The Portland Trail Blazers did just what they needed to do against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday afternoon: lose. At this, at least, they were overachievers. Portland gave up an NBA-record 55 points in the first quarter alone on their way to a 157-101 loss. It gave them the best odds they could have hoped for in next month’s NBA lottery drawing. That, after all, was the point of the last three weeks of the season. So...well done?
If you missed the action in this record-breaking blowout, good for you! But if you’re an inveterate masochist and/or enjoy using advanced math to calculate scoring margins, you can find our quarter-by-quarter recap here. After that, here are your official lottery odds and a bit of light analysis explaining how the Blazers bowed out of the season in oh-so-spectacular fashion.
Finishing the season with a 33-49 mark gives the Blazers the 5th-worst record in the league. Here are the lottery odds associated with that position.
10.5% chance each for picks 1-4. (42% total chance of getting a Top-4 pick.)
2.2% chance of getting the 5th pick*.
19.6% chance of getting the 6th pick.
26.7% chance of getting the 7th pick.
8.7% chance of getting the 8th pick.
0.6% chance of getting the 9th pick.
*The chances of getting the 5th pick are small because in order to receive it:
- The Blazers could not be promoted to one of the top four slots (duh), and...
- Nobody else behind Portland could either.
If a team behind Portland gets lucky and moves ahead of them, the Blazers will be bumped down to the 6th pick or lower, depending on how many teams leapfrogged them.
There’s only a 2.2% overall chance for the teams already in the Top 4 to remain there. There’s a much higher chance that somebody, including Portland, will move up to the highest foursome, booting everybody else down.
If we had to narrow down this game to a single factor, it’d be three-pointers. Golden State hit 27 of them, just 2 short of the NBA record. The Blazers made 9. The Warriors drubbed the Blazers for 55 points in the first quarter alone by hitting 12-18 from distance. They finished the game shooting 55.1% from distance.
The Warriors were wide open, in part, because Portland had to send 2-3 men into the lane to intercept penetration and have any chance at all at rebounds. The scheme only sort of worked. The Warriors ended up with 9 offensive boards, but they also scored 60 points in the paint. And dear readers, they were not posting up.
But more to the point, this is one of the worst lineups in the league to collapse against. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson hit triples with defenders draped all over them. Wide open, those threes were like half-priced Peeps on Easter Monday. Collect all you want.
Screen Switches Don’t Work
Continuing the domino-like theme, the Blazers were forced to collapse into the lane against penetration because they were utterly unable to keep up on Golden State screens, and the Warriors threw a LOT of them. Portland tried to switch, but they weren’t coordinated or experienced enough to make it work. That left the defense a hollow chocolate Easter bunny. One crack and the whole thing fell apart. When the Warriors weren’t splashing threes, they were converting layups and dunks. Yes, in the halfcourt.
As if all that wasn’t enough, Golden State kept up the attack pretty much 24/7. They outscored the Blazers 88-21 off the bench. Ouch.
Thank you to our entire team of game previewers, recappers, and analysts who brought you coverage of the season from the first game to the last. Tenured readers will know that when the season winds down, Blazer’s Edge amps up. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for player reviews, critical questions heading into the summer, and more information about the salary cap, draft, and trade possibilities than you can shake a stick at.
The analysis will start with an important, season-wrapping podcast dropping tomorrow. Make sure you tune in!