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Friday, February 23, 2007

Boo whom?

Like me a few weeks ago, some people are pointing out that the Portland Trail Blazers still have a shot at making it into the league playoffs. I recently changed my assessment of that potential to unlikely, but it's still fun to dream about it.

The Blazers are only 2½ games behind the Golden State Warriors, the team currently in the eighth and final playoff slot in the Western Conference. With more than 25 games to go, it's obviously possible for the Blazers to get ahead of Golden State. But the problem is that there are four other teams squished in between Portland and the Warriors. And so not only are the Blazers going to have to do well from here on out, but they're going to have to do better than five other teams.

The situation is such that Blazer fans will need to know whom to root against while they cheer on the Rose City squad (which is totally worthy of it at this point). Here is the complete list of the five teams who would have to go down for Portland to squeeze in -- and how many games ahead of the Blazers they currently sit in the standings:

Golden State Warriors - 2½
Oklahoma City/New Orleans Hornets - 2½
Minnesota Timberwolves - 2
Los Angeles Clippers - 2
Sacramento Kings - ½

It would be a monumental achievement to leapfrog over all five of these opponents. But if anybody deserves it, it's Blazer coach Nate McMillan and his scrappy young team, which picked up another hometown product with a pretty good reputation yesterday. The guy gave up a $3-million-plus contract year to come back to Portland -- unheard of in this day of me-first pro athletes.

Check them out, but as I've warned earlier this season, be prepared to get sucked back in. They're that cool.

Comments (10)

You know, I criticize Dwight Jaynes sometimes for being too joyless, and negative, so I didn't want to post a downer on this. For one thing, you were enjoying the possibility of the Blazers making the playoffs and what's the harm in using sports for a good feeling? Still, I looked at the standings last week and the only thing that changed was that Seattle had caught us as far as losses. The only team we beat in the entire conference is Memphis. I've also seen some of these other teams on the cable package deal. Do you realize how much talent Oklahoma/New Orleans has? I mean even after Chris Paul, their big men are fairly amazing. On the other hand, the Blazers just whupped up on Utah and the Lakers. Any team that goes to LA and gives Phil Jackson a career losing streak, has already won a special place in my heart.

Nate's comment in today's O about assembling a second group built for speed is another step in the right direction. Rodriguez and Jones in backcourt, Webster at 3, Outlaw at 4 and Aldridge in the middle could run with anyone and outrun most. Platooning(?) with such contrasting styles of play could give opposing teams fits and allow more continuity for all the players as their roles would be more defined and better suited to their individual talents and abilities.

Not to mention it would remind fans of some other Blazer team's style...

...who were those guys, again?

I will hold my breath - against my better judgement.

Even if the Blazers don't make the playoffs, it's been a good year. I love McMillan and I think the squad is a good group of guys. I got to check them out playing the Wizards in DC a couple of weeks ago, and they seem like a hard working team that enjoys playing together.

I've got hope. Blazer Championship 2010!

It sure seems like forever ago when the Blazers made the HUGE mistake of passing up Adam Morrison, Randy Foye, and Tyrus Thomas. And whatever became of the Spanish guy they paid $1 million for who was two or three years away from contributing?

I've got hope.

You've also got Agent Zero. Why can't you just be happy with what you have, Justin?

Trailblazers....who cares? I hope they soon decamp to Seattle, and take Allen with them.

If Agent Zero would invite me to some of his parties, then he might have me as a fan. Until then, I'm rooting for the Red White and Black.

If Agent Zero would invite me to some of his parties

I guess you haven't noticed, but we're already at Agent Zero's party.

Losing to Memphis isn't a great start.

You got that right.

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