Sunday night's game against the Los Angeles Clippers is not one Steve Blake will soon forget.
The Portland Trail Blazer returned from an eight-game bench ride—Blake sat due to a separated shoulder—ready to prove his worth to the team. The Maryland alum is a vital component in the Blazer offense and when he is absent, it is evident. It was the matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers, however, where Steve Blake let his presence be known.
His 14 assists marked an NBA record for most assist made during the first quarter and tied the record set by John Lucas in 1984. Blake surpassed the assists in a single quarter mark that Terry Porter established by four.
The previous Blazer record for assists in a half was 13, made by Porter and Rod Strickland, which Blake shattered in the first quarter. He ended with 17 assists by the final buzzer: Just one shy of his career high.
And what did Blake have to say about his impressive performance? He thanked his teammates for making their shots. This modest comment is not out of character for this five-year NBA basketball player. He respects and appreciates what the other members of his team do for him by spreading the court and making it easy for him to see plays.
Everything in the first quarter was working to the advantage of Portland including the Clippers six players on the bench due to injury and dismal shooting percentage. Even so, the Blazers were alive this night and played an uptempo offense that LA could not stop. This offense created largely because of the smart playing by Steve Blake.
The chemistry was palpable between the players and their starting point guard. Watching the no-look, lob, and behind the head passes completed was a thing of basketball beauty.
The Rose Garden knew they were witnessing something special, something amazing. The crowd was alive with excitement and pleased with the display of intelligence and skill Blake demonstrated.
There was one fan in the audience that Blake wanted to impress. His youngest son was in attendance for the first time. It is safe to say daddy made him proud.
A final score of 116-87 were a great send off for the Blazers who now face a three-game road trip starting with Houston tonight. Let's see what Steve Blake has in store for us next.