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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Utah Jazz Preview

Game Time: 5:00 p.m. TV: CSNNW

The single worst thing that happened this week is that the Jazz clinched the 8th playoff seed with their last victory and are now locked into it no matter what the outcome of tonight's game with Portland. The Blazers have been lottery-bound for weeks, of course, and are giving long minutes to a hodge-podge of former 8th-14th men in the rotation. How do you preview a game like this except to say it's likely to be slipshod at best. That could be entertaining. It could also be downright ugly. The best things to do are:

1. Try to measure up Portland's deep reserves--for whom Blazer fans still have faint glimmers of hope--against their counterparts on another team, as Utah is likely to pull their main guys early tonight if they even let them play at all. You can't tell much from one game, but it's the only angle available.

2. Make the game more fun by inventing some kind of drinking game where you have to throw one back every time you see something horrendously inept or brain-dead happen on the court. We want you alive to read the recap, so I suggest you use non-alcoholic beverages.

As has been our preview habit for the last couple of games, I have a question for you while you pass the time waiting for tip-off. Look up and down Portland's roster and...

A. Tell us how many players you think will be returning next year. who they are, and why.

B. Let us know your sentimental favorite to return, excluding LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, and Wesley Matthews. "Sentimental favorite" means "regardless of talent or production, I just like this guy and I want him to remain a Blazer."

Here is the list of Portland's players for reference:

LaMarcus Aldridge, Luke Babbitt, Nicolas Batum, Jamal Crawford, Raymond Felton, Jonny Flynn, J.J. Hickson, Wesley Matthews, Joel Przybilla, Craig Smith, Nolan Smith, Hasheem Thabeet, Kurt Thomas, Elliot Williams, Shawne Williams

Enjoy the game!

SLC Dunk will talk about the Utah side of things. (a.k.a. "Don't get hurt!")

Your final Jersey Contest form of the year can be found here.

--Dave (