PORTLAND - Mathematically, the Blazers are not out of the post-season yet. But math deals in numbers, and we must deal in reality.
Here’s the skinny on both: The Blazers are four-and-a-half games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with eight games to go.
Mathematically not impossible, but in reality, when has this team shown – at any point during this lockout shortened season – that it can overcome such a hurdle?
“Last night’s loss was a pretty big blow to any hope for us,” said acting General Manager Chad Buchanan, who has apparently ditched the slide rule, and joined us in the real world, even if his players refuse to do the same.
“Just means a lower percentage for making the playoffs,” added J.J. Hickson following Monday’s loss to Houston.
But that 5-point defeat was only the first part of the big blow Portland sustained.
All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge was sent to Vail, Colorado on Tuesday to visit with a specialist regarding his sore, but hopefully not too damaged, left hip. More: Aldridge hip injury
“It’s been bugging him for a while,” said Interim Head Coach Kaleb Canales, “(I’m) not sure for how long, so it’s something we’ll continue to monitor.” Or it’s something that will end Aldridge’s season.
“Long-term is what we have to be looking at especially with a guy like LaMarcus who is a big part of our team,” said Buchanan of possibly shutting down Aldridge if he and the Doctor in Colorado feel that would be in his best interest.
With Aldridge, the teams’ playoff hopes are dangling. Without him you can go ahead and find the nearest fork, because the Blazers would be done. Just don’t say that inside the locker room.
“Until they say there’s no hope, there’s hope,” said guard Raymond Felton.
Jamal Crawford started doing the math too; “ 8-0, 7-1, I’m not sure 6-2 would do it, so let’s say 8-0 or 7-1,” he said of the record the Blazers will need to generate during the final portion of the schedule.
“Our guys are tough, motivated, disciplined,” added Canales. Not to mention very good at math. Just not as good at dealing with reality.