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Portland Trail Blazers Have More At Stake Christmas Day Than You Think

Monday, December 21, 2015

 

The last time the Portland Trail Blazers played on Christmas Day was a 2010 contest that saw them fall to the Golden State Warriors, 109-102. The high scorer was Monta Ellis with 39 points, and the Blazers’ roster featured names such as Marcus Camby, Andre Miller and the always-entertaining-yet-often-infuriating Rudy Fernandez.

Case in point: It’s been a long time since Rip City has been featured on Christmas night. The NBA has chosen once again to pass on Portland this season (and understandably so), but that doesn’t mean Blazers fans everywhere shouldn’t be invested in one particular matchup.

When the Miami Heat host the New Orleans Pelicans in the day’s first showcase, they’ll be going for their 10th all-time win on Christmas. They’re currently 9-2 on the holiday (.818), which is good enough for the second-highest Dec. 25 winning percentage in league history.

Who owns the highest winning percentage, you ask? You guessed it. The Portland Trail Blazers. 

Despite not playing on Christmas in five years, Portland holds the all-time best winning percentage on the holiday at .824. It has won 14 of its 17 matchups, but that No. 1 spot will belong to the Heat if they push their record to 10-2 (.833) with a win over the Pelicans. 

In order for New Orleans to pull off the upset, a Christmas miracle might need to take place. The Pellies have been one of the Association’s biggest disappointments this season with a record of 7-18, while the Miami currently owns the No. 4 spot out East at 15-9.

Although there are plenty of teams ahead of Portland when it comes to total Xmas victories, those squads have racked up plenty of losses in the process. The New York Knicks are proud owners of a league-best 22 Christmas Day wins, but they’re also the not-so-proud owners of 28 losses. The Lakers are next in line at 21-20, and the Sacramento Kings sit in third with an 18-11 all-time record. 

The Blazers are sixth when it comes to total franchise wins on this particular day, but it’s quality we’re concerned with here—not quantity. A Miami loss is all Portland requires to hold its No. 1 spot, and it’s all fans need to boost their basketball spirits this holiday season.

GoLocalPDX partner Oregon Sports News: Since 2011, Oregon Sports News has provided entertaining, hard-hitting local sports news & commentary every weekday. To read more from this author, check out Oregon Sports News by clicking here.

 

Related Slideshow: 12 of the Greatest Sports Movies of All Time

Hank Stern ranks his top twelve favorite sports films. 

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#12 Rollerball

Some of the non-athletic scenes in this dystopian classic show their age, but Rollerball is a strangely prescient film that anticipated both the corporatization of sport and fans’ limitless taste for violence. Bonus points for the ominous intro music.

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#11 A League of Their Own

A comedy that looks back to the antithesis of corporate sport – a women’s baseball league during World War II with many memorable lines to choose from (e.g.,”There’s no crying in baseball.”)

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#10 Remember The Titans

Yes, filmmakers took liberties with some of the facts dealing with the integration of a high school football team in Virginia. But there’s a reason football teams often screen this film on the eve of big games. It’s a damn inspirational tale.

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#9 The Natural

This film has grown on me over time. Originally, it seemed slow and schmaltzy. Now, it seems well-paced and charming. Then and now, the re-created scenes of pre-World War II ballparks arrive like perfectly preserved postcards from the past.  

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#8 The Longest Yard

Not the remake with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. But the hilarious original with Burt Reynolds and Eddie Albert as a wonderfully villainous warden who pits the guards against the inmates in a grudge football game that includes former Green Bay linebacker Ray Nitschke and other ex-football players like Sonny Sixkiller and Joe Kapp, both stalwart Pac-8 quarterbacks long, long ago.  

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#7 Slap Shot

The Hanson brothers. Enough said.

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#6 Rocky

Often imitated, but never replicated. The definitive underdog boxing story featuring Sylvester Stallone before he became a self-caricature in multiple sequels. Impossible to hear the theme song without being motivated to get off the couch.

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#5 Seabiscuit

A fantastic book as well as a great movie. Like “The Natural,” Seabiscuit captures its Depression-era setting for modern-day viewers taken back to an era when horse racing actually meant something in America. 

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#4 Requiem for a Heavywei

A too often-forgotten film these days but a wonderful boxing drama that shows the sport’s underside with memorable  performances by Mickey Rooney, Jackie Gleason and Anthony Quinn.

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#3 Hoosiers

Want to know something about small-town America in the 1950s and about Indiana basketball? This hoops movie does all of that with a healthy dose of redemption throughout. 

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#2 Bull Durham

There’s a pretty good case to be made this movie played a huge part in the rebirth and re-marketing of minor league baseball. As written by former minor leaguer Ron Shelton, there are many great scenes to choose from but this one is a favorite. 

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#1 Raging Bull

A rags-to-riches-to-rags story of boxer Jake LaMotta meets the actor born to play him, Robert De Niro. Not a false moment in this black-and-white powerhouse.

 
 

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