The 1991 Portland Trail Blazers were the #1 seed in the Western Conference and the favorites to return to the NBA Finals and win their first championship since 1977. Unfortunately, the Blazers ran into the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals and never made it back to the Finals.
In 1996, the Seattle Supersonics returned to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1979, losing in six games to probably the greatest team in NBA history: Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls.
It's been three and a half decades since either team has tasted championship glory, and almost a decade since one team has even existed. To put things mildly, both fan bases are a little frustrated.
Thus, this Christmas Day (simulated) game has been constructed by the great forward thinkers at Blazersedge and SonicsRising as a little Christmas present to all of you loyal fans.
Can Buck Williams contain Shawn Kemp? Kemp is definitely the younger of the two and much more athletic. Williams, however, is a lot more physical. His main responsibility is going to be keeping Kemp out of the paint and forcing him to take perimeter jumpers.
If things get out of hand, the Blazers are going to maybe have to roll Jerome Kersey over to him, but that'd mean taking Williams off the floor, bringing in Clifford Robinson, losing interior presence and arguably their best rebounder.
If Williams can't stop Kemp, then the Blazers are going to be opened up into a whole lot of hurt in the paint.
Also, how effective will Kevin Duckworth be when Sam Perkins is on the floor? What does Rick Adelman do to counteract George Karl?
Can Gary Payton lockdown Terry Porter?
The Blazers offense definitely runs through Porter. For the Sonics to have any shot at winning they need Payton to lockdown Porter. He's got to keep Porter from getting the ball to Clyde Drexler and Kersey in advantageous spots on the floor. Payton also has to keep Porter from getting open shots. Porter is the Blazers' best three point shooter and Payton needs to keep him from getting good looks.
I will withhold predictions this go around, but what are yours? Who is the better team, the '96 Sonics or the '91 Blazers?
Predict the winner and closest to the correct score and you'll get a free t-shirt!