There's a ton on the line in the NBA on Wednesday night, but one team isn't interested in improving their playoff positioning.
The Portland Trail Blazers, who could secure the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference with a win over the Kings and a Denver Nuggets win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, have elected to rest star point guard Damian Lillard and shooting guard C.J. McCollum for their season finale against the Kings due to "load management."
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are both OUT due to "load management" for tonight's regular season finale vs. Kings.— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) April 10, 2019
Should the Blazers lose to the Kings on Wednesday night, they will be locked into the No. 4 seed and will face the Utah Jazz in the first round of the playoffs.
Portland's decision to accept the No. 4 seed could reverberate across the Western Conference.
Had the Blazers elected to play Lillard and McCollum, beat the Kings, and secured the No. 3 seed, that would have locked the Houston Rockets into the fourth seed and a potential date with the Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals.
While the Dubs should be confident they can beat any team, facing the Rockets -- who pushed them to the brink of elimination a season ago -- in the second round is not ideal.
Of course, the shorthanded Blazers could always beat the Kings, secure the No. 3 seed and force the Warriors to "lock in" a round earlier than they would have liked.