The Race For 8th
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  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 02/01/2011 10:03 AM

    Which team is the biggest threat to Portland?
    Memphis Grizzlies (32)
    Phoenix Suns (15)
    Houston Rockets (4)
    Golden State Warriors (1)
    Los Angeles Clippers (5)

    I blogged about the 8th and final playoff position out West, who is and who isn't a threat to challenge the Blazers, and who's schedule sets up nicely for a run up until the All-Star Break.
    Here is a snippet-
    As of February 1st, the Trail Blazers find themselves at 25-22 and still 1 game ahead for the 8th and final playoff spot out West. Although it's somewhat of a miracle to be talking playoffs, especially in the Western Conference, with all of the losses to nearly everyone on the roster, the playoffs are not a lock by any means. The squad took advantage of a soft January schedule. How soft? Of the 7 games played between the 14th through the 24th, none of the opponents held a winning record and only two were away from the friendly confines of the Rose Garden. Portland went 5-2 over that span, playing the last four without the services of Marcus Camby.
     While Portland has the 8th spot in their grasps now, five teams are charging hard in hopes of taking it away. The closest challenger is the surprising Grizzlies, who despite the loss of O.J. Mayo for 10 games due to testing positive for a banned substance (DHEA), are still 7-3 in their last 10. Memphis possesses something of a lost art in the NBA; size. Marc Gasol (7-1, 265) and Zach Randolph (6-9-260) form one of the NBA's most underestimated frontcourts, combining to average 32 points and 20 rebounds a night. And then there's Rudy Gay,  who you can count on to drop 20 points every night. Not only does Memphis have the talent to make a run, but the schedule leading up to the All-Star break is setting up nicely, as five of the eight are at home where the Grizz are 7-1 in their last eight, and five are against teams under .500.

    In my opinion, there are 5 teams who are within striking distance of Portland for the last spot out West: Memphis, Phoenix, Houston, Golden State, Los Angeles. Memphis and Phoenix seem to be the biggest threats but if we can get Marcus Camby back after the All-Star break, I like us to be apart of postseason play for the third consecutive year because we've been there before, we have the vet leadership, and we have LaMarcus Aldridge and they don't. 

    Who do you guys think is the biggest threat to Portland for the 8th seed?
    I am a fan of
  1. RedRudy5
    Posts: 135

    Posted 02/01/2011 11:44 AM

    Biggest thing is we need to win some of these tough games coming up 
    I am a fan of Turning this season around! Time to show some pride!!
  1. ClydeFrog
    Posts: 975

    Posted 02/01/2011 2:23 PM

    It's gotta be the Grizz. They are the most talented out of the bunch. They are the closet to us right now. And haven't (yet) lost the tie-breaker to us. I believe the Daily Dime said Conley had his first ever 20 pt 10 asst game last night in defeat of the Magic. If they can get him going along with Gay, Gasol & Z-Bo, they will be tough to fend off.

    Honestly, I think they will catch us and our only hope of making the playoffs is if the Nuggs trade away Melo.
    I am a fan of Watching Elliot Williams Take Flight!
  1. Posted 02/01/2011 3:52 PM

    I'm so sick of people throwing the Clippers in with the playoff race! they need to pass like 5 teams. Portland or Memphis (Hoping its Portland!) will make the playoffs. Blake Griffin is an amazing player but not good enough to take a horrible team the the playoffs IN THE WEST! Maybe the east but the west is too stacked. 
    I am a fan of the Portland Trailblazers
  1. Ttrain36
    Posts: 15

    Posted 02/01/2011 4:46 PM

    It's close between Memphis and Suns for me, I agree that Memphis has a lot of talent, and I'm surprised they haven't made it in earlier years. But I think the Suns could give us a run as well. Nash tore us up last year in the playoffs with a little help from Amare of course. But they still have a solid team with Nash as the captain. 

    I have high hopes we will get that 8th spot! And that Roy comes back good as new and ready to dominate.

    I am a fan of "work hard, get results."
  1. blazerdarren77
    Posts: 216

    Posted 02/01/2011 5:28 PM

    anytime Nash is involved, i'm worried
    I am a fan of THE ROSE GARDEN FOREVER!!!
  1. TayC
    Posts: 1804

    Posted 02/01/2011 5:48 PM

    i just think that its way to early to be talking about the 8th spot, let alone the playoffs.
    This team has been playing very hard lately, but guys are still going down, healthy players are still and issue, and have been all year.
    Now you have the workhorse of the season, Aldridge who potentially may make the all star game, and with this franchises luck, he may get injured, you know? He may not...... But if he does play, thats just more unnecessary minutes.
    Then potentially the next biggest contributer, Matthews, who is going to the sophomore game, and the same goes for him.
    So with all this going on you guys want to talk about the playoffs, the 8th spot?
    What is going on? i mean its never enough.....
    I hope, for the rest of the seasons sake, that Aldridge DOES NOT MAKE THE ASG.
    There is a good chance we could go for it, if camby comes back, who knows a trade to NJ, continuous could happen.
    but im not going with the Rose Garden Crowd on this one, not drawing conclusions, im satisfied right now. 
    I am a fan of The Blazers ♂, the £-Train, and of course, The ¤ King. ™
  1. Napoleon7
    Posts: 118

