The winds of change flowed through the Portland Trail Blazers organization, bringing both the sweet smell of hope and disappointment.
Finishing their previous season with a hard-fought seven-game playoff battle against the Dallas Mavericks, the Portland Trail Blazers felt armed and ready for the new season. Unfortunately, the kinks in their armor were exposed early on, and the team received a good beating for the first half of the season. By midway point, the Portland Trail Blazers were seven games below .500 (17-24), the third worst record in the West.
But in the months to come the Portland Trail Blazers regained their thirst for victory and won seven of their next nine games and 12 of their next 17. They finished the second half of the season by going 24-17, a complete reversal of the first 41 games.
Despite the late efforts of the Portland Trail Blazers, the team finished with a modest 41-41 record. Their most painful defeat came when, for the first time in 22 seasons, the Portland Trail Blazers were missing in action for the post season.
With four games remaining in the regular season, the Portland Trail Blazers were tied with Denver for the eighth and final spot on the Western Conference Playoff bracket. The final must-win games were anything but easy. They included two bouts with the defending NBA Champion, San Antonio Spurs, a road game against the Denver Nuggets, and a home finale against the Los Angeles Lakers. Portland lost all four, two of them in overtime.
Missing the playoffs cost the Portland Trail Blazers a share of the NBA’s all-time record for the most consecutive playoff appearances. The Philadelphia/Syracuse franchise established the record on 22 consecutive playoffs from 1950 to 1971. Portland remains second on the list with 21 straight. Utah, which also failed to make the cut for the first time since 1982-1983, is third with 20 straight playoff appearances.