Sunday, November 30, 2008

TWBP: Home Court Advantage

Home, sweet home. The Blazers finally got to play a string of home games this past week and responded by going 3-0. Granted, the competition wasn't always strong, but Portland actually squeaked by a team they were supposed to blow out (Sacramento) and then obliterated Miami (by 38) and solidly beat New Orleans. The win over the Hornets was the most satisfying win of the week, in a close game that looked like it could easily go either way until Portland went on a 17-0 run that Chris Paul and the gang couldn't hang with.

There is plenty of talk about what the Blazers could do in the trade market, but I am having so much fun watching this team that I really don't understand how a trade, realistically speaking, could improve this team at all. Martell Webster is due back from a preseason injury in a week now, and it's already questionable how they're going to fit him into the rotation.

About the cards:

  • Arvydas Sabonis is my second favorite Blazers of all-time. Stupid Cold War politics stood in the way of him coming to the NBA for a long time, and it also prevented Portland from winning several championships in the early 90s. Yes, I said several, and I mean it. He was drafted clear back in 1986, but is seen here on one of his "rookie cards" nearly 10 years later, with a bad back and two bad knees. Still, I loved watching him play, and he was ahead of his time in that he came to the league just before the time when European talent was being imported and appreciated en masse. He also came along too late, as he was nowhere near the player that he was when he was drafted. If you ever get a chance to, watch some highlights of the 1988 Olympics when his Soviet Union team won the gold medal and you'll see what I'm talking about.
  • I don't remember a lot about Danny Young aside from his amazing half-court shot in the 1990 NBA Finals that was released just a fraction of a second after the buzzer and ultimately did not count. It could have won the game for the Blazers and shifted momentum in the series. (P.S. I hate Bill Laimbeer.) Speaking of "ahead of the time", the inaugural Skybox set design was crazy at the time, and I still don't think we're quite ready for it.
  • I really don't have any fond memories of Tracy Murray. He came from a school I strongly dislike (UCLA), had a stupid haircut (in a time where a lot of haircuts were stupid, but somehow awesome) and did not play any defense whatsoever. He actually played his final NBA games as a Blazers, making the opening night roster in the 2003-04 season as a potential 3-point specialist but not lasting more than a handful of games. This Stadium Club set apparently represented a shift in design from a classy, high-end look to a glossy, IN YOUR FACE mid-90s approach that everything from this era seemed to have.
Bonus: This 1978-79 card was part of a 4-card lot of Blazers from this set that I won from eBay years ago and forgot to throw into my Blazers binder. Luke is now an assistant coach for the Blazers and was stricken with pneumonia recently. I only got to see him play in his brief return the Blazers in the late 80's as a backup big man, and on videotape, of course. It'll be nice to see him back on the bench, glaring at everyone again.

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