PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – The Portland Trail Blazers are in the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 19 years.
To give some perspective of this playoff run decades in the making, FOX 12 sat down with former Trail Blazer Antonio Harvey.
Harvey says as a fan, he’s just as excited as the rest of us. And as a former player who’s been in this spot before, he says this team has a chance to go even further than his team did back then.
For Blazers fans looking for the words to describe this incredible playoff run, former Blazer and broadcaster Antonio Harvey sums it up this way.
“Unbelievable and yet totally expected all at the same time,” he said.
No one would have thought, but now he says it makes sense given this group of guys, and he’s so glad that this time around he gets to watch.
“I’m yelling at the TV, I mean, I’m doing all the stuff I accused every fanatic of doing for years. Now, I’m just one of those guys and it’s actually refreshing and fun,” Harvey said.
Rewind to his Blazer career – 1999 to 2001 – and he has fond memories.
“It’s electrifying,” Harvey said. “This city is electrifying when the Blazers are doing well.”
His memories include playing in the 2000 Western Conference Finals — the last time the Blazers were there — a contentious 7-game series against the Los Angeles Lakers that didn’t end the way they wanted it to.
When asked if he thought the team now would be able to do what the 2000 team could not, Harvey said, “I’m planning on it. I am. I’m genuinely expecting now that Dame and CJ and Enes Kanter and those guys are going to deliver for us.”
In fact, he’s calling it right now.
“Trail Blazers versus the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals,” he said.
Harvey says beyond that, it’s tough to say and he doesn’t know yet if it’s their time to win it all, but he’s banking on more great years ahead and says at least for now, he’s relishing in every moment.
The Blazers will take on the Golden State Warriors in Oakland on Tuesday for the first game of the Western Conference Finals.
Even though it's an away game, the Rose Quarter wants to make fans feel right at home.
A watch party event outside the Moda Center will start at 5 p.m., and tipoff is at 6 p.m.
Everyone is invited – for free – to come and bring chairs, blankets, hang out at Dr. Jacks and watch the game on a 30-foot video screen.
The Blazer Dancers and stunt team will there and so will Blaze the Trail Cat – to keep the excitement going even while the Blazers are on the road.
The director says the event is happening rain or shine, and they can't wait to see the Rip City turnout.
“How can you not be excited about what’s going on the floor and in the community? It’s going to be great to see just the city embrace the Trail Blazers even more so than they have already,” said Todd Bosma, director of Game Operations and Events with the Portland Trail Blazers. “We want to create that home court atmosphere here and make sure we’re sending good vibes to the team in Oakland.”
They’ll have another watch party on Thursday for Game 2. Then, the teams come back to the Moda Center this weekend for Game 3.
Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.