Originally written April 23, 2014 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
Rip City Revival The playoffs have arrived, and the Portland Trail Blazers have shown that they’re embracing the underdog role every step of the way. In the final game of the regular season, the Blazers had nothing on the line. Their seed had already been decided, giving the bench plenty of time to see action.  LaMarcus Aldridge is pumped for the playoffs. The playoffs, on the other hand, are where the rotations get short and the stars step up. The postseason should feature a long ride ahead, but for now, let’s review how we got here. April 16 vs. Los Angeles When the Blazers took on the Los Angeles Clippers, both teams emptied their bench. Chris Paul sat for rest, Blake Griffin was suspended and LaMarcus Aldridge sat in preparation of the playoffs. Even Damian Lillard, who went off in the first quarter, sat most of the way to get ready for the first postseason game of his career. Fans didn’t get the star-studded showdown they’d hoped for, but they did get an entertaining faceoff between role players looking to make a name for themselves in the final game of the year. April 20 @ Houston (Round 1, Game 1) And so it began. The Trail Blazers made their postseason return with a thrilling overtime victory against the Houston Rockets. They came out of the gate energized, but that didn’t stop the Rockets from gaining a double-digit lead in the second half. Luckily for Portland, it had two stars ready to take over in LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard. Aldridge finished with 46 points (a franchise postseason record) and 18 rebounds while Lillard had 31 and took over after L.A. fouled out. Portland stole home-court advantage with a two-point win in overtime, but there’s plenty of work to do if the team hopes to make the second round for the first time since 2000. This is going to be a hard-fought series, and if all goes according to plan, the Blazers will take momentum into Game 2 in Week 26. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE BLAZERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
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