The Portland Trail Blazers hold a current record of 28-35, 3.5 games back of the 8-seed Memphis Grizzlies (31-31). With Damian Lillard back from his strained groin, Portland is geared up for a run at the eighth seed. Will they succeed in making the playoffs? Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report doesn’t believe so; he predicts the Blazers to finish with a 38-44 record, behind the Pelicans (40-42) and Grizzlies (39-43):
The Blazers could’ve been a fun playoff participant—if Lillard and McCollum heat up simultaneously, they can outscore anyone—but it’s just not happening. They have the league’s fourth-worst defense, and their bench has the third-worst point differential (minus-153).
A team might be able to cover for one of those deficiencies, but their coexistence is a fatal flaw.
Buckley gives the nod to New Orleans over Memphis given the Grizzlies’ recent injury struggles and their tough strength of schedule down the stretch.
Here is the current state of the fight for the eighth seed:
What record do you think Portland will finish with? Will they make the playoffs? Let us know in the comments.