Several folks have e-mailed and asked which team I, personally, would prefer to see the Blazers face in the post-season. Usually the inquiry is followed by suggestions of who we might want to root for or against among our close competitors in the West.
To me, this is pretty simple: You root for the Blazers to win. You root for everybody else near them to lose. The best single outcome tonight, besides the Blazers winning of course, would be the Nuggets losing to the Kings. That would mean the Northwest Divisionand its attendant tie-breaking mojo was within Portland's reach. It would also mean the highest possible remaining seeds stayed within Portland's reach. What's more, Blazer fans could then begin talking about potential homecourt advantage in the second round as well as the first.
The real problem with wishing for an opponent is that they usually kick your butt after your wish comes true. Part of it may be karma or the fickleness of the basketball gods, but there's a foundation behind it as well. If you have to juke and shimmy to try and make it though the NBA playoffs you're not going to make it through the NBA playoffs. You can bet right now the L*kers and Cavaliers are saying, "Bring it on! We don't care who we have to play." The Rockets, Nuggets, Celtics, and Magic are going to say the same thing if/when they get their high seeds settled. Some of them may have qualms about the teams above them in the standings, but the seeding system takes care of that, at least in the first round. If you have to worry about getting a good matchup below you to start out, your team probably isn't destined for a long stay.
Portland may not end up making a long run in the playoffs this year no matter where they end up. In reality all of these teams are packed together so tightly that the seeding isn't necessarily going to show clear superiority. But if you have a chance to get a 2nd seed in the West, you get the 2nd seed and then you walk that walk like you were meant to be there.
The truth is, we don't know how the 2-5 seeds or the 6-8 seeds are going to shake out right now. We'll know more after tonight's games. For now, the Blazers winning and everybody else losing is the way to go.