This is hinted at in my ongoing updated taking care of business post, but in the ultimate "taking care of business" theme, here it is in black and white for those who don't like to read a lot:
IF UTAH WINS TONIGHT, THE BLAZERS CONTROL THEIR OWN DESTINY FOR HOMECOURT IN AT LEAST THE FIRST ROUND, AND PROBABLY FIRST TWO ROUNDS
IN WINNING OUT, PORTLAND WOULD PASS DENVER, SAN ANTONIO AND HOUSTON AND FINISH NO WORSE THAN THIRD IN THE WEST
If Denver loses to Utah, Denver would have the same number of losses as Portland, as do Houston and New Orleans currently. If Portland beats Denver and Houston, they move into the rear view mirror. While San Antonio has one less loss than Portland right now, if Portland wins this week's game, San Antonio and Portland would have the same number of losses (27) and Portland would hold the tiebreaker.
ONLY NEW ORLEANS TRULY CONTROLS DESTINY FOR NUMBER TWO INTHE WEST RIGHT NOW
So, the only way Portland wins out and doesn't get a two seed is if New Orleans also wins out, and in so doing knocks Houston and San Antonio back another game, thus winning their division. In that circumstance, New Orleans wins the tiebreaker with Portland and finishes in the 2 seed, while Portland still gets the three seed by virtue of its division win and tiebreakers with San Antonio and Houston.
IF NEW ORLEANS DROPS A GAME, PORTLAND IS IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT FOR NUMBER TWO SEED IN THE WEST
New Orleans has a brutal finish, with seven games against contenders (see my other post). If they drop any one of those, no one can stop the Blazers from taking the two seed but the Blazers themselves. As stated in my other posts, I prefer the 3 seed if Dallas sits at 7, since it keeps us away from Dallas until at least the second round. But, if New Orleans drops a game, we are in the driver's seat for the 2 seed.
TONIGHT WE ARE JAZZ FANS
But, in either case, we need the Jazz to win to put Portland into the enviable position of controlling its destiny for either the 2 or 3 seed. So, tonight we are all JAZZ FANS!!!
Tomorrow, we hate them again, at least until they are of use to us.