Thursday, July 31, 2008

Blazers preseason: New places and faces

The summer is the only time of year when it's acceptable to get geeked out about the preseason. There's next to nothing going down in Portland sports, so I'm not going to feel bad about over analyzing a schedule of meaningless games. If you've got complaints, take 'em in the comments, but don't try to make your candle look brighter by blowing my candle out. Keep your breath off my candle.

So without further ado, here's the Trail Blazers 2008 preseason schedule.

Oct. 7 Sacramento Rose Garden Portland, OR 7 p.m.
Oct. 8 Golden State Rose Garden Portland, OR 7 p.m.
Oct. 10 Atlanta Spring Center Kansas City, MO 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 Utah Rose Garden Portland, OR 3 p.m.
Oct. 20 Sacramento ARCO Arena Sacramento 7 p.m.
Oct. 22 Clippers Staple Center Los Angeles 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 23 Utah Energy Solutions Arena Salt Lake City 7 p.m.

The first thing I noticed was that we drew quite a few teams who have gone through significant changes in the offseason, which, in my opinion, adds some excitement to games that at times can be a tad bit tedious.

First game is against Sacramento, now in full-blow rebuilding mode with the trade of Ron Artest. Is any team in the league going to have a bigger change of personality than the Kings without Ron-Ron? Kevin Martin is still a soon-to-be superstar, Beno Udrih is a nice (though not MLE worthy) point guard, Spencer Hawes and Fransisco Garcia can ball, but who strikes fear into the hearts of the Kings' opposition? No one, that's who. This team, for better or worse, has no identity with the departure of Artest.

Then there's game two against the now Baron Davis-less Warriors. Golden State still has dynamic personalities in Don Nelson and Stephen Jackson, but the transition into the Monta Ellis era in Oakland is going to be rough, at least at first. Can you really replace B-Diddy? Is Nelson's heart still into coaching? How fast can Corey Maggette, Ronny Turiaf, Marcus Williams and Anthony Randolph integrate into a system unlike any other in the NBA? That, my friends, is going to be interesting.

Then it's on to Kansas City (the Missouri version) to take on the Atlanta Hawks. Will Josh Smith reside in the ATL come October? Is this the year Marvin Williams puts it together? Does Mike Bibby still have anything left in the tank? Will Josh Childress be eating dolmas and sipping ouzo on a beach in Corfu? At present time, we only know the answer to one of those questions.

By the way, it's a nice touch to play this one in K.C. Teams should meet in the middle of the country more often. Unless, of course, those teams play in warm weather climates. I'm not swapping a road trip to Miami for a visit to Wichita.

Then it's Utah at the Rose Garden. Same old Jazz: Physical, dependable and utterly surprised every time a foul is called. Beside the additions of Brevin Knight and rookie Kosta Koufos, this is the same Utah squad you've come to know and despise. Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer will probably be fresh off a plane from Beijing by time this one rolls around in mid-October, so I doubt we'll see much of those two.

After week long break it's off to Sacramento for another go round with the Kings. We'll get a chance to see if the folks in California's capital have taken care of that rat/hobo in the theater problem. My money is on more of the same.

Next stop: Los Angeles to take on the new-look Clippers. No Brand or Maggette, but more Davis' (be it the Baron or Ricky variety) and Marcus Camby. Again, we're talking about a serious change in personnel and playing style. They could be great; they could be terrible. The history of the Clippers franchise would indicate the latter as the most likely outcome, but they do possess a lot of talent, at least on paper.

Finally, the preseason ends with another game against the Jazz, this time in SLC. It's also the second night of a back-to-back, so don't expect to see the best the Blazers have to offer in that one.

So with the exception of the Jazz, you're looking at four opponents with a ton of changes. The Blazers have quite a few unknowns as well, so if you ask me, it's shaping up to be a rather exciting preseason. And how often do you get to say that?


Will Wiens said...

Casey do you know if these games are going to be on Comcast so i can over-analyze these myself?

John said...

Casey, know when tickets go on sale? I live in San Diego and want to catch them in LA.



JohnVM said...

The Atlanta game seems like a lark, fly out to KC and then fly back... waste of energy

Benny said...


I think it's going to be important that we win all these games to build confidence and to set the tone for the regular season.

Comcast televised the summer league games so I wonder if they are going to do the same with the preseason as well. I'm predicting a Nielson rating in Oregon that's through the roof if they do.

Joel Weakland said...

tickets on sale? available when?

sweet, i love the sched!! should see them on CSN like last year I believe for atleast the home games..

Ian said...

All home preseason games in Portland? That's a little disappointing. Seems like they usually schedule one game somewhere in the rest of the state. I was hoping for a Eugene stop this year. Oh well. Still looking forward to a great year. Go Blazers!!!!

Casey Holdahl said...

Will: I'm not entirely possitive, but I about 99% sure all of the preseason games will be on Comcast. If they showed (and re-showed) all the summer league games, you have to figure they'd show preseason.

John: No word just yet on when tickets will be available. Sometime very soon though.

johnvm: Flying to K.C. beats the heck out of flying to Atlanta. I think it's all apart of the NBA trying to expand the fanbase.

benny: While I would like to see all wins in preseason, I think it's more important to find out how some of the younger guys play with the vets. I'd rather Bayless, Rudy, Batum, Diogu and (to a lesser extent) Oden get more minutes in a loss than Roy, Aldridge, Outlaw, Webster and Blake get minutes in a win.

JEREMIAH said...

I'll be fairly worried if greg's playing aside lamarcus and we don't win everysingle one of these games. I'm in the minority when I believe that there are no excuses for not going to the nba western confrence finals this next season. but that's what I expect...and dam it...that's what I am going to get.

but a championship would be nice too!! ;)

NateDogg said...

Hell yeah casey! 66 days and counting. Casey correct me if I'm wrong, but don't we still have one roster spot open? I heard Batum got his deal, but I beleive Petteri Koponen made it out of vegas without an offer. Do you think were leaving that spot open for trade possibilities, or do we just need him to show up at camp and prove he still wants it?
Also I have to say, and I'm sorry, but I think Bayless is getting to much hype (for now) integrating Rudy (who's proven) and G.O. (a straight up man child) with our current starting five seems like a lot bigger issue than finding a 19 year old minutes.
Finally, with all of our offensive weapons (and this is going to hurt) do we need Outlaw? Wouldn't a lock defender serve more purpose. I know he was clutch a few times last year shooting, but seriously with Roy, Rudy, and webster up top, and L.A. and G.O. down low, could you really say you want Travis trying to get his?
You the man!

BRoyFTW said...

It kind of sucks Greg won't be playing in any of those games. Hopefully Bayless and Fernandez get a lot of minutes with Roy and Aldridge. It will be interesting to see if coach Nate gives them more minutes to rest Roy and Aldridge for opening night.

Gabriel said...

I say forget about the comcast televised games. Lets get everyone we can to go to the opening preseason game.

I would love to see the look on the opponents faces to see 10,000+ screaming fans for a preseason game.

Maybe the Blazers should organize something that will get as many people through the turnstile. Maybe have a give away (i.e. limited edition Casey Holdahl bobble heads) or just make the game a freebie (call it a public service)

I think with the first game back with G.O. plus Rudy Fernandez and all the guys coming back. This could be something special. If this happens I'll be the first to buy a ticket!