"An interesting note courtesy of the Blazers' PR ace Jim Taylor: The last time a team came back from 18 or more down to win back-to-back games was Feb. 25, 2006, when the Mavs pulled it off. The fact that Portland did it on the road makes it even more impressive, and it's why the Blazers suddenly find themselves in position to snag a top-three seed and avoid the Lakers' side of the playoff bracket.
The Blazers certainly are peaking at the right time. Their 105.3 Power Ranking is now comfortably in fifth, and they're even showing a pulse on the road now. With a win in their season finale against the hapless Clips they'll be at a respectable 20-21 for the season. Combine that with the fact they're likely to hold home-court advantage in the first round (Wednesday night's win was enormous in that respect, since it handed the Spurs a loss and won them the tiebreaker), and their prospects suddenly look much better for a lengthy playoff run."
"Another reason to like the Blazers: It sure seems like Greg Oden is getting comfortable with his role coming off the bench. On Wednesday night he had 8 points and 10 boards on 4-of-5 shooting, though his one miss was an embarrassing one (he failed to get the ball over the rim on a dunk attempt).
Oden's season PER is now 18.03, which is pretty darn good for a rookie that everyone's falling all over themselves to call a disappointment. He's averaging 16.2 points and 12.9 boards per 40 minutes, shooting 56.3 percent from the floor, and leads the NBA in Offensive Rebound Rate. The jury's still out as to whether he'll be a franchise center, or if he'll prove to be a better player than Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, but for a rookie coming off microfracture surgery you could do a lot worse than this."
Another gem from today's post:
"I'm very interested in seeing Friday night's Lakers-Blazers game, for a couple of reasons. First of all, it has obvious seeding implications for the Western Conference playoffs -- Portland will have a great shot at the No. 3 seed in the West if it can beat L.A. tonight. Second, it's the first time these teams have played since Trevor Ariza took out Rudy Fernandez, so it should make for a heated environment inside the Rose Garden tonight.
But most of all, I want to see this matchup because I'm increasingly thinking that the Blazers are the one team who can make L.A. sweat in the postseason. Denver hasn't matched up with the Lakers well the past two seasons, and some of the other teams we expected to contend haven't quite lived up to expectations.
But the Blazers have played reasonably well against the Lakers in recent matchups, are healthy entering the postseason, and have the strongest Power Ranking of any Western Conference foe. We may be getting a preview of the conference finals tonight, and if not, we're getting a look at what could be a very competitive and testy second-round fight."