Sean said it best in his concise preview of the Blazers’ final game of the regular season. I hope everybody that could watched the Lakers and the Kings in potentially the final game ever in Sacramento. As of this writing, the Lakers are wrapping up an overtime victory that included a 20-point collapse and some clutch shooting from Kobe Bryant. A Laker win means the Blazers will start the post season in Dallas against the Mavericks.
It’s the match-up Portland wants, for better or for worse, and if I were going to be placing a bet on the series, which I won’t be, I would probably say that the Blazers’ best chance of winning in the opening round will be in a series against Dallas. So that’s where we are, and in a few days we’ll see if this is a Portland team that can pull the upset. The speculation is over. The Playoffs officially start right now.
One thing is for sure though, most of the Blazers that logged big minutes Wednesday night probably won’t have much to do with the games that remain in 2010-11. And because of that, there’s really not a whole lot to talk about with regards to game 82.
Here are the guys that didn’t play: Gerald Wallace, LaMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy, Nicolas Batum, and Marcus Camby. Andre Miller played only seven minutes, all in the first quarter. Wesley Matthews and Rudy Fernandez both racked up more than 20 minutes, but only because somebody in a Blazer uniform had to score. I’d say that nobody played they’re way out of rotation minutes, basically because the rotation guys that played at this point will play regardless, and I would also say that nobody played their way into to Playoff minutes either.
The two guys that played Wednesday night that have seen limited minutes thus far that you could very well see some of against Dallas are Patty Mills and Chris Johnson. Not really a surprise with Patty, his minutes have been up and down but more or less present since early in the season. Chris Johnson won’t get too much burn, but he does seem to be the kind of player that can give Portland some length off the bench if Marcus Camby gets in foul trouble or something like that. Sorry to all the Luke Babbitt fans out there. His double-double notwithstanding, he’ll likely be a cheerleader from now until the end of Portland’s season.
So that’s basically it. Portland avoided injury, unlike the Lakers and the Spurs, and head into the playoffs more or less as healthy as they could be. I’m sure all Blazer fans would have liked to grab that 49th win, but probably found themselves enjoying the spectacle of lineups that included Luke Babbitt, Armon and Chris Johnson, Patty Mills, and Earl Barron all at the same time. Take the next few days to gather yourselves, read up on Dirk and his cronies, and get ready for what might be a long and great series.
Just one quick thought:
- Patty Mills scored 23 points to lead the Blazers, collecting a new career high.