.500 Record: It Doesn’t Matter
With eight games to go before the end of the NBA regular season, the question on all Blazer fans’ minds is: Can the Blazers finish with a .500 record? This is a logical question for fans of a franchise that has not had a winning season in four years and yearns to see signs of progress in this young Blazer squad. With the likes of Dallas, San Antonio, LA Lakers and Phoenix waiting for the Blazers in April, the chance to win four more games looks tough, especially without Brandon Roy. Although Blazer fans worldwide are waiting with bated breath to see if the boys in scarlet and black can pull it out, the bigger question is why? Why does anyone care if the Blazers finish with a .500 record? It doesn’t matter!
No matter how you look at this season it has been one of remarkable achievement for Blazer Nation. From the season ending injury of Oden to having the second youngest roster in NBA history, this year’s Blazers had every reason to pack up the season and get ready for another lottery pick. But instead this team fought tooth and nail to compete in every game. Yes, there have been some silly losses. But there have also been some amazing wins. All the while the Blazers saw their first All-Star, in Brandon Roy, they can be proud of since the days of Clyde emerge as the team leader the Blazers have been missing. LaMarcus Aldridge coming off an injury plagued first season has blossomed into an offensive threat and a second weapon on the floor in only his second year. Travis Outlaw has solidified himself has a dangerous 6th man while James Jones has shown the Blazers have a 3 point threat off the bench. Joel Przybilla has recovered from a horrible season to put up, game after game, blue collar performances that have become his trademark. The list goes on and on of emerging stars and powerful growth of the Blazer roster that has marked this year.
More importantly, Blazermania is back. For the first time in a long time people care about the Blazers again. Like being hit with a wet blanket, one can’t help but feel a sense of excitement in the air on the streets of Portland. The Rose Garden is selling out, the media is writing positive stories and season ticket holders are coming back in droves.
So why does a .500 record matter? Yes, it would be a nice vindication of success for a young team that has worked hard all year. But hasn’t their season been vindication enough? Haven’t all the gutsy last second wins, rough but tough defensive efforts and hustle plays shown us that this team gets it? The Western Conference is a tough place to get wins, especially this season. If this team loses the rest of their games they will do so by fighting to the bitter end. Like Falcor in the Never Ending Story says, “Never give up and good luck will find you.” Nothing can erase the magic of this year, not even finishing below .500.