Blazers heading for first-round loss again?
Portland is headed for the playoffs again.
After a 122-103 loss to the Utah Jazz Thursday night, the Portland Trail Blazers sat in sixth place in the NBA’s Western Conference, only 1.5 games behind the Los Angeles Lakers in the race for fifth place.
But, the more important figure is the team, at 30-21, being five games ahead of San Antonio, 24-25, in the race for eighth place - the final playoff spot for the 72-game regular season.
Of course, eighth place would just continue a run of seven straight seasons of reaching the playoffs. The team won a first-round series in three of those seasons, and reached the conference finals in 2019. This year, even with a contender for league MVP in Damian Lillard, most fans are focused on the playoff potential ... and the team’s defense.
The Blazers are only 1-6 against the top four teams in the West, and only 16-14 against teams in the conference. The Los Angeles Clippers, in third place and first round opponent of the sixth-place finisher, is 21-10 against conference opponents and is riding a four-game win streak.
Lillard is averaging 29.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, and was voted by fans to be an All-Star starter for the first time.