The Portland Trailblazers find themselves a .5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the 8th spot and have both the Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs hot on their heels for the play in tournament. Today, the Blazers have a tough game against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks are coming off of a demolition of the Milwaukee Bucks, while the Blazers are coming off a thriller against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Blazers are 4-2 in the bubble and their team has been much improved due to the 4 month hiatus of the NBA season.
The season being suspended for 4 months helped the Blazers in that Carmelo Anthony was able to get into the best shape of his NBA career, Zach Collins to come back from injury, and the break also allowed for Blazers big man Jusuf Nurkic to come back from a terrible break in his leg last year. The Blazers have become a very tough out given that they can add both the new Melo, the healed Collins and the recovered Nurkic to the back court of gold in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Damian Lillard is arguably the best PG in the NBA and he continued to make his case with a 51 point outing against the 76ers. Carmelo Anthony also chipped in with 21 points, making him the 15th leading scorer in NBA history. This Portland team is a much improved version of itself given the addition of Nurkic and Anthony’s resurgence.
The Blazers will most likely have to win their final two games to make it into the NBA Playoffs. Those final 2 games are against the above mentioned Dallas Mavericks and the Brooklyn Nets. The game against the Mavericks should be a great one as it features Damian Lillard against Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis vs his former teammate Carmelo Anthony. The Blazers will be giving out their all to remain alive in the playoff picture and the Mavericks will be looking to try to move up in playoff seeding. The new look Trailblazers have defeated the Grizzlies, Rockets, Nuggets, and 76ers in the bubble thus far. They’ve lost to the Clippers and Celtics. As one can see their bubble schedule hasn’t been in easy one but they’ve left it all on the floor in every single game. Of the teams vying for the 8th and final playoff spot, the Blazers are most likely the team that nobody wants to face given the fact that they have 4 rock solid starters in Lillard, McCollum, Anthony, and Nurkic.
What trail they go upon depends on how hard they blaze through their opponents and we’ll know within the next 2 days if they’ll continue to be a problem for the Western Conference.