Tom Ziller of SB Nation broke down the ongoing “battle” for the Western Conference’s eighth playoff seed today, and the Portland Trail Blazers’ underwhelming season. With every team below seventh struggling to win games, it’s very possible that the eighth seed will win less than 40 games. In a full season, that hasn’t happened since the 1997 Los Angeles Clippers finished 36-46. To add insult to injury, both the New Orleans Hornets and Dallas Mavericks have recovered from slow starts, and hold a chance to leapfrog the Blazers for a playoff appearance.
As Ziller notes, this situation is tougher on the Blazers than any other team jockeying for position.
The Blazers made the second round last season, destroying expectations in a post-LaMarcus Aldridge world. There is no avoiding the fact that they have come crashing back to Earth. But at least making the playoffs and getting (chuckles) a rematch with the Warriors would dull the sharp edge of this snap back to reality.
He also gave a few reasons to enjoy the Blazers’ season, such as the always-clutch Damian Lillard, and Mason Plumlee’s nice stat lines. However, his comments about Festus Ezeli cut deep.
Why they are sad: Festus Ezeli has apparently given three locker room speeches (a pep talk, a scalding that other players shut down, and a farewell address) this season. He has not appeared in any games.
The Blazers play the Sixers in Philadelphia tomorrow night, trying to get their first win of their current road trip after two losses.