Epic and suffering put the Blazers in the playoffs

The Oregonians again noticed the alarming lack of wardrobe background and let slip a 15-point lead. They will be in the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season.


With suffering as a flag. The Blazers continue to build on their collection of agonizing bubble wins. But the seventh has a prize. An unlikely reward when they landed in Orlando. The good dynamics and good game developed by the Grizzlies during the first part of the season, foreshadowed that the mission to snatch the eighth place in the West from them was going to be nothing short of mission impossible.

However, those Grizzlies were forgotten. 2 victories in 8 games, caused Tennessee to finish the regular phase in ninth position and finally favored by the innovative play-in, which they saw so unfair when they had 3 and a half games of income over Oregon's. The first quarter featured a game that would be far from the basketball that both teams would develop in the next three. The equality and tension at the beginning barely lasted 5 minutes. From 11-11 that the scoreboard reflected when barely 5 minutes had elapsed, it went to a resounding 20-8 partial in favor of the Stotts, who left 12 points up.

The great choral game and good defensive dynamics propitiating the failures of the Grizzlies' heavyweights, who were certainly eager in attack as income grew, sustained some Blazers who with rotations collapsed. Hezonja, Gabriel or Trent entered the court and the Oregonians began to notice the absence of Nurkic's defensive intensity in the static attacks of Jenkins's or the scoring success of CJ MCcollum or Lillard.

In the second quarter, one of the Grizzlies' banners resurfaced in the victory over the Bucks, which made it possible to qualify for the play-in. Lithuanian Jonas Valanciunas finished the second set with 16 points, 14 of them scored in the second 12 minutes, accompanied by a Morant, who did not grow in scoring but did grow in accuracy, precision and speed in the direction of play. Those from Tennessee managed to make up the result until they left 6 points at halftime and seemed to have caught that rhythm and intensity that was lacking in the beginning. In the Blazers, a superb Nurkic stood out, precise in the paint, hit from the outside and intense on defense. He was going into halftime with 15 points and 17 rebounds, the Bosnian already signed a double-double at half time.

Bad omens were confirmed for the Blazers in the third quarter. Jenkins' men continued to grow their shooting percentages by leaps and bounds and Valanciunas joined Morant and Clarke, with a hit of 80% from the perimeter. Dalzell's point guard, who again incurred his sin of losses, adding 8 again, was intoned with great penetrations to the past rim and finding a minimum hit from the perimeter, which he had not found at the beginning of the duel. Jenkins' starting point guard became a real nightmare for Oregonians, who couldn't find a way to stop him. The outside success and a much more dynamic game in attack put Memphis up 5 with 12 minutes to go.

Terry Stotts and his men had the noose around their necks. They needed to win to stay out of trouble. The reaction took a long time. With 4 minutes remaining, Portland was still at the same disadvantage as at the end of the third quarter. Morant was still outstanding in scoring, adding another 14 points to finish at 35, and in directing. The pick & roll and the outside shots were back to support the Memphis.

But the Blazers lacked one last arreón, and this time it was not Lillard, who despite not being decisive in key moments was the top scorer with 31 points, Trent Jr. opened the ban, which CJ MCcollum continued, with great success from the outside, 2 consecutive triples with 2 minutes remaining paved the way for Oregon's men, and their suspension shots in the paint, a reborn Carmelo Anthony, who with 20 seconds left sentenced the game with a triple that he put Stotts '6 up, and a superb Nurkic, who stopped Valanciunas cold and was a constant danger to the Grizzlies' defense with his constant blocking and clearing movements.With this triumph, the Blazers add their seventh win in 9 games in Orlando and manage to seal their place in the playoffs, in which they will be for the seventh consecutive season, all of them with Stotts at the helm with whom the Blazers have 7 classifications in 8 seasons on the bench. Looking back, the Oregonians were third last season in the West and were finalists in the Conference, in which they lost 4-0 to the Warriors.

In that tie, they could not face Kerr's men without a Nurkic who arrives with a thirst for revenge against the Lakers. Zach Collins, who could barely enjoy 7 minutes against the Grizzlies, will be a doubt until the last minute against Vogel's men. The one from Nevada was destined to be the defender of Anthony Davis, so if he does not arrive he will force Stotts to reinvent himself. The defensive irregularity and the lack of wardrobe background, against the Grizzlies only 9 players played and 3 of them did not reach 15 minutes on the court, they can play a trick on the Blazers, who on this occasion are presented as aspiring to one one of the great candidates for the ring, which despite everything has left some doubts in his journey in Orlando. At dawn from Tuesday to Wednesday, the first round will arrive.

Photos from as.com
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