The Six Stages of Dealing with a Bad Blazers Loss

The Portland Trail Blazers faithful aren’t having a good time right now. With the team in a serious bracket, we are all looking for solutions to this current “funk”, but easy answers may not be readily available.

Over the past two weeks, the Blazers have suffered a disappointing streak of defeats against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacers and Minnesota Timberwolves.

They currently sit 19-22 halfway through the season after racing to a 10-4 start through October and November. The opening spree wasn’t a true reflection of the talent on this team, but neither was the current five-game losing streak.

The team has yet to find a sweet spot in what has become a disorganized and confusing Western Conference. Yes, the Blazers have lost 8 of their 10 games, which is good enough for the 12th seed, but they’re still just a game and a half out of sixth.

Losses have a range of magnitudes. The ability to digest a loss usually depends on a combination of factors including:

  • modern form
  • arrangement
  • Discount
  • the nature of the loss
  • injuries.

Suffice it to say, enduring defeats is a little easier when the Blazers drop a rare game for a team at the opposing level in a tight, breezy contest.

The current losing streak does not fit into that category and it was a serious one, and a number of these games could potentially be won if the team played to its expected ability.

Below I offer my personal reactions to such a defeat and the typical phases I work through in the hours and days following the outcome. We see Alonzo Mourning likely working on his own set of stages on this now infamous motion picture.

(Please note that I am not trying to downplay the feelings of those who are going through real stages of true grief and loss)

1. Anger

Particularly intense rages can begin with seconds or minutes left in the game, depending on how mathematically a team is from securing a win or, at the very least, pushing for overtime. Game over, frustration explodes, and depending on your character, insults may pour in.

You can even talk Mostly irrational Questions. Why didn’t they do this or that? Could there be some unrest within the team? Did Chauncey Billups lose it? Why is the seat so bad? Is there trade coming? Why hasn’t Shedon Sharp been named an All Star yet? Should they just move Lillard and rebuild properly? What happens with all the fluctuations of f & * Y^)? Should they just be tanks for Wembanyama? Does this mean they don’t make a big move on the deadline? Did they just blow it up? And what happens with all the f*&^%& transformations?

This feeling can last anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes depending on the condition and the severity of the loss.

2. Blame

This is significant and flows naturally from the frustration of the previous stage. You go through certain playthroughs and periods of the game, and again, irrationally Blame the individuals.

Emotional and rational Blazers fan Seth Morrigan, known as the Sheriff of Portland on Twitter, poignantly sums it up the minute after Thursday’s loss to the Cavaliers. He doesn’t actually think Pelops should be expelled but it’s a reaction that helps him deal with defeat.

[tweet used with permission]

Everyone has the usual suspects. If some were pressuring Barrow to trade Anfernee Simons, you know where they’d put the blame. For those interested in Billups, Jusuf Nurkic, Josh Hart, and benches, their anger will be directed at that specific target, no matter how right or illogical it may be.

I think that feeling comes from that innate human instinct, not necessarily, to find meaning in what happened and to apportion responsibility—often in circumstances where there may not be one definitive explanation. We get these biases from watching games and reading other reviews on social media and sites like Blazer’s Edge.

This stage can last a little longer, between half an hour and two hours. For me in Australia the Blazers Houses games take place in the middle of the afternoon so I get more time to eat in the same day’s proceedings.

3. Denial/misplaced hope

No, I am not suggesting that people refuse to acknowledge the loss. This is madness. The refusal includes ideas that the Blazers will bounce right back, 100 percent, and win the next 10 games, putting them ahead of the Western Conference standings. Ignore the obvious flaws on the roster, the ones the front office was aware of going into the season.

It is at this time that you head to the trading machine and conjure the most unrealistic deals that turn the Blazers into instant competitors.

See, totally unrealistic, but imagine that team?

For me, this lasts no more than 30 minutes.

4. Despair

180-degree swings and thoughts about this team not making it again have been swirling for years. Silly thoughts such as “The Blazers have wasted Damian Lillard’s career” and “Portland will forever be a mediocre outfit in a small market” dominate. You convince yourself that you are ready to live with failure. “I think it’s just our lot in life.”

You turn to the mock 2023 draft picks to speculate on the next chance to throw away happiness, wondering, “How many losses would it take to get Wimpanyama in a Portland jersey? Then, he probably does a knee in his debut.”

Like denial, despair tends to be short-lived, possibly fading within half an hour.

5. Distraction

For me, this is the big event and it can sometimes go on for days at a time, depending on when the next Blazers outing is.

I spend time with my family, watch a movie, focus on work, listen to music, pretty much anything that isn’t basketball. It is important to stay away and not fall into a negative cycle. And personally, this is where I start to turn back and the transition begins.

6. Move on

This is the stage where you watch or listen to the post-game press conference, catching any positive rays possible from Chauncey Billups and Damian Lillard as they prepare for the next game. Still a little disappointed but appreciate more and more that this team will live to fight another day.

Unfortunately, for most people, this doesn’t happen until the next day. There’s still something to worry about on this team, but at least 81 times a season there’s another Blazers game you can focus on and convince yourself of a potential win.

Please note that moving on is not the same as rejection. The denial is based on completely irrational thought processes and includes some of the most ridiculous ideas a Blazers fan can conjure up. No. Transition involves realistic feelings and thoughts, which are based on real-life examples and possibilities that may actually occur.

conclusion

It’s hard to take a loss, but bad losses take a little longer to recover from. In the end, this team is still a work in progress and should not have competed this season despite its roaring start that raised our expectations.

The Blazers have been pretty much where I thought they would be back in October. But the way it happened — the strong, horrible start ever since — has hit the fans harder than it could have consistently, or just under . 500 from the start.

Everyone experiences losses differently. For me, the above is roughly my process, but it’s not an exact science at all.

The last thing I will say is urge everyone not to underestimate these results, the gains will come back, I promise. The current incarnation of this list is not complete and tolls will come. Just go through the process and go to the other side.

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