Blaze Nation

February 29, 2008

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No one wants to lose, that’s a given. But there is a difference in the losing as the Knickerbockers are losing, and then there is losing as the Rose City Blazers have been recently.

Ask any true competitor, and they’ll tell you there is no moral victory in close loses. But the truth of the matter is Nate the Great’s boys are playing on house money right now. Outside of my buddy from High School that I think might actually bleed red, black and white, no one really gave the Trailblazers a shot at the playoffs. But all of Blazer Nation within earshot of the NBA draft lottery, and the unfortunate news of G.Ode’s micro-fracture surgery was A-OK with ‘07 - ‘08 being a mulligan. Credit the whole organization, because they weren’t okay with the losing ways. Enter Travis Outlaw playing the role of Mr. Clutch. With a game winning shot against Memphis, the pride of Portland was off and running, making people take notice, and serving warning that despite the promise of the current roster PLUS Greg Oden next season, the current active roster is capable of dominating too. December and half of January down, and Portland was sitting as the #3 seed in the West. Then as with all hot streaks, this one came to an end. Having peaked on January 9th, the learning has begun.

So consider it a blessing Blazer Nation that this young nucleus is learning how not to win games right now, because next year they’ll know how not to lose. Consider us lucky that this tight knit group is feeling the sting of losing ways, because they are fiery competitors and will spend an off-season ensuring winning ways. And consider it serendipitous that despite having the reigning ROY, #1 Draft Pick, and a not disappointing season, there is a shot to add another Kev Pritchard quality lottery pick courtesy of the disgustingly deep West. And with the ascension of LaMarcus and iRoy to stardom, Portland next year will add a Big that has Duncan-like fundamentals, with Amare/D-How explosiveness, and Shaq-Fu level marketability (you want sophisticated? He’s got sophisticated). He is as Steve Kerr said, “a once in a decade player,” but he is so humble you wouldn’t know he knew it. Next season the wins will pile up, and there will hopefully be more championship banners in the future to hang…

Fortunately for Blaze Nation, our team isn’t okay with waiting to deliver. Fortunately for us, with another big win streak, we may have to respectfully decline a podium at the Draft Lottery this Spring.

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