Posted October 31, 2012 on
AP on Fox
Portland Trail Blazers
Los Angeles Lakers
Weber State Wildcats
The Portland Trail Blazers suffered three straight first-round playoff losses before their failure to qualify for the postseason in 2011-12 resulted in major changes for the franchise.
The Los Angeles Lakers' famous newcomers, meanwhile, didn't produce a victory in their much-anticipated opener.
The Trail Blazers begin their season at home Wednesday night against a Lakers team seeking to avoid a second straight 0-2 start.
Portland went 28-38 last season after averaging 50.7 wins over its previous three seasons when it appeared to be a team on the rise. Coach Nate McMillan was dismissed during last year's campaign and the roster has been overhauled along with a new general manager in Neil Olshey and new coach in Terry Stotts.
All-Star big man LaMarcus Aldridge, forward Nicolas Batum and guard Wesley Matthews are the mainstays with new blood brought in that includes first-round picks Damian Lillard and Meyers Leonard.
"Like everybody, I'm going to judge this team by the way it competes," Stotts said. "That's one of the things that players, coaches, fans and anybody who follows the NBA (will see), the team is going to compete every night. If you're showing improvement, if you show that the team is going in the direction, it's playing a style of play that fans enjoy, that the players enjoy, that takes care of itself."
While Portland's new faces are unproven, the same cannot be said for those with Los Angeles. With Dwight Howard and Steve Nash on board, the Lakers are among the favorites as they seek the franchise's 17th championship.
Los Angeles, however, opened with a surprising 99-91 home loss to Dallas on Tuesday, and neither Howard nor Nash excelled in their club debuts.
Howard had 19 points and 10 rebounds while missing 11 of 14 free throws before fouling out with 2:02 to play. Nash managed just seven points and four assists with seemingly little to do in the Lakers' new offensive scheme.
Pau Gasol led the Lakers with 23 points and 13 rebounds while Kobe Bryant scored 22 while playing on an injured right foot.
"It's not the way we wanted it to go,'' Gasol said. "We know it's not going to happen for us right away, but we've just got to stick with it."
Howard could face another difficult night since his 16.5 scoring average against Portland is his lowest against any Western Conference club.
Any success down the road for the Blazers, meanwhile, could be contingent on the development of their rookies. The 7-foot-1 Leonard will likely match up with Howard in his NBA debut after being selected out of Illinois at No. 11 - five spots after Lillard was taken out of Weber State.
Lillard was second in the nation in scoring at 24.5 points per game last season and has shown flashes of his talent in the preseason.
"He's a confident, poised young man. He'll have some bumps along the way but he's going to have the ball in his hands a lot," Stotts said. "My expectation is that he's going to be very good opening night and he's going to continue to get better."
The Blazers have won three straight season openers since a 96-76 road loss to the Lakers in 2008.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
PDX looks toward future
The Portland Trail Blazers are in the midst of a massive rebuild, and as a result, a few of the young prospects on the team now find themselves in a year of uncertainty.
The Oregonian’s Jason Quick announced nearly 24 hours before the team’s season opener that the team has opted to decline team options on Elliot Williams, Nolan Smith and Luke Babbitt for...
The Blazers came out with massive amounts of energy on opening night in the Rose Garden, and a balanced team effort led by Nicolas Batum and rookie Damian Lillard sparked the Portland Trail Blazers to a 116-106 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.Head coach Terry Stotts' team-oriented motion offense is a far cry from former coach Nate McMillan's plodding, isolation offense...
Who’s up next?
The Portland Trail Blazers have seven preseason games officially under their belt, which means that the 2012-13 regular season is just around the corner.
Despite a 3-4 preseason record, this team had better to be ready to compete, as the young squad will be put to the test in their first five games.
Oct. 31 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
The new-look Los Agneles Lakers are...
Wednesday night the Lakers face off against the Portland Trailblazers. If you’re wondering who you should be checking out for the next generation of the NBA, Blazers rookie point guard Damian Lillard should absolutely be on your list. In the mean time, take a peek at episode 4, “Orientation” of his web series “License to [...]
When he’s not attempting to punch dudes in the junk during the Olympics, Portland Trail Blazer, Nicolas Batum, spends his Wednesday nights posterizing perennial defensive players of the year. Watch Batum take Pau Gasol to the hole and finish hard in the face of shot-blocking extraordinaire, Dwight Howard. Yikes! This jam by Nicolas Batum came with about 7:00 minutes to go...
The Portland Trail Blazers opened the season last night hosting their longtime rival, the Los Angeles Lakers. The crowd fed the Blazers energy early on and carried it throughout the night. A happy Halloween it was for Rip City as the Blazers held on for a 116-106 victory.
A big key to last night’s game was the aggressiveness of the Blazers. I saw little to no hesitation in these...
Rebound or Rebuild for PDX?
The 2011-12 Portland Trail Blazers saw their fair share of ups and downs, and in a lockout-shortened 66-game season, they could only muster 28 wins.
Needless to say, they experienced more downs than the aforementioned ups.
However, Portland went in to full-on rebuilding mode at the trade deadline by shipping off Marcus Camby and Gerald Wallace, axing coach...
Let the season begin
The 2012-13 NBA season has finally arrived, and the Portland Trail Blazers are set to take on the new-look Los Angeles Lakers in their first contest of the new year.
Matchup: Portland (0-0) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (0-0)
Venue: Rose Garden Arena
Time: 7:30 PM PT
Date: Oct. 31, 2012
The Rose Garden Arena is going to be as loud as ever come Halloween night, and the...
It's amazing what a difference six months can make.
It was just over six months ago when the Portland Trail Blazers played their last NBA regular season game. It was a loss at the hands of the Utah Jazz, which left the Blazers ten games under .500 and eight games out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The loss also meant that Portland had ended the season riding...
In the midst of the fervor and hoopla surrounding the state of Oregon's two undefeated college football teams last Saturday, in the midst of the countdown to the start of a conservatively promising Portland Trail Blazers season, during the climax of the World Series, and hidden behind the looming disaster of a ferocious hurricane and upcoming elections, the Portland Timbers...
New Look Blazers take huge win in opener
The Headline: with double digit points from each starter, the Blazers put up 116 points in this win to kick off the 2012-13 season.
Portland Trail Blazers 116, Los Angeles Lakers 106
When: 10:30 ET, Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Where: Rose Garden, Portland
Officials: Leon Wood, Tre Maddox, Bill Kennedy
PORTLAND -- The Los Angeles Lakers may yet work themselves into position to be a bonafide contender for the NBA championship. They're a long way from that point now. Portland forward Nicolas Batum scored 26 points and got plenty of scoring help from his teammates as the Trail Blazers toppled the Lakers 116-106 Wednesday night at the Rose Garden. It was the second loss in...