After the Portland Trailblazers cemented their place at third in the Western Conference, most NBA experts were… shocked, to say the least. Coming into the year, the Blazers wereafterthoughts, seen as lesser than the Warriors, Rockets, Timberwolves, Thunder, Spurs, Pelicans, and Clippers. As the season progressed, though, Portland slowly proved their worth as others struggled to maintain consistency through the shaky West.
Now, however, the attitude regarding the Blazers is no longer one of optimism but, rather, one of severe disappointment. After tonight’s 199-102 loss to the Pelicans, the Blazers are down 0-3 in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs to a team playing without its second-best player. No doubt, this isn’t what they imagined for themselves coming into the post-season.
Worse still, nobody can quite explain why exactly this is happening. A.D. is having a great series, of course, but to be up three games on a three-seed? That’s just something you don’t see everyday.
Regardless, though, it’s almost inevitable that some sort of change will be made if the Blazers do, indeed, end up getting swept on Saturday night. But if Lillard and McCollum are anything like how we know them to be, that sweep is still anything but guaranteed.