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.