The Portland Trail Blazers have a rich history in the NBA, creating some memorable rivalries along the way.
From their inception in 1970, they’ve battled against teams that have constantly pushed each other to exceed expectations.
As fans, we can’t help but feel the energy and excitement that comes with these heated matchups, making us eager to dive deeper into the world of Trail Blazers’ rivalries.
Trail Blazers’ rivalries encompass both regional and competition-driven animosity. Some of these rivalries have endured over the years, while others have been reignited due to playoff battles or memorable games.
Regardless of their origin, these rivalries help to elevate the spirit of competition and bring out the best in the Trail Blazers, providing a captivating experience for fans and players alike.
Portland Trail Blazers fans have seen some exceptional rivalries develop over the years with numerous Western Conference teams.
Although intense, some of these in-conference rivalries also have moments of goodwill.
In this section, we’ll focus on the friendly side of Blazers’ rivalries with the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, and Houston Rockets.
The Portland Trail Blazers and the Golden State Warriors have always had a competitive yet friendly rivalry.
With both teams geographically close, the competition for Pacific Northwest dominance sparks excitement among fans on both sides.
Throughout the years, Damian Lillard, a native of Oakland, has mentioned his admiration for the Warriors organization. Similarly, Warriors’ star Stephen Curry has been vocal about his respect for Lillard and the Trail Blazers team.
During the NBA’s 75th Anniversary season, the two teams engaged in several thrilling contests that highlighted the players’ mutual respect.
Although each game was closely fought, it was evident that the players enjoyed the challenge while showcasing their abilities on the court.
Los Angeles Lakers
The rivalry between the Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Lakers has produced memorable moments in NBA history. However, Lakers legend Kobe Bryant’s impact on and off the court extended well beyond the confines of basketball.
In 2020, the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant brought the two teams closer together. The Blazers and Lakers united to honor and celebrate Kobe’s life through various tributes, displays of camaraderie, and moments of silence.
On the court, Damian Lillard and LeBron James have also developed mutual admiration over the years, with both players often acknowledging each other’s greatness.
The Houston Rockets and the Portland Trail Blazers have been rivals since the 1990s, but the competitive nature of the rivalry hasn’t prevented moments of friendliness between the two teams.
Over the years, players from both sides have expressed mutual respect for each other’s talents, work ethic, and dedication to the sport.
In the 2014 NBA playoffs, the Blazers and Rockets had an intense six-game series that was eventually won by Portland.
While the games were hard-fought, the post-game handshakes and exchanges demonstrated the sportsmanship between these rivals.
As the NBA evolves, these friendly in-conference rivalries exemplify what fans love about the sport: intense competition with mutual respect and sportsmanship.
Lesser In-Conference Rivals
The Denver Nuggets have been a friendly but tenacious rival for the Portland Trail Blazers, particularly in recent years.
The two teams often find themselves battling for playoff positions and have had some memorable clashes. For example, in May 2021, they met in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, providing a highly competitive series.
Both teams share similar market sizes and history, which adds to the competition between them, but overall, the Blazers-Nuggets rivalry remains relatively cordial.
Another lesser in-conference rival for the Portland Trail Blazers is the Utah Jazz.
While the rivalry between these two teams may not have the intensity of some others, the geographical proximity and their frequent meetings have led to some entertaining matchups over the years.
Both teams have featured star players in their rosters and have similar winning histories, making games between the Trail Blazers and Jazz an enjoyable contest for fans to watch.
This friendly competition showcases the spirit of sportsmanship and camaraderie between the two teams.
The Portland Trail Blazers have had memorable matchups with the Miami Heat in the past, establishing a rivalry that crosses conferences.
From regular-season clashes to playoff face-offs, these two teams have always had exciting and fiercely competitive games. In recent years, the Trail Blazers’ and Heat’s intense battles on the court have made their head-to-head matchups even more thrilling for fans.
With both teams boasting star-studded rosters, it’s no wonder that their games are competitive and nail-biting.
The Blazers’ Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum go up against the likes of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo from the Heat, making for high-octane action and drama on the court.
Fans can expect more tightly-contested matchups between these rivals in the coming seasons, only adding to the storied history between Portland and Miami.
Another out-of-conference rival to the Portland Trail Blazers is the historic Boston Celtics.
This rivalry has been built on exciting games featuring the Blazers’ unique brand of basketball against the storied Celtics franchise.
The two teams do not meet as frequently as conference rivals, but their matchups are always hotly contested, often showcasing the finest talent from both rosters.
Both franchises have been synonymous with success and power, which only adds to the intensity of their rivalry.
The Blazers and Celtics boast talented, dedicated players that make for entertaining basketball whenever they face off. With players such as Portland’s Jusuf Nurkic and Boston’s Jayson Tatum, fans will never be disappointed when these spirited rivals take the floor against one another.
In conclusion, the Portland Trail Blazers have out-of-conference rivals in the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics.
While they may not go head-to-head as often, the games between these teams have a special intensity that is not to be missed.
The Portland Trail Blazers have had several rivals throughout their history.
One of their most memorable rivalries was with the Seattle SuperSonics.
This match-up was often referred to as the I-5 rivalry due to the close geographic proximity of the two teams.
The Trail Blazers and SuperSonics faced off numerous times in the regular season and playoffs, with many memorable moments and intense battles between the two teams. Fans from both cities would regularly travel to each other’s arenas, making the atmosphere for these games particularly electric.
Sadly, this rivalry came to an end in 2008 when the SuperSonics franchise moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder.
Los Angeles Clippers
Another significant rival for the Portland Trail Blazers has been the Los Angeles Clippers.
In recent years, the Trail Blazers and Clippers have engaged in competitive, high-stakes matchups. The two teams have faced each other in several important regular-season games and playoff series, with each team striving to gain the upper hand and assert their dominance in the Western Conference.
This rivalry has captured the attention of NBA fans due to the star-studded lineups and chippy play between the two teams.
Players like Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Paul George have provided memorable performances in this ongoing battle between the Trail Blazers and Clippers.
As the teams continue to face off in the coming years, the intensity of this rivalry is expected to remain strong, providing fans with exciting, high-quality basketball games.
Overall, the Portland Trail Blazers have had numerous rivals throughout the years, going head-to-head with some of the NBA’s best teams, both geographically close and conference foes. This has led to many unforgettable moments and heated battles on the court, making the Trail Blazers a fascinating and competitive franchise in the NBA’s history.
James is a big time NBA Golden State follower, who makes sure to catch games when he's in the area. He likes to follow International Soccer, with an interest in small town soccer club, Blackburn Rovers located in the North on the UK.