Playoff Picture

Sam Forenrich/Getty Images

Sam Forenrich/Getty Images

In what has been arguably the closest finish to a season in years, the Portland Trail Blazers (52-28) sit in the fifth spot in the ever-so-close Western Conference, chasing the tails of fourth place Houston Rockets (52-27). Portland, however, has stiff competition in the sixth place Golden State Warriors (49-30). It is common knowledge that the first four places get home court advantage in the first round, and if the playoffs started today, Portland would not have that advantage. Rather, the Blazers would kick off the playoffs in Houston for the first two days. If the series goes to seven games, Portland would ideally be playing that game at the Moda Center. However, the chance of Portland regaining the top four spot they had earlier in the season is very low. Also, it is still possible that Portland falls to sixth, behind the Warriors. While sliding either direction is possible, neither one is very likely. For either to happen, a specific set of conditions has to be met.

In order for the Blazers to move up into the fourth seed, they would have to win both of their final two games against the Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers. Those two wins have to be paired with Houston losing at least two of their final three games (home: New Orleans Pelicans, San Antonio Spurs; road: New Orleans Pelicans). If either Houston wins two of their last three games or Portland loses even once, the Blazers’ chance for home court advantage will go extinct.

The only way Portland can fall into the sixth seed is if they lose both of their final games and the Warriors win each of their last three. That makes the game tomorrow against the Warriors all the more important. In fact, according to Blazers G Wesley Matthews, the game on Sunday is the “biggest game of the year.”

— Sagar Trika | Twitter