Damian Lillard came into the 2016/17 campaign with the intentions of contending for the Most Valuable Player award with a 39 point performance against the Utah Jazz, en route to a 113-104 victory at the Moda Center in Portland on Tuesday, extending their streak to 16 straight victories in home openers, the longest current active streak.
Lillard had some help as CJ McCollum dropped 25 points as well as Portland not missing a single free throw, albeit, Utah didn't miss a single shot from the line either, combining for 38-38. Returning 11 starters, and the highest minutes played coming back into Portland, the Blazers have a keen advantage among most teams.
Doc Rivers, on the other end, has a good amount of his players returning, with changes coming off the bench as Marreese Speights, Brandon Bass, Raymond Felton and Alan Anderson were brought on during the bargain bin hunting.
Despite being early on in the season, Portland has ambitions of cracking into the top three, while the Clippers are expected to be one of the "locks", so this could be a game either side can look at during the final moments of the season and wonder, "what if".