Friday night, desolation reigned in Rip City. Portland lost a brutal game against the Nuggets, while the other relevant seeds of the Western playoffs celebrated victories. Worse still, Portland faced the same Denver team two days later. But when the Nuggets decided to rest their stars, on Sunday offered a small window for the Blazers, and jumped, followed by a little help from an old rival.
The results of Sunday
Rocket 149Soles 113
Blazers 115, Nuggets 108
Jazz 109, Lakers 113
Thanks to Denver's loss to Portland, the 2-4 seeds are pretty close. But the Blazers do not own the tiebreaker with the Nuggets, so they can not get to the second seed.
2. Nuggets: 53-27
3. Rockets: 53-28 (0.5 games ago)
4. Blazers: 51-29 (2 games ago)
5. Jazz: 49-31 (4 games ago)
The great news: Thanks to the annoyance of the Lakers on Sunday night at the Jazz, Portland has almost closed the advantage of playing at home in round 1. They only need a victory or a defeat of the Jazz.
Questions to tie-off? Eric Griffith has you covered. And here are the complete positions.
All teams are inactive for the NCAA Men's Championship game.
Nuggets in Jazz | 6:00 pm PDT
Rocket in OKC | 6:30 pm PDT | TNT
Blazers in Lakers | 7:30 pm PDT
What will happen on Tuesday
A crazy 3-4 hours, then probably a lot of clarity. If Houston wins, they will banish the Blazers and the Jazz to fight for the 4th and 5th seeds. If Portland wins and / or Utah loses, the Blazers will officially be the 4th seed and will face the 5th seed in the first round.
If Houston loses, Portland will still have a chance in the third seed. More on that later.
in jazz (April 9)
Timberwolves against (April 10, B2B)
Portland Trail Blazers:
in Lakers (April 9)
Reyes (April 10, B2B)
in thunder (April 9)
vs. Nuggets (April 9)
in Clippers (April 10, B2B)
Who is the first-round opponent of the Blazers?
Until Denver chose to rest its players, it seemed that the Blazers were preparing for a date with the Jazz. While Utah remains the most likely opponent, it is not written in stone.
As noted above, everything revolves around the Rockets game against OKC. If Houston loses, and if Denver wins at least one more game, Portland can win the third seed with victories on Tuesday and Wednesday. But that can also lead to a first date with OKC, who had the Portland number throughout the season. With that risk comes a possible great reward: being in the middle of the West playoffs without Houston or Golden State. The four teams in that group would believe they have a chance in the Western Conference Finals.