Throughout the past decade of Portland Trail Blazers basketball, perhaps the team that doesn’t receive as much praise as it should is the 2015-16 team.
In their first year without LaMarcus Aldridge after he bolted to the San Antonio Spurs in free agency, the Blazers battled through the season, adjusting to their new style and fielding a team that performed better than expected.
The biggest surprise came six years ago today, when the team clinched a spot in the second round of the playoffs after beating the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 6.
After trailing 0-2 following two losses at Staples Center, the Blazers marched on to a four-game win streak that ended in Game 6. But that Game 6 win didn’t come easy with the Clippers facing elimination.
The Blazers led by two points at half, but the Clippers erased their deficit in the third quarter and took a lead heading into the fourth.
In a back-and-forth affair throughout the fourth quarter, Jamal Crawford hit two free throws to tie the game at 103.
On the ensuing possession, it wasn’t Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum playing the hero role. Nope, it was Mason Plumlee!
Plumlee was able to draw a foul off an offensive rebound attempt and nailed his two free throws to seal the game and series for the Blazers.
Even though the Blazers lost in five games in the next round to the 73-win Golden State Warriors, the achievements of the 2015-16 team in Portland shouldn’t be forgotten.