sarahhecht

Apr 06

Post-Season Perspective: Don’t Take The Playoffs For Granted

By sarahhecht Posted in: playoffs
The Trail Blazers clinched a playoff berth on a losing night. It’s not the first time it’s happened in the NBA and it certainly won’t be the last.

I’ve noticed that a large faction of the Trail Blazers fan population is down on this simple fact. But the real question is does clinching a playoff berth on a losing night make that berth any less important, significant or exciting?

No, absolutely not.

Portland earned, yes EARNED, their 29th playoff appearance in franchise history. To put some perspective on that number, it’s tied for the third most playoff appearances in the NBA since the teams inception in 1970. The tie is with Boston and only the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs have ventured into the post-season more than the Trail Blazers.

That’s a staggering statistic, don’t you think?

So we didn’t win on the night we punched our playoff ticket, big deal. One game shouldn’t negate the entire season of hard work by the players and dedication and love from the fans.

I’ve heard this one a lot today too, “Well, we’ve only made the playoffs. Now we have to get out of the first round.”

Fair enough. We all want to make a deep push into the post-season. That’s where it gets exciting. It’s what we’ve cheered for all year, right?

Yes, but does that make a first round exit a failure? No way. Think about how difficult it is to make the playoffs in the first place.

Here’s a stat to demonstrate how tough it is to even make the playoffs in the Western Conference: Portland has earned post-season berths in three straight seasons and only San Antonio, the L.A. Lakers, Dallas, Denver and Portland have qualified for the playoffs in the West in each of those last three seasons.

Now you’re thinking, wait.. what? How can that be? What about Phoenix and Utah? Of course they’ve made the playoffs in the last three years.

No, they haven’t.

Phoenix, led by Steve Nash, missed the post-season this year. That’s the second time in the last three years they haven’t played beyond the regular season. The Suns are viewed as a perpetual playoff team, and rightfully so. They’ve battled their way into the post-season in six of the last ten years.

On to Utah. I’ve viewed the Jazz as a “gimme” playoff team since the days of John Stockton and Karl Malone. They made the playoffs for 20 consecutive years from 1983-2003. Twenty years! Even after that streak ended they only missed the post-season for 3 years and they’ve made it every year since.

Guess what? No Utah this year either.

The Trail Blazers playoff history may shock you. From the championship year of 1977 to 2003 Portland only missed the playoffs once. You read that correctly, once. Pretty unbelievable, huh?

The Western Conference is a battle field. There’s no doubt it’s the stronger of the two NBA conferences and earning a playoff berth is no easy task.

With all of those stats I rest my case. Be excited and happy! We made it! We’re there! We have a shot to make a run for a Championship! And we consistently get to make these exclamations! There are plenty of other teams that don’t get to, so let’s cherish this piece of fandom and root for the Trail Blazers until we’re red in the face.

Just please, don’t take “only making the playoffs” for granted. You never know when you won’t.

6 Comments

  1. Oh Sarah!!! What a great way to end my day. I agree whole heartedly with you. I was ranting about fan's saying it was embarrassing way to get into the play-offs and an embarrassing loss to GSW at home. I think it was a lack of intensity loss, but not an embarrassing loss. Maybe that is because I have been a fan since the get go, and I have conditioned myself. The point is it hasn't been that long ago when we didn't think we had a chance of making the play-offs. Then it was who are we going to get in the first round as I told you, we have to get there first. We did that and like you I don't care how we got there, now we can worry about who we get. In fact, I don’t care who we get, I just want us to play good.

    I am like you, with all the injuries and adversities this year just getting to the play-offs is great, If we get out of the first round that would be terrific, if we don’t that would still be a terrific year.

    by Hg on 4/6/2011 10:32 PM
  2. Getting out of the 1st round this year would make us so happy. Last 2 years we've straight choked in the playoffs. Some of those close scores weren't close at all really. We'd be down by 15 with 4 minutes left, and a couple Blazers would start taggin' 3's to make the final score seem like it was a barn burner. What we need is dominating wins, we really need to send a messege early and often in the playoffs. I'd like to see Nate use Chris Johnson's shot blocking abilities more. Get him in the rotation. Playoff's bring hard play and more fouls. If Crash and Camby got 2 early fouls...gonna need Chris

    by Tobyus Sanchezo on 4/6/2011 11:49 PM
  3. Great historical lookback and nice post overall!

    by manrandom on 4/7/2011 5:11 AM
  4. Blazers rock!!!! Gotta love my Blazers baybeeee!!! :)

    by Dio Freeman on 4/7/2011 6:55 AM
  5. FANTASTIC blog. A much-needed perspective check, wish we could distribute it more widely!

    The fact we make the playoffs A LOT has always caused me to not be able to understand how so much of the wider NBA fans and the top end of the NBA organization can disrespect us so much!

    I love stats in situations like this. There is no way to argue against the kind of numbers and straight facts you laid out Sarah. Thank you, this was a great read :)

    by SisillaRiann on 4/7/2011 7:24 AM
  6. The time is now to make the jump into the second round. No longer are we the new, "up and coming" squad, playing above our heads. We've got the coaching staff, the veteran talent & the superstar. 2nd round or bust!

    by DHawes22 on 4/7/2011 12:29 PM
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