The Blazers will either finish the year at 52-30 or 51-31. Odds are they don't care much which. Odds are you don't either. Portland has locked up the 4th seed in the Western Conference. Neither outcome would boost them higher, nor bring them homecourt advantage.
It's likely the Blazers will be doing just what the rest of us will be doing tonight: keeping one eye on the scoreboard, waiting to see the outcome of the San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies, and Houston Rockets games. Those results will determine Portland's first-round opponent in the upcoming playoffs.
With so little on the line, with all the action happening elsewhere, and with Portland's doubtful and disabled list potentially including LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews, Arron Afflalo, CJ McCollum, Dorell Wright, and Chris Kaman, previewing this game like normal wouldn't make much sense. Therefore we're doing the following:
1. Posting this handy flowchart so you can figure out who the Blazers will face in the playoffs live, as the results come in.
2. Posting this detailed description of post-season permutations so those who want to delve deeper, can.
3. Instead of giving you an orthodox preview, we're going to let you write your own Game Recap using the MadLibs form below. Chances are the actual recap won't be as exciting as the one you come up with, so knock yourself out. It's as good a way as any to pass the time before tonight's big events.
Game Recap: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Dallas Mavericks
The game got off to a(n) [adjective] start as the Blazers [past-tense verb] the [animal]-licking Mavericks. Unfortunately [name of Blazers player] injured his [body part] and will not be available for [number] weeks.
With [fraction above 1/2] of their starters missing, the Blazers were forced to improvise. Newly-signed emergency reserve [random name from phone book] gave a(n) [adjective] performance, dropping buckets like a [animal] on a painter's [body part].
The Blazers also called up [first name] [another first name] from of the D-League. "He got up and down the floor [adverb]," said Stotts.
Meyers Leonard had a strong showing, scoring [number of times you've called Leonard a bust] points, almost exclusively from three-point distance.
"Our team showed a lot of [name of vital organ] tonight," said Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts. "We need to [name of tool] some things out on the defensive end though."
Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez continued his mascot feud, [verb ending in "-ing"] Mavs Man in the [body part] until he cried, "[type of relative]!" Mavericks fans responded by yelling, "Not in our [location]!" and, "Go suck a [noun], Lopez!"
Following the game Mavericks owner Mark Cuban complained about the officiating. "Those refs can't [verb] and they couldn't see a [noun] if it hit them in the forehead. If they worked in my company I would have [past-tense verb] them long ago!"
All of this was overshadowed by drama from other games around the league, of course. We don't yet know who the Blazers will face in the first round of the playoffs but we've narrowed it down to [name of random NBA team], [name of another random NBA team], or the [name of city] [plural noun]. If the NBA's seeding and tiebreaker system hadn't been designed by a [name of disease]-ridden [animal] we'd know already. As it is, we'll just have to wait and see...
Check out the irrepressible Mavs Moneyball for the Dallas end of the preview. Listen to the latest version of the Blazer's Edge Podcast (f. Phil Naessens) as you're waiting for the festivities to begin. Most of all, enjoy the evening no matter what it may bring. When it's all said and done, we'll have a whole new playoff matchup to speculate about.