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The Playoff Implications of Portland's Victory Over Los Angeles

PHOENIX - MARCH 21:  Martell Webster #23 of the Portland Trail Blazers in action during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns during at US Airways Center on March 21, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. The Suns defeated the Trail Blazers 93-87.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
T.Contributor IApril 11, 2010

In their 80th game of the regular, the Portland Trail Blazers nudged the Los Angeles Lakers for a 91-88 victory.

With the NBA playoffs only a week away, this game had countless playoff implications for both teams.

To start with, Portland played the entire second half without their star guard, Brandon Roy. Roy was suffering from sore right knee and did not return after halftime.

The fact that the remaining Trail Blazer players were able to beat the Lakers in the second half without their go-to guy should be a huge confidence builder heading into the playoffs.

Portland struggled in their series against Houston in the first round of the playoffs last year when Roy wasn't on the court and they mainly relied on him for their offense in the series.

It's good to see that this year's team is able to not only play but beat the top team in the Western Conference without Brandon Roy on the floor.

The next important result of the game is that Portland took the season series from Los Angeles edging them 2-1.

This is important because the Trail Blazers could end up facing the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs and they should have more confidence against a team they beat two out of three in the regular season.

And if that matchup does happen, Portland now knows that they have a defender to shut down Kobe Bryant in Nicolas Batum.

Sure Bryant scored 20 points in the game.

But he also took 23 shot attempts, made only eight, and scored seven points below his season average.

That's a major weapon that Portland now possesses if Batum can continue to keep opposing star players from their typical production. 

The Blazers did get lucky in this game.

I mean how often do you see Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher miss three straight free throws?

In the playoffs, if Portland faces Los Angeles, they better not wait around for the Lakers to miss shots that they did tonight because that's not going to happen often.

There are a lot of good things Portland should be able to take away from this game and it will be fun to watch them make a deep run in the playoffs.

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