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As of now, the Portland Trail Blazers have 28 games left to play in the 2022-23 NBA season. They are the No. 11 seed in the Western Conference with a 26-28 record. In a tight race to the finish, the Blazers continue to keep their nose above water as only 2.5 games separate them from the No. 5 seeded Dallas Mavericks. So, will Portland win more than they lose to close out the season?
Fortune favors the brave. It also favors NBA teams that play at home. The Blazers will play 15 of their remaining 28 games at the Moda Center. However, the road to the playoffs will be a tough one.
Out of those 28 games, 20 will be against teams in both conferences that hold playoff seeds. They will see the sweltering Sacramento Kings three times, as well as the defending champion Golden State Warriors and the deadly-when-healthy New Orleans Pelicans.
Their last seven games will likely tell all. Six of those seven are against the creme of the crop in the West. Four of their last five games will be played consecutively on the road, before closing out the season against the Warriors at home.
Portland is 14-12 at home, and 12-16 on the road. They have a positive 18-15 record against Western Conference opponents — a good sign considering only eight of their remaining 28 games will be played against teams in the Eastern Conference.
In the last 30 days, Damian Lillard has had seven games with 40 or more points scored. His team is 4-3 in those games. Not to poo-poo Dame’s stellar play, but there isn’t a glaring correlation between 40-plus point games and a drastic uptick in wins. His level of scoring can only hold up for so long. The Blazers will need more all-around heroics and less individual gallantry from the seven-time NBA All-Star in order to close out the season strong.
And, all of this does not take into account the roster’s current configuration with only two days before the NBA trade deadline. Let us know your optimism or lack thereof for the rest of Rip City’s season.