What started off as a marvelous season for the Portland Trail Blazers, who ranked as high as first in the West earlier in the season, is turning out to be free-falling one for the team. The Blazers were considered as one of the strongest favorites for the title in the West earlier in the season, or at least the most powerful underdog. At present and due to the extremely high competition in the Western Conference, Portland is just 2.5 games ahead of the ninth seed and the Phoenix Suns. In fact, there are some chances for the Blazers to continue and lose some seeds in the West, if they don’t find a way to get out of the slump the team has been put into.
Of course, the absence of LaMarcus Aldridge has been a factor in the Blazers’ recent skid. The superstar power forward is expected to finally make his comeback on Thursday, in a game against the Atlanta Hawks. With him onboard, the Blazers will try to avoid dropping any more games during these last 10 games of the season.
Former NBA star Baron Davis stated that the ship is sinking for Portland at the moment and he is absolutely right. All the Blazers have to do at the moment is to stop the leaks, quickly heal their wounds and secure the playoff ticket. Of course, it doesn’t seem likely for Portland to not make the playoffs this season. Six out of their last 10 games will be played at home but their schedule for the remainder of the season is not that light. In fact, the Blazers will face the red hot Chicago Bulls, and then three teams against which they are fighting for a playoff ticket.
On Sunday, March 30, they will take on the Memphis Grizzlies in the Moda Center and on April 4 they will host the Phoenix Suns. Their second to last game of the season will take place again in Portland, this time against the Golden State Warriors, who currently stand just half a game behind.
This might not be that bad for the Blazers at the moment, but as the Head Coach of the team, Terry Stotts, stated that it’s time for the team to show some urgency. The latest loss to the ninth-seeded in the East, Orlando Magic could serve as a wake-up call for Damian Lillard and Co. The target for the Blazers, after all, is not to just make the playoffs. Portland wants to sustain a solid course and even get a shot to the Larry O’Brien trophy this season and at present, the team doesn’t seem like it’s locked on its target.
So, if the Blazers don’t shake things up in the next couple of games, then they will put their playoff participation in jeopardy. The Warriors, the Grizzlies, the Dallas Mavericks and the Suns all seem capable of exploiting the Blazers’ recent slump and top them.
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