Remembering the good.
The 2011-12 season was one of the more forgettable years in recent memory for fans of the Portland Trail Blazers, but even the most bleak situations have a few fond memories when it comes to NBA basketball.
Heading into 2013, let’s reflect on what kept us smiling last year as we approach a new season with so much promise ahead.
February 4, 2012—Niolas Batum Explodes from 3
Nicolas Batum’s shot has been inconsistent throughout his four years in Portland, but on Feb. 4 against the Denver Nuggets, he showed Rip City what he can do when he was allowed to shoot from deep.
The sometimes passive small forward was looking for his shot that night, as he set a franchise record for three-pointers in a game with nine.
The Trail Blazers went on to win the game 117-97, but the contest was all about Batum and his record-setting night.
March 30, 2012—J.J Hickson Hits the Scene
The Trail Blazers claimed J.J. Hickson off of waivers late last season, and he truly made his mark in the rotation when he exploded against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The 6’9” forward looked like Blake Griffin on the court, as he posted 29 points, 13 rebounds and multiple highlight-worthy finishes above the rim.
Nights like this is what Portland fans are hoping for out of Hickson next season.
March 20, 2012—Brandon Roy Returns
On Mar. 20, 2012, the Trail Blazers played a disappointing game against the Milwaukee Bucks, but fans leaving the arena couldn’t care less, as they received a surprise visit from one of Rip City’s most recent retirees.
Early in the second quarter, without much to cheer for, the Rose Garden crowd erupted when Brandon Roy made an unexpected return to the arena. Not even the Blazers players knew of his plans, making it one of the more special moments of the entire 2011-12 season.
Roy will return to the Rose Garden again in 2013, but this time as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
April 6, 2012—LaMarcus Aldridge Is Clutch
The Trail Blazers have had some exciting matchups against the Dallas Mavericks as of late, but most recently came the overtime winner late last season.
The team has looked other directions time and time again with the game on the line, but Aldridge’s confidence finally matched his results, and the team should find their star late in games moving forward.
March 16, 2012—Kaleb Canales Gives Team Hope
Knowing what we know now, an 11-point victory over a depleted Chicago Bulls team is nothing to jump for joy over. That being said, the Blazers appeared to be a lost cause at times last season, and that victory was exactly what the team—and the fans—needed.
Interim head coach Kaleb Canales came in following the fire sale at the trade deadline and had a shallow roster with virtually no shot at the postseason. He had every reason to hang his head, but instead, he rallied the troops and started off the second half of the year right.
The team came out looking inspired and motivated following the firing of Nate McMillan, and with energy and youth on their side, they stormed past the Bulls on the road en route to their first victory under their young head coach.