Now that the Blazers are playing arguably their best basketball of the season, we could conceivably make a push as high as 5th place in the Western conference standings. We're only a couple games back from the fourth/ fifth seed, so the most interesting question to me is:
Who do we want to see in the first round of the playoffs?
Lakers had their three game losing streak recently, so they're not infallible (by any means), and Blazer fans for the most part want nothing more than to put L*ker nation in their place. Is our match-up, especially at the guard position, something desirable?
- Denver has recently jumped ahead of Dallas in the standings, and has been playing good ball even without Kenyon Martin. Billups and Carmelo are one mean tandem in the fourth quarter, especially if JR Smith is spreading the defense out, and we tend to not match-up extremely well.
- Dallas just came off their 10+ game win streak, yet we've beat them a couple times in Dallas and they have the smallest margin of victory of Western conference playoff teams. We play them two more times at the Rose Garden.
- Utah has lost two in a row and is only 6-4 in their last 10. They had to come back from 20+ points down to win in our most recent match-up, but that means that we could play them well in the playoffs if we don't have another meltdown (thanks in part to a bad match-up against Boozer).
- Oklahoma City is on fire right now, winning more games than anybody could have predicted last year due in large part to a Westbrook/ Durantula combo that is one of the best in the league. A loss in the playoffs to OKC could devastate the Blazer mentality of being an "up-and-comer."
- Phoenix is playing decent ball behind Nash and Amare, but they're a streaky team that could potentially lose 4-5 in a row, or win 8 in a row. We beat them @ Phx last time we faced them, but Amare has been at his best since the all-star break, not to mention Channing Frye has finally upped his physical game since leaving Portland, having served a one-game suspension for throwing a punch recently.
|1.||* LA Lakers||--|