FanPost

"Taking Care of Business" - GO UTAH EDITION!!!

BY REQUEST, I'LL CONTINUE TO UPDATE THIS IN NEW FANPOSTS DAILY (UPDATES FOLLOW BELOW IN ITALICS):

What if EVERYONE in the Western playoff chase "takes care of business," namely, wins all their home games and wins the road games against non-playoff competition?  Where does the race shake out?

Here are the updated results, with a look at remaining games to follow:

PROJECTED FINAL STANDINGS:

2. SAN ANTONIO 55-27
3. DENVER 54-28
4. HOUSTON (tiebreak v POR) 53-29
5. PORTLAND 53-29
6. NEW ORLEANS (tiebreak v DAL) 51-31
7. DALLAS 51-31
8. UTAH 49-33

 

OUT: PHOENIX

 

46-36

SO FAR SO GOOD

As we hoped (and expected) the Suns beat Houston last night, so we don't necessarily have to win BOTH Texas games or hope for a SA loss to leapfrog both Texas teams.  If Houston wins an unexpected game along the way (not including Portland, which is an expected win for them), then Portland HAS to beat Houston head to head to finish ahead of Houston, unless Houston follows an unexpected win with an unexpected loss.

Here's how the possibilities shake out with Portland wins in Texas:

PROJECTED FINAL STANDINGS if Portland beats San Antonio, all else holds steady:

2. DENVER (tiebreaker v. SA) 54-28
3. SAN ANTONIO (division winner) 54-28
4. PORTLAND 54-28
5. HOUSTON 53-29
6. NEW ORLEANS (tiebreak v DAL) 51-31
7. DALLAS 51-31
8. UTAH 49-33

 

OUT: PHOENIX

 

46-36

PROJECTED FINAL STANDINGS if Portland beats Houston, all else holds steady:

2. SAN ANTONIO 55-27
3. DENVER (tiebreaker v POR) 54-28
4. PORTLAND 54-28
5. HOUSTON 52-30
6. NEW ORLEANS (tiebreak v DAL) 51-31
7. DALLAS 51-31
8. UTAH 49-33

 

OUT: PHOENIX

 

46-36

PROJECTED FINAL STANDINGS if Portland beats Houston and San Antonio, all else holds steady:

2. PORTLAND 55-27
3. SAN ANTONIO (division winner) 54-28
4. DENVER 54-28
5. HOUSTON 52-30
6. NEW ORLEANS (tiebreak v DAL) 51-31
7. DALLAS 51-31
8. UTAH 49-33

 

OUT: PHOENIX

 

46-36

With those matchups, I'm not sure I WANT to be number two in the West.  While it means homecourt in the second round, it also means playing Dallas in the first round, and I dislike that matchup intensely.

 

TONIGHT'S KEY ACTION:

 

DENVER v. UTAH!!! (A UTAH WIN GIVES PORTLAND CONTROL OF ITS DIVISION TITLE DESTINY)

KEY GAMES WHERE UNEXPECTED RESULTS COULD HELP THE BLAZERS LISTED BELOW

As I was responding to a post below, I realized that bolding key games where we DON'T WANT THE EXPECTED "TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS" TO HAPPEN might give us more games of interest, so I have bolded games for each team in the hunt where rooting for a "non-traditional" outcome should help the Blazers:

 

SAN ANTONIO

(current:  48-26)  (projected:  55-27) 

(2 seed)

  • Fri, Apr 3 at Indiana W
  • Sun, Apr 5 at Cleveland L
  • Tue, Apr 7 at Oklahoma City W
  • Wed, Apr 8 Portland W  (lost TWICE already, 2nd of back-to-back)
  • Fri, Apr 10 Utah W
  • Sun, Apr 12 at Sacramento W
  • Mon, Apr 13 at Golden State W  (2d of back to back)
  • Wed, Apr 15 New Orleans W

DENVER

(current:  49-26)  (projected:  54-28)

(3 seed)

  • Thu, Apr 2 Utah W  (lost to them TWICE already)
  • Sat, Apr 4 LA Clippers W
  • Sun, Apr 5 at Minnesota W  (2d of back-to-back)
  • Wed, Apr 8 Oklahoma City W
  • Thu, Apr 9 at LA Lakers L
  • Mon, Apr 13 Sacramento W
  • Wed, Apr 15 at Portland L

HOUSTON

(current:  48-27)  (projected:  53-29) 

(wins tiebreakers with POR, earning the 4 seed)

  • Fri, Apr 3 at LA Lakers L
  • Sun, Apr 5 Portland W (lost to them already)
  • Tue, Apr 7 Orlando W (not sure why)
  • Thu, Apr 9 at Sacramento W
  • Fri, Apr 10 at Golden State W  (2d of back to back)
  • Mon, Apr 13 New Orleans W (lost to them once already)
  • Wed, Apr 15 at Dallas L

PORTLAND

(current:  47-27)  (projected:  53-29)

(loses tiebreaker to HOU, meaning a likely 5 seed)

  • Fri, Apr 3 at Oklahoma City W
  • Sun, Apr 5 at Houston L  (beat them once already)
  • Tue, Apr 7 at Memphis W
  • Wed, Apr 8 at San Antonio L  (beat them TWICE already, b2b)
  • Fri, Apr 10 LA Lakers W
  • Sat, Apr 11 at LA Clippers W
  • Mon, Apr 13 Oklahoma City W
  • Wed, Apr 15 Denver W

NEW ORLEANS

(current:  47-27)  (projected:  51-31)

(wins tiebreaker with DAL, earning a 6 seed)

  • Fri, Apr 3 at Golden State W  (lost to them once already AT HOME)
  • Sun, Apr 5 Utah W  (lost to them TWICE already)
  • Tue, Apr 7 at Miami L
  • Wed, Apr 8 Phoenix W  (2d of back-to-back)
  • Fri, Apr 10 at Dallas L  (beat them TWICE already)
  • Sun, Apr 12 Dallas W
  • Mon, Apr 13 at Houston L
  • Wed, Apr 15 at San Antonio L (possible W if Spurs rest guys?)

