This is a bit subjective, but I think it is an interesting way to look at Portland's season. The intent is to show a different perspective (not better or worse than any other metric) of where the team is at relative to the rest of the league, and perhaps provide a glimpse of what can be expected in the playoffs.
I defined a "Statement game" as a match against the top two teams in each Conference (at the time the game was played) home or away; road games against the top 9 in the Western Conference; and any game against the Lakers and Spurs, due to reasons that are both current and historic (they currently are the top two teams in the conference anyway).
A statement game is your chance to show the league that you have arrived and are to be reckoned with.
Blazer 2009 statement games:
1. at LA Lakers, opening night: L by 20
2. San Antonio: W by 1
3. at Phoenix: L by 11
4. at Utah: L by 7
5. at New Orleans: L by 6
6. at Phoenix: L by 10
7. at Boston: L by 15
8. at Utah: L by 9
9. at Denver: L by 8
10. Boston: W by 5
11. at LA Lakers: L by 14
12. Cleveland: L by 6
Portland is 2-10 in Statement games in 2009. Its average margin of loss is 8.3. The Blazers are 0-9 on the road in Statement games.
Tonight, the Blazers play at the Hornets, for Statement game #13. Portland can feel good about its winning streak (and it should), but until the Blazers start winning Statement games, little can be expected from this team in the playoffs.
I am interested to see how the Blazers play tonight, and if they can break through. They have an estimated 11 more Statement games this year, so plenty of opportunity to turn it around and build momentum for the playoffs.