Portland Trail Blazers Coach Terry Stotts says the team will be doing everything it can to beat the Denver Nuggets tomorrow, citing “karma” as a real concern. The Blazers host the Nuggets at the Moda Center tomorrow with final seeding for both teams still to be determined. See all the possible final seeding outcomes here.
In the past, a number of teams have appeared to intentionally lose their final game(s) — by sitting their starters —in order to secure their ideal seeding. It was a tactic many believed Portland used in its final game of the 2018-19 season against the Sacramento Kings by playing Anfernee Simons, Gary Trent Jr., and Jake Layman 48 minutes.
However, Stotts told Dwight Jaynes at NBC Sports Northwest there was no way the Blazers would intentionally lose tomorrow, a result that could drop the team into the Play-In tournament but, if all went to plan, pitted Portland against the inexperienced Phoenix Suns.
“My general feeling, for years, has been ‘Don’t ‘F’ with the game,’” he said. “You know, to me, karma can be a bitch — and be careful what you wish for.
“So, we’re going to play the game and compete and try to win the game. Stay out of the play-in game. That’s kind of our mindset.”
Stotts also addressed his rationale for playing Simons, Trent Jr. and Layman for the entirety of the 2018-19 season game, which they surprisingly won.
“The truth was that it didn’t matter one way or the other.”
“I’m glad we won. I think resting guys — that was a grind, so it was more resting guys and whatever the result happened, happened.”
The Blazers can still finish anywhere between fifth and seventh, the latter sending them through the Play-In tournament. The Nuggets can end up third or fourth, two seeds sitting at opposite sides of the playoff bracket. Read more about the ramifications of tomorrow’s games here.
You can read the Jaynes article here.