The sixth seed in the Western Conference belongs to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Now, I know what you’re thinking because I’m thinking it too. Heck, Nate McMillan’s thinking it, Terry Porter’s thinking it and even Blaze is thinking it. The million-dollar question: who do we play in the first round?
The answer is still up in the air and won't be decided until tomorrow night. But we’re down to four possible scenarios:
The Mavs end in third place if:
- L.A. beats Sacramento tomorrow AND Dallas beats New Orleans
- Oklahoma City loses to Milwaukee
The Lakers end in third place if:
- L.A. loses to Sacramento AND Dallas beats New Orleans
The Thunder end in third place if:
- Dallas loses to New Orleans AND Oklahoma City beast Milwaukee
Clear as mud? Thought so.
Another question floating around out there is who do we WANT to play? The blogs and message boards are overflowing with the opinions and dreams of the Rip City faithful. I’ve got my opinion and you’ve got yours. Our reasons vary, but we share a common goal. We want the Trial Blazers to succeed.
Throughout the season I’ve learned there are some questions that players and coaches just won’t answer. Most of the time when I ask one of those questions they’ll smile at me (because they know exactly what I’m looking for,) then dance around the question with grace. Other times the eyebrows go up with the “did you really just ask me that” look and I know I’m about to get ribbed and joked on. (All in good fun of course, it’s never malicious.)
For some reason or another ( and I honestly haven’t figured out why,) “Who do you want to face in the first round?” is one of those questions.
Normally I shy away from these highly uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous (ha! just kidding) inquiries, but tonight I put on a brave face and asked the tough question just for you.
Here is what our team had to say:
LaMarcus Aldridge on his preference of first-round opponent:
“That’s not a issue for us. We’re not worried about that. We’re just doing our job and whoever we get we’ll just play 'em.”
Marcus Camby on opponents and the first round in general:
“All the talk I’ve been hearing is that we’re trying to avoid the Lakers, but my take on that is in order for us to be where we want to be at the end of the year, which is win a championship, we eventually gonna have to play that team.”
“We’re not ducking anybody. It’d be great to have home court advantage, but we don’t so we just have to take what we have.”
“The way we’ve been playing and the depth that we have and the acquisition of Gerald Wallace gives us more balance out there as a team.”
Nicolas Batum on possible first round opponents:
“We don’t know yet, OKC, the Mavs, all those teams are different, we got success, we got lose, we got win all those teams.”
“The Mavs cause we tied the series against them.”
“Thunders can be a good matchup for us also and the good thing with the Lakers is not too far. It’s just a one hour flight, one two hour flight.”
“We don’t know. These team are different. OKC got Westbrook and Durant now Ibaka and Perkins inside. They pretty good team. And the Lakers are the two-time NBA Champions.”
“I can’t choose, I really can’t.”
After more prodding and banter I finally cracked him!
“I want to play the Spurs cause I score on Tony so much. I like to score on him.”
Haha, very funny Nico.
Patty Mills didn’t take any convincing.
While I spoke with Nicolas, Patty made his first-round opponent preferences very clear.
“The Lakers. I’m serious, Sarah. Lakers. They matchup well with us. Lakers.”
Some of the answers were what I expected, but by some I was pleasantly surprised. So, if you’re reading this Nicolas and Patty, thank you. These are the kind of straight-forward (mostly) answers we Blazermaniacs live for.