The Portland Trail Blazers are currently 36-22 in the Western Conference Standings after losing two of three games on a pivotal road trip.
Despite losing two very important games, games that took away our potential home court advantage for the first round of the playoffs...there is a great reason for Blazer fans to be happy right now!
Allow me to explain...
The first loss was handed to us by a Houston Rockets team that has lost their high scorer Tracy McGrady for the season.
However, they have the brilliant Rick Adelman as the head coach, the All-Star might of Ron Artest and Yao Ming, and a very talented roster which can easily fill in the 20-25 points McGrady provided. Houston has been winning a lot of games lately, and even took out the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were fully healthy.
Despite losing to Houston, Portland put up a better fight than Cleveland and made a game out of it. This is no small accomplishment.
The second loss was to the San Antonio Spurs, who were playing without the stunning Manu Ginobli and the ever dominant four time world champion Tim Duncan. Still, the Spurs had wily Tony Parker, a three-time world champion who is married to the beautiful film and television actress Eva Longoria!
Tony Parker can pull magic of of a hat and he played like it. Tony Parker did what NBA superstars do when they face adversity, he stepped up and played one of the best games of his career.
Yet despite Tony Parker's ambush, the Blazers pulled close down the stretch and gave themselves a chance to win. Again, no small accomplishment.
The third game, our only victory, came against the ailing Minnesotta Timberwolves, who are without their leading scorer Al Jefferson for the season. The Blazers beat up on Minnesotta and saved us from going 0-3 on the road trip. For the final time, no small accomplishment.
So let us step back and analyze the situation further.
Portland had no chance to win on the road in Houston or San Antonio. None. No matter what our record, those two teams would have beaten us on the road. That is just the way of the NBA.
Not until we get more powerful veterans, will we ever win in Texas. The fact our young team was able to make games out of those loses, that is something we should take a lot of pride in.
Furthermore, Portland did exactly what it was supposed to do against a team like Minnesota. We just rocked them every way we knew how, and made them have a lousy night. We beat them so bad, we made a boring game out of it.
So in otherwords, the Blazers did everything according to schedule.
The long NBA season will always force teams to have a lot of ups and downs in the playoff standings.
Never fear Blazer fans; Houston, Denver, Utah, New Orleans, Dallas, and Phoenix (our main rivals for playoff contention) will all lose plenty more games. We will go up and down in the standings for the remainder of the season. The odds that anyone of these teams wins enough games to knock us out of the playoffs is slim.
But not impossible.
Which brings me to my final point of why Blazer fans should rejoice...
Isn't it wonderful to watch Portland Trail Blazer basketball where the race for the playoffs is hanging at every tip off, at every shot, at every defense stand, and at every timeout?
How special is it to be able to sit down with Blazer fans and watch a game where it's not just about the beginning of the season, or beating a team that we have struggled with for four years...but being able to compete with the best teams in the world for a chance to make the playoffs??
That excitement is what we have all been hoping for, and that is exactly what we have!!
So thank you, Kevin Pritchard, Nate McMillan, Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Travis Outlaw, Rudy Fernandez, Steve Blake, Nicolas Batum, Joel the Thrilla-Vanilla-Guerilla-Pryzbilla, Sergio Rodriguez, Channing Frye, Jerryd Bayless, Greg Oden, and even you, Shavlik Randolph and Michael Ruffin.
You keep all Blazer fans on the edge of their seats...
Which is something we have not been able to do for YEARS.