Bryant Knox previews the Portland Trail Blazers March 22 matchup against the Atlanta Hawks. Like the Blazers, the Atlanta Hawks are in a bit of a rebuilding mode right now, but the Hawks are the ones who have locked up a playoff spot. Which team has the brighter future is still in question, as Josh Smith’s future is up in the air; but both teams have something to look forward to, and the matchup between Smith and LaMarcus Aldridge will be something to watch for.
Jason Hartzog previews the Portland Trail Blazers’ March 21 matchup against the Chicago Bulls. Portland is coming off another tough loss the other night to the Bucks. Jason says for Portland to truly wish to compete for this playoff spot, they must win on the road. Of the 15 remaining games on their schedule, 7 of them are on the road. Chicago has struggled to score this season with the absence of Derrick Rose. For this game, Jason will be watching Nicolas Batum versus Luol Deng.
Jason Hartzog previews the Portland Trail Blazers’ March 18 matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks. Portland is coming off a 101-100 loss to the 76ers on Monday night. Jason says for Portland, they have to keep up this fire and intensity. Losing these close games is rough, but you have to keep fighting. This will be a hard fought game. Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum will have their work cut out for them guarding J.J. Redick and co.
Bryant Knox previews the Portland Trail Blazers’ March 17 matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers. Portland is coming off a 112-101 victory over the Detroit Pistons. Philadelphia is eight games behind the eighth seed out East, but they’re the ninth-best team in the league when it comes to points allowed. The key matchup in this one will be at the point guard position. Damian Lillard and Jrue Holiday will face off for the second time.
Bryant Knox previews the Portland Trail Blazers March 16 matchup against the Detroit Pistons. Portland has played both up and down to its competition this season. Detroit enters the Rose Garden as the coldest team in the league, which means the Blazers need to assert themselves as the alpha dogs early in the contest. The key matchup falls at the point guard position where Damian Lillard will take on either Brandon Knight or Jose Calderon. Lillard was outplayed by Knight last time around, but the Pistons’ floor general is doubtful with an ankle injury.
Bryant Knox previews the Portland Trail Blazers’ March 14 matchup against the New York Knicks. The last time these two met, the Blazers shocked the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. PDX won 105-100, and it spoiled the return of Amare’ Stoudemire. Stoudemire will be out for this one, and Carmelo Anthony is less than 100 percent. The key matchup is going to be at the point guard position. Although Nicolas Batum matching up against Anthony may have a bigger impact, Portland fans need to see Damian Lillard have a great game against Raymond Felton.
NWSB Editor and Insider Chris Anderson talks about the current state of the Blazers and where they stand in relation to the NBA Playoffs. Now they are five games under .500 (29-34), third in the Northwest, and four games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the No. 8 and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 19 games to go. And while Portland could regroup and make a run for the playoffs, the recent play of the Lakers Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash is going to make it tough.
Bryant Knox previews the Portland Trail Blazers’ March 12 matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies. Portland has become one of the toughest teams in the NBA to predict. Big wins and bigger losses have scattered its schedule all year, but that kind of inconsistency makes them dangerous at home. The key matchup will be between LaMarcus Aldridge and Zach Randolph, assuming Randolph is healthy. If Randolph is out, J.J. Hickson and Marc Gasol will garner more attention.
Bryant Knox previews the Portland Trail Blazers March 10 matchup against the New Orleans Hornets. Portland is coming off a dominant performance against the San Antonio Spurs. If there is a defining moment in this season, that game could be it, and it could be the one that sparks a push toward the postseason. The key matchup is going to be between Wesley Matthews and Eric Gordon T the 2-guard position.
Bryant Knox previews the Portland Trail Blazers March 7 matchup against the San Antonio Spurs. Portland is coming off of a close loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, while the San Antonio Spurs most recently blew out the Chicago Bulls. The Blazers know what needs to happen in San Antonio, but getting it done is a whole different concept. The key matchup is going to be between LaMarcus Aldridge and Tim Duncan.
Bryant Knox previews the Portland Trail Blazers’ Jan. 4 matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies. Portland is coming off a disasterous performance against the Toronto Raptors, and things aren’t getting any easier with a visit to a surging Memphis team. The key matchup in this one is between LaMarcus Aldridge and Zach Randolph. Meyers Leonard is out with a sprained ankle.
NWSB Insider and Portland Trail Blazers writer Rick Stella gives us his weekly Rick’s Picks, naming the All-Star performances showcased in Rip City. Damian Lillard, JJ Hickson, and Eric Maynor all put on the show in Minnesota, ultimately leading to all three of them receiving a selection to this week’s picks.