What are the odds the Portland Trail Blazers make the postseason?

What are the odds the Portland Trail Blazers make the postseason?

The depleted Portland Trail Blazers have reached the All-Star break and will get some much-needed rest before they make their final playoff push.

Let's see how likely that push is.

All projections are courtesy of FiveThirtyEight who uses prior performance, remaining strength of schedule, quality of roster and other indicators to project the playoff field.

8th seed: Memphis Grizzlies (28-26)

Chances of the playoffs: 12%

Projected Record: 37-45

Games against bubble teams: @ POR (3/12), @SA (3/16), vs NO (3/21), @NO (3/24), @POR (4/5)

The current holder of the final playoff berth in the West has a four-game lead on the ninth-seeded Trail Blazers, but only a 12% chance at holding onto that standing. Memphis defeated the Trail Blazers Wednesday night 111-104 in their first of three games this season.

According to tankathon.com, the Grizzlies have the hardest remaining strength of schedule in the NBA, including two more games against the Trail Blazers in Portland.

9th seed: Portland Trail Blazers (25-31)

Chances of the playoffs: 31%

Projected Record: 40-42

Games against bubble teams: vs NO (2/21), vs MEM (3/12), vs MEM (4/5)

The Trail Blazers have a fighter's chance of stretching their playoff streak to seven seasons, but will need to finish strong. They are four games back of Memphis but have two games remaining against them, both in Rip City where they are 15-11. Both games are must-wins for the Blazers because losing either means they will not have the tie-breaker over Memphis having lost this week in their first meeting of the season.

However, franchise point guard Damian Lillard strained his groin in the last game before the All-Star break. While he'll have the week to recover before they play again, that type of injury can keep players out for much longer. Given Lillard's stellar play was keeping the depleted Blazers in the playoff race, any extended absence could end Portland's season. 

10th seed: San Antonio Spurs (23-31)

Chances of the playoffs: 3%

Projected Record: 35-47

Games against bubble teams: vs MEM (3/16), @NO (3/18), vs NO (4/5), vs NO (4/15)

The Spurs find themselves in serious trouble of missing the postseason for the first time in 22 years which ties an NBA record. They're eight games out of the final playoff spot and have the 20th most difficult remaining strength of schedule.

11th seed: New Orleans Pelicans (23-31)

Chances of the playoffs: 55%

Projected Record: 41-41

Games against bubble teams: @POR (2/21), vs SA (3/18), @MEM (3/21), vs MEM (3/24), @SA (4/5), @SA (4/15)

Surprisingly, the favorite according to the projections to grab the final playoff spot is the New Orleans Pelicans who are eight games out of the final spot heading into the All-Star break? How can this be?

Three reasons: the easiest remaining strength of schedule in the NBA, a talented roster that's finally getting healthy and the emergence of Zion Williamson. The reigning No. 1 overall pick has dominated grown men as a teenager. In just nine games, he's averaging 21 points and 7.7 rebounds per game while shooting 40% from three and 57.9% from the field. His second jump might be the fastest in the league and results in him rebounding the majority of his misses around the rim.

Jusuf Nurkic wonders if NASA could help the NBA resume on Mars

Jusuf Nurkic wonders if NASA could help the NBA resume on Mars

The NBA has been working diligently to come up with various scenarios for a possible return of the 2019-20 season.

It was on Mar. 18 when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver laid out three scenarios in which he believed the NBA could return.

“I’d say I’m looking at three different things here:

One is -- Of course, when can we restart and operate, as we’ve known -- 19,000 fans in buildings, that’s one set of criteria.

Then option two is – Should we consider starting without fans and what would that mean? Because presumably if you had a group of players and staff around them and you could test them and you could follow some protocol, doctors, health officials may say it’s safe to play…

And then, the third option that we are looking at now, and I would say all suggestions are welcome, is that… Are there conditions in which a group of players could compete and maybe it’s for a giant fundraiser or just for the good of the people?” –Silver told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols

Yet, there is one suggestion we are betting the NBA hasn't thought of yet.

Trail Blazers big man Jusuf Nurkic is looking to outer space to solve some problems here on Earth.  

Using the hashtag ‘Ask NASA,’ Nurkic tweeted at NASA looking for some help.

“I just wonder can NASA help us organize to resume NBA somewhere in universe? Mars? Jupiter?”

Three things about this:

1. Nurk REALLY wants the NBA back

2. He is REALLY thinking outside the box

3. This was a REALLY put a smile on our faces

Who else read that tweet and thought -- this could be the ultimate Space Jam movie with the NBA taking on the Monstars!?

This summer, NASA does have two high-profile missions ready to launch: Demo-2 and the Mars 2020 rover Perseverance.

