Blazers biggest games
A few hours before the BCS championship game, the question for Blazers players and coaches was simple: What’s the biggest game you’ve ever played in? Below are some of the responses.
Nate McMillan: “The NBA Finals. The whole experience. You’re playing for the world championship. That’s what you’re in sports for, to get to this moment. People go their whole careers, long careers, successful careers and don’t get to experience that…We really respect the people who do have the rings, like Phil Jackson, to have the number of rings he has and still have that fire and no be complacent. Some people spend their whole lives and never get to the Finals.”
LaMarcus Aldridge: “To this point? In high school, it was one game away from going to the state championship. That was my biggest when I was young. After that, it was in college in the Elite 8, one game away from going to the Final Four. It was always one game away from making that huge step…In the state semifinals, I only missed two shots and scored something like 40 points. In college, the game before, we went to overtime. I was still kind of tired, and I didn’t play well (Texas lost to LSU). And in the (NBA) playoffs, I haven’t played to my capabilities.”
Dante Cunningham: “In my career it was the Final Four at Villanova my senior year, that was the biggest game I’ve been a part of. Just the fact that with all the teams, it comes down to those last four and everyone in college basketball is watching you. Definitely one of those times you work for and live for..We cut down the nets against Pitt (in the Elite 8). Scotty Reynolds came down and hit the buzzer beater. That was a good feeling.”
Wesley Matthews: “Playoffs last year. Game six, when we eliminated Denver, that was the biggest game I’ve played in….amazing. I’m grinding now because I want to get back there.”
Luke Babbitt: “Probably my high school state championship game. I was a junior playing in the state championship at a pretty small school (Galena). It was the first time we’d played in the state championship.”
Babbitt won the state title that year, but not before meeting Armon Johnson’s school (Hug High) in the city semifinals, where Johnson went for 46 points to Babbitt’s 34.
“But who won?” said Babbitt with a grin. “He shows (the tape) to everyone, and I’m like ‘you gotta show a game where you win.'”
Matt Calkins can be contacted at 360-735-4528 or firstname.lastname@example.org