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Portland Prediction: Blazers Set to Miss Playoffs?

The Portland Trail Blazers are on the outside looking in for the playoffs, but will that change by season’s end?

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Orlando Magic Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers are sitting just 0.5-game outside the Western Conference playoff picture with a little more than a month left in the season.

The Blazers have 18 games to go and the race is tighter than ever in a fight towards the Play-In Tournament. The last four contests in the team’s six-game road trip will play a large role in the Blazers’ fate at the end of the season. Just one bad week could cost any team, including the Blazers, a chance at the postseason.

Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz came out with his playoff predictions and had Portland on the outside looking in.

Shockingly, trading a veteran in Josh Hart for some young wings in Cam Reddish and Matisse Thybulle at the deadline hasn’t helped the Blazers win ball games.

Portland is just 3-6 overall since Feb. 9 with a defense that ranks dead last in the NBA (124.6 rating).

Changes better be coming this offseason, as last year’s reset clearly wasn’t enough.

Swartz predicts that the Blazers will be joined by the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder in the lottery, while the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Pelicans will take part in this year’s Play-In Tournament.

Portland plays just two of its final 18 games this season against teams that have no attachment to the playoffs, and one of those games comes tonight against the Detroit Pistons. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. PT.