The Portland Trail Blazers have been struggling to pick up wins lately—going 3-7 in their last 10—but February is a new month, and it gives the team a chance to improve on its .500 record as we near the All-Star break.
February is a particularly interesting month for Blazer fans, as the team faces quite a few opponents who are right there with Portland in the middle of the pack looking to stay in the Western Conference playoff hunt.
In a month of big games that could help decide whether Portland gets to participate in the NBA's second season, the following are the five games you simply must watch.
This first slide is cheating a little bit by including a back-to-back stretch that sees the Portland Trail Blazers face the Utah Jazz in a critical home-and-away.
Obviously, these two games are between two teams in the Northwest division, but, depending on what happens in the last few January games, two wins here could push the Trail Blazers ahead of Utah.
There are tons of other games that will be played this season; however, it doesn't get much better than starting off your month with back-to-back wins against a division rival.
This is another game that is more must-watch due its impact on the standings than a marquee matchup between two huge stars.
Granted, it will be fun to watch two up-and-coming shooting guards in James Harden and Wesley Matthews go at it each, but this one is more about the impact of beating a team right above the Blazers in the win column.
To add to the importance, this will be the midpoint of a six-game road trip for Portland, and it will be interesting to see where the young team is in the middle of a tough stretch right before the All-Star break.
This one doesn't mean much for playoff standing, but it will be great to see how well the Trail Blazers can match up with the defending champs on the road.
Plus, there's five or so players in the NBA that you should try to watch every chance you get, and LeBron James is, unquestionably, one of those guys.
Look for this one to give us a good feel of whether or not the Blazers will make some noise in the playoffs, as well as a few guaranteed highlight-reel plays from LBJ.
However, this game could also play a big role in this season's final standings.
Currently, the Lakers are the 10th seed at 19-25, while the Trail Blazers are holding onto the ninth seed at 22-22.
If Portland plans to hold off the Lakers, while also making a move towards the eighth and final playoff seed or better, they have to find a way to walk into the Staples Center and pull off a victory over Kobe and the Lakers.
However, this game makes the list simply because the Nuggets are fun to watch.
This roster is absolutely loaded with athletic guys who could produce a "Top 10" play every single night.
And then there's JaVale McGee.