According to Space.com, Demo-2 is a test flight that will send NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to and from the International Space Station. The mission is scheduled to lift off in mid-to late May. Perseverance will launch during a 2.5-week-long window that opens in mid-July. The car-size rover will land inside Mars' Jezero Crater in February 2021.

So, it sounds like NASA might still be pretty busy amid the COVID-19 outbreak, but hey, that doesn’t mean we aren’t eagerly waiting to see their reply to Nurk on Twitter. 

Meyers Leonard gets Sharpie tattoo of Joe Exotic while raising money for charity

Meyers Leonard gets Sharpie tattoo of Joe Exotic while raising money for charity

A lot of crazy things can happen when you are streaming video games for 24 hours straight. 

Ask Meyers Leonard, who woke up this morning with a Sharpie tattoo of Joe Exotic on his right arm. 

The former Trail Blazers big man is coming off 24 hours straight of streaming on ESPN Esports’ Twitch channel to raise money for those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. His goal is to help provide food for $1 million people in the month of April.  

About 9 hours into the “Hammer Classic,” Meyers felt proud of his fundraising efforts and rewarded himself with a Sharpie a tattoo of Tiger King star Joe Exotic. His wife, Elle, is the artist behind the impressive masterpiece. 

I’m not sure what we’re more amazed by: Elle’s crossovers on the court or her baller artwork. Take a look: 

During the live gaming session, Leonard gave away an XBOX One X console, a FaZe jumpsuit and of course a pack of 12 Level Foods bars. Elle and Meyers created the protein bars company, Level Foods, while they were in Portland. 

Leonard will also be donating $25,000 matched by the National Basketball Players Association for the cause.

Leonard is one of many NBA players who have turned to esports to help engage with fans in an authentic way. 

Portland Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside has also been doing his part to provide some "live" basketball content to fans while games remain on hiatus. He was one of 16 participants in the NBA2K20 tournament held last week. 

Social media reacts once again to Damian Lillard's 61-point performance in win over Warriors

USA Today Images

Social media reacts once again to Damian Lillard's 61-point performance in win over Warriors

Portland had nine players available. 

Golden State had eight.

But, with Damian Lillard taking over the Jan. 20, 2020 game it was another instant classic that was fun to re-watch. 

Portland was without CJ McCollum, Rodney Hood, Zach Collins, Skal Labissiere, and Jusuf Nurkic due to injuries, but the Blazers were also missing Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver at this point in the season too. The trade with the Kings had not been made official, thus no Trevor Ariza either.

That didn’t matter for the Blazers.

Portland defeated the Golden State Warriors 129-124 in overtime behind Lillard’s 61 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists on the night.  

Lillard had 42 points at the end of the third quarter. The rest of the Trail Blazers combined had 45 points.

Blazers fans all over Twitter couldn’t help but show their love for Lillard’s 61-point performance.

Also, does this game seem like it was less than three months ago? 


Heading into this one, in two games against Golden State this season, Lillard had averaged 35.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 8.5 assists and 1.0 block.

The 61-point performance from Lillard was smack dab in the middle of a tremendous scoring run for the 29-year-old. During an eight-game span from Jan. 17 to Feb. 2, Lillard averaged 45.1 points, 9.6 assists, and 5.5 rebounds.

We all know Lillard can score in a variety of ways. He has plenty of go-to moves in his arsenal.

It was fun to see what Lillard-moves fans absolutely love or are still stunned that he can do. (Even though really, nothing Lillard does these days should surprise anyone.)  

Next up, re-live Lillard’s 0.9 game-winner over Houston in the 2014 NBA Playoffs Tuesday night at 6:00pm on NBC Sports Northwest. 

Zach Collins shares his 3 Movie Picks for the Week of April 6th

Zach Collins shares his 3 Movie Picks for the Week of April 6th

Now that we are all going on four weeks of no NBA and no sports while self-isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic, Trail Blazers big man Zach Collins is here to help!

For those of you who don’t know, Collins is a bit of a movie buff.

And now he is going to be sharing his movie recommendations with you, Rip City!

For the next few weeks, Collins will be handing out his top three movie picks each week.

Here are Zach’s picks for the week of March 30th:

Pick No. 1: Chef

Independent, feel-good movie. Not too long and easy watch. -- Zach Collins on why he recommends Chef

Who’s in it?

Jon Favreau, Sofía Vergara, and John Leguizamo

Plot: Chef is a 2014 American comedy-drama film where Jon Favreau plays a chef, who after a public altercation with a food critic, he quits his job at a popular LA restaurant and then starts a food truck business with his son.

