Tha Sports Junkies 101

Why the Blazers Will Sneak Into the 8th Seed in the Western Conference Playoff Picture

Playoff Amy Meredith/ via flickr.com

NBA

Playoff Race: Blazers vs. Nuggets


On Tuesday night, the Denver Nuggets (35-38) traveled to the Moda Center to take on the Portland Trailblazers (35-38) in a pivotal game to see who will gain sole possession of the 8 seed in the Western Conference. Both teams were sitting tied for the last spot in the West’s playoff picture.

The Blazers got hot at the right time as the postseason is approaching. Led by their dynamic back court of Damian Lillard and C.J. McColum, they’ve climbed back into the playoff hunt by going 11-3 during the month of March entering the game, after a slow start to the season.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets have been lingering at the 8 seed in recent weeks. They began to run their offense through their talented center Nikola Jokic. Denver puts Jokic at the free throw line where he can find open shooters on the outside or score inside 16 feet.

Tuesday’s Game Summary

Jusuf Nurkic posted a career-high 33 points and 16 rebounds, McCollum added 39 points as the Trailblazers defeated the Nuggets 122-113. This win gives Portland a 1 game lead for the 8th spot in the Western Conference standings. Nurkic showed up his former team, as coach Terry Stotts got him involved early and often. The Blazers took a comfortable lead in the 2nd half, and didn’t look back. Jameer Nelson had 23 points on 11 shots, and Jokic added 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists.

Blazers Advantages Over Denver

  • The Nuggets have 6 of their last 8 games on the road, while Portland only has 2 road games left on their schedule.
  • Blazers role players have stepped up post all-star break.
  • Portland has Lillard and McCollum, and the Nuggets don’t.
  • The Blazers stole Jusuf Nurkic from the Nuggets, as he’s playing at an extremely high level
  • Portland holds the tie-breaker over Denver.
  • The Blazers also have a 1 game lead at the moment.

With these advantages above, and the better roster, I expect the Blazers to get the 8 seed in the Western Conference Playoff. After taking sole possession of 8th, I can’t imagine Terry Stotts letting any team take their possible playoff berth from him and his troops, especially Denver.

In regards to Denver, while Jokic is emerging, they still don’t have a go-to player, which will be critical in these final few games of the season.

Upcoming Games:

Portland hosts the Houston Rockets on Thursday Night, 10:30 p.m. ET (TNT)

Denver travels to Charlotte to play the Hornets on Friday night at 8 p.m. ET