“The Portland Trail Blazers are fourth, a game ahead of the Houston Rockets and two up on the San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz, but the schedule will work against them the rest of the way. Portland has a tough six-game road trip coming out of the break, including playing at Boston, Philadelphia and Toronto. Meanwhile, San Antonio and Utah are the lone West teams among the five easiest BPI remaining schedules.Add in the Jazz’s superior point differential (plus-3.2 PPG, fourth best in the West), and they should be considered narrow favorites for fourth. BPI projections show them getting home court more than 45 percent of the time, with nobody else above 30 percent, while FiveThirtyEight’s projections also have Utah finishing with the fourth-most wins on average.”
The Blazers currently hold the 4th slot in the Western Conference playoffs race with a 35-23 record. The Houston Rockets are 2 games behind at 33-25, with the Jazz trailing in 6th at 32-25. The San Antonio Spurs are virtually deadlocked with Utah at 33-26.