Portland Trail Blazers Overtime Failures: A Cause for Concern?

T.Contributor IMarch 3, 2010

CHICAGO - FEBRUARY 26: Head coach Nate McMillan of the Portland Trail Blazers gives instructions as his team takes on the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on February 26, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Trail Blazers 115-111 in overtime. 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. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Why can't the Portland Trail Blazers seem to win a game in overtime?

During the 2009-2010 season, they are, so far, a meager 1-5 in overtime games. Is that record good enough for a team with championship aspirations?

Those five losses have come to Milwaukee, Atlanta, Boston, Utah, and Chicago.

If you look at those teams, all of them are above .500 and would make the playoffs if the season ended today.

So, it could be much worse if the Blazers were losing to non-playoff teams like a New Jersey or a Minnesota.

But it's in overtime games where a team shows its ability to handle pressure and win, most of the time in a playoff-type atmosphere.

In the Western Conference, three of the top teams, L.A. Lakers (4-0), Utah Jazz (4-0), and Denver Nuggets (3-0), all have perfect overtime records.

So the question is: Does the failures this season in overtime drop Portland from championship contender status?

Elite teams should be able to win games when the game goes to an extra period.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

The Blazers showed that they could do just that when they went on the road and beat the Dallas Mavericks behind a 52-point performance by Andre Miller.

Some say that Portland is playing the clock, waiting for it to run out instead of extinguishing any hope for a comeback by another team with a flurry of points in the game's final minutes.

Whatever the reason, Portland needs to show improvement in close and overtime games.

Portland has been suffering from several injuries to key players, and this could be an explanation for their dismal record.

Short of reasons and excuses, a good sign to end the season would be for Portland to win a couple games near the end and show they can close out a game like a serious title contender.