This last three-game road trip for the Portland Trail Blazers went pretty bad. We most likely would have fallen 0-3 had it not been for New Orleans Hornets All Star point guard Chris Paul getting an injury that permanently took him out of the game in the third quarter, allowing the Portland Trail Blazers to mount a 20 point come from behind victory!
But who knows?
Instead, Dallas never broke a sweat and Oklahoma City reminded us that they are still our bitter rival for the results of the 2007 NBA draft.
Today, the Trail Blazers are getting eaten up by the local media, their fans, and even themselves, as not being ready to make the playoffs yet.
I think the Portland Trail Blazers are still in the perfect position to make the playoffs, and force an upset.
1. Home Games v. Road Games
The Blazers will end the season with more games at home than on the road. The closer the playoffs near...the louder the Rose Garden will get, and the better the team will play. Just because Portland has been down on their luck for three road games, when this team wants to play...they come to play. And as time winds down...they will come to play.
2. Only a sliver of games separate the fourth ranked team from the ninth
The Blazers are ten games below the Los Angeles Lakers for the first spot, but we are merely four games below Denver for the second spot and three games below San Antonio for the third! At ninth place, the Phoenix Suns are THREE games below us! The race for the west will come down the last few games of the season, and Portland will have a GREAT advantage with home court advantage.
3. The Return of Steve Blake
Not having our starting point guard is beginning to wear the team down. We may have two great reserves, including rookie Jarred Bayless, but at the end of the day our veteran point guard will return and get the team back in playoff contention.
4. The Return of Foul Calls
Over the last few games, Portland has not been getting very many foul calls. At times, it seems we do not get fouled at all! But, with the effortless, lethargic, style of play, the refs will have a hard time rewarding us with foul calls to make the game close. Blazers play will pick up with the return of Blake, and the home court advantage, and so too will a friendly whistle from an NBA ref.
5. NBA Playoffs are ANYONE'S Game
The team with the best record usually wins in the NBA playoffs, but in the NBA any team can win on any night. When Portland makes the playoffs, we will be a headache for our opponent. I theorize we can play a six or seven game series in which even if we lose we will wear our opponent down and make it difficult for their tired legs to get past the next round. That would be an upset.
So, rest easy Blazer fans! The season is going just fine. Perhaps the best thing for Portland is to lose a few games on the road, remind us that we still have a lot of work ahead, but the team, media, and fans should stay positive because the Portland Trail Blazers are still doing all the right things to make it to the playoffs and pull an upset.