Rated R for language

Rotten Tomatoes gave it an 87%

Where to stream Chef?

  • Amazon Prime Video
  • iTunes
  • VUDU
  • YouTube

Movie trailer:

Pick No 2: Whiplash

Another independent movie. Really intense, great acting. J.K. Simmons won the supporting actor Oscar. -- Zach Collins on why he likes the movie Whiplash

Who’s in it?

Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, and Melissa Benoist

Plot: A 2014 American drama film written and directed by Damien Chazelle. It outlines the relationship between an ambitious jazz drumming student and his abusive music instructor.

Rated R

Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 93%

Where to stream Whiplash?

  • Amazon Prime Video
  • iTunes
  • VUDU
  • YouTube
  • Google Play

Movie trailer:

Pick No. 3: American Assassin

Critics didn’t love it, audiences thought it was OK. I think it’s a very slept on action movie and that’s a big reason why I love it.  Very gritty. -- Zach Collins on American Assassin

Who’s in it?

Dylan O'Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, Shiva Negar, and Taylor Kitsch

Plot: A 2017 American action thriller film directed by Michael Cuesta. The movie is based on Vince Flynn's 2010 novel of the same name about a young CIA black ops recruit who helps a Cold War veteran try to stop the detonation of a rogue nuclear weapon.

Rated R

Where to stream American Assassin?

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • VUDU
  • YouTube
  • Google Play
  • iTunes

Movie trailer:

Check back next week for more of Zach’s movie recommendations! 

CJ McCollum reaches out to Rip City for dinner ideas

CJ McCollum reaches out to Rip City for dinner ideas

As we all deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, self-isolation has become the new norm. 

No more going out to bars with friends. No movie theaters. No sports. 

It's basically, "what can I do at home?"

One thing many people have been doing is using food delivery services to "eat out."

You can't go to the restaurant, but the restaurant can come to you.

Not only are you getting your food fix, but you're helping local businesses in the process. 

On Sunday, CJ McCollum, looking to get some grub, reached out to Rip City for some help.

McCollum was looking to give back to businesses in Rip City, and Rip City was not hesitant to reach out and help. 

From mac and cheese to hot wings, the foodies around town gave McCollum plenty to chew on. 

If McCollum wasn't hungry before, he sure is now. Good thing he has a few places to pick from, thanks to Rip City. 

Memories from Damian Lillard's career-high vs. Golden State

Memories from Damian Lillard's career-high vs. Golden State

I’m pretty sure a lot of Trail Blazer fans have been waiting for this (Sunday, 6 p.m.) classic game. Not because it was played a long time ago and they haven’t seen it in a while, but because of the spectacular nature of what happened on this January night in Moda Center against the Golden State Warriors.

This was the night Damian Lillard went for 61 points and you have your chance to see every single one of them.

Lillard broke his own franchise record (60) for points in a game, set earlier in the season, while taking just 37 shots from the field. He became the first player in NBA history to score 60-plus points and hit 10-plus three-pointers in a game and he was just the sixth player in league history to have more than one 60-point game.

Portland trailed the outmanned Warriors by a dozen points in the third quarter and needed a Lillard three with 14.9 seconds to go to send it into overtime.

The Trail Blazers then faced a six-point deficit in overtime before rallying for the win.

‘’He’s a great player,‘’ Warriors Coach Steve Kerr said of Lillard. ‘’He’s an All-Star who has had a million big shots in his career, so none of it was surprising. You just take it for granted with him.‘’ 

Lillard made all 16 of his free throws, had 10 rebounds and seven assists.

Hassan Whiteside had a memorable game, too, getting 17 points, 21 rebounds and six blocked shots.

But this game will forever have Lillard’s name stamped all over it. A night when Lillard Time lasted the entire four quarters and an overtime. 

How to Watch: Damian Lillard’s 61-point game vs. Warriors

How to Watch: Damian Lillard’s 61-point game vs. Warriors

Enjoy your Sunday evening with this instant classic and what Damian Lillard calls one of the best performances of his career.

It was less than three months ago when Lillard topped his own franchise scoring high with 61 points along with a career best 11 three-pointers in a home win over the Golden State Warriors.

The short-handed Trail Blazers defeated the Warriors 129-124 in overtime behind Lillard’s 61 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists on the night.  

"It's one of the best of my career," Lillard said postgame. "One of my better performances in a game we needed to win. “I think that's just what it is. We needed a win tonight. A great performance. I'm excited about it. I'm happy about it, but I wish it counted for three wins instead of one."

Lillard’s previous career high was 60 points that he set earlier in the season against Brooklyn, which broke the club record at the time.

With the rare feat, the 5x All-Star became the first player in NBA history with 60-plus points and 10-plus 3-pointers in a game, and just the sixth player with multiple 60-point games.

