#1 Clyde Drexler vs. #5 Arvydas Sabonis
No. 22 Clyde Drexler | Shooting Guard | 6-7 | 222 lbs
Career Stats As A Trail Blazer:
34.1 mpg, 20.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 5.7 apg, 2.1 spg, 1.46 bpg .478 FG %, .303 3 PT %, .789 FT %
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One For The Books: Drexler's Fourth Quarter Heroics - By Wayne Thompson
None of these wins was more inspiring than the last one--a 120-110 come-from-behind victory at Houston on March 20, 1990.
It was a game in which Portland's rising super star, Clyde Drexler, just 27 years old, wouldn't let Portland lose. Trailing by 14 points late in the fourth quarter, the Blazers stormed back behind a 41-point, 16-rebound performance by Drexler to beat the Rockets going away.
In 43 minutes of action against the Rockets, Drexler connected on 18 of 26 shots, snared a career-high 16 rebounds, including six on the offensive glass. doled out a half-dozen assists and added three steals and a blocked shot.
"He simply wouldn't let us lose," said a happy Rick Adelman afterwards. "He made some amazing shots in that fourth quarter." Portland outscored Houston, 37-21 in the four quarter to win the game in a breeze.
"Phenonenal," said Buck Williams, Drexler's best friend among the Blazer players. "He saved the game for us. He was breath-taking. you talk about gravity force out of a rocket trying to take off. Tonight, this guy redefined the whole gravity thing," Williams said.
Drexler's performance rescued an otherwise dismal shooting night for the other Blazer starters, who combined to make only 15 of 45 shots from the field and scored just 44 points.
This was vintage Clyde Drexler. Whatever the situation Drexler, being the talented leader that he was, rose to the occasion to lead his team to victory. It just so happened that on this night the team was ice cold from the floor and needed Clyde The Glide to shoulder the scoring load. But even when he goes off for 40 points, he still found a way to snag a career-high 16 rebounds -- that was what made Clyde so very special. A one-trick pony he was not. Drexler was a stat sheet stuffer, a threat to rack up a triple-double on any given night. Not only are Drexler's 21 triple-doubles 14 more than the next closet competitor, he also came within an eyelash of becoming apart of an elite NBA fraternity: the Quadruple-Double Club. During a game on October 10, 1986, The Glide poured in 26 points, handed out 11 assists, pick pocketed the defense 10 times and pulled down nine boards. The Schonz couldn't have phrased it any better when he stated, "He (Clyde) was outstanding in all phases of the game."
"THE best. Could do it all. He was outstanding in all phases of the game. An NBA all-star."
Photo Gallery: Clyde Drexler Through The Years
No. 11 Arvydas Sabonis | Center | 7-3 | 292 lbs
Career Stats As A Trail Blazer:
24.2 mpg, 12.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.1 apg, 0.6 spg, 1.1 bpg, .500 FG%, .328 3PT%, .786 FT%
Click Here To Continue Reading "One For The Books: The Big Man's Big Game"
One For The Books: The Big Man's Big Game - By Wayne Thompson
Against the Timberwolves at the Rose Garden, Sabas scored 28 points, including the winning basket in the final seconds, and tied his NBA career-high of 20 rebounds. Moreover, it was his play alone that spared the Trail Blazers from what might have been a nightmarish defeat.
"This is the time of year when you should be jelling and sharpening your game," Dunleavy added. "Arvydas has been in so many situations like this over his long career. He's the anchor for us. He carried us tonight."
"They just had too much size for us," said a disappointed Minnesota coach Flip Saunders. "We just had no one who could contend with Sabonis. It's not just his great size, it's also his passing and shooting skills.
"That 300-pound body (of his) takes up a lot of room under the defensive board and his being there and blocking out people lets the other Blazers steal the caroms that he doesn't get," Saunders pointed out.
"We tried to take advantage down low," Wallace told The Oregonian's Paul Buker. "We knew that if (Stanley) Roberts got into foul trouble early, Cherokee Parks was too small to handle Sabas."
"He's like fine win. He may be getting older, but passing and shooting skills, size and intelligence--those things don't deteriorate," the late Bill Musselman added.
Even though Sabas is an international basketball icon, his recent Hall of Fame induction ruffled a few feathers. But the naysayers need to look no further than what he did on that spring night in 1998. At 33-years-old, Sabonis was the best player on the floor, even among future Hall of Famers, when he dropped 28 points and grabbed 20 boards with ease. He teased the defense with his mind-blowing passes, patrolled the paint with brute force and spaced the floor perfectly with range extending past the three-point line. Unfortunately, Arvydas wasn't able to come over in his prime but at least Rip City and NBA fans got to see a glimpse of what could have been for the big man. Performances like these would have been a dime a dozen for Sabas, but even a broken-down version of Arvydas was more than enough to become one of the all-time favorites in the hearts of Maniacs worldwide.
"If only Arvydas would have been here in the 90's, the Blazers probably would have had a couple more rings on their fingers. Huge. Strong. Good guy. Hall of Famer. Could certainly pass and could flat out score."
Photo Gallery: Arvydas Sabonis Through The Years
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Bracket: The Greatest Trail Blazer Of All-Time