The Portland Trail Blazers have clinched a playoff spot after routing the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 120-115 victory, on Wednesday, April 6. With two games remaining the Blazers currently hold the fourth-seed and will need to win out in order to hold off the Memphis Grizzlies.
Why is the fourth seed so important? It is important because if the Blazers hold the fourth seed they will take on the Los Angeles Clippers instead of the Thunder.
The Clippers are still a tough team but in a seven game series it is still, a much more favorable match-up then facing the Thunder, for the Blazers. As long as the Blazers can contain a hobbled Blake Griffin, who has not recovered fully from a quad injury sustained during the regular season. And not allow DeAndre Jordan to control paint this could potentially be a winnable series for the Blazers. But that is a tough task to ask from of a young Blazers team.
Offensively, I think the Blazers are talented and have the higher potential of out scoring the Clippers. The problem is I do not have the same confidence about the Blazers defense. The biggest “it” factor for this series is Griffin. Can the Blazers cover him or at least limit his effectiveness? Noah Vonleh has the length and athleticism but not strong enough to man-up and Ed Davis is not athletic enough to keep up with Griffin.
This series can go one of two ways. One, Blazers can start fast and upset the Clippers, in five games. Two, they will get swept by the Clippers.
My hope is that the Blazers upset the Clippers but my intuition tells me the superior roster and the playoff experience will come into play and the Clippers will sweep the Blazers. But I will give the benefit of the doubt and give the Blazers one game at home.
Final prediction: 4-1 Clippers
But also, this could change based on the performance by Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard. If he goes off during the series they will definitely give the Clippers a run for their money.
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