Game Time: 5:00 p.m. TV: CSNNW
The Blazers' curse-laden final stretch of the season continues today as they travel to Memphis to face yet another team in the thick of a playoff battle. Unlike Portland's recent opponents the Grizzlies aren't fighting to make the playoffs. They're guaranteed a spot. But they're currently in a neck-and-neck duel with the Los Angeles Clippers for the 4-5 spots and have an outside chance of catching the Lakers for the 3rd best record in the West. They're at home, they've won 13 of their last 17, they're fully stocked, and this game means something to them. None of those things are even remotely true of the Blazers. For Portland this isn't a fierce battle as much as a slow funeral march marking the demise of the season.
Let's be honest. Doing a straight-faced preview under these circumstances would be silly. We've seen what the Grizzlies can do. I'm not sure there's a single surprise left in Portland's arsenal. Blazer fans are hoping to catch a glimpse of something that would indicate that players who rightfully sit between 8-12 in the normal rotation can somehow move up. But we've seen all of these guys play repeatedly over the last few weeks and they've shown who they are...and who they aren't yet.
Granted, anyone can win on any given night in this league, etc. etc. etc. But if the Blazers win again this season it'll be because an opponent fell asleep at the switch big time. Such an event would be something you'd be grateful for, not something you'd predict, let alone expect.
So let's have some fun as we get ready for this game. Consider this:
Memphis has an interesting roster. They've got plenty of players the Blazers might covet.
1. If you could add any player off of their roster for free, just by absorbing his salary into your cap, which guy would you take?
2. Are there any Grizzlies you think should be legit trade targets for the Blazers and if so, what would you offer for them?
The first question is more in the fantasy realm, the second perched more in reality.
Have at it in the comments as we wait for tip-off.