One example that comes to mind is Brandon Roy’s heroic performance Game 4 against the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Playoffs. I didn’t even watch the game live, but the highlights alone are enough to move me to tears as I think about an alternate reality where Roy enjoyed perfect health and is still torching defenses with his crafty repertoire of moves to this day.
The one time that the Blazers brought me to full-on tears (I mean downright sobbing) was right after Damian Lillard’s series-clinching shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder in last year’s playoffs. I can vividly remember Portland storming back in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to set up Lillard’s game-winner. The last 60 seconds were excruciating as the teams traded buckets.
Then, Russell Westbrook barreled down the lane and threw up an errant shot against smothering defense by Al-Farouq Aminu. The forward grabbed the ensuing rebound, passed off to Lillard, who then darted across half-court with over 12 seconds remaining.
As the final seconds ticked down, I can remember thinking, what is he doing? With about 6 seconds left, we all knew exactly what he was doing, because he’d done some variation of it time and time again — but that still didn’t make the outcome any less thrilling.
When the ball touched the bottom of the net, I remember jumping in the air and falling to the ground in one motion. I stayed on the floor of my apartment for a moment while I cried tears of joy (and shock; that shot was 30 kinds of ridiculous). I missed most of the on-court celebration, but I caught the various replay angles and couldn’t help but smile.
When Lillard appeared on the screen for his postgame interview, I cried again. I felt so thankful that I wouldn’t ever have to experience what it’s like to watch Damian Lillard sink your favorite team at the buzzer.
Let us know what Trail Blazers moments have made you cry in the comments below.