P.J. Carlesimo (above) reminisces with the Portland Tribune’s Kerry Eggers (link via Casey Holdahl):
At the time, [the 102-64 playoff loss to Utah in 1996] was the most one-sided game in the annals of NBA postseason play.
It came during the second season in Carlesimo™s three-year reign as Portland™s coach. Cliff Robinson, Rod Strickland and Arvydas Sabonis were the stars, and Harvey Grant, James Robinson and Gary Trent were among the role players.
After dropping the first two games of the best-of-five first-round series, the Blazers won games 3 and 4 at the Rose Garden, forcing a fifth game in Salt Lake City.
A bad omen came the day after Game 4, as Strickland arrived tardy to the airport ” and apparently hungover ” causing the team flight to leave 25 minutes late, Carlesimo says.
œHe just looked terrible, but we weren™t playing until the next day, so it wasn™t that big a deal, Carlesimo says.
Once the Blazers got to Salt Lake City, œhe didn™t want to do the shootaround. He said he didn™t feel good. I was like, ˜Strick, big game tomorrow, we need you.™ I said to just stand and watch, but he wouldn™t dress.
The Blazers laid a huge egg in Game 5, and years later, in a conversation with trainer Jay Jensen, Carlesimo got a little insight.
œJay told me, ˜I knew we were dead in the locker room after we won Game 4,™ Carlesimo says. œHe said three or four players were really pissed off that we had won. They had flights to the Bahamas or Jamaica the next two days. He said they were so mad they had to change their flights, he knew they weren™t going to be ready to play.