caseyholdahl

Jul 26

Big Games Plan: 12 Of The Biggest Games

By caseyholdahl

The era of the Super Team is upon us. Ever since LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh formed an all-star triumvirate in Miami, other teams have followed suit by trading for and/or signing top-tier players to join their already all-star-laden rosters. Gone are the days of players at the top of their game trying to go it alone. If you want to win an NBA Championship in this day and age, you better have at least two All-NBA players.

While that may make it more difficult for the Trail Blazers to win a championship (at least this season) it does make it much easier to see your favorite NBA superstars. And the 12-game Big Game ticket plan is a great way to do so. Here's why.

Wednesday, October 17 vs. Denver Nuggets (preseason)

In a lot of NBA markets, the first preseason game draws an audience equivalent to what you would find at a 4H livestock auction. But in Portland, the first game of the season, even if it doesn't really count in the win/loss, is a big one. It'll be your first chance to see the likes of Damian Lillard, Meyers Leonard, Joel Freeland, Will Barton and Victor Claver play alongside LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews. The 2012-13 season is a new journey for the Trail Blazers, and this preseason game against the Nuggets is the first step of that journey.

Wednesday, October 31 vs. Los Angeles Lakers

This game has it all. Season opener, at home, against the loathe-inducing Lakers, in Steve Nash's first game in purple and gold and it's on Halloween night! Any game against the Lakers at the Rose Garden is going to be a lively one, but the confluence of circumstances in this particular game sets the stage for one of the all-time season openers in Trail Blazers history.

Sunday, November 18 vs. Chicago Bulls

While the Heat, Knicks and Celtics get the headlines in the Eastern Conference, the Chicago Bulls have quietly gone 82-36 over the last two seasons thanks to the brilliance of Derek Rose and the defensive mind of head coach Tom Thibodeau. It's a coin flip as to whether Rose, who tore his ACL in the first round of the 2012 Playoffs, won't be ready to go by time the Bulls visit Portland in mid-November, but if he is, you'll have a chance to see how Damian Lillard, who some have compared to Rose, stacks up against one of the best point guards in the game.

Thursday, December 13 vs. San Antonio Spurs

Every year, the Spurs get older. And every year, pundits predict THIS will be the season they finally end their reign as one of the Western Conference elites. Yet every year Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and a rotating cast of role players, lead by the always irascible Greg Popovich, seem to find their way back into the playoffs, as they've done every year for the past 15 seasons. This game, which falls about a month and a half into the season, will be a good indicator as to whether San Antonio has yet another run left in them.

Wednesday, December 26 vs. Sacramento Kings

Not all big games are created equally, and as far as the games in the "Big Games" plan go, this one is the littlest. But the Kings do have a young, talented roster featuring numerous players with local ties (Aaron Brooks, Isaiah Thomas, Travis Outlaw) and a large frontline consisting of DeMarcus Cousins and rookie Thomas Robinson. And it's the day after Christmas, so can return some of your unwanted gifts at Lloyd Center and use the cash to buy what you really wanted: Trail Blazers gear from the Rose Garden fan shop.

Thursday, January 10 vs. Miami Heat

A game against the Miami Heat has been a hot ticket league-wide ever since a Big Three formed in South Beach, and that was before they won the 2012 NBA Championship. Now that LeBron has a ring, his status as the NBA's biggest star goes from debatable to unquestioned, and anytime a player of that caliber enters your gym, it's a huge event. And it's not like he's rolling into Rip City with a bunch of scrubs, as both Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis were added to a team already poised to repeat.

Saturday, January 26 vs. Los Angeles Clippers

There was a time that mentioning the Clippers in the same breath as the Lakers would get you laughed out of the sports bar. Nowadays, there are some who argue the Clippers, with Blake Griffin entering superstardom alongside Chris Paul, are poised to overtake the Lakers as LA's top team. Does that mean they'll supplant the Lakers as Portland's most-hated opponent? Tough to say, though if you're in the building for this game in late January, you might find out the answer firsthand.

Sunday, February 24 vs. Boston Celtics

The old Boston Celtics ain't what they used to be, what with the departure of Ray Allen and the aging of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. But after giving the Heat all they could handle in the Eastern Conference Finals, the feeling is that Doc Rivers' squad might have one more championship run in them before the team is blown up. Additions of Courtney Lee and Jason Terry, along with rookies Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo, might have kept Boston's championship window open for one more season. And as long as Rajon Rondo is running the point, the Celtics are going to be exciting to watch.

Thursday, March 14 vs. New York Knicks

There's almost too many interesting shorelines to count in this one. Anytime the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler are in your gym playing for the same team, it's a big night. But tack on what will be the return of Raymond Felton and Kurt Thomas to the Rose Garden, and this game goes from interesting basketball-wise to a full-blown spectacle. This mid-March contest against the Knicks at the Rose Garden could set the season mark for loudest and most sustained boos, and who wants to miss out on being a part of history?

Wednesday, March 27 vs. Brooklyn Nets

What a difference an offseason makes. In 2011-12 season, a game against the New Jersey Nets in March would have a hard time drawing flies, let alone paying customers. Jump to the 2012-13 season and a game against the BROOKLYN Nets, boasting a roster featuring Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez, becomes one of the more intriguing nights of the season at the Rose Garden. And who knows, Dwight Howard could be a Net by time March 2013 rolls around, which would put this game on a Miami Heat-level regarding big names all performing under the same roof. Bonus points for this game being the unofficial tiebreaker for the honor of being the USA's "Most Hipster City."

