Moving mountains

The saying is out of a religious context. It says that faith can move mountains, in the original usage the faith is related to god,but in modern times we realize that the faith in yourself and your team is extremely powerful, too. The bestexample for that are the Portland Trail Blazers. Even though 4 Blazers players, including star Brandon Roy, number one draft pick Greg Oden and top performer Marcus Camby, are injured, they won the last of their two home games. But these games were no average games. These games were special because they won against the San Antonio Spurs, the team with the best record in the league, and against the Chicago Bulls, which have the third best record in the eastern conference, so only the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat have a better record.

I remember, earlier in the Season, when I got just introduced to the Blazers by my host family, Brandon Roy had problems playing because his knees bothered him. He played a couple games, where I heard after the game more then one person saying he played bad, but in despite of playing not that well, he was still the leader of the team. There was nobody else even close to being a leader. I liked and like Wesley Matthews a lot. He is a young player, who has talent and will improve a lot during the next years, if he stays healthy. But he has to go through this improvement first, before he he will be able to lead a team. Batum and Aldridge didn’t as good as they do now in the beginning of the season. So it didn’t look like we will have a leader besides Roy in this team anytime soon. And a team needs a leader who makes plays, who scores points, who puts his team on his back.

Brandon’s knees started to bother him more and more and it became clear that he won’t be able to play for a long while, without that anybody knew how long it will be, because he had to go through knee surgery. It was pretty terrifying because nobody knew what would happen, even though everybody knew somebody has to step up. But it was questionable, whether any other player on the team is able to fill the gap Brandon Roy left.

But as the season went on, something amazing happened, not one single guy stepped up, the whole team stepped up to fill the gap. LaMarcus Aldridge lead the team with 40 and 42 points (career high) to two wins against two of the best teams in the NBA. He dunks, he shoots, he just makes the points you need to win a game. We saw a couple times in the last games, that they gave the ball to Aldridge, when they didn’t know what to do anymore, and LA scored the buckets the Blazers needed. Nicolas Batum has become a very confident and good shooter. He is a big threat from behind the three point line and besides that, he has the great ability to block shots on the other side of the court. Wesley Matthews played so well that he is a part of this years sophomores All-Star team, because he is fourth in shooting out of all second-year players (averaging 16.1 points per game). And Andre Miller showed how important he is for the Blazers, too. He has the confidence to make important buckets in the end of a close game like nobody else on the team right now.

I don’t know how Nate McMillan was able to do that, what he said to build his players up after every bad game so that they finally became a team which has “just” an average record (just in quotation marks because of the many injuries) but can beat teams like the Spurs and the Bulls and will hopefully make the Play-Offs, but it is amazing what he has done for and with the Blazers. Other teams struggle badly when they loose their star due to injury for a while and yes, the Portland Trail Blazers struggled, too for a while but they come out of this struggle stronger and more self confident. If Brandon Roy is able to fit in this changed team and add his great abilities to this team, when he is returning, than the Blazers can continue to move bigger and bigger mountains.

About carlthegerman
I am German.

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