FanPost

The playoffs? They've already started...

We've seen lots of posts lately about whether or not the Blazers will make the playoffs. I contend that they've already started, in a manner of speaking.

What makes the playoffs different than the regular season? It's the threat of elimination. The stakes are higher, there is an increased pressure to succeed, and the intensity creates a highly-charged atmosphere. You control your own destiny by winning.

I think these conditions already exist in the Western Conference. There are 10 teams fighting for 8 spots - sounds like elimination to me. Players know where they (and other teams) are in the standings, and each game impacts whether they will be one of the 8 or the 2 left out.

Only 2.5 games separate the top 6 records (New Orleans to L*kers). Likewise, 2.5 games seperate the next 4 records (Denver to Houston). Look at the head-to head matchups of the games remaining on the schedule:

New Orleans: Dallas x2, Denver, Golden State x2,  Houston x3, L*kers x2, Phoenix x2, San Antonio x3, Utah x3.

Dallas: Denver x2, Golden State x2, Houston, L*kers x3, New Orleans x2, Phoenix x2, Portland x2, San Antonio x2, Utah x2.

Houston: Dallas, Denver x2, Golden State x2, L*kers, New Orleans x3, Phoenix x2, Portland x2, San Antonio, Utah x2.

San Antonio: Dallas x2, Denver x2, Golden State, Houston, L*kers, New Orleans x3, Phoenix x3, Portland, Utah x3.

Denver: Dallas x2, Golden State x2, Houston x2, New Orleans, Phoenix x3, Portland, San Antonio x2, Utah x3.

Golden State: Dallas x2, Denver x2, Houston x2, L*kers x2, New Orleans x2, Phoenix x3, Portland x2, San Antonio, Utah.

L*kers: Dallas x3, Golden State x2, Houston, New Orleans x2, Phoenix, Portland x4, San Antonio, Utah.

Phoenix: Dallas x2, Denver x3, Golden State x3, Houston x2, L*kers, New Orleans x2, Portland x3, San Antonio x3, Utah

Utah: Dallas x2, Denver x3, Golden State, Houston x2, L*kers, New Orleans x3, Phoenix, San Antonio x3.

Portland: Dallas x2, Denver, Golden State x2, L*kers x4, Phoenix x3, San Antonio.

Folks, the playoffs are already here, and Portland has already made it...

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