The L-Train is back on schedule.
Taking another look at phase 12:
Phase 12: Once More Unto the Breach (Mar 17-Mar 28) 7 games (Milw, Wash, @Char, @Mia, @Orl, @Atl, @Chi)
There are 3 teams in the Wiggins lottery here: Milw, @Char, and @Orl. In addition, the Wizards are 19-90 on the road, since they drafted John Wall (however, we all know they swept us last year). In addition, I like our chances against @Hawks, and for some unknown reason the Heat have had trouble with the Blazers. I think winning 4 of the 7 games is a reasonable goal.
So far, the Blazers are 3-3, with a game in Chicago tomorrow remaining.
The Blazers have had the Bulls number since 2008, going 10-2 in their last 12 games against the Bulls. In fact, the Blazers are 4-2 at Chicago since 2008, with one of those losses in Chicago being an overtime loss. If the Blazers continue this streak, they will finish phase 12 as expected, with the projected 4-3 record.
But even if the Blazers don't continue this streak, and end phase 12 with a record of 3-4 (instead of the projected 4-3), the Blazers are still about to come roaring into the playoffs. They would still be 4 games ahead of the prediction and on pace for 52 wins.
I know the recent results have many of you down, worrying if the Blazers are even going to make the playoffs.
In fact, one of my good friends posted this on Tuesday:
"Blazers head coach Terry Stotts' postgame interview after today's loss against Orlando."
[Watching the collective freakout that occurs each and every road trip is entertainment in it of itself.]
I understand the desire to be depressed. To cry at our misfortune over the past couple months. To whine about coaching decisions. To vent our anger at the front office' decisions. To blast vitriol towards our bench players. To stare into our rear-view mirror and wonder...
However, the Rockets are about to crash and burn.
The only question I have is if the Blazers can still catch them for home court in the first round. I know what many of you are saying: 'we have 5 more losses and don't hold the tie breaker.' So, in order to make this run, the Blazers would need to have 6 less losses down the stretch.
With that in mind, lets state the facts: The Blazers only have 9 games left, but the Rockets have 11 games left.
Rockets remaining schedule:
Home: San Antonio(55-16), Oklahoma City(52-19), LA Clippers(50-22), Denver(32-40), New Orleans(31-40)
Away: Toronto(40-31), Brooklyn(37-33), Minnesota(35-35), Denver(32-40), New Orleans(31-40), LA Lakers(24-47)
Rockets are 20-15 on the road.
There are at minimum of 4 losses in there. Are there enough losses there to allow the Blazers to catch them? I'm not sure. I'm doubting it...
Even if the Blazers can't catch the Rockets though, the Rockets will be stumbling into the playoffs, while the Blazers will be roaring into the playoffs.
Phase 13: Bringing it Home (Mar 29-Apr 16) 8 games (Mem, Pho, NO, Sac, GS, LAC, @LAL, @Utah).
Coming down the homestretch, we should be gaining momentum as we plough into the playoffs for the first time in 4 years. With 6 home games, and a road game @Utah(desperate to win the Wiggins lottery), the Blazers should control their destiny in the final month.
The prediction of 6-2 still seems right; in fact, most of that description still seems right.
That, combined with the return of Joel Freeland will have Blazers Nation feeling really good going into the playoffs.
However, we should remember the feeling we've had this past week, and counter it with the elation we will feel as the Blazers bring it home strong.
Everything still points to the Blazers playing the Rockets or the Clippers in the first round.
There is no way I want to see the Spurs or the Thunder in the first round, so let's hope that everything stays this way...
I've been dreaming of these 8 games since the schedule came out; get ready for a fun finish...
[I'm going to be visiting with family for the next week, so let's hope that I didn't post this prematurely.]
Bring it home boys!