Full disclosure: the blog post you are about to read (hopefully) is meant to tickle your ticket-buying bone. After all, there’s no better way to help the Trail Blazers on the court than to make the Rose Garden as inhospitable as possible, and the best way to do that is to get in the arena and get loud. You can’t do that without tickets.
So with that in mind, Casey Holdahl and Dustin Hawes of trailblazers.com lay out their logic for which 11-game packs, the Miami, Laker, Playoff or Weekend pack, they would buy. Quarter season packs are a great way to assure your seat for some of the biggest games this season. Of course, buying full season tickets is the best way not to miss out on any of the action, but that’s a post for another day. There are four quarter season packs on sale now.
Casey Holdahl: All right Dustin, we’ve got four packs to choose from: The Laker pack, the Miami pack, the Playoff pack and the Weekend pack. We’ve each got enough fictitious moneys to buy two packs, but we can’t buy the same packs, as one of us needs to be in the office manning a computer in case the internet collapses on itself mid-game. I’m going first because I’m older and I’ve been here longer.
Eastern Conference teams, just like Christmas, come but once a year. That’s a good thing for the most part, but it decreases your options if you’re really into seeing teams from the less-best coast. Personally, I like to see every team in person at least once every year (which I have for the past three years, by the way), so for my money, you have to go with the Miami pack.
As much as I don’t like the idea of feeding the beast that is the Heat, I’d really like to see how LeBron, Wade and Bosh come together in real-time. Sure, the Heat are going to be on national television during the 2010-11 season more often than President Obama, but I’d much rather get a chance to see that circus in person. And I’m guessing the ribbing from the Rose Garden crowd is going to be epic, and you can never get a good sense of that watching at home on your couch. There’s very, very little chance you’ll be able to score tickets for that game if you don’t get them in a pack.
But there are a bunch of great games in that pack outside of the Heat. The Magic are a Top 5 team, so their lone stop at the Rose Garden on Dec. 9 that’s included in the Miami pack is a hot ticket. Same for the Bulls, a team that many consider one of the up-and-comers this season (and who can turn down a chance to razz Joakim Noah’s hair?). And getting a chance to see John Wall and the Wizards in their only trip to Portland this season is not to me missed. That guy can ball. And who knows what kind of insane expectations Gilbert Arenas, who once claimed that he was going to drop 50 on the Trail Blazers, will set for himself this time around. Will Agent 0 tone down the shtick after being suspended for the majority of the 2009-10 season? No one knows.
The Miami pack also features a bunch of “new look” teams. Obviously you’ve got the Cavaliers without LeBron and the Suns without Amare, but those aren’t really the most interesting opportunities to see what the future of the NBA holds. You’ve got one of the home games against the Clippers, which is a great opportunity to see how Blake Griffin looks with a few months worth of NBA experience. Four days later you’d be able to see how Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins are getting along when the Kings come to town. And the last game in that pack against the Warriors might be your last chance to see Don Nelson roaming the sidelines. That’s history.
Get your LeBron on. Click here to purchase the Miami pack.
Your turn Dustin. Pick your pack.
Dustin Hawes: Trail Blazer blowouts of the opposition are great on multiple levels. Everyone in the crowd leaves happy as their favorite player, regardless of rank on the depth chart, saw action on the floor, nerves are sparred for the night, as the result of the contest is inevitable, and it’s always a comforting feeling to know your team is playing at a high level. But nothing compares to the drama of a nail-biting affair between two of the NBA’s elite, which is why the Playoff Pack would be my top Mini Pack choice.
From October all the way through April, each month is highlighted with a ‘can’t miss’ game. And as a team with divisional title aspirations, no games will be bigger early on than the November 4th matchup against Oklahoma City and just two weeks later versus Denver. A perfect pack for all of the Nicolas Batum fans out there, as he’ll be given the task of locking down two of the premier scorers of today’s NBA in Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony. Seeing those matchups is worth the price of admission alone right there, let alone the chance to see Portland stake an early claim that the Northwest division crown runs through Rip City.
There’s nothing better than watching a conference rival live and in-person, but if you happen to miss their stop in Portland, most of the time there is always another opportunity to see them player later on in the year. Like you said, the same can’t be said for teams out east. While they aren’t bitter foes, there’s a certain buzz and aura throughout the arena when the franchise with the most NBA championships, the Boston Celtics, makes their one and only appearance in the Rose City on January 27th; a great way to kick start the new year.
