"What happened to your hand, man?" The questioner was Drexler, examining Kersey's fresh bandage in the celebratory locker room.
"Cameraman," said Kersey with pride. "Wouldn't move, man."
But the true medals of valor belonged to the Portland pivotmen who had manned the middle as Duckworth and Cooper convalesced on the bench. For most of the series the 7'1" Robinson found himself being harassed by 6'8" Buck Williams, 6'10" Cliff Robinson or 6'9" Mark Bryant. On Saturday, Portland again had real bodies to lay on Robinson. The 7-foot, 270-pound Duckworth strode out of the locker room only 13 minutes before tip-off, a ploy conceived by Adelman to light up the crowd. Duckworth finished with only six points and five rebounds but had an undeniable presence. As Kersey said, "You can't go through Duck. You gotta go around him."
Cooper, who had been sidelined with back spasms for virtually all of Games 3 through 6, blocked three shots on Saturday as they left the hand of the man who didn't think Cooper could guard him. Indeed, Robinson was so disoriented at suddenly not having his way in the lane that he missed 10 of his first 11 field goal attempts. As Porter lounged in the locker room, savoring his 36-point, nine-assist performance, he said, "Next year Larry can't say he has 'kids,' because they'll have learned from this series."
As the Suns come to cloudy Portland, the Blazers, too, have learned a lesson: In the playoffs, when you have a center you have a chance.