Portland Timbers, Trail Blazers Ignite Euphoria Across Oregon

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The Max. Countless breweries and restaurants. Easy access to the coast, the mountains, and a world-class wine region. Neighborhoods full of beautiful old homes.

The reasons why Portland is one of America’s great cities would fill an endless list.

But then this summer, Portland leveled up. They shifted into overdrive and passed everyone else by, even those of us in smug Seattle, who never miss an opportunity to congratulate ourselves on just how good we have it.

That’s right. First it was the Wall of Moms. Then the Dads with Leaf Blowers stepped forth. They in turn were quickly fortified by the Wall of Vets. A more American display is hard to imagine.

And now that sports are back in our lives again, have you noticed which two teams have made a name for themselves, against all odds?

Hashtag Rip City.

Hashtag No Pity.

Hashtag Hell Yeah.

Let’s start with the Timbers. This past week they won the MLS is Back tournament. The MLS is what?

Well, for those not in the know, the 2020 MLS season began on February 29th. You can see where this is going.

After stopping all play on March 12th, the MLS was, understandably, MIA. Not even the A-Team could have brought them back, not unless they brought with them a few semis full of vaccine vials.

What they came up with was a return to play in early July in what they dubbed the MLS is Back tournament. Portland wasn’t even expected to compete. But they came home with the grand prize, which should propel them into the resumption of the 2020 season, which gets underway right away.

Wait, so it was a one-off tournament in the middle of the craziest season in history, and it doesn’t actually count towards the regular season or anything else meaningful?

Hashtag No Pity.

No, it probably doesn’t mean as much as the Timbers’ 2015 MLS Cup, but it can’t be far behind.

But let’s look at the Blazers. Has there been a more exciting team to watch in the NBA Bubble? Are not the Blazers a team that weren’t even supposed to make the playoffs prior to the suspension of the regular season?

Talk about young, scrappy and hungry.

Hashtag Rip City.

And is there a player that better embodies the purposeful play of the squad from Portland than Damian Lillard?

My goodness. Let’s try to put Dame’s scorching play in perspective.

After back-to-back, fifty-point games—he hung 61 on the Mavs and 51 on the Sixers—he joins a short list of just twelve players in NBA history to do so. That’s eleven games over fifty points in his career, which puts him ahead of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and tied with Allen Iverson for eighth overall. That’s rarified company indeed. He’s now averaging 37 points a game. In his previous two games, he’s been shooting at 55%.

Just as Cardale Jones famously said he didn’t go to Ohio State to “play school”, Lillard recently said he didn’t go down to the Bubble to “waste my time”.

He’s not only not wasted his or anyone else’s time, he’s played his team right into position to stick around past the weekend to take part in the NBA Playoffs, which begin next week.

The Blazers have already made this summer memorable. They’ve given fans something to focus on during challenging times. Every game has become must-watch television.

Whatever happens from here, don’t let it detract from what has already been accomplished.

Portland has risen up in this insane, never-to-forget summer of 2020. It’s been remarkable and many would say, unexpected.

How about Hashtag Getting It Done.

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About Author

Paul Redman is a writer and chef in Seattle who grew up in the Midwest. His work has appeared in print and online, including San Francisco magazine, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and Contrary. He eats too many chicken wings and cracks way too many dad jokes and food puns. Follow him on Twitter @predman.

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