The Blazers lost their fourth consecutive game tonight. It's the first four game losing streak that the Blazers have had this year.
If you wanted to be the pessimist, the stats you would provide:
The Blazers have lost 5 of their last 6 games (1-5).
The Blazers have lost 8 of their last 14 games (6-8).
The Blazers have lost 12 of their last 21 games (9-12).
The Blazers have lost 14 of their last 25 games (11-14).
The Blazers have lost 18 of their last 36 games (18-18).
This four game losing streak isn't a surprise to me, as I predicted that they'd lose 4 or 5 of these 6 games(with @NO and GS being the final two games). After these two final games, the final 15 games of the schedule are much easier. The question isn't if the Blazers will win at least 50 games this year (we've only had 8 seasons with more than 50 wins), it's whether they can get to 53 wins and have a 20 win improvement over last year and hold onto the 5 seed). The Blazers have played the prediction fairly accurately since the amazing 19 game hot start. I also asked in the comments of that piece for Blazer fans not to overreact if and when the Blazers did have this losing streak.
The schedule is always going to have it's ups and downs, trials and tribulations. As Stotts has pointed out, every team is going to face adversity, and the only question is how you handle that adversity.
I do want to note that stat again: The Blazers have 8 seasons with more than 50 wins, and 33 seasons with 50 or less wins (the 2 lockout seasons were a split, one had a win rate better than 50 wins, the other did not).
The Blazers have only advanced out of the first round 9 times in our franchise' history.
Knowing this history, knowing our past, forces you to realize that our franchise isn't the richest.
We don't have the luxury of not enjoying these good times. Yes, losing sucks. It always sucks, but we're still witnessing one of the better seasons in franchise history. Let's not forget that.
However, just because we're enjoying the present season doesn't mean that we should ignore our future.
We should all be happy about the current regular season, but what most of us want is a first round playoff series win. The season will be viewed as a success if the Blazers win that first round series, and will ultimately be viewed as a failure if the Blazers lose that first round series. I didn't have us winning a first round series at the start of the year, and quite frankly, I don't remember many, if any, predicting a first round playoff series win. Still, after that start, without the playoff series win, this season will be viewed a failure without it.
Pelton' computer projections have us 'doomed to the 5 seed', which means that we're most likely going to be facing either the Houston Rockets or the LA Clippers. Even if we drop to the 6 seed, we're still going to be facing one of these two teams in the first round. Could Memphis catch us? It's theoretically possible, but with the schedule easing up for the final 15 games, highly unlikely.
So, we should be mentally preparing to face either the Houston Rockets or the LA Clippers. I'm positive that the organization is preparing game plans/strategies/blueprints for those two teams: breaking down every one of their sets, evaluating where each player likes to move and take shots from in those sets, analyzing how they play defense against our sets(both against us and other teams that execute our sets), seeing what worked and didn't work. I'm positive that the organization is actively adding new action and flairs to our sets that will hopefully be successful against those two teams.
In all likelihood, the Blazers are going to be playing the Houston Rockets or LA Clippers on the road in the first round. Let's embrace that.
The Blazers vs the Houston Rockets:
Nov. 5: Houston(4-1) wins 116-101 @Portland(2-2)
Dec. 12: Houston loses(15-8) 111-104 @Portland(19-4)
Jan. 20: Houston(28-15) wins 126-113 vs Portland(31-10)
Mar. 9: Houston(44-19) wins 118-113 vs Portland(42-21) in OT
I think it would be awesome to play the Rockets in the first round.
It would provide yet another comparison for BRoy and Damian Lillard (which I can then scold you all for using when you compare them):
* Both 6th overall picks
* Both 22 year old, 4 year college players, as Rookies
* Both starting guards for the Blazers from day 1
* Both Rookies of the Year
* Both All-Stars in their Second Year
* Both face the Houston Rockets in their first playoff series?
However, I will be just as happy to face the LA Clippers.
The Blazers vs the LA Clippers:
In 2001 and again in 2002, the Blazers played the LA Lakers in the second to last game of the season, before facing them in the first round.
How cool would it be to have that game decide if we face them or the Rockets in the first round?
I was curious what the longest losing streaks of the potential playoff teams were this year:
2014 San Antonio - 3 game losing streak
2014 Oklahoma City - 3 game losing streak
2014 LA Clippers - 2 game losing streak
2014 Houston - 2 game losing streak
2014 Portland - 4 game losing streak
2014 Golden State - 3 game losing streak
2014 Memphis - 5 game losing streak
2014 Dallas - 3 game losing streak
2014 Phoenix - 4 game losing streak
2014 Indiana - 4 game losing streak
2014 Miami - 3 game losing streak
2014 Toronto - 5 game losing streak
2014 Chicago - 4 game losing streak
2014 Brooklyn - 5 game losing streak
2014 Washington - 4 game losing streak
2014 Charlotte - 5 game losing streak
2014 Atlanta - 8 game losing streak
2014 New York - 9 game losing streak
2014 Cleveland - 6 game losing streak
2014 Detroit - 6 game losing streak
This bummed me out a bit, as both the Rockets and the Clippers don't have extended losing streaks.
The only team in the East that doesn't have a losing streak matching our current 4 game losing streak is the Miami Heat.
They're going to win their three-peat... it's inevitable. One of my daydream fantasies is watching the Heat beat the Thunder in the NBA Finals, Greg Oden holding the trophy above his head, while in the background Durant is crumpled on the floor, holding his jersey to his face, as he cries at falling short.