 

DALLAS

(current:  45-30)  (projected:  51-31) 

(loses tiebreaker to NO, earning a 7 seed)

  • Fri, Apr 3 at Memphis W  (lost to them once already)
  • Sun, Apr 5 Phoenix W  (lost to them once already)
  • Wed, Apr 8 Utah W  (lost to them TWICE already)
  • Fri, Apr 10 New Orleans W  (lost to them TWICE already)
  • Sun, Apr 12 at New Orleans L
  • Mon, Apr 13 Minnesota W  (2d of back-to-back)
  • Wed, Apr 15 Houston W

UTAH

(current:  46-28)  (projected:  49-33) 

(8 seed)

  • Thu, Apr 2 at Denver L  (beat them TWICE already)
  • Fri, Apr 3 Minnesota W  (2d of back-to-back)
  • Sun, Apr 5 at New Orleans L  (beat them TWICE already)
  • Wed, Apr 8 at Dallas L  (beat them TWICE already)
  • Fri, Apr 10 at San Antonio L
  • Sat, Apr 11 Golden State W  (2d of back-to-back)
  • Mon, Apr 13 LA Clippers W
  • Tue, Apr 14 at LA Lakers L (possible W if Lakers rest guys?)

PHOENIX

(current:  41-34)  (projected:  46-36) 

(OUT)

  • Fri, Apr 3 Sacramento W
  • Sun, Apr 5 at Dallas L  (beat them once already)
  • Wed, Apr 8 at New Orleans L  (2d of back-to-back for NO)
  • Fri, Apr 10 at Memphis W
  • Sat, Apr 11 at Minnesota W  (2d of back-to-back)
  • Mon, Apr 13 Memphis W
  • Wed, Apr 15 Golden State W

Recent events and the upcoming schedule have really pushed Utah, Dallas and NO into a tier behind Houston and Portland (even though New Orleans is tied with the Blazers in the current standings, they have a brutal finish after their next game, with their last seven games against contenders, counting Phoenix, who will likely not be a contender any more at that point, but is penciled in as a W for New Orleans anyway).  Jscot has suggested that NO could sneak up into the HOU/POR tier, but I don't think that's likely.  Phoenix, as stated above, is nothing more than a spoiler at this point.

What that means is, we can start to hope for those teams to get wins against Houston, San Antonio or Denver to help us out, but other than that, it really becomes Portland taking care of ITS business to earn homecourt...beat Houston, and you really turn the race around, because you have the tiebreaker, so it's really a FOUR game swing depending on whether we win at Houston.  How so?  If we win, we get a tiebreaker on them, plus a game gained in the standings.  If we lose, we fall a game behind in the standings and lose the tiebreaker, too.  So, it's the difference between being TWO up or TWO down...no pressure though, Portland, no pressure. Same result if we win in San Antonio

Putting that aside, we can still: 

 

CHEER FOR UTAH OVER DENVER!!!

 

The team best positioned to help the Blazers by winning a game they shouldn't is Utah.  Utah has a brutal schedule that will make it tough to catch Portland for the division, so unless they go on a hot streak, Blazer fans become Jazz fans when the teams aren't playing each other.  If Utah can somehow win in Denver, that gets Portland back closer to Denver.

 

CHEER FOR NEW ORLEANS OVER HOUSTON!!!

New Orleans could knock Houston a game behind the Blazers, moving Portland into the 4 slot, assuming no more variations from plan, or padding Portland's lead on Houston if we manage to somehow beat one of the Texas teams.

 

BEAT HOUSTON (or San Antonio)!!!

Of Course, God helps those who help themselves, so the best thing Portland could do for itself would be to steal one of the Texas games, and hold serve on the other "should wins," as Portland would gain a game on Houston and/or San Antonio with a win, and would earn the tiebreaker with whichever team we beat based on the head-to head records (unless that team is a division winner, and Portland is not). 

Essentially, the game against Houston has the potential for a four game swing in the standings, effectively, for Portland. (see analysis of effect of wins vs. Houston and San Antonio, above.)

 

ROOT FOR ORLANDO OVER HOUSTON!!!

Orlando could help us if they find a way to win in Houston, which would also knock Houston behind Portland, if all else goes to plan, again giving Portland the 4 seed, unless Denver collapses, where we still have an outside shot at the 3.  (We now really need to either win out, or win one and have Denver cough up a game somewhere, as it is unlikely that Denver gets TWO unexpected losses.)

 

BOTTOM LINE:

What we as Blazers fans should be rooting for (and that's really the question here, right?) in any game between playoff contenders in the West is that the third tier guys (or spoiler Phoenix) win a couple against the first tier guys, specifically, San Antonio, Denver Denver, and Houston.  Other than that, everything going to plan means we get a four or five seed, and us beating one of the Texas teams likely gives us homecourt in the first Round.

 

All clear now?

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