Friday, April 5 vs. Houston Rockets

A lot of NBA teams, including the Trail Blazers, went through significant or are going through significant roster changes, but no team has retooled like the Rockets. So long Luis Scola, Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic and hello Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik and a whole bunch of rookies, including Portland native Terrence Jones. The only holdover of consequence from last year's Rockets' team is Kevin Martin, and there's a possibility even he won't make it to Opening Day before changing locations. While no one expects Houston to make the 2013 Playoffs, they will be an intriguing team to watch. And much like the Nets, there's an outside chance Dwight Howard is playing for the Rox by time this late-season game tips off.

Friday, April 12 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Finally, we end the Big Games plan with a mid-April tilt against the defending Western Conference Champion Oklahoma City Thunder. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka will likely be preparing for another deep playoff run, and the question will be whether the Trail Blazers are in the hunt for a post-season birth when this game takes place or if they'll be relegated to the role of spoiler. Either way, a game against the class of the Northwest Division is always a must-attend.

As you can see, the Big Game ticket plan was designed for diehard basketball fans who simply have to see the biggest and best the NBA has to offer in 2012-13. Tickets to many of these games are going to be hard to come by on the single-game market, but you can guarantee your seats by ordering your Big Game plan today.

12 Comments

  1. I'm surprised Portland's first game against Minnesota isn't on here.

    by newellbrian on 7/26/2012 7:19 PM
  2. Right!? I would have purchased my big game plan already if it had at lease one minnesota game.

    by Alex Lee on 7/27/2012 5:24 AM
  3. Hey Casey: By the time March and Apr get around, some of those big games may be knocked down because of injury or trade deadline. Of Course OKC, Lakers, Denver, Utah and Minny are always big games. I don't know what Houston brings; I am thinking NOH will be a big game for Portland, and the Clippers are becoming headliners, with Griffin.
    What I am saying is that the Blazers big package deal is different then mine, but then I have to watch all of them on the NBA package with opposing announcers, so I am not in the argument in the first place☺

    by Hg on 7/27/2012 5:49 AM
  4. I think the Minnesota game got put into the Rivals Pack, tho I agree it is a big game this season. This could have just as easily been called the "Big Names" pack.

    HG, what games would you have added/subtracted. I always like to hear which games people are most looking forward to.

    by caseyholdahl on 7/27/2012 6:32 AM
  5. Hey Mr Casey:
    At the beginning of the year, may be different than after all star break and trade dead line.
    Leave the pre season games for sure, if I get to watch at all, because that will give us the chance as you say, to see our players in action.
    For sure on the Lakers; without Rose, the Chicago game would just be interesting because at this time it looks like it could be a winnable game.
    I don't think Houston will be a big game theater early in Nov. later in the year if the games means something as to win or lose, by all means.
    Basically all the games are big games to me, but the Eastern Conference is not my idea of big games until they have some implications.
    Of course all the SAS, Lakers,Jazz, Minny, Nuggets, Mavs, and now the Clippers are always hot games for me.
    The big thing is since I have to watch away games listening to opponents announcers, none of the away games are top priority as far as TV goes, but all 82 games are important.

    by Hg on 7/27/2012 8:08 AM
  6. This pack may be the only way to guarantee Lakers Opening Night tickets on Halloween. I love Blazers/Lakers games more than anything in sports but the fact that its the season opener and Dame's first regular season game (against Nash to boot) makes it one of the most anticipated games in recent memory for me.

    by DHawes22 on 7/27/2012 10:34 AM
  7. @DHawes22. It is bad to be up against Nash so quick, but don't forget Nash is not the best defensive player in the league; almost every guard in the NBA will feel the burn of Nash, but at the same time a guard can burn him badly if they actually put him on Lillard. Also, Batum and Wesley does a pretty good job on Nash because they can switch the pick with LMA's fast hands.

    The biggest thing I can see is pushing, pushing pushing, LAL, has to prove they have a transition Defense before they get respect and Nash will not help that. Any of our outside shooters being able to score to spread the D and the game is ours. I am almost afraid to see Bynum try one of those elbows on Leonard.
    Does that sound like hype or what?

    by Hg on 7/27/2012 3:09 PM
  8. Hey Mr. Casey, have they put out the pre-season schedule? I haven't seen it yet.

    by Hg on 7/28/2012 3:59 AM
  9. All our division rivals would be on my list, Minnesota is the game I really want to see with BRoy coming to town. I also want to see the OKC matchup for redemption after last season's "goaltending" loss. Nash is an amazing talent but he's not getting younger. I really want to see how Lillard fares against Nash, Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Russel Westbrook, Rajon Rondo and Deron Williams. I think Damien will be underestimated all season by opposing pt guards and that could turn into an advantage. When playing older teams I hope we use a deep rotation and run teams ragged. It's Miami that's the new dynasty...I don't see us beating them on any level this season. That's a game I'd pass on. I'd like to see the Knicks as opponents just to keep Felton from scoring double digits. Next time he dribbles off his foot at the Rose Garden I'll be cheering away! Go Blazers!

    by riverman on 7/29/2012 11:10 AM
  10. HG-

    I believe the preseason schedule is being released some time, later today.

    by DHawes22 on 7/30/2012 9:48 AM
  11. @DHawes22: I thank you kindly sir.

    by Hg on 7/30/2012 12:46 PM
  12. @riverman In addition to this BIG GAME plan, we are offering a RIVALS plan for our divisional rivals that you mentioned. The Rivals plan is an 8-game plan, while the other Big Ticket packages are all 12-game plans. Packages start at $11/ticket or $176 for the package for 2-seats. Additionally, we offer an interest-free payment plan on these packages. Currently we have five months left in the payment plan which would make the payments only $35.20/month for 5-months. Hit me up for all of your ticket needs this season! ashley.ohollaren@trailblazers.com

    by AshleyJoy11 on 8/9/2012 8:35 AM
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