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Play-in impact on Trail Blazers' future: Wolves beat Clippers, Pelicans-Spurs preview

The Pelicans play the Spurs in a play-in game Wednesday. If they win, they meet the Clippers in a play-in game Friday. Here's how that impacts the Blazers.
Credit: Gerald Herbert, AP Photo
New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum celebrates a basket against the Chicago Bulls in New Orleans, Thursday, March 24, 2022.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Trail Blazers have finally made it to the most important week of their season and they aren't even playing. They're at home watching the play-in round of the Western Conference postseason because the future of the Blazers franchise will be shaped one way or another this week.

If the New Orleans Pelicans make the playoffs, the Blazers will not get a lottery pick from the Pelicans this year and Portland's quest for a quick summer overhaul will take a massive hit. That's why all of Rip City is invested in the play-in games, starting with Tuesday night's matchup between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Clippers. We recap that game and congratulate the Wolves on celebrating a lot and heading into the playoffs and still really celebrating a lot.

RELATED: NBA play-in tournament preview, NBA playoff scenarios

Then we preview the biggest game of the Blazers season: Pelicans-Spurs on Wednesday night at The Blender in New Orleans. If New Orleans loses, Portland can rejoice with a ~90% chance of getting the 11th or 12th pick in the upcoming draft. If New Orleans wins, it's time to sweat because the Pelicans will advance to a winner-take-eighth game against the Clippers on Friday in Los Angeles.

The Clippers losing isn't the worst outcome from a Blazers perspective. The show closes with a look at a potential Clippers-Pelicans matchup and why L.A. dropping its first play-in game might be just fine for those of us rooting for draft picks in Rip City.

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About Locked On Blazers

Mike Richman has covered the Portland Trail Blazers in various capacities since 2014 as a beat writer for The Oregonian, a reporter at NBC Sports Northwest and now in the form of the only daily Trail Blazers podcast, Locked On Blazers. The Pass First Point Guard will get you closer to the team with reports from inside the Moda Center and by unpacking the statistics to know and about your favorite team. You will also find regular guests and can get your questions answered with weekly mailbag shows.

If you would like to participate in the weekly mailbag show, submit your questions to @mikegrich on Twitter or email lockedonblazerspod@gmail.com.

Locked On Blazers is the best way to stay up to date on the latest happenings in the Portland basketball world. It’s available wherever you get podcasts and on YouTube with new shows every weekday.

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