The doors will be locked. The basketball courts will be dark. The offices and conference rooms will be vacant.
After playing nine games in 14 days, enduring four sets of back-to-backs and traveling from Canada to Florida and a myriad of spots in between, the Trail Blazers earned a special treat with a 120-114 victory over the Denver Nuggets Saturday night at the Moda Center:
A day off.
The team’s practice facility in Tualatin will be on “black out” all day Sunday, meaning no coaches, no training staff and no players will be on site. A “black out” day is so rare, many players, including Joel Freeland, didn’t know exactly what it meant. When he gazed at a wall in the locker room and saw the words scribbled on a marker board, Freeland had to ask teammate Nicolas Batum to explain it.
“I think we need this day off tomorrow,” Batum later said. “Even the coaching staff, the training staff. Everybody need that.”
It’s been a rough and emotional ride for the Blazers the last couple of weeks. A five-game losing streak threatened to dent their confidence; a barrage of injuries endangered their playoff chase. But since falling to the Golden State Warriors without three rotation players on Tuesday, the Blazers have gutted out three consecutive victories and seem to have steadied their listing ship.
Saturday’s win over the Nuggets decreased the Blazers’ magic number for a playoff berth to one, meaning they just need one more win — or a New Orleans loss — to clinch a postseason spot for the second consecutive season. Perhaps more important, thanks to Oklahoma City’s Saturday night loss to the Utah Jazz, the Blazers’ magic number to win the Northwest Division — and sew up a top four seed in the Western Conference — rests at just three.
With 10 games to go, the Blazers (47-25) control their own fate, which is moderately surprising considering earlier this week, in the throes of that five-game losing streak, Rip City had its hands on the panic button.
“Like I said in the middle of that streak, the … – Click Here To Visit Article Source