    Posted 02/02/2011 12:23 AM

    Grizzlies are playing the best right now of ALL the teams in the hunt for 8.
    I believe the Blazers wll be there when it is all said and done, but not without help in the middle.
    Camby hurry up and get back!
    I am a fan of
  1. kenny c.
    kenny c.
    Posts: 418

    Posted 02/02/2011 1:38 AM

    The only team that matters is us. Memphis doesn't control our future - we do! The suns don't control the 8th spot we do and we can keep it that way by going full bore and not looking behind at who wants to take whats ours. That said I'm worried about Memphis and the Suns. I think the suns will start to click after the Allstar break when their new players figure out what they can do as a team.
    I am a fan of Winning
  1. Tobyus Sanchezo
    Tobyus Sanchezo
    Posts: 1669

    Posted 02/02/2011 2:03 AM

    Channing Frye's team wants to catch us, they just gotta kick Lopez out da middle and put Warrick back in there.
    I am a fan of multiple All-Stars on the Blazers roster this season!
  1. TayC
    Posts: 1804

    Posted 02/02/2011 5:03 PM

    Ey Warrick is a monster.....
    I am a fan of The Blazers ♂, the £-Train, and of course, The ¤ King. ™
  1. barnettfan
    Posts: 392

    Posted 02/03/2011 3:20 PM

    Posted By TayC on 02/01/2011 5:48 PM
    i just think that its way to early to be talking about the 8th spot, let alone the playoffs.
    This team has been playing very hard lately, but guys are still going down, healthy players are still and issue, and have been all year.

    I agree with this right here. It is amazing we are at where we are. Memphis seems to have the easier schedule but dont put it past Rick Adelman to pull something out of his third point of contact and come from behind.
    Ask this question in a month and lets see where we are at than.
    I am a fan of
  1. BDawg
    Posts: 1593

    Posted 02/04/2011 5:49 AM

    Agree with kenny c.  Without knowing what direction Rich Cho and owner Paul Allen are about to take this franchise in, difficult to say.  If the rebuilding is to start before the end of the month, playoffs may not be a priority this season.  Memphis poses the only real threat otherwise.  At the time of this post, they are but a half game behind Portland with the Blazers in Indiana tonight, while Memphis essentially has the night off with a home game against the Cavs.  Getting interesting.
    I am a fan of players that play with PASSION and PRIDE
  1. freddead
    Posts: 321

    Posted 02/05/2011 2:12 AM

    after are team in the ranking its rather weak
    I am a fan of
  1. Tobyus Sanchezo
    Tobyus Sanchezo
    Posts: 1669

    Posted 02/05/2011 4:33 AM

    Memphis just pulled ahead of us for the 8th spot.
    C'mon man, it ain't right.....there's no Grizzly bears in Tennessee!
    I am a fan of multiple All-Stars on the Blazers roster this season!
  1. Dylan Horttor
    Dylan Horttor
    Posts: 2

    Posted 02/05/2011 7:54 AM

    Memphis just took the 8th seed. Not good.
  1. McLegend
    Posts: 89

    Posted 02/06/2011 12:44 PM

    We're back in the eighth seed, but only because we have one less loss than Memphis.
    I am a fan of making Kobe cry in the Western Conference Finals.
  1. shynz0r
    Posts: 101

    Posted 02/06/2011 1:42 PM

    Obviously Grizzlies are the immediate threat but who knows twenty games from now.

    I mentioned it in another post but the short term is big for Portland to get a foothold on 8 over Memphis.  Three of Portland's next four games are against teams under .400 with the fourth being the Bulls on Monday.  Blazers are a much better home team than the Bulls are a road team.

    Memphis plays three of it's next four against teams with better records and as much as they've been on a tear lately they just had their win streak snapped in a crushing one point loss to Houston.

    If Portland stays steady and wins the games they should over the next couple weeks that 8th position will look a little stronger than it does now.  It's like the three teams below us rotate every two weeks.  I'm hoping that trend continues lol. 
    I am a fan of Rudy and Patty's off-court bromance.
  1. TayC
    Posts: 1804

    Posted 02/06/2011 8:19 PM

      but who knows twenty games from now
    Ah! A human!
    Lets keep it real guys, the playoffs are a long way away, this has been one of the worst health issue years, our entire offense is on the shoulders of one player.
    Our 3pt shooting is far from solid.
    Like you do realize should someone stop aldridge, its a whole new game?
    WM showed a 30pt game the other day, that was what off of 44 min? how many times can he do that?
    How many times do you really want him to do that?
    WE dont have ANY offensive support coming from Pryz and Cunningham, and Joel needs to get more boards if he's just finna stand there.

