The story Friday night wasn’t the Trail Blazers’ 112-105 win over those relatively unknown players wearing Orlando Magic uniforms.
It was all about newcomer Norman Powell and how well he played in his first Portland appearance.
Powell was the same steady and accurate guard he was as a Toronto Raptor. The player acquired for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood hit 7 of his 13 shots, 5 of 7 three-pointers and scored 22 points in his debut.
Starting at guard in place of resting Damian Lillard, Powell was solid defensively and had two steals and a blocked shot.
“Well, to be honest, it is what I expected,” Coach Terry Stotts said. “He knows how to play the game. He plays the way we play. He moves well without the ball, he shoots threes, he defends, he's in shape.
“I wouldn't have said he's going to score 22, but I had a good feeling that he would play well for us.”
Powell seemed relieved to get the first one out of the way and have everything work so well.
“It felt good,” he said. “I just was thinking to myself, just let the game come to me. Try to play off of the other guys, ask as many questions as I can.
“I was definitely nervous a little bit during my warmup. It felt like a lot of the eyes were on me, watching me warm up in my shooting time. But I just told myself, once the ball goes up, it’s just basketball and do what I've been doing my whole life.”
The fit for Powell with this team figures to be very solid – and that’s the way he sees it.
“The way the offense is set up, the way they move the ball, play off one another -- it felt really easy to get into the flow and find the different spots,” he said. “I think I fit perfectly in what they're doing, definitely.
“I like the toughness of the team and how together they are talking to one another in and out of the timeouts and on every possession. So, it fits me perfectly.
Often a player on another team has no idea what’s going on with opponents. But when you put the uniform on, you get a look at the inside and Powell likes what he saw Friday.
“I like how focused they are,” he said. “They're serious about winning. I like how serious they are about competing and winning.
“You see that from afar but… just how together they are, talking to one another and how they hold each other accountable.
“You can see this is a tight-knit group. I’m just trying to fit in in any way I can and learn as much as I can.”
And Friday night, it was a very promising debut.