The NBA eight-game regular season schedule for the Orlando bubble has arrived and the roster of contests is far from friendly to the Trail Blazers. If Portland hopes to catch the Memphis Grizzlies, they will have to overcome one of the most difficult times any team will face during the restart.
With the Blazers’ tough schedule in mind, CBS Sports NBA analyst Colin Ward-Henninger placed Portland in the “losers” column in his schedule breakdown. Ward-Henninger cited the Blazers’ lack of wing depth and the changing strength of the schedule.
Portland seemed like a solid choice for that final place in the Western Conference playoffs with the return of Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins from injury, but they took a hard hit when Trevor Ariza chose not to participate in the Orlando restart. That already made them extremely shallow on the wing in a heavy-winged league, and this schedule certainly doesn’t help their cause. The Blazers’ eight games are against teams currently in the playoffs, with their toughest opponents (Celtics, Rockets, Nuggets, Clippers, 76ers) arriving relatively early, when those teams still compete for the postseason position and have good reason. to play your stars. Portland had the toughest 16th calendar remaining when the season was suspended, and now it has the fifth-toughest in Orlando, meaning Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and the Blazers have an extremely difficult road to the postseason.
Unsurprisingly, the Pelican friendly calendar landed in Ward-Henninger’s “winners” column. As Dave Deckard described in yesterday’s post after the schedule was launched, New Orleans will face opponents with a combined winning percentage of 49.5 percent.
The Blazers record currently stands at 29-37, putting them 3.5 games behind the Grizzlies. To force a play-in series for the final spot in the Western Conference Playoffs, Portland must finish in ninth place and remain within the team’s four games ending in eighth.
You can read Ward-Henniger’s full roster on CBS Sports.