Jan 13

As Expectations Increase, Trail Blazers Stay Level-Headed In The Face Of Defeat

By sarahhecht

The Trail Blazers are surprising folks left and right. Heading into this season not many expected the young, rookie-led team in a “rebuilding” year to make much noise, let alone be in the early running for a playoff seed. So now, as the wins continue to pile up and the Trail Blazers continually display their no-quit attitude, one begins to wonder if the players are feeling the growing pressure to succeed.

Coming off a huge and emotional win over the Miami Heat and a hardly-surprising loss to Golden State the day after, the Trail Blazers headed into Sunday nights contest against the Oklahoma City with confidence. They played tough right up to the end, but came up short 87-83.

With so much going right for the team recently, naturally you’d think this loss, a game they were so close to winning over the reigning Western Conference Champs, would hurt more than a loss to a different opponent.

Not the case. Though it’s not easy to accept a close loss, they’ll check it at the door as they leave and move on to their next challenge, the Denver Nuggets.

“We lost the game and now we gotta move forward. There’s teams coming up that are capable of beating us, so we gotta be ready,” Damian Lillard said. “We don’t have room to look past anyone or not be as focused going into a game, so we gotta let it go and get ready for another one.

“It’s just a loss. It was kinda emotionally draining because we put ourselves in a hole and then we come back at the end and we lose the game, so it hurts because of that, but at the end of the day it’s still one loss. It’s not like losing to them makes it two losses, it was only one loss and we gotta get ready for the next one.”

Both LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum said the loss stings, but the fact that the team fought back from a deficit moves it away from the “bad loss” category.

“We got two chance to win game, that’s tough,” Batum said. But Aldridge kept the big picture in mind when he said, “Whether they have guys or not have guys we always want to win and we gotta put ourselves in a position to win. We’ve had some worse ones [losses,] but this is definitely tough to take and home when we fight all the way back and lose like that.”

So though the emotion is there, this Trail Blazers squad knows they're exceeding their expectations and even in a somber locker room they’re keeping their chins up and plowing forward to see what else they can accomplish as the season rolls on.


  1. It's hard for us fans to keep that kind of perspective always, about how our expactations have increased, when we're so involved in the game and want them pull out a victory so bad.

    And no disrespect Sarah, but I wouldn't say this team is rookie-led. Rookie-heavy or Rookie PG perhaps. The Blazer's are Aldridge-led. One day, I am certain the Blazers will be Lillard-led, but this team still belongs to its 33/11 All-Star. ; )

    Thanks for the perspective.

    by Blazer Fanatic on 1/14/2013 5:12 PM
  2. I got ya on the "rookie-led." I see it as the PG being the floor leader, initiator, etc. That's what I was getting at.

    BTW, great blogging!

    by sarahhecht on 1/14/2013 12:30 AM
  3. Thanks! It's fun. I have never "blogged" before. I just found that the people that respond make for more entertaining discussion than on message boards.

    And I assumed you meant as much, but I felt like showing some love for the one guy that showed up all 4 quarters tonight. P.S. I like your hair!

    by Blazer Fanatic on 1/14/2013 12:38 AM
  4. Hey Miss Sarahhecht: I am still the same as far as my expectation goes, and that is staying in the game and be competitive.
    I don't think it is any kind of disgrace to lose to OKC as they are an exceptional good road warriors.

    I too felt the sting of this game, but not in disappointment, but in the fact that we fought so hard to win, and lost in the end to a couple more bad shots and missed free throws. I felt bad for the players.

    by Hg on 1/14/2013 4:24 AM
  5. Hey, Sarah! I was at the game last night, with the AAA group....even though we lost (and I was sitting in front of some Thunder fans again.....) it was still a great game, and I loved it. I have never heard the RG so loud in any game I've ever gone to, and it shows how much we fans love the team. I'm also glad that they aren't beating themselves up about the loss-it may have been against the Thunder (ugh...) but we fought back from something like 13 points down... I'm hoping to play basketball next year at school, and I kept turning to my mom and saying, "This is why I want to play-because I can do something like they are doing right now."
    (I also loved the game because I came early and got Ronnie, Nic, and Kaleb's autographs! :D ) Thanks for a great blog!

    by dancegirl on 1/14/2013 1:04 PM
  6. Great article Sarah! I'm a guy who wants the Blazers to win every game but 6 bench pts...hard to win against the contenders with those stats. LaMarcus single handedly put this effort on his shoulders and almost got the win. All that said though, we're ahead of my expectations so far this season.

    by riverman on 1/14/2013 2:14 PM
  7. win or loose, if I see the guys putting their all out for 4 quarters of play or + an over time and see offence and defence the entire game then they are all winners in my book. There are a lot of tallented players in the league and a lot of great atheletes . From what Ive seen this year Portland would be fools to let JJ Hickson get away from this team when he is the one keeping us in most of the games with his never ending power and that is my biggest concern this year. I really didnt expect them to even come close to a playoff spot this year with all the rookies we have now. I really dont like all the bad words about portlands bench, yes they arent producing much this year but there is a lot of awesome tallent there to be used. Look at Batum before he was a starter and what he is sense, who would have thought with all his hot cold action off the bench. They just need more time to work with the starters and they will be fine. Also we have an awesome coach that needs to work with these guys another year and I think everyone would be amaized what we had next year. I think expectations have grown too much too fast for a building team everyone wants it NOW! lol

    by LongtimeBlazerManiac on 1/31/2013 1:46 PM
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