The Blazers opened preseason play at home on Wednesday night. This is a Blazer team that, despite off court distractions, has managed to refocus itself and play fairly well. On Wednesday they managed to shut down a severely depleted Seattle team and ease themselves into a 92-73 victory at the Rose Garden.
The team looked surprisingly crisp, especially considering that the game was the first of the season. Shareef Abdur-Rahim started in favor of Darius Miles and went on to score 16 points and block two shots. Miles failed to hit a field goal off the bench in 11 attempts but did lead the team in steals with four and rebounds with seven.
Other top performers included Derek Anderson with 23 points including three of five from long range and eight of 10 from the charity stripe.
Several other players made their Blazer debuts. Nick Van Exel scored eight points before tweaking an ankle in 10 minutes of action. Richie Frahm, on the bubble to make the roster two years ago, played 20 minutes and scored nine points, including two off of an impressive two-hand tomahawk dunk. Sebastian Telfair played the final quarter and electrified the crowd on his way to five points and two assists.
Several of Telfair’s passes demonstrated the immense court vision he possesses that helped to make him the number 13 pick in last summer’s draft.
Immediately following Wednesday’s game the team traveled to Golden State for a Thursday competition against the revamped Warriors. Results of that contest were not available at press time.
The Blazers return to the Rose Garden for their Saturday evening game against the Charlotte Bobcats at 7 PM.