Trail Blazers Return To Portland After Snow Storm Delay

by Casey Holdahl
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SEATTLE -- While playing 41 games on the road can be tiring, travel for NBA team typically goes rather smoothly. But when you throw historic weather conditions into the mix, even the most coordinated efforts to get teams from one city to next start to break down quickly. That’s the situation the Trail Blazers have found themselves in after a snow storm shut down much of the city, including Portland International Airport, before the team was to play back home to host the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second night of a nationally-televised back-to-back at the Moda Center.

Snow started to accumulate in Portland prior to the start of the Trail Blazers’ 108-87 victory versus the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center Tuesday night. The team was scheduled to depart from LAX directly after the game, but conditions in Portland had deteriorated to the point that there was concern he plane wouldn’t be able to land at PDX. And even if the team was able to arrive in Portland, there was still the issue of players, coaches and staff driving home on streets ranging from slick to impassable.

Meanwhile, the Cavaliers were waylaid for hours on the tarmac at Salt Lake City International after losing 100-92 to the Jazz at Vivant Smart Home Arena.

After conferring with the NBA, both teams were instructed to either fly to Portland and hope that the airport would be accepting arrivals when they got there or go further north to Seattle and either bus to Portland or wait until conditions improved at PDX.

The Cavaliers chose the former, arriving in Portland some time around 2:30 am Wednesday morning. The Cavs were helped by the fact that they already had booked busses, a luggage truck and hotel accommodations for their stay in Portland. The Trail Blazers, on the other hand, had no such reservations, making an early-morning arrival at PDX a difficult proposition. Could players, coaches and staff drive home safely, or at all? If they couldn’t get home, where would they stay?

So ultimately, the Trail Blazers flew to Sea-Tac Airport, arriving around 3 am, and bussed to a hotel in Tacoma in order to give the team at least a chance to rest before heading to Portland. The team left the hotel in Tacoma around 11 am, arrived at Sea-Tac shortly after and are expected to depart some time in the early afternoon (this post is being written from the cabin of the team plane at Sea-Tac).

As of now, all indications point to Wednesday night’s game going on as scheduled, despite the fact that road conditions in Portland are still treacherous. The NBA is always loathe to cancel games, but a nationally-televised game in which the visiting team has arrived in the city in which the game is to be played all but assures that, barring something catastrophic, the game between the Cavaliers and the Trail Blazers at the Moda Center will tipoff at 7:30 pm on KGW, ESPN and 620 AM.