More than Anything, Relief. Basketball is Back.

Basketball is back. Real NBA basketball. On your TV. With players playing, and everything.

Man, at least from where I am sitting, there has been SO MUCH frustration, consternation, investigation, litigation, and anticipation since the last time there was real deal basketball on the TV.

Watching Portland lose to San Antonio last night was not as fun as I had hoped -- my Blazers should have won that game, and with another year of seasoning, some more foul calls, and Greg Oden, certainly will -- but it felt great all the same.

There were plenty of Portland highlights. As my friend Nate said, "the league better get their licks in now, 'cause the Blazers will get theirs in a few years."

LaMarcus Aldridge did stick 27 (12-19 from the floor) on Tim Duncan, though, with jumpers, post moves, and a sweeping hook, and by getting out on the break and dunking. If he's healthy, you have no idea how good he can be. And Martell Webster and Joel Przybilla both did their jobs better than many anticipated.

And the Spurs, let it be noted, are playing a more exciting brand of basketball. Faster pace! More action! Frenetic activity! Darius Washington in everybody's grill! At 106-97, this was a very high-scoring game, by San Antonio standards.

As TrueHoop reader Eric pointed out, could this be the influence of Zelimir Obradovic?

Then there was an exciting almost-comeback for the Lakers, with an injured Kobe Bryant doing his best to win over skeptical Laker fans. And the Jazz massacred the Warriors (sorry, all you Warrior fans who were ready to party -- tell yourselves Stephen Jackson would have changed everything). Mehmet Okur did the same kicking-while-shooting move that Kobe Bryant says hurt his wrist last week.

Ahh, it's back. Whatever it is I'm addicted to is back. I can relax now.