The 22 teams invited to the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida have arrived. Among those are 5 Western Conference teams with the opportunity to steal the 8th playoff spot from the Memphis Grizzlies. Those teams are:
- Portland Trailblazers
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Sacramento Kings
- San Antonio Spurs
- Phoenix Suns
Originally, the Portland Trailblazers were the only team in the league against the proposed season restart. Star point guard Damian Lillard had his reservations at first, but has changed his tone and is now ready to go out and play with his team.
With the Trailblazers opting in to the restart, they have a serious chance to claim a playoff spot. The remaining schedule has been limited to 8 games, in which they’ll attempt to overtake a 3 1/2 game deficit to the Grizzlies in the standings. If the standings are close enough, it’ll come down to a play-in tournament. They just might have a shot.
Portland’s playoff hopes have been bolstered by the return of Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins. Nurkic has yet to have played a game this season and Collins was limited to only 3 games, both due to injury. They provide size and depth to the Trailblazer’s squad, both areas they’ve been lacking in.
The driving force behind any success from the Blazers will be Lillard, who was having one of the best seasons of his career before the season ended abruptly. His 28.9 points, 7.8 assists, on 45.7% shooting (39.4% from three) are all career highs.
Only time will tell if Portland can capture the 8th seed in the West, but their odds this season have never looked better.
Featured photo credit: NBC Sports
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