FanPost

KEY STRETCH: Blazers will take sole possesion of 1st place on Feb 11th

UPDATED: Added predictions for Utah as well.

Last night's win was not just your average ho-hum, wire-to-wire victory over a horrible team. It begain a critical stretch of games against beatable opponents for the Blazers that could very well determine their playoff seeding. It also happens to coincide with a pretty brutal stretch of the schedule for the division-leading Nuggets. Let's take a look at this stretch for both teams to see where we might be by the end of February.

 

I've taken a look at our next 15 games and came up with a predicted 11-4 record over that stretch, which would bring our overall record to 37-21. We only have two back-to-backs during this stretch, and play only 6 teams with records above .500. Eight of the games are on the road and seven are at home. I've highlighted the games that gave me pause, one's that could really go either way. Before you jump down my throat, the Thunder have been playing better lately and have all the makings of a trap game for the Blazers. Here's the full breakdown:

 

 

BLAZERS NEXT 15 GAMES

DATE OPPONENT PREDICTED RESULT STRETCH RECORD (Season Record)
Mon, Jan 26 @ LA Clippers W 1-0 (27-17)
Wed, Jan 28 Charlotte W 2-0 (28-17)
Sat, Jan 31 Utah W 3-0 (29-17)
Mon, Feb 2 @ New Orleans L 3-1 (29-18)
Wed, Feb 4 @ Dallas W 4-1 (30-18)
Fri, Feb 6 @ Oklahoma City W 5-1 (31-18)
Sun, Feb 8 NY Knicks W 6-1 (32-18)
Wed, Feb 11 Oklahoma City W 7-1 (33-18)
Thu, Feb 12 @ Golden State L 7-2 (33-19)
Wed, Feb 18 Memphis W 8-2 (34-19)
Fri, Feb 20 Atlanta W 9-2 (35-19)
Sun, Feb 22 LA Clippers W 10-2 (36-19)
Tue, Feb 24 @ Houston L 10-3 (36-20)
Wed, Feb 25 @ San Antonio L 10-4 (36-21)
Fri, Feb 27 @ Minnesota W 11-4 (37-21)

 

 

I took the same approach with the Nuggets and came up with a predicted 8-8 record over that stretch, which would bring their overall record to 36-23. They have *five* back-to-backs during this stretch, and play eight teams with records above .500. Ten of the games are on the road and six are at home. As before, I've highlighted the games that gave me pause, one's that could really go either way. Here's the full breakdown:

 

 

NUGGETS NEXT 16 GAMES

DATE OPPONENT PREDICTED RESULT STRETCH RECORD (Season Record)
Sun, Jan 25 Utah 0-1 (28-16)
Tue, Jan 27 @ Memphis  W 1-1 (29-16)
Wed, Jan 28 @ New Orleans  L 1-2 (29-17)
Fri, Jan 30 Charlotte  W 2-2 (30-17)
Tue, Feb 3 San Antonio 2-3 (30-18)
Wed, Feb 4 @ Oklahoma City 3-3 (31-18)
Fri, Feb 6 @ Washington W 4-3 (32-18)
Sat, Feb 7 @ New Jersey W 5-3 (33-18)
Tue, Feb 10 @ Miami 5-4 (33-19)
Wed, Feb 11 @ Orlando 5-5 (33-20)
Wed, Feb 18 @ Philadelphia W 6-5 (34-20)
Fri, Feb 20 @ Chicago 7-5 (35-20)
Sun, Feb 22 @ Milwaukee 7-6 (35-21)
Mon, Feb 23 Boston L 7-7 (35-22)
Wed, Feb 25 Atlanta W 8-7 (36-22)
Fri, Feb 27 LA Lakers 8-8 (36-23)

 

UPDATED: Lastly, let's take a look at the Jazz over the same stretch. I came up with a predicted 11-4 record over that span, which would bring their overall record to 36-23, tied with the Nuggets. They have only 1 back-to-back during this stretch, and play eight teams with records above .500. Only five of the games are on the road and ten are at home. As before, I've highlighted the games that gave me pause, one's that could really go either way. Here's the full breakdown:

 

 

JAZZ NEXT 15 GAMES

DATE OPPONENT PREDICTED RESULT STRETCH RECORD (Season Record)
Sun, Jan 25 @ Denver 1-0 (26-19)
Tue, Jan 27 San Antonio L 1-1 (26-20)
Fri, Jan 30 Oklahoma City  W 2-1 (27-20)
Sat, Jan 31 @ Portland  L 2-2 (27-21)
Mon, Feb 2 Charlotte W 3-2 (28-21)
Thu, Feb 5 Dallas W 4-2 (29-21)
Fri, Feb 6 @ Sacramento W 5-2 (30-21)
Sun, Feb 8 @ Golden State W 6-2 (31-21)
Wed, Feb 11 LA Lakers L 6-3 (31-22)
Tue, Feb 17 Memphis W 7-3 (32-22)
Thu, Feb 19 Boston W 8-3 (33-22)
Sat, Feb 21 New Orleans L 8-4 (33-23)
Mon, Feb 23 Atlanta 9-4 (34-23)
Wed, Feb 25 @ Minnesota W 10-4 (35-23)
Sat, Feb 28 Sacramento W 11-4 (36-23)

 

 

This scenario moves the Blazers from two games out of 1st in the division into a division lead of 1.5 games over both the Jazz and the Nuggets. What do you think? Overly optimistic? Overly pessimistic? Just right?

 

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