    Batum, like i mentioned WAYYYYY earlier in the season, has been a crucial factor, he has had some decent points over the past few games, good numbers, need more rebounds though.
    Without Camby in there these other guys need to pick that up, someone needs to step up
    I am a fan of The Blazers ♂, the £-Train, and of course, The ¤ King. ™
  1. Herr
    Posts: 643

    Posted 02/06/2011 10:57 PM

    I am 100% confident the Blazers will make the playoffs.

    Race for 8th?  Do we really want the Spurs?  I'd rather take Dallas or OKC than the Spurs or Lakers.   The fact of the matter is Portland is getting reinforcements, while Memphis is still struggling.  Meanwhile, Utah and Denver are playing horrible as of late.  As close as Memphis is,  we're both (Memphis and Portland) really close to Utah and Denver.  All it takes is a slip of 2-3 games and those teams will find themselves fighting for the 8th seed while Memphis moves up.

    EowynAmarie had a great response to Mike Barrett's blog about the upcoming schedules.  Memphis has the easiest, Portland the 2nd easiest, Phoenix, then Denver, then Utah.  Utah has been struggling with a favorable schedule, while Portland is still in the race with a deadly schedule + injury.  If Melo leaves Denver, the Nuggets got nobody to keep them in the tight West, especially with Nene wanting to leave as well.

    I'm not worried about 8th,  I'd much rather get 5th,6th,or 7th.  Depends on if Dallas/OKC stay where they are, I'd want 7th or 5th seed.  Perferably 5th seed.  Wouldn't be a fair fight, since OKC already gets ref help in the regular season, but it's a team we have beaten and can beat.
    I am a fan of
  1. TayC
    Posts: 1804

    Posted 02/09/2011 6:04 PM

    dude what is your deal? 
    This team is in NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM able to decide what position they want in the playoff picture.....

    And Second. The Thunder Beat the Blazer because they are a better team.....
    So i believe you are......w...wr...wrong?
    I am a fan of The Blazers ♂, the £-Train, and of course, The ¤ King. ™
  1. shynz0r
    Posts: 101

    Posted 02/10/2011 12:51 PM

    Jerry Sloan stepping down as the Jazz fall apart.  Denver on a mini slide while having to host Dallas tonight.

    These next few games are Portland's first really big opportunity to make some headway in the standings.  Up until now the focus has been to maintain eighth.  I think nows a good time to start eyeballing sixth and seventh and make a push.  Not that they don't go out every night and play for wins but if you're going to kick it into high gear now is about as good a moment as any.

    I'd love to see Portland sitting in seventh before all star weekend.  Get a bit of a mental rest to go along with that physical rest.
    I am a fan of Rudy and Patty's off-court bromance.
  1. TayC
    Posts: 1804

    Posted 02/10/2011 4:32 PM

    I still disagree.
    Setting high hopes and trying to get to sixth has the intention to fail

    Play one game at a time, and win one game at a time.
    One at a TIME!!!
    I am a fan of The Blazers ♂, the £-Train, and of course, The ¤ King. ™
  1. shynz0r
    Posts: 101

    Posted 02/10/2011 9:36 PM

    Not really setting high hopes.  I'm just talking about Portland buckling down and beating teams they should.  A big part of the equation is Utah and Denver continuing to falter.  I probably shouldn't have used a word as pro-active as "push" but if Portland wins when they should and the couple teams above keep flailing then Portland will start climbing the ranks as a result.

    Also winning two games at a time is way more effective than winning one at a time.  Somebody didn't take Winnenomics 101!!!
    I am a fan of Rudy and Patty's off-court bromance.
  1. Herr
    Posts: 643

    Posted 02/15/2011 4:26 AM

    Appears that the Nuggets are in the lead for the 8th spot.
    I am a fan of
  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 02/16/2011 10:02 AM

    The good news: Portland is tied for 5th in the loss column
    The bad news: Memphis and Phoenix have continued to improve as well and are still hot on our heels.

    We need to make sure we don't have a rough patch, because just like in years past, a 3-4 game losing streak can take you from 5th to Lottery in a heartbeat. And to make matters worse, OJ Mayo just returned to the Grizzlies last night and we only get them one time at home this year (Fan Night)
    I am a fan of
  1. Posted 02/16/2011 10:41 AM

    We have a huge reason to have confidence though, and that is that no matter what, teams with legitamate All-Stars who are clear leaders have less of an issue faltering down the stretch. LMA is playing out of his mind, and I think thats going to continue for the rest of the season. And while Nash is a legitimate leader, his supporting cast is average, while Rudy Gay hasn't exactly took charge of his team, know what I mean? As long as we have LMA to lead us to victory, I think we have the upper hand in the race.
    I am a fan of a young core of players playing like battle-tested veterans
  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 02/17/2011 10:01 AM

    And the Grizz just took a big hit-
    Rudy Gay Out At Least 4 Weeks (Via ESPN)
    MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay will miss at least four weeks with a left shoulder injury, a potentially serious blow to Memphis' playoff chances.

    Gay suffered the injury in the second quarter of Tuesday night's 102-91 win against the Philadelphia 76ers.

    An MRI Wednesday showed a partial dislocation of the shoulder.

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