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Despite Skid, Blazers Aren’t Out of Playoffs Race

CBS Sports contributor Brad Botkin highlighted Damian Lillard’s presence in his look at 10 questions for the NBA’s final stretch.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

The Trail Blazers are in the middle of a three-game skid that is preventing them from closing the gap on the Grizzlies in the race for the final spot in the Western Conference Playoffs race. Regardless of their recent skid, the return of Damian Lillard could give the Blazers more than enough fuel to drive past the Grizz in the standings.

On Friday, CBS Sports contributor Brad Botkin focused on the Blazers for one of his 10 stretch-run questions. Botkin explained that Portland isn’t out of the postseason race just yet.

If Lillard can get the Blazers in, nobody would want to play them in the first round. Lillard is having probably the best season of his career and one of the three or four best seasons in the league. He should be right in the thick of the MVP conversation, but the Blazers, decimated by injuries, have wildly underperformed.

Lillard can only do so much, but there isn’t a more exciting player in the league to watch try to carry a team. And we know he can do it. The Blazers are far from out of this thing.

Lillard, who missed the All-Star Game with a groin injury, was sidelined with the injury during the Blazers’ 128-115 loss to the Pelicans on Friday. Prior to the injury, Lillard was producing 29.5 points and 7.9 assist per game.

You can read Botkin’s full post at CBS Sports.