Portland Trail Blazers Details
The Trail Blazers have played in Portland, Oregon since joining the NBA as a 1970 expansion team. Since joining the league, the Blazers have been one of the NBA’s top-performing teams and have qualified for the playoffs in 70% of their seasons. The Trail Blazers’ name comes from the practice of marking a path through a forested area (a “blaze” in this case, is an identifying mark, usually carved into a tree—not a fire). The Trail Blazers play at the Moda Center.
The Blazers won their only NBA Championship in 1977 when Hall of Fame center Bill Walton won Finals MVP and led the Trail Blazers to a six-game victory over the 76ers. The Trail Blazers’ championship run was also their first-ever playoff appearance, and their championship victory was a stunning upset over the top team in the Eastern Conference. The Blazers were Western Conference champions in 1990 and 1992, reaching the finals with star players like Drazen Petrovic and Clyde Drexler. The Blazers lost to the Pistons in 1990 and to Michael Jordan’s Bulls in 1992.
Last season, the Trail Blazers made the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year. They finished in the 8th seed in the West and lost to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors in the first round. The Blazers made a trade in February 2017 with the Denver Nuggets for center Jusuf Nurkic. Nurkic was a huge boost to the team last season: the Blazers went 2-7 in February but went 13-3 in March. On the other end of the Blazers’ starting lineup is point guard Damian Lillard. Lillard scored a career high 27 points per game last season. The Blazers traded up in the 2017 draft to get seven foot Zach Collins from the Sacramento Kings.
In a tough Western Conference, the Blazers will hope to make it five playoff seasons in a row in 2017-18.