It’s not too often the last week of an NBA regular-season is on the verge of concluding with so much uncertainty.
Thank you, play-in game.
In the latest episode of the “Pull Up with CJ McCollum” podcast, the Blazers guard gave his thoughts on the play-in scenarios, as Portland currently occupies the No. 5 seed, with a chance of still slipping into play-in territory.
The Lakers currently occupy the No. 7 seed, the Warriors No. 8, the Grizzlies No. 9 and the Spurs No. 10.
“If the season were to end today, it would give the NBA exactly what it wants," McCollum said. "This is exactly what they envisioned. Teams playing down the stretch of a regular-season game and actually having to compete."
Over the past few years, people have tried to minimize the importance of the regular-season and labeled it boring. Leaving the onus on the league to find a formula to garner interest.
Come next week, a high level of interest could be reached with the possibility of Lakers vs. Warriors matchup for the No. 7 seed.
“A play-in game between the Lakers and Warriors-- a TV gold mine,” McCollum said. "I'd certainly tune into that with some popcorn and probably a glass of wine."
One game to clinch a playoff spot between two of the league’s most popular stars in LeBron James and Stephen Curry is something that seemed unlikely at the start of the season, but more realistic as the Lakers’ injuries piled up.
So, who captures the No. 7 seed if the Blazers and Mavs are able to take hold of the fifth and sixth seed?
"The Lakers feel like if they're healthy, it probably doesn't matter what seed they get," McCollum said. "They feel like they can beat anybody."
McCollum added he doesn't believe the Warriors will defeat the Lakers if they played each other for the 7-seed, but could get in as an 8-seed.
"I think they're a better team than the Memphis Grizzlies and the San Antonio Spurs," McCollum said.
Certainly, McCollum and the Trail Blazers need to take care of their own business to avoid the play-in tournament. That quest begins Wednesday night against the Utah Jazz, who will be without Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell. That game will tip-off at 6:30pm on NBCSNW, the official TV network of the Portland Trail Blazers.