I was listening to Mike and Mike yesterday and they were discussing how if the Blazers were to win this series now in light of CP3 going down with the broken hand and Griffin possibly not being 100% healthy either (news of Griffin being out had not happened yet), then people may discredit them. They made great points about how injuries are part of the game and the players are going to keep playing and it does not really matter if people discredit it. I made similar points in a previous post about why I want Curry back if San Antonio will indeed be facing the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. Yes as a Spurs fan I’ll be happy if we were to win the title without beating the real Golden State, just not as satisfied as I could be since people will be doubting them.
Returning this conversation back to Portland, I was pretty sure the Clippers would ultimately win the series but I expected nothing less then the series we have gotten so far-well I guess something less, I wasn’t considering CP3 breaking his hand. I figured it would be 2-2 after four and then Clippers would figure out a way to pull it off in six. Now I cannot even see a scenario in which the Clippers come out on top unless we were to find out that CP3 is actually good to go for the rest of the series. Not only do I see Portland closing out this series, but if Curry is to miss a significant portion of the next round, Portland could find themselves making it to the Western Conference Finals.
I know it sounds crazy. This was the same Portland team that lost LaMarcus Aldridge to my Spurs last offseason. I, like most people, had not even given them thought to do anything this year as this was to be their rebuilding year so to speak in the aftermath of Aldridge leaving. Yet here they are, the five seed in the West and looking at a possible second round date with Golden State and the Warriors thanks to some banged up Clippers players. The fact that no one expected them to be here is a reason not to sleep on this team.
Another reason: they are actually a pretty good team. They did hand the Warriors one of their nine losses this season and their biggest loss of the year at a 32 point margin. I had the chance to make it to San Antonio for the first time ever over my Spring Break and went to the Spurs/Blazers game on St. Patrick’s Day. They looked pretty good even with Lillard struggling early and were in the game until the Spurs exploded in the 3rd quarter. Lillard did end with 23 points, but most came in the 4th quarter in the comeback effort. Lillard was a large part of their victory against Golden State dropping 51 in that game. If he would have been on early against San Antonio, the Blazers just might have broken up the Spurs undefeated home season before Golden State did.
This Blazer team is young and can light it up from downtown with the Lillard/McCollum duo. Because of that, I believe they are a very dangerous underdog in these playoffs. They even showed in their last game other guys are at least capable of stepping up if Lillard and McCollum are struggling. This could prove to be vital against a Curry-less Warriors team. If Curry is out significant time, the Blazers could very well be on their way to the Western Conference Finals. I am not saying they will be, but I would not be shocked if they are.
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