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Portland Trail Blazers’ “Magic Number” For the Playoffs Drops To One

Thanks to Damian Lillard’s Saturday night heroics, the Blazers are on the brink of their fourth straight playoff berth.

Golden State Warriors v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Three Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Damian Lillard personally placed the Portland Trail Blazers on his back Saturday night, beating the Utah Jazz with a 59 point performance. In the process, he pushed the Portland Trail Blazers to the brink of the 8th seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. That leaves the Denver Nuggets in an unenviable position.

The Blazers’ “Magic Number” is now ONE. They will clinch a spot with any win or Denver Nuggets loss.

2017 Western Conference 8th Seed Battle

Team Wins Losses Games Behind
Team Wins Losses Games Behind
Portland Trail Blazers 40 40 --
Denver Nuggets 38 41 1.5

The Nuggets again sit 1.5 games behind the Blazers. But since Portland owns the tiebreaker, Denver must win the 8th spot outright. As such, the Blazers essentially have a 2.5 game lead, with 2 games to play (3 for the Nuggets). The margin of error is gone for the Nuggets. They must win all three games, while Portland loses both. Otherwise, Portland clinches a playoff spot.

Here are their remaining schedules:

Portland Trail Blazers:

April 10th: vs. San Antonio Spurs
April 12th: vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Denver Nuggets:

April 9th: vs. Oklahoma City
April 11th: at Dallas Mavericks
April 12th: at Oklahoma City