Welcome to the most important game… IN THE FUTURE OF EVER.
Pardon the hyperbole, and the Derrick Coleman image, but this is serious. Normally a visit to the Garden State is synonymous with a quick victory, but just for the sake of celebrating the half empty glass, let’s just say the Blazers lose to the Nets in the Izod Center: the season is over, right? Already teetering on the brink of the ping pong ball dance that is the draft lottery, Portland has dropped five of their last eight games and their playoff position is about as healthy as Brandon Roy’s battered hamstring. Losing to a team that has five victories on the year—for the sake of comparison, the Blazers picked up victory number five on November 10th of last year—might be enough to drastically change this team’s future. No playoffs. Roy to the bench. Webster out the door. The Trail Breakers taking up line dancing. Big changes.
Hence, the importance of this game.
New Jersey is, well, let’s just say that John Wall will look absolutely dashing in a Nets uniform next year. The worst thing to happen to Jay-Z since Kingdom Come, the Nets shouldn’t be the type of team that goes winless for over a month straight (November), but the combination of injuries, bad luck, and poor play have sunk the team to the deepest dregs of the standings. Brooke Lopez, Devin Harris, Yi Jianlian, Courtney Lee… this team really is not that bad. Yet they have lost seven in a row in their building, plus 11 of the past 12 as well. Just when the Nets hit rock bottom, the floor gives way and they fall another story.
The Nets score an NBA low 90 points a game—Portland isn’t that much better at 97 PPG—and they seem to have already gotten their lone monthly win out of their system (beating Charlotte last week). The last time Portland lost in New Jersey they had Viktor Khryapa in their starting five, since then, the Blazers have won the last three games on the Nets’ court. If they fail to take number four, things are going to get worse before they get better.