With one game remaining on the Blazers’ schedule, it’s a must-win situation for them on Sunday against Denver.
For things to go more smoothly for Portland, Blazers fans will need to be cheering for the Pacers and Pelicans to defeat the Lakers, and the Raptors and Timberwolves to handle the Mavericks.
Portland won the season series 2-1 against the Lakers and Mavericks, thus holding the power if there’s a tiebreaker with either or both teams.
What favors the Blazers more than anything is both teams ending the season on back-to-backs. The Lakers will be going from Indiana to New Orleans, and the Mavericks will go from Dallas to Minnesota.
The Lakers are 7-5 while Dallas is 8-8 on back-to-backs.
The Lakers will enter their Saturday matinee against the Pacers riding a three-game winning streak with the big questions being on the status of LeBron James (ankle, questionable) and Anthony Davis (groin, probable).
Currently occupying the No. 7 spot, for them to make the postseason with the play-in, they would need to win their remaining games and hope Dallas and Portland lose all of their games left.
As for the Mavericks, they’ll be without J.J. Redick (right heel soreness). Their lottery-bound opponent in the Raptors will be missing most of their starting lineup: Kyle Lowry (rest), Fred VanVleet (hip), Pascal Siakam (shoulder), and OG Anunoby (calf).
The Clippers, a potential playoff matchup for Portland, will finish their season against the Rockets and Thunder, two of the worst teams in the league. Both of their opponents are on a seven-game and eight-game losing streak, respectively.
Before playing the Blazers, the Nuggets will first see Pistons, who took a note from the Raptors and are resting most of their rotation players.
With playoff spots already clinched, it wouldn’t be a shocker if the Clippers and Nuggets rested their core guys in one of the next two games. A decision of such would greatly impact the Blazers, not needing to possibly deal with Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. in their regular-season finale.
Portland will enter their game against the Nuggets with two day’s rest, something they’ll have only done 10 times on the season and are 5-4 in doing so. As for Denver, them playing on one day’s rest is what they live for boasting a 34-14 record.
Many possibilities and odds exist for people to calculate what may happen.
At the end of the day, the games need to be played and for the Blazers, the answer to their worries is three letters: win.