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…И снова — мимо…

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Перед началом Playoffs я написал вот это, и, честно говоря, думал, что после первого круга команда из Портланда разъедется по отпускам.

Снова ошибся…

Проиграв первые две игры с разгромным счетом, Blazers вернулись в Портланд и… выиграли две игры дома.

Перед сегодняшней игрой, которая должна была играться в Los Angeles, то есть, для Blazers это игра на выезде, один из экспертов баскетбольных написал:

Unless you’ve been living under six tons of whipped cream in a soundproof cave underneath the world’s biggest rock, you’re already familiar with the stunning turn of events in the first-round playoff series between the Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers.

1.The Blazers beat the Clippers on Monday night to even the series at 2-2. This was Portland’s best…night…ever. Or at least for this season.

2. The Clippers lost Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to season-ending injuries on the same night. This will not make the list of Top Million Moments in their lives.

When this series began the Blazers were peeking under the crack of the door, seeing victory’s light spilling out and wondering how they could finagle their way to it. Now that door stands wide open. The Clippers sit slumped in the corner, wounded and seemingly unable to stop the Blazers from coming in. This is Portland’s time.

If the Blazers plan to seize the opportunity, Game 5 is critically important. It may be the most important game Portland has played since the year 2000. (Yes, that includes Game 6 versus Houston in 2014.)

If the Blazers win Game 5, a broken and beaten Clippers team walks into the Moda Center Friday night with no reasonable expectation of success. They’d have won 0 road games in this series, 0 games without their two stars. If by some miracle they did manage to win in Portland–a miracle is exactly what it would take–they’d need a second straight victory to seal the deal. Meanwhile the Blazers would already have set the precedent of winning in L.A.. Portland would have experienced everything the depleted L.A. lineup could bring twice over and would be prepared for it. Homecourt advantage or no, Game 7 would be no better than a toss-up for the Clippers.

If the Clippers pull out a Game 5 win, the Blazers need to get two straight to steal the series. Portland would be favored in Game 6. They’d also be giving the Clippers a free shot at advancing; L.A. would be playing with house money in that game. Assuming the Blazers won, they’d return to Los Angeles without having garnered a single win there. They’d have lost to the Clippers’ skeleton crew once already. The game would probably still be a toss-up, but L.A. would enter it with considerably more confidence and Portland considerably more worry.

Recapping those progressions:

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