We're counting down the days until the Portland Trail Blazers open up the 2019-2020 NBA season by looking back at each of the home opener wins (the streak is now at 18). Here is a look at what happened back in 2003 when the Portland Trail Blazers faced the Cleveland Cavaliers and a rookie LeBron James for their home-opener.
Can't remember what the NBA was like in 2003? Let's paint the picture:
Tim Duncan had just won back-to-back MVP awards
The Spurs were the defending champions
The Nets were still in New Jersey and made back-to-back trips to the NBA Finals
Tracy McGrady was the league's leading scorer
LeBron James was the No.1 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft
The Blazers had the No.23 pick and drafted Travis Outlaw
LeBron James was making his first trip to Portland and the Trail Blazers sent him back home with the loss. Cleveland started strong and had the game tied 23-23 at the end of the first quarter, but the Blazers outscored the Cavs 31-16 in the second and never looked back. The final score in this one, 104-85, Portland. It was the first win of the season for the Blazers, and the third straight loss for Cleveland.
LeBron James – 8 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds.
Carlos Boozer – 15 points, 9 rebounds
Zydrunas Ilgauskas – 21 points, 4 rebounds
Rasheed Wallace – 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists
Damon Stoudamire – 14 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists
Zach Randolph – 21 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists
The Blazers would go on to finish the season 41-41 and miss the playoffs. It marked the first time the Blazers had missed the playoffs since the 1981-82 season.
Countdown to Tip-Off: Blazers beat Cavs in 2003 home opener originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest