The Portland Trail Blazers are coming into the NBA playoffs on fire, in NBA Jam terms.
They’ve won nine of their last ten games and currently hold the fifth spot in the West coming into the playoffs. The Blazers have the best offensive rating in the league over the last ten games and are actually guarding people more consistently. Portland also ranks 11th in defensive rating over that span.
This squad has been averaging 125 points a night and has beaten teams like Utah, Brooklyn, and Boston. Damian Lillard has scored over 30 points seven times in these ten games and C.J. McCollum has been getting his buckets, too, averaging 22 points per game during this Blazers come-up.
If the playoffs started today, they would be locked in an exciting first-round matchup with the Nuggets. While Nikola Jokić has been playing at an MVP level all season and Michael Porter Jr. has picked up the slack after injuries to Jamal Murray, the Blazers still have a legitimate chance to knock off the Mile High squad in the first round. And if that happens, I could definitely see them giving Utah a run for their money in the second round.
The addition of Norman Powell at the trade deadline has worked beautifully. Powell is averaging 18.3 points per game in May and has provided an additional veteran scoring presence for the guard-driven team.
The one knock on Portland has always been the team’s inability to guard people consistently, but with their improvements and adjustments of late, they’ll be extremely dangerous in a wide-open Western Conference where really any of the top eight teams seem to have a shot.
Let’s see if Dame Time and the Blazers can turn this hot hand into some playoff magic.