-focused Blazers, 116-99. It was the Blazers fourth victory in a row and they've now won 11 of their last 12 home games.
Sacramento should not have been much a challenge for a playoff-bound team like Portland, but these supposedly easy games have been an issue for the Blazers all season. On this night though, the Blazers took care of business. Sacramento kept it somewhat close for much of the game, but the outcome never really seemed in doubt.
It was nice to see ex-Blazer Zach Randolph still looking good out there. At 36 years old, he was Sacremtno's high scorer with 20 points. Sacramento also claims the oldest player in the league in Mr. Vince Carter, still playing good ball at 41. He scored 10 points. Want to see what the fans looked like at halftime? Here you go!
Here's a cool Blazer couple:
These guys came all the way from Seattle for one reason: Vince Carter. They are both sporting vintage Raptors jerseys from his early days. "You have to just root for players these days instead of teams," one of them explained. I guess that what happens when your hometown team gets stolen by a bunch of Okies. Be grateful for your Blazers, Portland!
It turned out there were quite a few folks at the game for Vince. This guy was rocking a vintage Raptor era Carter jersey as well. Many suspect it's his last season. This couple was also dealing with divided loyalties:
Same with this couple. He's from Sacramento and she's from Portland. Rivals in love!
It was a real theme out there, the divided couple. These two live together but root for different NBA teams. How do they do it?
The second half of this game was enjoyable in that the Blazers took over and put things away with relative ease. Shabazz Napier made up for his dud of a game against Phoenix by hitting 4 out of 5 three point shots, scoring 20 on the night. Damian Lillard scored 26 and in doing so achieved the highest scoring average for one month in Trailblazers history (32 points). The previous record was held by Geoff Petrie, (30.4 points way back in March of 1971).
Two other notable things happened on this night. The awesomely independent and wildly popular Blazers website Blazersedge held their annual "Blazersedge Night" in which readers donate tickets to kids in need. This year they sent 2,306 kids and chaperones to see the game. You could see great swaths of cheering youth throughout the area, some of them soaking up their first ever live NBA experience. Here's a shot of the crew in section 224:
The other notable thing was that this guy won $5,000 by throwing a basketball into a barrel. This sounds less exciting than it actually was. This contest is held every game and I've never seen anyone actually win. The crowd went nuts. Here's the video. Try not to get excited watching this!
The Blazers sit in 5th place in the west after this game. They are only one game back from 3rd place, and guess what? They are playing that 3rd place team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, here in Portland on Thursday night! It's a huge game folks. Get on down and root for your team!