Finally, what really separates this Mini-Pack from the rest is that April 8th game versus the Lakers. Any time L.A. rolls into Portland is special in itself, but add in potential playoff seeding implications and you’ve got the game of the year right there. Do you really want to be left out on the sidelines if L.A. rolls into the RG with the top spot out West on the line and you don’t have tickets? I didn’t think so. Do yourself a favor and get in on this pack before they all disappear.
Play on players. Click here to buy the Playoff pack.
Casey Holdahl: Word. I’ll start by saying that I love Oregon more than most, but even I will concede that it does tend to get a little gloomy round these parts come the fall and winter. The perma-mist that descends on the Willamette Valley between October to March (or, in the case of 2010, July) can afflict even the most strong-willed Oregonian with a case of cabin fever. But luckily for all of us, there’s plenty of basketball to keep you content inside while the clouds do their thing outside. If nothing else, copping the Weekend pack gives you 11 excuses to leave the house even when the weather is at it’s worst.
There’s plenty of intrigue in this pack, and with all the games on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, you won’t have to worry about ditching out on work early in order to make it to the Rose Garden on time for tipoff.
You’ll get to see our first game against the Jazz and Al Jefferson, who will try to replace the production left behind after Utah lost Carlos Boozer (not to mention Wesley Matthews) to free agency. The Jazz really took it to us last year, winning all four contests by an average of 11 points, so the Nov. 20 game seems like a good time to get some redemption. The January 2 game against the Rockets will be an excellent opportunity to see where both Greg Oden and Yao Ming stand after both sat out most of the 2009-10 season with injuries.
Games against the Nuggets are always intriguing, but the game against Denver on February 25, which is about a week after the 2010-11 season trade deadline, has the chance to be high drama. Will Carmelo Anthony still be a Nugget by then? What would Denver look like without him? That game in February could very well be one of our first chances to find out the answers to those questions.
Then, just as the weather might be turning around for the better, you finish up the pack with a game against the Spurs and one against the Mavericks. Maybe you’re thinking you’ll skip out on those enjoy a few days outside? Big mistake. I guarantee those games will have major playoff implications. We’ll be fighting against both teams for playoff position, so you’re likely to see a couple intense games just weeks before the end of the regular season.
Those are my two picks. Pretty sure I know which pack you’re going to finish off with, though you could argue that it’s the best pack of all three.
Stay dry and warm. Click here to buy the Weekend pack.
Dustin Hawes: It might be. I don’t know about you, but as soon as the Trail Blazers release their regular season schedules each year, I immediately find out when the Lakers are heading to town and devise a plan to somehow, someway get tickets to either of those games. The troubles of finding sellers, standing in lines, or calling at the earliest possible second the day single-game tickets go on sale are no more with the Lakers Mini-Pack available for purchase.
Along with the February 23rd battle with the Lakers, made even more exciting by the fact the Trail Blazers will start a new streak of victories over the visitors from SoCal in Portland, I’ll be able to welcome back Martell Webster in-person on the 17th of January when he and his Timberwolves visit the Rose Garden. It’s always a bittersweet moment letting a long-time member of the team go, either via free agency or trade, but it’s a special moment greeting former Blazers with a standing ovation to show your appreciation for all they have done for the organization.
As a fan, I’d also like to welcome back the Utah Jazz to the Rose Garden where they had a little bit too much success for my liking in 2009-10. Whether it was coming back from down 25 or winning by 20, they had our number last year and it’s time for a little payback. Not only do I expect the team to have December 30th circled on their calendars, but the fans will as well. Not only will there be a chance to see how Wesley Matthews performs against his former team, but the Trail Blazers can let it be known loud and clear the Rose Garden is not going to be as friendly to Utah as it was the year prior.
The icing on this Mini-Pack’s cake comes on April 12th, the last regular season home game of the year, taking on the Memphis Grizzlies. Some may know it better as Fan Appreciation Night. It’s difficult to beat free team posters, fan shop discounts, and finding out who the Blazers will meet up with in the playoffs, as has been the case the last two fan nights, all in one game.
Beat L.A. Click here to buy the Laker pack.