But, the 61 points almost didn’t happen.

After Hassan Whiteside nailed two clutch foul shots with 8.5 seconds left, Lillard, was tossed two more free throws in the final seconds.

The Trail Blazers point guard admitted after the game that he knew what his point total was when he went to the line.

"Yeah, I knew," he said. "I knew I had 59 after it was eight seconds left so I was like, it's probably going to sit at 59. Then the shot went up, I got the rebound, the guy bumped me and I was like, I'm going to fall down. They’re going to have to blow the whistle and I’m getting those two free throws."

This 61-point game from Lillard was smack dab in the middle of a tremendous scoring run for the 29-year-old. During an eight game span from Jan. 17 to Feb. 2, Lillard averaged 45.1 points, 9.6 assists, and 5.5 rebounds.

Starters for Blazers vs. Warriors Game on Jan. 20, 2020


D’Angelo Russell

Damion Lee

Eric Paschall

Willie Cauley-Stein

Alec Burks


Damian Lillard

Anfernee Simons

Carmelo Anthony

Nassir Little

Hassan Whiteside

HOW TO WATCH: Lillard’s 61-point performance

WHEN: Sunday, April 5 at 6:00pm 

Channel: NBC Sports Northwest, Channel 737 (Portland), 617 (Seattle)


Stream the game here.  

OR stream the game on your phone with the 'MyTeams' App -- available in the App Store for iPhones and on Google play.  

NBC Sports Northwest is airing 12 Trail Blazers Classic Games over the next few weeks.

The full schedule can be found here.

No way NBA is throwing in the towel this soon with so much money at stake

No way NBA is throwing in the towel this soon with so much money at stake

Yesterday I wrote about my doubts about the NBA, and other pro sports, resuming play as quickly as they would like. Soon after that was published, there was this report:

...the NBA is angling to set up a deal that enables them to shut the season down.

That could well be true. But from what I’ve heard from sources within the league, the NBA is also doing its due diligence in regard to multiple scenarios that would allow it to complete the regular season and/or the playoffs.

It’s what you do in this situation -- you still have plenty of options and plenty of time to make a final decision, so why not make plans for all outcomes?

There is no particular reason at this time to give up on playing a season, even if it would be judged the most probable outcome.

Let’s say that a treatment for COVID-19 is developed quicker than anticipated, a league would need to have a plan in place based on whatever date it would get the all-clear to gather for games, either with or without fans.

Those plans could be made and changed based on when a possible return could happen. And the point is, the league must prepare for all eventualities. 

It’s hard to believe but the NBA has been shut down for just a little more than three weeks. It seems like three months. But we're still a few months away from having to make a call on the season.

I’m sure the NBA -- and the other major pro sports leagues -- will do what’s best for the health of their employees and fans. But at the same, keep in mind there are billions of dollars at stake here -- for owners, players, staff and associated businesses.

The league will do anything and everything to make sure it exhausts all avenues for retaining some or all of that money. You can depend on it.

There is no point in cashing in the chips at this point. I think there could be doomsday planning being done, but you can bet that scenarios are also being developed to pick up the pieces of this season whenever possible.

It’s just the smart thing to do.

Miami Heat throws shade at Hassan Whiteside with social media post

Miami Heat throws shade at Hassan Whiteside with social media post

When Hassan Whiteside got traded to the Portland Trail Blazers on the second day of 2019 free agency, he took to his Instagram to announce his pleasure with the move.


Of course, Whiteside was referring to guards Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Rodney Hood, and more which looked much more promising than Whiteside's previous stop, the Miami Heat, which ranked 20th in three-point percentage that prior season. He seemed hyped to have more open space in the paint to operate created by the spacing from playing with one of the league's elite backcourts.

Well, that prior season may have been an anomaly in Miami because in their first season since trading Hassan Whiteside, the Heat are tied for first in the NBA in three-point percentage at 38.3%. (In Whiteside's defense the Blazers are sixth which isn't shabby at all.)

Part of the Heat's newfound success from distance has been the emergence of second-year player Duncan Robinson who's shooting a scorching 44.8% from beyond the arc, good for fourth in the NBA. 

The Miami Heat decided to give a shoutout to their sensational sophomore by comparing him to NBA legend Ray Allen who shot 41.3% from three in 2012-13 for Miami...and also threw some shade towards Whiteside in the process.

"We (always) got shooters" is obviously a reference to Whiteside quote, and while it may just be referring to how over they had elite shooting this season and with Ray Allen. It also can be shading the Portland center by saying the franchise has always had shooting and he shouldn't have acted liked he didn't have any when he got traded.