The 1990-91 Trail Blazers have advanced to the Semifinal Round of SB Nation’s bracket of the best NBA teams that came up just short of winning a title. The Blazers, who entered the field as the No. 6, remain as the clear underdog left in the competition (according to seeding).
Clyde Drexler and his crew of Rip City legends narrowly advanced past the 2011-12 Thunder. SB Nation’s Mike Prada discussed the matchup, which included a tightly-contested seven-game simulation on WhatifSports. Regardless of losing their grip a 3-1 lead in the simulation, the fan vote pushed the Blazers over the top.
This is the most surprising result of the tournament so far.
I thought Portland was a bad matchup for the Thunder, since they had Jerome Kersey to body Kevin Durant, Terry Porter to take advantage of Russell Westbrook’s roaming, and a deep bench to account for James Harden. That’s why I picked Portland to win.
The simulation nearly agreed, but the Thunder rallied from 3-1 down to win the series. Durant carried them to victory, dropping a 39-point, six-rebound, five-assist, four-block, four-steal line in Game 6 and a 30-6-8-4 line in Game 7.
I figured recent Thunder love would carry OKC to victory in the fan vote, but boy was I wrong. I didn’t know the Blazers had so many admirers.
The Blazers face another tough task in this round as they cross paths with the 2001-02 Kings. This matchup features a battle between two of coach Rick Adelman’s best squads. Coincidentally, both teams suffered from the same fate nearly a decade apart: a heart-breaking loss to the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.
Voting is open until 7:00 AM PST on Thursday. You can access the entire Semifinal Round ballot by CLICKING HERE.