Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers

Rip City isn’t eager to talk about the 2000 NBA playoffs.

Understandable. 

For all the young Trail Blazers fans out there, go ahead look up the results.  

But, let’s talk about the Trail Blazers First Round matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Tempers flared in Minnesota on May 2, 2000 as the Timberwolves faced elimination.  

The typically calm and collected Trail Blazers shooting guard Steve Smith was hit with a technical foul midway through the fourth quarter.

It was obvious that Smith's frustrations were boiling over in the final period when there were multiple calls that he thought the officials had missed, to which he let the refs know his feelings. 

Smith was then hit with the tech after getting tangled up with Anthony Peeler and challenging the no call. Smith thought he was fouled by Peeler. The two players exchanged words. Double technical fouls were assessed.  

With the worry that Smith was going to be charged with a second technical foul, Scottie Pippen subbed in for Smith. 

But, as technical fouls often do, the situation can both fire up a team and help the momentum shift in their favor OR it can backfire.

This particular play ignited Smith and the Blazers.

Portland’s starting shooting guard made the Timberwolves pay when he quickly returned to the court due to Detlef Schrempf getting blood on his uniform.

Smith hit a big-time 3-pointer at the top of the key after a nice drive and dish from Scottie Pippen just minutes after being charged with a technical.  

 

The tech and the three, helped change the momentum in Portland’s favor.

Portland was able to overcome poor free throw shooting, foul trouble, and struggles on the glass.

The Blazers started the final period on a 13-2 run, which was also key in Game 4 as Portland eliminated Minnesota with an 85-77 victory sending Minnesota home in the First Round of the Playoffs for the fourth straight year.

Before Smith's three-pointer, Portland trailed 75-74 with 3:45 remaining in the game. The Blazers led from that point on to finish off the series.

Smith notched 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting, while Scottie Pippen added 11.

Rasheed Wallace and Arvydas Sabonis led the Blazers in scoring with 15 points apiece.

Wallace sealed the deal with a bank shot at the top of the key to put Portland up 81-77 with 32.4 seconds remaining in the game. 

And, we can all probably agree that any play that involved Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett was a significant one.

The battles between KG and Sheed was must-see TV in this First Round series.

Plus, Game 4 was another entertaining installment of Rasheed versus NBA referee Steve Javie.

The jawing at officials that only Sheed can do is always welcomed, until he gets ejected, but in Game 4 he didn’t even get hit with a technical.

In the losing effort, Garnett nearly recorded his third triple-double of the series. He finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.