Think back to the evening of April 18th, 2009. The young, crown jewel of the West was taking on the Houston Rockets, who by the way have not won a playoff series since 1997, and were without their co # 1 option Tracy McGrady. The hype was everywhere. The Sun was out, (for a pecuilar reason I remeber that) Blazer flags were flying, and the Rip City Uprise posters were on windows all around the town. Most of the city gathered to watch the Blazers in Game One. Yao Ming and the Rockets came out firing haymakers and the Blazers may have came into it a little too antsy. Like most games where Michael Ruffin, who is a great guy, plays significant minutes in the fourth, our team lost. The optimistic buzz was not lost, and a heroic game 2 from Brandon Roy sent us off to Houston. Two close games in Houston, and one very questionable three point attempt by Steve Blake later, and we were down 3-1. A heartfelt game 5 performance extended the series to game 6 in Houston. I remember one play in that game, while I was arguing with my dad that Greg Oden* was no good, on cue a cutting Greg to the hoop emphatically rim checked and we had our socks knocked off in game 6. The feeling was sour, but the optimism still persisted. My thoughts of Greg Oden would soon change immensely.
The Following season did not have a dream start. We were losing games we should have been winning, Travis broke his foot, and the addition of Andre Miller wasn't looking smart. The lone bright spot was Greg Oden. His dominance in the paint on both ends of the floor was putting smiles to basketball aficionados in Portland, and also the national media. Then like a knife to the heart, one play changed our season and my thoughts on Greg Oden forever. We had lost Greg again, and then the dominoes started falling. Soon Joel was done for the season, then Brandon's knee was the next casualty. A final Pritch-Slap was made in the acquisition of Marcus Camby. We headed into the playoffs without Roy, but ready to take on the challenger.
The Suns series started with a bang. Our team defense was excellent and the savvy of Marcus Camby and Andre Miller allowed us to win game 1 in Phoenix. Game 2, and 3 were a whole different story. Jason Richardson must have eaten a ton of wheaties before those debacles. Brandon Roy's heart and determination inspired us to rebound well in Game 4. Then we fought hard in an understandable game 5 loss. Unfortunately it came to Game 6 again. This game 6 was no different than the year before, yet another first round ousting. At the conclusion of the series, I was sad, but the future was still bright.
The following November was one of the hardest months of my lifelong career as a blazer fan. Brandon Roy could not suffer the same fate as Tracy McGrady and other injury prone stars. He is too young I thought, but listening to radio interviews and reading news articles made the outlook appear pretty bleak. As always though our blazers found a way to win, and a white knight emerged as the dark of night was setting in. LaMarcus Aldridge put the blazers on his back and we ran with him. Not to long after, Agent Wallace came to town ready to assist him. the optimism was still there, the blazers were beating the Lakers, Mavs, Spurs and many other forces of the west. We also recieved the match-up we wanted. And almost exactly two years after the series with Houston, the playoff atmosphere was back. April 16th, 2011, was the day of the first Blazers-Mavs game. We executed very well, but we let it slip away ( I won't comment on the refs). Game 2 was a little more disheartening and I did not feel very good coming back home to Portland. Game 3 was a great win , but nothing can compare to the love, passion and emotion that allowed the Game 4 comeback. Brandon Roy was Brandon Roy again and the notoriously choking Mavs were at it again. Or so I hoped. Game 5 hurt because we just didnt bring it, and once again we found ourselves facing elimination in game 6. That dreaded game 6. It appeared we were to finally get over the game 6 hump with our fast start, but our defense betrayed us, and a couple missed freethrows ended us.
Three years in a row, gone in 6
I usually check and read Blazersedge daily, but i could not even check my favorite website until tonight. Game 6 this year stung, and it stung far worse than any other year. Though now I realize, and I hope the rest of us can realize as Blazer fans : whether you like the playoff losses, the constant devastating injuries or not, they're going to happen, and our fandom of this team should never change regardless. As all humans do, I bleed red, but unlike the most I like to think Im bleeding Blazer red. Through the Jail-Blazers years to now, I have never once lost my love for the Blazers. Regardless of what happens with Brandon's knees, Greg Oden's rehabilitation and Andre Miller's contract, I will standby this team. I have my calendar marked for opening day next year, the pandemonium of Rip City will be back. Go Blazers Now, and Go Blazers Forever.
* I feel for Greg Oden. He seems depressed every time I see him on T.V.. My fingers are crossed that he can be an impact player for us late next year and health for the rest of his career because he deserves it.