Comparisons. They’re bound to happen no matter what, but in some circumstances you just can’t ignore the similarities. In 1999-2000 season the Portland Trail Blazers played in the Western Conference finals against a Lakers team who were at the peak of their dynasty. Kobe and Shaq made a fearsome pairing, and they gave Portland all they could handle through 7 games. The Blazers were in possession of a 16 point lead in the 4thg quarter. One that would lead to a heartbreaking loss in game 7. That moment lives on in the hearts of fans, and onlookers alike.
Not many get their chance at redemption, yet almost two decades later the Blazers find themselves in the Western Conference finals for the first time since that fateful night. The opponent doesn’t get any easier as they’ll be facing off against the team of our generation, the Golden State Warriors. The parallels between the Blazers of 2000 and the current squad are almost too significant to ignore.
This chance at redemption did not come easy, it took beating the Denver Nuggets in game 7 on Sunday. After the game we saw a side of Lillard that we’re not usually accustomed to, He was seen walking off the court with a ear-to-ear grin The relief of making their first conference finals in 19 years and the first in Lillard’s career cannot be understated. However, the work is not complete. The Blazers find themselves with a rare opportunity to change the narrative of an entire franchise, and rewrite history.
The team has overcome their fair share obstacles leading up to this point as they’ve had to prove themselves night after night.. Damian Lillard and company are used to being doubted though and with the emergence of CJ McCollum as a credible threat to any defense you’d be wise not to bet against this team. Without Kevin Durant and Demarcus Cousins for at least the first two games of the series, they need to capitalize on the matchup.
In what could be the last series played in Oakland, you better believe the hometown kid Damian Lillard will come out and play to the best of his abilities. With the chance to forge their own tale, will they be able to overcome the impossible? We’ll have to see.
Catch the game! AND follow @Blazer_Gang on Twitter for more coverage.
Game 1: Blazers @ Warriors at Oracle Arena 6:00 PM Pacific on ESPN