Portland Trail Blazers: 4 thoughts from the “Rip City Revival” documentary

Terry Porter, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Terry Porter, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /
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Portland Trail Blazers
Kevin Duckworth, Portland Trail Blazers. (Photo by: Mike Powell/Getty Images) /

Does this make it easier to rank the 1990 – 1992 Blazers among the decade’s best?

It goes without saying that those early-1990s Portland Trail Blazers teams are going to have to take a backseat in any discussion pertaining to the best teams of the decade, but this documentary shows just how lost most of the basketball world is in how close the Blazers were to the Bulls during that span.

Eliminate Game 1 of that 1992 NBA Finals from the equation, and the Bulls have just a 10-point differential over the ensuing five-game span.

In that Game 6, the Blazers actually led 79-64, before allowing the Bulls an avenue back into the game. Which would have been one thing if Scottie Pippen and Jordan were the reasons being.

But it was Chicago’s bench mob that did the damage.

And yes, it’s certainly true that you could absolutely ride the “What If” train for just about every Bulls opponent, given the amount of game-winning shots they hit. All told, the Bulls had a +7.1 point differential against Portland, compared to +10.2 against the 1991 Lakers, +7.8 against the 1998 Jazz, +3.8 against Seattle, +0.6 to the 1997 Jazz, and a whopping 0.0 to the 1993 Suns.

So, there’s that. But, what goes ignored is how routinely dominant those Blazers teams were. From 1989-90 to 1991-92, the Blazers went 179-67, just four wins away from the No. 1 ranked Bulls with 183 wins. The next closest team — the Lakers — were a Hail Mary pass away, at 164 wins.

You can’t smell bias through a computer screen, and even if you could, I’m sure you might agree that the Blazers winning 179 games over that span is more impressive than, say, the Jazz and SuperSonics winning 181 and 182 from 1995-96 to 1997-98 in the expansion era.

The SuperSonics didn’t actually believe they were going to win the NBA Finals, and Gary Payton has admitted as such. From a physical standpoint, the Blazers matched up with even the best of teams. For me, the documentary boosted the 1991-92 Blazers, in my eyes, as arguably the best version to not win a championship throughout Jordan’s six-title reign, other than maybe the 1996 Magic.