by Micah Hart
As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.
With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart. Up next, the Portland Trail Blazers, who played three straight from Feb. 14-16.
The Blazers get perhaps the toughest task of the NBA season, playing their second three-play in just over three weeks. Portland put up six points over three games from Jan. 23-25 (good for sixth place in the Three for all standings as of this writing). Could they match that the second time around? Let’s find out together.
Game 1: Wizards 124, Blazers 109 – LaMarcus Aldridge goes out with an ankle injury two minutes into the contest, and the Blazers fold like a tent. Home losses to the Wizards are pretty inexcusable, no matter who gets hurt (this was their sixth road win since the start of last season). Tough way to start for Portland, and three straight home losses for the first time since 2008. -2 points
Game 2: Blazers 93, Warriors 91 – A nice rebound win at Golden State, with contributions up and down the lineup to make up for the injured Aldridge. Jamal Crawford closed the door, scoring the game’s final five points to help Portland hang on. 4 points (3 for win, 1 for road)
Game 3: Clippers 74, Blazers 71 – I feel bad for anyone who watched this one. The Blazers amazingly scored 27 points in the first quarter, only to drop 16, 17, and 11 over the last three periods. This is more of what we expected to see from teams at the tail end of a back-to-back-to-back, as the Clippers outscored the Blazers 22-11 in the fourth to get the win. 0 points
You get the feeling Portland left a few points on the table in this stretch, but LA’s injury certainly didn’t help. 2 points for the Blazers in the end.
Up next: The New Jersey Nets play three straight Feb. 18-20.
Three for all Top Ten:
— Miami Heat (15 points)
— Chicago Bulls (13 points)
— OKC Thunder (12 points)
— Atlanta Hawks (8 points)
— Houston Rockets (7 points)
— Portland Trail Blazers (6 points)
— L.A. Clippers (6 points)
— Philadelphia 76ers (6 points)
— Denver Nuggets I (6 points)
— Orlando Magic (5 points)