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Which Western Conference Team is the Toughest Matchup for the Blazers?

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Come vote and discuss which team the Blazers have the hardest time dealing with. #WesternConferenceDeathRace2000

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The second best record in the Association has put opponents and the national media on notice: The Blazers are a force to be reckoned with.  And they're getting better all the time.

However, the easiest bit of the schedule is now behind us, as half of the Blazers’ games so far have been against Leastern Conference teams, and 26 of their 38 have been against below -.500 teams. The next few days, we will take a crack at three teams presumed to make the playoffs in this mind-meltingly powerful Western Conference: the Clippers, Spurs, and Grizzlies.

There will be several more weeks like this one the rest of the way:

Feb. 5- 8: vs. Suns, @ Rockets, vs. Mavs

Feb. 22-27: vs. Grizz, vs. Spurs, vs. Thunder

Mar. 4-11: @ Clippers, vs. Mavs, vs. Houston

Mar. 21-27: @ Grizz, vs. Warriors, @ Suns

Mar. 30-April 4: vs. Suns, vs. Clippers, vs. Pelicans

April 9-15 (last week of season): @ Warriors, @ Thunder, @ Mavs.

Also have a couple weeks that are heavy with top Eastern Conference foes:

Jan. 24-30: vs. Washington; @ Cleveland, @ Atlanta

March 13-16: vs. revitalized Detroit, @ Toronto, @ Washington

So wow. Just clear your calendar now during those weeks for some must-see-TV.

As we head into the meat of the regular season, which team do you think is our toughest matchup? Who strikes fear in your heart? Who do you feel comfortable with, kind of like the omnipresent favorite stuffed toy you abused as a child until your parents took it away from you because you left so much careless slobber all over it while winning like Charlie Sheen the whole time?

Let’s take a glance at the top playoff contenders, our recent record against them, and some telling hyperlinks:

Golden State Warriors

13-14 W-L This year Home W-L totals (last two years) Away W-L totals (last two years)
Blazers vs. GSW 2-2 90-95 L @ home 1-2 1-1

Why you should fear them: Dominant all year to date. Equipped with crazy momentum-swinging shooters alongside a gang possessing all kind of tricks and weapons who can fight their way out of any turf war. Deep bench. Getting bolder all the time.

Why you shouldn’t fear them: Getting through to the next morning of the postseason is a long way off. They are mortal, like you or I. They have just as star-crossed a history as we do, so get the Ouija Board out. Warriors! Come out and Play-iy-ayyy!

Houston Rockets

13-14 W-L This year Home W-L totals (last two years) Away W-L totals (last two years)
Blazers vs. HOU 2-2 (reg. sea.) 95-110 L @ HOU 3-2 (incl. playoffs) 3-3 (incl playoffs)

Why you should fear them: Well, they have introduced an entirely new brand of basketball, which is completely unwatchable at times but does generally give them a distinct advantage. Even apart from all that, it’s pretty much impossible to stop James Harden or Dwight Howard if they get rolling.

Why you shouldn’t fear themApril 20 – May 2, 2014.

Memphis Grizzlies

13-14 W-L This year Home W-L totals (last two years) Away W-L totals (last two years)
Blazers vs. MEM 1-2 99-112 L @ home 1-2 0-1

Why you should fear them: They seem to beat up on us – they got the whole bear-like physicality thing going on. Two incredible bigs create some difficult matchups. Grizzled vets abound. And they may have just got the uptick on offense (Jeff Green) that makes their claws even sharper.

Why you shouldn’t fear them: Justin Timberlake (and any of his projects) should be respected, but not feared.

Dallas Mavericks

13-14 W-L This year Home W-L totals (last two years) Away W-L totals (last two years)
Blazers vs. DAL 1-2 108-87 W @ home 1-1 1-1

Why you should fear them: The Rondo trade creates an interesting wrinkle for their already explosive offense. They also merely have a couple of the clutchiest shotmakers going (Monta and Dirk). Don’t forget the formidable mind of Rick Carlisle, who can match wits with any team of would-be superheroes. Proof: He took last season’s Spurs to 7 games in the playoffs, and has embraced the Lex Luthor look.

Why you shouldn’t fear them: Their fans know we are better than them. No evidence. Just trust me on this one.

(Ok, here’s some solid evidence, excerpted from a Mavs Moneyball staff piece: "…watching these…Blazers right now is something vaguely like staring into the face of god".)

(Bwahahahaha…we’re in your head, Texas.)

Los Angeles Clippers

13-14 W-L This year Home W-L totals (last two years) Away W-L totals (last two years)
Blazers vs. LAC 2-1 102-106 L @ LAC 2-0 0-2

Why you should fear them: There’s no equal to the Clippers’ high flying athleticism. They’re like a schizophrenic circus these days, and just as dangerous as one. Even though there are rumblings that Ringmaster Chris Paul may have lost a step, he’s still in the conversation for the best all-around point man.

Why you shouldn’t fear them: The stench from the Lakers clings to them. Yes, they have separate locker rooms. But that stench can penetrate concrete, and sits like a fog over the playing surface of the grandest named arena in all of sports: The Staples Center.

San Antonio Spurs

13-14 W-L This year Home W-L totals (last two years) Away W-L totals (last two years)
Blazers vs. SAS 2-2 (reg. sea.)

108-95 W @ home

129-119 W @ SAS

3-2 (incl. playoffs) 2-4 (incl. playoffs)

Why you should fear them: Well, Ringzzzzz. Crazy vet savvy. All sorts of deep on the bench. Their coach has left scorched earth in many a district. Basically a lion in wait.

Why you shouldn’t fear them: Maybe things are as they seem. With injuries to even younger players mounting up, this could be a good year for the Spurs to just ease into regression / a Craftmatic adjustable beda Rascal movement assistance device / a retirement home. Plus their mascot is all kinds of afraid of us.

Phoenix Suns

13-14 W-L This year Home W-L totals (last two years) Away W-L totals (last two years)
Blazers vs. PHX 1-3 yet to play 1-1 0-2

Why you should fear them: These guys had our number last year – and we still have to play them four times this year. Their three-headed monster at PG is a sight to behold when it gets moving– and merely one of many matchup problems they pose.

Why you shouldn’t fear them: They wear purple and orange. Visually, they are as intimidating as a box of Raisin Bran.

Oklahoma City Thunder

13-14 W-L This year Home W-L totals (last two years) Away W-L totals (last two years)
Blazers vs. OKC 2-2

106-89 W @ home

115-111 W @ OKC

2-1 2-1

Why you should fear them: Well, they have arguably the two best players on the floor pretty much every night. Some nice role players – I’m talking about Serge Ibaka, who is basically two anatomically opposed role players fused into one, shooting 40.8% from 3 this year after previously leading the league in blocks twice. OKC also has backcourt backups that can make first stringer opponents look silly trying to stay with them.

Why you shouldn’t fear themTheir logo looks like a certain famous Yum! Brand logo.

Then again…maybe you should fear them for that very reason.