There are some people out there who are undoubtedly waiting for the Blazers' other shoe to drop. Sitting at 21-13, Nate McMillan's squad has done just about everything they could to prove that they belong in the playoff discussion, yet I still get the sense that people outside of Portland don't believe what they're seeing.
Case in point: Today's Daily Dime over at ESPN.com. Andrew Ayres ranks ten teams that "have the best shot at bringing home an NBA title this year." Do I think that the Blazers are going to win a ring in '08? Honestly, I don't. But what I do think is that they've got as good or better a chance as Orlando, Utah and Cleveland, all of whom have worse records than the Blazers and all of whom were in Ayres' Top-10.
So what do you have to do to be labeled a contender? How many games in a row do you have to win before you'll be taken seriously?
That's why this upcoming road trip is so important, at least when it comes to public perception of the Trail Blazers. Does going .500 or better in those seven games make the Blazers a contender? Let's hear it.