So from my beggar hat, I pick the lottery winner, and that winner happens to be...
THE PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS
That's right, kiddies. Not the Lakers, Cavs, Celtics or Magic. The Blazers.
And I've never supported them before this year, but here's why the Blazers will be bringing that shiny gold trophy back to the Rose Garden Arena.
The Portland Trailblazers (54-28 on the year) are hot, and they've only been heating up as the season's been coming to a close. This is a good sign for Portland.
Here are some facts that will make you sign up for the Portland bandwagon, when it rolls through College Park this Saturday:
- Portland has the most blow-out wins in the NBA this season. They're dangerous. Hot to the touch.
- The Rose Garden is LOUD. Oregon arenas and stadiums have a nasty effect on visitors (see: Oregon State vs. No. 1 USC)--just good craftsmanship, is all.
- Because of this, Portland has 33 wins out of their 38 games on their home court. Both times they played the Lakers at home, they won.
- Rudy Fernandez. The boy wonder set the NBA all-time record for amount of 3-pointers by a rookie in a season. He made 159 3's this year. So you can count on him to make at least 2 from the land down under.
- This team's got Mos Depth. Tonight against Denver's Nugnuts (No. 2 seed, btdubs), Portland's bench scored 72 of the game's 104 points. No starter had double figures. Tonight, Portland also had 29 total assists. As Boston showed everyone last year, helpers win championships.
- Portland swept the reigning champs of Boston this year (that was with Garnett playing). They lost both games to the Cavs, but you want to know the margin? One game by 6, another by 5 in overtime.
- Brandon Roy. Need I say more?
After that, should they get so far as to meet the Lakers, you can expect a great series. While Kobe will play his heart out (he will not be embarrassed again by the Eastern Conference), there's a good chance that Phil Jackson may overlook this team as a legitimate threat. It's always the team you least expect. Well don't forget, Phil, your Lakers got beaten in two very rough and tumultuous games in Portland this year. Portland will want to win as a point of contention. Watch yo'self.
Portland is one of those teams that has the ability, if they play well together, to beat any team in the NBA. They know the Lakers, they've beaten the Celtics, and they've made it close with the Cavs.
Watch out, these Portland stars look to blaze a trail straight to the playoffs. Better hope your team isn't first.
Now to get myself a job...pirates are making a comeback, I hear.
-Dave "Tax Refund" Smith