PORTLAND - The lockout-shortened season looked to be an all-around disaster at the start for the Portland Trail Blazers.

In what has become known as Black Friday around the organization, the Blazers' hopes to see Brandon Roy, Greg Oden and LaMarcus Aldridge lead the team to NBA glory were dashed.

Instead, Roy retired, Oden had another knee setback and Aldridge's training camp was delayed by a medical procedure for a heart condition.

But since that dark day at the start of camp on Dec. 9, the Blazers have become surprisingly upbeat.

The team, which continues to operate without a permanent general manager, added depth on the free agent market.

They've embraced a new up-tempo style. And they've even taken to playing music during practice, something coach Nate McMillan never allowed before.

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