Friday night’s NBA Western Conference semifinal matchup between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Denver Nuggets was an instant classic. The Blazers took a 2-1 series lead in the best-of-7 series with an insane 140-137 win at the end of the fourth overtime. It’s the first time that an NBA playoff game has reached quadruple OT status since 1953, and now Portland is two wins away from an unlikely run to the Western Conference Finals.
Among the 20,000+ fans in attendance was none other than Seattle Seahawks LB Shaquem Griffin, who was sat behind Denver’s bench, which also meant he was on the side of the court where Rodney Hood’s go-ahead three-pointer that gave Portland the lead for good.
NBC Sports Northwest caught up with Griffin after the game for his reaction to that unbelievable thriller.
“Oh man that game was awesome,” Griffin said. “The perfect game to come to. I’m gonna take the Blazers all the way, all day. You already know what time it is.”
He also says he intends to attend game four on Sunday afternoon, as it’s “a good luck charm now.”
Griffin isn’t the only Seahawk who has been at the Moda Center for an incredible Blazers victory. Left tackle Duane Brown was there when Damian Lillard sent the Oklahoma City Thunder (aka the Zombie Sonics) out of the playoffs with his 37-foot game-winner at the buzzer.
Now I know that many of you have a bitter taste in your mouths regarding the NBA given what happened to the Seattle SuperSonics, and I fully understand. If you’ve not been following the Blazers (or indeed the league) at all this season, they are something truly special.
There’s something distinctly Seahawk-y about the 2018-19 Blazers that I can’t quite describe. After they were swept out of the first-round of last year’s playoffs, they were pegged by some pundits to either have a quick exit this year or miss the playoffs entirely. When star center Jusuf Nurkic broke his leg in March, it felt like they were cooked. Doubts about Damian Lillard’s ability to perform in the playoffs loomed over the team when all but one of ESPN’s 20 “experts” picked the Thunder to beat the Blazers in round one. Lillard waved Russell Westbrook and company off the court.
They don’t have home court advantage against Denver, yet they lead the series after one of the gutsiest performances you’ll ever see. Even at present, starting center Enes Kanter played 55 minutes yesterday despite a separated shoulder. Moe Harkless played 45 minutes on a bad ankle and left the game with cramps, setting the stage for Hood’s heroics.
So if you don’t hate the NBA or your dislike for the Blazers has waned post-Sonics era, I certainly recommend hopping on the Blazers bandwagon. It’s been one hell of a surprise ride that I haven’t really felt for any team I’ve rooted for since the 2012 Seahawks.