Damian Lillard stars in Boise’s first NBA game in 10 years as Trail Blazers down Jazz

Posted: 10/12/2013 in Uncategorized

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The Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers played in Boise on Friday night, marking the first time since 2003 that an NBA preseason contest was played in Idaho’s capital city.

Portland point guard Damian Lillard scored a game-high 23 points and two-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 on 8-of-9 shooting as the Trail Blazers posted a 96-86 victory.

Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 20 points in the contest played before a standing-room only crowd of 6,268.

It surely won’t take another 10 years for the NBA to return to Boise. The Idaho Stampede of the NBA D-League have a working affiliation with the Trail Blazers and the enthusiasm in cozy CenturyLink Arena left a good impression.

Stampede coach Michael Peck told me he believes Boise can land into a preseason rotation system of hosting a Trail Blazers’ game.

“Absolutely. I think that’s very realistic,” Peck said. “Every year, I don’t know – and to be honest with you, I’m not in that decision-making process. I think every other year is very feasible and realistic and I think it makes sense.”

Lillard, last season’s NBA Rookie of the Year, stood out in Friday’s game as he repeatedly schooled Utah point guard Trey Burke, the consensus college player of the year last season at Michigan. Burke had just seven points on 3-of-10 shooting.

“Playing against him, I felt like I had to set the tone,” Lillard said afterwards. “He was the first point guard taken. He’s kind of in a similar situation as I was coming in. When I came in, there were guys who wanted to show me something and set the tone on me because it was my first year and I was summer league MVP and there was all this hype. Same goes for him.”

All in all, it was a fine night of basketball in Boise. And it definitely won’t take 10 years for there to be another such evening.

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