Back on Track?
In Week 22, Rip City went 3-2 in matchups against the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls and Memphis Grizzlies. More importantly, the team saw LaMarcus Aldridge return, and the team closed out the week with three straight wins for the first time since March 1.
Portland has looked like a team that doesn’t want to make the postseason as of late, but with L.A. making his return, the squad has begun to turn things around. Portland is a long shot for home-court advantage in Round 1, but there’s little reason to believe the team will fall out of the playoffs altogether.
March 24 @ Miami
It was a long week for the Trail Blazers, but if you can remember all the way back to March 24, the team played its first contest of two in the state of Florida.
Portland took on the Miami Heat for the first time back in December. Chris Bosh nailed a last-second three-pointer to solidify the win, and while the Heat earned another victory this time around, the Blazers played up to their competition, coming away with a 93-91 loss.
March 25 @ Orlando
The Trail Blazers couldn’t possibly struggle with the Orlando Magic the same way they struggled with the Miami Heat, could they?
Unfortunately, it was even worse.
Despite being one of the worst teams in the NBA, Orlando took down Portland by double digits. The final score was 95-85, and needless to say, the Blazers missed Aldridge and would need him back in the next game against Atlanta.
March 27 @ Atlanta
Portland needed Aldridge back, and it got its wish against the Atlanta Hawks.
Portland bounced back from three straight losses and took down the Hawks 105-85. Aldridge scored a game-high 25 points to go along with his game-high 16 rebounds, and Damian Lillard was next in line with 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting.
March 28 @ Chicago
The Chicago Bulls have been fantastic as of late. Their league-worst defense might lead you to believe otherwise, but the defense led by Joakim Noah and Tom Thibodeau has more than made up for deficiencies on the other end of the floor.
The Blazers outscored the Bulls 91-74 by the time the clock struck zero, and the team would desperately need that momentum in the next one against a Memphis group who has had their number all year long.
March 30 vs. Memphis
The Memphis Grizzlies have annihilated the Blazers all season long. Memphis’ defensive-oriented unit had shut down Portland’s offense twice before this meeting, and needless to say, the Grizzlies were desperate with the playoffs on the line.
As it turned out, Portland was the one showing desperation, as it took down the Grizzlies 105-98.
With seven games to go, the Blazers needed a shift in momentum. Three wins in a row is feeble compared to the biggest winning streaks leaguewide, but any winning streak is a good winning streak, as gaining traction is important this time of year.
Portland needs to turn things around with the postseason looming, and with three wins in a row, it’s safe to say that’s happening. Now it comes down to finishing strong, as the team has a handful of games left to prove it is a contender with the playoffs just around the corner.