On this week’s edition of Blazer’s Edge Radio, the main topic of discussion was the Portland Trail Blazers’ dwindling playoff chances. The team currently sits four games back of the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth seed, with 26 games remaining on the schedule. Add in the fact that Damian Lillard will miss an undetermined amount of time due to a groin injury, and a bleak situation turns even bleaker.
The Blazers haven’t missed the NBA postseason since 2013, Lillard’s rookie year. While they are technically still in the hunt, last week’s losses to the Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans were particularly damning—independent of Lillard’s injury. Surging since the return of Zion Williamson, the Pelicans lead the head-to-head series 3-0 over Portland, thus giving them the tiebreaker in the event that the two teams finish with the same record. In addition, they’ll get another crack at the likely Lillard-less Blazers on Friday, trailing Portland by just 1.5 games in the standings.
That being said, there’s still a small chance the team can rally against increasing odds. The Blazers hold the tiebreaker over the San Antonio Spurs, whom they lead by a single game, and will get two more meetings with the Grizzlies. If they win both, they’ll not only get a chance to make up ground, but would also earn the tiebreaker. In addition, Memphis has the toughest remaining schedule of any team in the league, per Tankathon.
Portland’s only real hope is if Lillard doesn’t miss any significant time. However, rushing the superstar back in pursuit of an uphill battle would be unwise, and the most important thing for the team now is to focus on getting healthy for next season.
Catch an archived version of this week’s show here.
Tune in to Blazer’s Edge Radio LIVE every Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. PT during the NBA season on XRAY FM. The show can be accessed at 107.1 FM in the Portland metro area, as well as worldwide on xray.fm.