If you are a Trail Blazer fan, it would probably not be the best time to jump off the bandwagon.
Yes, your team is just one loss away from being bounced out of the first round of the playoffs. And yes, that comes after blowing a golden opportunity Tuesday night to take the lead in the best-of-seven series with the Denver Nuggets.
But I shouldn’t need to remind you of what happened a couple of years ago in this same situation.
Nor should I have to tell you that this team is usually at its best when its back is firmly planted against the wall.
And I will add a couple of more things to the conversation:
The Trail Blazers are the better team in this series, what with the Nuggets playing without starting guards Jamal Murray and Will Barton. Now if the Blazers would only respect the Denver backups – Austin Rivers, Facundo Campazzo, Monte Morris and Markus Howard, enough to contest their shots once in a while, this whole thing would get easier.
And at the same time, Jusuf Nurkic is going to figure out by Thursday how to stay out of foul trouble and as soon as that happens, the Portland defense will instantly get better – as it has throughout the series.
And besides, with 10,000 people in Moda Center Thursday night, do you think the Trail Blazers are just going to pack it in?
This has been a very resilient team with Damian Lillard as its heart and soul and there shouldn’t be any change in that regard. Terry Stotts certainly expects a bounce back by his team.
“I would expect it,” he said Wednesday. “And frankly, we need it.
“Obviously, it's one thing to have your backs against the wall at the end of the regular season and you're fighting for playoff position or whatever. But, you know, in a must-win situation in the playoffs, it doesn't get much more backs to the wall than that.
“So, we'll have a great effort. We're going to compete. I feel very good about how we're going to play tomorrow. But, you know, we’ve got to go out and do it.”
There is a very good chance the series will return for a Game 7 in Denver on Saturday.
And then it’s anybody’s game.
And thus, anybody’s series.