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History of the Portland Trail Blazers on Christmas day

The Blazers have been one of the best teams in the NBA on Christmas day.

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

Rudolph, Home Alone, It’s a Wonderful Life, and the NBA. That list won’t make much sense to non-basketball fans, but for the rest of us NBA games on Christmas have become as traditional as presents under the tree.

Blazersmaniacs have been especially blessed on Christmas. Their team has the second best Christmas record in the league, 14-4. That includes a 13 game winning streak spanning from 1972 to 2007 and signature wins over the Los Angeles Lakers in 1983 and 2000.

The Blazers don’t play on Chistmas this year, but let’s take a moment to look back at the five biggest Christmas games in franchise history, presented in chronological order.

Blazers vs. Warriors 1977

Beating the Warriors on Christmas day in 1977 improved the Blazers record to 25-4, six games ahead of the 76ers the next best team. I can’t find any video from this game so here’s a quote from the late Jack Ramsay (taken from Dec. 26, 1977 Eugene Register Guard):

Blazers vs. Lakers 1983

The most points scored and largest margin of victory on Christmas for the Blazers came in 1983 against the Lakers. The 1983 game was also the first year that Christmas games were treated as a “household tradition” by the NBA (according to Wikipedia) — the Blazers and Lakers were game two of an ESPN doubleheader.

Blazers vs. Lakers 2000

This was the Blazers first game on Dec. 25 since 1985. The wheels would eventually fall off this season, but in the meantime the Blazers looked like legitimate contenders after this victory. Beating the Lakers on Christmas sparked a 23-8 stretch that vaulted the Blazers to the top seed in the Western Conference until March 6. (Let’s not talk about what happened after that.)

Blazers vs. Sonics 2007

I’ve written about this one before, but suffice to say it represented the dawn after a long night of Jail Blazers jokes and local shame. Eleven consecutive wins!

Brandon Roy and Kevin Durant’s Christmas debuts was the fifth and final Christmas game between these Pacific Northwest rivals.

Blazers vs. Nuggets 2009

This one is affectionately remembered as the Carmelo Anthony and Brandon Roy duel. Roy put up 41 points — a franchise Christmas record — in a victory at the Rose Garden. Greg Oden’s knee had exploded (again) only three weeks prior and the team had struggled to integrate Andre Miller into the starting lineup. The win over the Nuggets symbolized a “things will be okay, this team will still compete” sentiment that fans desperately needed at the time. Unfortunately, this victory turned out to be an apex and not a launching pad, as injuries continued piling up and killed any realistic chance at playoff success. But for one holiday, all was right in Rip City.