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Portland Trail Blazers Are Still In The Hunt For The No. 8 Seed

With an unusually large number of middling teams in the Western Conference this season, the Blazers can still battle for a playoff spot, despite a less than ideal record.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting a 13-20 record, the Blazers are just 1.5 games out of the No. 8 spot in the West and one of seven teams competing for the final playoff spot. SBNation's Tom Ziller includes the Jazz, Pelicans, Kings, Nuggets, Suns and Timberwolves along with the Blazers in his breakdown of why each team has a shot.

Ziller points out the West's relative lack of depth compared to recent years and the fact that the team that wins the No. 8 seed will most likely be the victim of a first-round sweep at the hand of the Warriors, but each still has something to play for. He has this to say about why the Blazers have a shot, why they don't, and why they would want to win the No. 8 seed:

Why They'll Win The Spot: Damian Lillard is a star, C.J. McCollum is legit and the Blazers have fully invested in a shooting-heavy attack that keeps them in practically every game. Also, Allen Crabbe's hair.

Why They Might Not: Broken record alert, but holy hell these teams chasing No. 8 having some bad defenses. Mason Plumlee knows where to be, Ed Davis and Gerald Henderson are solid and Al-Farouq Aminu is a big plus, but the rest of the rotation is filled with defensive minuses, including the high-scoring starting backcourt. Noah Vonleh is completely unproductive. There's just not quite enough talent beyond Lillard, McCollum, Aminu, Davis and Crabbe's hair.

Why They Want It: To prove to LaMarcus Aldridge that they are good enough, and gosh darn it, people like them.

Read Ziller's take on all seven teams here.

The Blazers next play at home against the Denver Nuggets, another team on this list, on Wednesday, Dec. 30 at 7:00 p.m. PST. The game will be broadcast nationally on NBATV.


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