Blazers give it all

After the Blazers dropped three games, there were the obvious doubters and haters. In my eyes, the Blazers won a series in itself by extending their season to a seventh game with the front-running Dallas Mavericks.

Most critics and even “loyal” fans had the Blazers down for a third straight sweep in the playoffs. However the Blazers, who have been the center of heavy criticism all year long, pulled together and forgot about their struggles through the first three games of the series.

This Blazers squad has supposedly been battling turmoil in the locker room, off-the-court noise and a lack of chemistry on the floor this season. One might ask then, how were they not supposed to be swept by the Mavericks, who won 60 freakin’ games?

If we think about this objectively, the Dallas Mavericks held the best record in the NBA for most of the season. They had a stellar home record, have two all-stars (Nowitzki and Nash) and a potential third all-star with Michael Finley. The Mavericks could have easily been the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. Portland wasn’t given much of a shot to win the series, and through the first three games, people saw why. The Mavericks controlled tempo and continually ran a pick and roll, a play that rivals any combination of wits and skill in the game today. Nobody really has an answer for defending a seven-footer out on the wing that can light three’s one play and go by his defender for a baseline dunk the next time down.

The fair-weathered fans and critics of this world drive me up the wall.

I have never turned my back on this team, and I can’t see myself ever joining those doubters.

One thing that made me happy during the series was hearing the roar of the home crowd. It’s those fans who make me proud to be behind this team. It is those same fans who came to game four in the Rose Garden, not worrying about the Blazers being swept again, but just ready to cheer as loud as they could.

So after the series had ended Sunday, I was listening to sports talk on the radio.

The dude hosting the show saw that there absolutely had to be major changes made to the Blazers roster. Many other callers agreed that there should be changes made as well, beginning with Rasheed Wallace leaving, followed by maybe Bonzi Wells.

Now how dumb can we get?

These guys got us our wins this year and played a big hand in taking us to seven games against Dallas. These two are maybe the two most talented players we have. It’s these guys that I feel have the heart and fire to win and want to ball with anyone in the league.

To me, these guys seem to get along and understand each other. There are always going to be fights and conflicts on any team.

The six-ring Bulls led by MJ had more than their share of battles and conflicts at practice. They weren’t judged by it, though, because they were able to win. This team is competitive just like that, but we’re not at championship form just yet.

Any team can take minor quirks and changes, but getting rid of Wallace? Come on, now. Let’s keep in mind that this series was a three versus a six. The Blazers were resilient enough to take an overtalented Mavericks team to seven games and almost make history.

I like where this team is headed, and I didn’t cry Sunday afternoon when the season was over. It was one of the more satisfied feelings I’ve had in defeat any time it involved the Portland Trailblazers.