Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hollinger doesn't fear the fluke

Poke around a few newspapers and the Internet and you'll find that most people who follow the NBA are still a bit skeptical when it comes to Portland's playoff chances. The combination of a tough Western Conference and the Trail Blazers being the youngest squad in the league has given some the impression that the resurgence we're seeing in Portland is likely an anomaly. A little talent mixed with a lot of luck.

But now that we are at midseason, some people, including John Hollinger, have come to the conclusion that the Trail Blazers are for real.
A quick memo to those of you who thought those upstart Portland Trail blazers would soon fade out of the Western Conference race: They're not going away.


Usually in a club this young, there is a tension between the desire of the players to win games and their desire to further their individual accomplishments so they can establish their careers and earn a bigger contract.

With this group, at least so far, they've managed to keep that instinct buried. It helps that none of their players are habitual ball dominators, and that the two best players, Roy and Aldridge, are as comfortable in the catch-and-shoot game as any of their teammates.

Hollinger also notes that, should the Blazers avoid disastrous injury, they could be "a dominant force in the West for the next decade." I like the sound of that.

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