Big Games Plan: 12 Of The Biggest Games
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