Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will not play in the Trail Blazers’ regular season finale against the Kings, the team announced, citing “load management.”
Well, this should answer a few Qs. Blazers say Damian Lillard (load management: rest) and CJ McCollum (load management: left knee) out for tonight's game vs. Sacramento.— Sean Michael Meagher (@sean2m) April 10, 2019
The Blazers are making a clear choice to prioritize rest over playoff positioning. With a win they could potentially move into the 3-seed and avoid a hypothetical matchup with the Warriors in the second round. As the 3-seed the Blazers would play either the Thunder or Spurs in the first round.
A loss tonight will push the Blazers back down to fourth in the west, setting up a first round match-up with the Jazz, who are locked into fifth.
The outcome of the Blazers game has longer reaching effects for the Western Conference — the Rockets could fall to fourth if both the Blazers and Nuggets win, but a loss by either team guarantees Houston a top three seed and also helps them avoid the Warriors until the conference finals.