It was quite an experience being back at the Memorial Coliseum last night. My last time in that place was about ten years ago for the State 4A high school basketball tournament. But let's be honest, compared to the Rose Garden, the MC is ancient. The concourse is small, bathrooms are run down, seating is inefficient, and obviously it's just too small. I'm looking forward to being back in the Rose Garden and not wearing my worn out old school gear.
The game was competitive in the first half not so much in the second. I still get the feeling that everyone is going at about 75 percent. That is, other than Martell Webster and Greg Oden who look to be going all out. The game was hard to gauge being in the stands. Without a box score I would have guessed Steve Nash had 35 points and Andre Miller had about 15. But Andre actually outscored Steve.
The Blazers defense was a major problem in this game. From the very beginning, on the first offensive possession for Phoenix, Jason Richardson snuck behind the defense and caught a pass for an easy two-points. Our perimeter defense the rest of the game was atrocious. Portland looked slow getting off screens and Leandro Barbosa was lighting it up from deep.
Despite the awkwardness of Travis Outlaw, the offense looked good overall. Andre Miller was driving, dishing, and finishing. His 25 points, 5 boards, and 6 assists was stellar, even though I didn't realize he had scored over twenty points. Andre wasn't going full speed, but his 75 percent was looking very good.
As a fan of Andre, I was frustrated hearing clueless fans near me saying things about Andre like, "See, he's out of shape," or "man, he can't make a jumper, it looks terrible." I mean seriously people, please don't take what you read in the papers and try to assess a situation based on one play. Jumping to conclusions will get you no where. Andre Miller will continue to make believers out of every fan in Portland.
Greg Oden also looked spry and aggressive. He never gave up on plays, always went after rebounds and for the most part looked dominant. He still had his shot blocked or stripped one too many times but as soon as he stops bringing the ball down, he will be unstoppable. I saw a lot of great things from Greg last night, you can see a few of them in the video below.
Overall, it was still a preseason game and it's hard to put a ton of stock in it. Steve Nash seemed to shoot a million times. In the regular season he won't do that. Guys are still working on weaknesses just like a star pitcher works on one pitch during spring training and gets rocked. The regular season can't come soon enough. Less than two weeks to go!