Ask any NBA basketball fan who isn't painting "Rip City" on his bald head this instant what he believes will come of the Blazers-Suns first round matchup, and most likely you'll hear some variation of the following response:
"Brandon Roy isn't playing; forget it, the series is over."
But the games haven't even started yet and...
"I don't care what you have to say; without Roy, the Suns will sweep."
Damn. And here I thought the battle being waged on the U.S. government by Tea Party folks was rough. Good luck trying to convince anyone the Blazers have a fighting chance against Steve Nash & Co.
Of course, to totally abandon the possibility the Blazers could win would be to ignore the reality that upsets do happen all the time.
After all, no one expected the eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors to knock off the top-ranked Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the 2007 playoffs. No one expected the Denver Nuggets to take out the Seattle Super Sonics in 1994 (the Sonics won 63 games that year, 21 more than the Nuggets).
How about the Blazers in 1977? In the Finals, they faced a heavily favored Philadelphia team that was considered to be one of the most talented teams in history. The series was supposed to be a cakewalk for the 76ers.
Philly won the first game, and was then in process of blowing out Portland in Game Two when Darryl Dawkins violently threw Blazers' forward Bobby Gross to the floor during a rebound. Tensions flared and Maurice Lucas responded by smacking Dawkins upside the head as a challenge to go toe-to-toe with him.
At that point, Portland's message became clear; they might have been David but they sure as hell weren't scared of Goliath. The Blazers would go on to win the next four games and claim their one and only championship.
The message in the story here is simple—don't sleep. With that in mind, let's look at how the Blazers and Suns match up heading into their series.