The Portland Trail Blazers are a professional basketball team located in Portland, Oregon
. As such, they are placed in the
of the Western Conference
in the NBA
. Their home court is the Rose
Arena, which is located in, appropriately enough, Portland's Rose Quarter
. The name refers to the pioneers of the
, which ended near Portland.
The Trail Blazers joined the NBA in the 1970-71 season and captured the league title six years
later with a team led by center Bill Walton and forward Maurice Lucas. In the early 1990s the Blazers were again among the
NBA's best teams. Powered by guards Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter and forward Buck Williams, the team reached the NBA Finals
in 1990 and 1992.
The Trail Blazers joined the NBA in the 1970-1971 season. This was the same expansion that added the Buffalo Braves and
the Cleveland Cavaliers to the league. The first Blazer team consisted mostly of talented, but inexperienced rookies.
Despite guard Geoff Petrie winning the Rookie of the Year award, the Blazers still finished the season with a record of
29-53. For the next three years, Portland played rather badly, until a win-loss record of 27-55 won them the first round
pick in the 1974 NBA draft. The Trail Blazers chose Bill Walton, who was a three-time college player of the year at
With Walton on the roster and Lenny Wilkens installed as head coach, the Blazers steadily began to perform better.
Portland won 38 games in the 1974-75 season and 37 games the next year. The next year, Jack Ramsey, who had formerly coached
the Buffalo Braves, replaced Wilkins. Ramsay disciplined a team-oriented strategy into the Trail Blazers, and finished his
first season with a record of 49-33. This was good enough to advance Portland to the playoffs, where they beat theChicago
Bulls, Denver Nuggets, and Los Angeles Lakers and won the Western Conference. In the finals, the Blazers played against
the Philadelphia 76ers, who were led by the legendary Julius Erving. Although Portland lost games 1 and 2, they rebounded
back to win the next four games and the NBA Championship.
In the 1977-78 season, Walton won the MVP award and the Trail Blazers finished the regular season with a record of
58-24. However, Walton suffered an injury and the Blazers lost in the conference semifinals to the Seattle SuperSonics.
Injuries continued to slow down Walton. He missed the next season entirely before joining the San Diego Clippers as a free
agent. Despite this, Portland remained a competitive team and managed to make the playoffs almost every year until the
In the early 1990s, Portland players Terry Porter, Buck Williams, and Clyde "The Glide" Drexler led
the team on the path to being one of the top teams in the NBA. The head coach, Rick Adelman, won 59 games in the 1989-90
season. The Blazers won the Western Conference for the second time and advanced to the playoffs. Unfortunately, Portland
lost to the Detroit Pistons, who won the series at 4-1. Two years later, the Blazers returned to the NBA Finals to face off
against the Chicago Bulls. Chicago won the championship at 4-2.
By this time, the star players grew older, and the Trail Blazers began to go downhill. After Drexler was traded to the
Houston Rockets, the Blazers had to rebuild their roster. One of the largest additions was Arvydas Sabonis, who is quite
possibly the coolest thing to ever come out of Lithuania. In the years to come, Damon Stoudamire, Brian Grant, and
Rasheed Wallace joined the team. These four were the main players until Grant was traded to the Miami Heat for Shawn
Kemp. This was a horrible move for the Blazers. It turned out that Kemp had a huge drug problem, and was therefore
ineligible to play. In the recent years, more Portland players got in trouble for drug-related charges. Added to the list
were several charges of assault, a fight between two teammates, and a wife-beating. Despite the arrival of Scottie
Pippen, fans who were fed up at the Blazers' image exited the Rose Garden in droves. Former fans now referred to the team
as "the Jail Blazers." The once-mighty team that used to play for full houses was now begging people to come to games. Even
today, there is a large amount of advertising to draw viewers. The slogan is "Blazer-brand basketball, one fan at a
This season, the Blazers almost made history in the playoffs. In the first round against the Dallas Mavericks, Dallas
took an early three-game lead. However, Portland bounced back and won the next three games. Prior to this, no team had ever
come back from a three-game deficit to win a seven-game series. Could the Trail Blazers be the first?
No. Dallas crushed face in game 7, and the Blazers were sent back to Portland.