Wednesday, March 24, 2004

posted by CHRIS - 4:53 PM

After watching the Portland Trailblazers lose Sunday night to Houston, I am more reassured in my belief the Utah Jazz are really only trying to get ahead of the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

With over 20 seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter, it seemed the Blazers were in no hurry to take a possible game-winning shot. Now I understand you want to take your time with the last shot so the other team doesn’t have time to rebound, if you miss, or take a shot themselves, but waiting until there is only a couple of seconds left is ridiculous.

In the overtime period, the Blazers just seemed to give up. They scored only two points in the extra period, and with 21 seconds left, it seemed the Blazers were looking for an open three-pointer instead of throwing up any shot that might happen to find the basket to get them closer. They just gave up.

With two games a piece against L.A. and San Antonio in the last 9 days of the season, they’ll be eliminated from the playoff picture if they don’t have the lead before April.

As it stands now, Utah has a half-game lead with both teams playing tonight. (BTW... I will be at the Jazz vs. Sonics game to watch the Jazz beat the Sonics to a bloody pulp.) If they end up tied, Denver has the tiebreaker by winning the season series. Denver is slowly righting their quickly-sinking ship after recent embarrassing losses to Boston, Detroit (by 19) and Minnesota (by 21), but the question is: Will it be too little too late?

With Utah winning 11 of its last 18 games, they are by far the more energized team; Denver has won only five of the last 17.

To the right, you'll see the Jazz’, Nuggets’ and Blazers' remaining schedules and my predictions of the results of each game.

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