Is there any team worth hating more than the Blazers? Okay, they've fallen on hard times recently, so it makes it tougher to despise them, but is there any other team that gets us wanting a win more than the black and red?
For the first, last, and only time this season, the Sonics are favored by 9 points against an opponent, and, surprisingly, it's not a bad bet. As long as Portland has Zach Randolph (Captain!) they will be a tough team to figure when it comes to wagering, simply because Randolph is so unreliable. When you factor in Chris Wilcox' "defense," big Zach could easily go for 30 and 15 tonight. Or he could go for 12 and 3. You just never know. Throw in Magloire, Pryzbilla, Aldridge, and, well, the Blazers have some beef up front.
The optimist in me sees the Sonics rolling to a 110-92 victory as Ray Allen drains 3's in Brandon Roy's first real game defending an elite NBA 2-guard, Wilcox throws down some fast break dunks while Randolph et al suck on oxygen masks, and Damien Wilkins and Nick Collison continue their hot pre-season play.
The pessimist sees the Sonics dying for an inside defender to keep Randolph off the boards, Collison getting into foul trouble early, forcing Hill to use Sene and Petro more than he would like, and the offense struggling to support Ray and Rashard.
Luckily, it's sunny in Vancouver today, leftover Halloween candy abounds, and Wally Walker is no longer employed by the Sonics. Like Ice Cube says, it's a good day.
With that in mind, here's my first prediction of the season: Sonics 105-Blazers 93.
Sonics. Blazers. Bring it.