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Oregon sports history

18 years ago, the Blazers' Rose Garden opener was anything but rosy


by: COURTESY OF PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS - Rod Strickland and the 1995-96 Trail Blazers got the Rose Garden off to a poor start on Nov. 3, 1995Nov. 3, 1995

The Trail Blazers fall flat in the first NBA regular-season game at the Rose Garden.

Portland loses 92-80 to the expansion Vancouver Grizzlies before a crowd of 21,398.

It was Arvydas Sabonis' debut as a Blazer, but he had little impact. Vancouver's Benoit Benjamin dominated inside, scoring 29 points and gtrabbing 13 rebounds.

Clifford Robinson had 33 points and 13 rebounds for Portland, but the Blazers made 26 turnovers and shot .358 from the field and .567 from the free-throw line.

"We just stunk it up," Portland guard Rod Strickland said.

"We didn't get back on defense," said Chris Dudley, who started at power forward alongside Sabonis, with Buck Williams injured.

Vancouver coach Brian Winters claimed he "saw it coming. We have been improving every day as a team."

"We're devastated," Blazers coach P.J. Carlesimo said.