Blazers Are Undefeated

The Blazers pull out a good win against the Phoenix Suns to open the season. A couple thoughts:

— We’ll have a column online soon and in Wednesday’s paper about Portland’s defense. It was so-so for most of the game against a team that’s difficult to defend, and then it was spectacular in the final 5 1/2 minutes as the Blazers went with a small lineup. Portland closed with an 18-1 run for a 106-92 victory. The Suns went 0 for 6 from the field with four turnovers during that stretch.

— If the Blazers truly are dedicated to a “commitment to defense,” they need to keep Nicolas Batum on the floor. We’ll post more about this in the near future.

— Humorous tweet from Matt Calkins, our Blazers beat writer. You can follow Matt here.

Anyway, earlier Tuesday, Matt tweeted: Blazers officially sign Fabricio Oberto. He’ll wear No. 21.”

Followed by: “Coincidentally, that was Oberto’s 21st choice for a number, but the Blazers had retired the previous 20.”

— Stat of the night: Portland had 31 assists on 43 field goals. That’s impressive. So impressive that I’m skeptical. We’ll have to watch the film on that one.

— Other stat of the night: Steve Nash committed nine turnovers. Don’t know how many of those came with Batum guarding him, but it was at least a couple. Nash is 6-foot-3; at other times, Batum guarded 6-foot-10 Hedo Turkoglu.

And coach Nate McMillan pointed out another facet of Batum’s game: “Where he punished Nash with that matchup was the offensive glass.” Batum finished with five offensive rebounds and 11 total.

— Nash was quoted earlier this week as saying: “To be honest, if I was outside this picture and a betting man, I would probably pick us to be outside of the playoffs considering all the changes and the new guys.”

Nash is sandbagging; the Suns are a playoff team. Sure, they lost Amare Stoudemire, but I think that will be addition by subtraction. Stoudemire puts up good numbers, but I’ve never really liked his game.

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