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Mom’s Favorite: Blazers Endure Another Tough Week

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Despite some tough times, Portland has stayed together through it all.

Portland Trail Blazers v Washington Wizards Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Each week, Team Mom highlights her favorites plays, players and other things that made the Trail Blazers fun to watch. Who is Mom’s Favorite this week? What were your favorite things that happened this week? Let us know in the comments below.

Week 11, December 29-January 4. Phoenix Suns (L), New York Knicks (L), Washington Wizards (W)

Mom’s Favorite: Endurance

In August of 1914 the Imperial Trans-Antarctic expedition, led by Ernest Shackleton, set out from London in an attempt to become the first party to traverse Antarctica. Within 5 months their ship was trapped in the frozen Southern Sea and was eventually crushed by the ice. (Stay with me here.)

The Battle With Pressure Ice Photo by Frank Hurley/Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge/Getty Images

The party disembarked before the ship was lost and the men spent two winters camped on the ice using salvaged pieces from their ship and three lifeboats for shelter. A small contingent eventually secured their rescue by using one of the lifeboats to make an 800-mile journey across the open waters to a whaling station on South Georgia Island. The ship that was crushed (and eventually helped save their lives) was called the Endurance.

When things aren’t going well, I often think about this expedition and the Endurance. Maybe I’m being melodramatic but in the grand scheme of things, blowing a 19-point lead to the Phoenix Suns and losing by 24 to the New York Knicks aren’t the worst things that could happen.

The men on the expedition slept in wet horsehair sleeping bags. They would wake up in the middle of the night to hear the ice breaking beneath them as the slept. They had to wriggle out of those wet bags and jump up to more solid ice to make sure they didn’t plunge into the ocean. They endured brutal conditions and made unimaginable sacrifices in order to survive.

They made it out because their leader refused to give in. Ernest Shackleton couldn’t say “I’m done, I’m going home.” He persevered to make sure his party got out alive. And they did, despite countless setbacks along the way.

Damian Lillard isn’t saying “I’m done. Trade me to a contender.” Eventually he will make the Blazers contenders again. In the meantime, the Blazers are enduring a depleted roster, unexpected roles, unfamiliar lineups and a road trip with two of the best cities for nightlife in the country. Meanwhile, fans endured the Blazers bench being outscored 168-58 this week.

We can get through this. Eventually they will find their way to the whaling station and send help. Let’s look at a few bright spots.

The Blazers escaped the week with no new injuries, a minor miracle considering how many minutes and how much pressure is on their two stars, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. As a matter of fact, Lillard and McCollum averaged slightly fewer minutes this week (35.9 for Lillard and 35.3 for McCollum) compared to the season (36.7 for Lillard, 36.5 for McCollum).

No one is fighting in the locker room in Portland. They added a celebrity to their roster who could have messed with their team chemistry. Carmelo Anthony has been a supportive teammate and the third leading scorer. Meanwhile, Cavaliers forward Kevin Love is reportedly fighting with his teammates and the front office in Cleveland and Miami is no longer playing once-popular Dion Waiters.

There have been some stand-out individual performances this week. Carmelo Anthony scored a season-high 26 points in New York. Hassan Whiteside gave us his first “Barbara Walters” 20/20 game in Washington, in which he scored 23 points and 21 rebounds. Gary Trent Jr played a season-high 22 minutes in Phoenix and scored eight points in the first quarter on his way to 11 for the game.

Damian Lillard scored 30+ points twice this week. And despite a miserable shooting performance on New Year’s Day, he grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out eight assists. It might have been the only time I didn’t want him to earn a triple double. Not in a miserable game like that.

Here are highlights from the Washington Wizards game:

Damian Lillard is third guard in the first All Star voting returns. Don’t forget to vote!

Mario Hezonja returns and did not disappoint, creating two more plays to add to the Hezonja highlight reel:

Jusuf Nurkic misses us as much as we miss him

Talk about endurance! He’s not a Blazer but Vince Carter became the only player in the NBA to play in four different decades.

That will do it for this week’s Mom’s Favorites. What did you like about this week? What plays or player make you excited for the future? Let us know in the comments below.

Xoxo Team Mom | @tcbbiggs

Blazer’s Edge Night is coming in March. Buy your tickets now to help kids see a Blazer game!

P.S. Seriously, go to the library and check out a book about the Shackleton Expedition!