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Playoff Contenders: Portland Trail Blazers

The 2019-2020 NBA season will restart very soon after its suspension earlier this year. In what has been a rollercoaster NBA campaign so far, a lot of teams are gearing up for one of the most competitive NBA playoffs scramble in recent years. With a lot of games remaining, there are playoff spots still up for brags. One team that is looking to secure one of these valuable spots is none other than the Portland Trail Blazers. For the Trail Blazers, playoff qualification at the end of the season will be a great ending to a frustrating season so far. Despite experiencing rough patches throughout the season, the Trail Blazers have managed to turn around their season and get back on track.

At the moment, Head Coach Terry Stotts and his Portland Trail Blazers team are still in contention to make the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season as they lie 9th on the Western Conference table and 4th on the Northwest Division with a 29-37 win-loss record (.439).

Here is a look at Portland Trail Blazers’ season so far, some of the positives from their season so far, and expectations for the remainder of the NBA season.

 

Portland Trail Blazers’ season so far

After a summer of significant incomings and outgoings, Portland Trail Blazers went into the start of this season fully prepared for the challenges from their rivals. However, they failed to get a perfect start to the season as they lost 108-100 at home against Denver Nuggets. Despite the disappointing defeat, Portland Trail Blazers managed to win three and lose one of their next four games. After the first five games of the 2019-2020 NBA season, the Trail Blazers had a decent 3-2 win-loss record. However, all expectations of a consistent winning run came to an end as the Trail Blazers lost ten and won only two of their next 12 games. The two wins during that awful run came against Atlanta Hawks at home (124-113 OT), and San Antonio Spurs on the road (121-116). After 17 games into the new season, Portland Trail Blazers had an abysmal 5-12 win-loss record. The Trail Blazers managed to recover from the setback to record three straight wins over Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder. The good winning run came to an abrupt end as Portland Trail Blazers suffered another setback, winning just two and losing four of their next six games. Four straight wins afterward saw the Trail Blazers get back on track and put together a string of good results. The consecutive wins also improved their win-loss record 14-16 after 30 games.

Despite the winning run, the inconsistencies resurfaced again as the Trail Blazers lost eight and won two of their next ten games. Seven victories and three defeats in the next ten games saw them bounce back once and move up the table with a 23-27 win-loss record after 50 games. Since then, Portland Trail Blazers only managed to pick up six victories from their last 16 games before the suspension of the season.

 

Positives from Portland Trail Blazers’ season so far

Despite their numerous struggles this season, there have been a lot of positives for Portland Trail Blazers so far. One of them has been their form at home. In a season where most teams in the NBA have struggled to pick up multiple wins in their backyard, the Trail Blazers have been impressive at home. In 32 home games this season, Portland Trail Blazers have won 18 and lost 14, giving them an 18-14 win-loss record.

The key to Portland Trail Blazers’ good form at home has been the significant contributions from some of the integral players on the roster. Point Guard Damian Lillard, Shooting Guard CJ McCollum, center Hassan Whiteside, and Power Forward Carmelo Anthony have all been influential for the Trail Blazers.

Damian Lillard has been the standout player yet again this season in what has by far been his best NBA season. This season, Lillard has averaged 28.9 points per game and 7.8 assists per game. He has also averaged 4.3 rebounds per game, 1.0 steals per game, and 2.9 turnovers per game in the 58 games he has played so far this season.

CJ McCollum has also averaged 22.5 points per game, 4.1 rebounds per game and 4.3 assists per game in 62 games for the Trail Blazers so far this season.

Hassan Whiteside, in his first season with the Trail Blazers following his move from Miami Heat, also has an average of 16.3 points per game, 14.2 rebounds per game, 1.2 assists per game and 3.1 blocks per game in 61 games.

Carmelo Anthony has also been influential for the team since joining them in November as a free agent following a 1-year hiatus from the NBA. In 50 games for the Trail Blazers, he has averaged 15.3 points per game, 6.3 rebounds per game and 1.6 assists per game.

 

Expectations for the remainder of the season

For the Trail Blazers, the onus will be on them to put together a consistent winning run and hope other results elsewhere go their way for them to reach the playoffs at the end of the season. However, they still have crucial games against most of their rivals in the battle for the playoffs. The outcomes of these games could determine their fate before the regular season concludes. Despite these obstacles, the Trail Blazers will be heading into some of these games feeling confident as they have already recorded significant wins over some of the top teams in the NBA this season.

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