Bruce Ely/Trailblazers.com

The Portland Trailblazers started their season off well, outplaying the much hyped new-look Lakers to the tune of 128-119 in front of a rowdy Moda Center crowd. This nationally televised game received a lot of attention, mostly on account of the arrival of Lebron James in LA. The media rooms were packed before tip-off and they had to open up auxiliary press box seating which hadn't seen use in over 14 years. Everyone was buzzing with thoughts on what kind of statement King James would make during his first regular season game with this new team. Things began with a bang as Lebron and Blazer star guard Damian Lillard traded thunderous dunks in the opening minutes, much to the delight of the crowd.

The Lakers took an early lead, driving the ball inside and taking advantage of jittery Portland play. Things turned around though when the second unit hit the floor, most notably Blazer newcomer Nik Stauskas, who lit fire from outside, hitting 5-8 three pointers and scoring 24 points. Stauskas, a Canadian player known throughout the league as "Sauce Castillo" due to a closed captioning gaffe his rookie year, could turn out to be a good story for the Blazers. He's bounced around the NBA, playing on several dysfunctional teams and never really finding a groove. It was a lot of fun watching him bask in the love from the Moda Center crowd as he went off on this opening night.

Bruce Ely/Trailblazers.com

Speaking of crowd love, there were multiple tributes to former Blazers owner Paul Allen, who passed away last week. His usual seat remained empty throughout the game, but for his signature Rip City hat and a single rose:

Bruce Ely/Trailblazers.com

Lebron James turned in his usual dominant performance, scoring 26 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Rajon Rondo looked good for the Lakers as well, as did role player Josh Hart, but overall the Lakers are clearly still a work-in-progress. They missed every 3 point shot they took in the first half. Even so, the game remained close, with the Blazers up by only 2 points at the half.

Lakers fans were abundant, as usual, and made their presence known, but Blazers fans ruled the night, as it should be. Here's a look at the fan scene in the hallways during the break.

This couple was from Seattle, but their loyalties were conflicted:


This dude is making the Blazer pinwheel with his hands, FYI. Sweet track suit.

Look up the term "GOAT" if you are confused about the fan on the right's Lebron tribute:

Sonics fans still looking to represent!

Solid Blazer spirit:

This Laker fan couldn't resist the Blazer dancers:

The second half saw the Blazers pull away at times, though things remained fairly close throughout. Damian Lillard had a fine game, leading all Blazer scorers with 28 points, and CJ McCollum knocked down 21. The real story for the Blazers was the impressive play of the bench squad as a whole. They consistently built up a lead which the starting unit struggled to hold. Backup center Zach Collins blocked a career high 6 shots and provided a bright spot in an otherwise porous defense. Toward the end of the fourth quarter, as the game began to look safely in the Blazers' hands, chants of "Beat LA!" rose up in the crowd.

Bruce Ely/Trailblazers.com

With this win, the Blazers extended their NBA record of 18 straight home opener wins, and have now beaten the Lakers 15 times in a row during the regular season. Chances are, if Lebron has anything to say about it, this record will be strongly tested this season. Asked afterwards about his thoughts on the new team, Lebron said, "It's not instant oatmeal."

The Blazers return to the Moda Center on Saturday to host old pal Lamarcus Aldridge and the San Antonio spurs. Hey, it's been a perfect season so far!