Portland rallied and played well for the 10 games CJ McCollum was out with a left knee injury, going 8-2 with a +8.2 net rating.
However, they were not much of a playoff threat without him and Jusuf Nurkick (out for the remainder of the year with a compound leg fracture). At least the Trail Blazers are getting McCollum back, he is expected to play Sunday against Denver in a game crucial playoff seeding.
McCollum has averaged 21.3 points per game this season, shot 38 percent from three, and the Trail Blazers are 6.2 points per 100 possessions better when he is on the court.
Portland needs that Sunday.
This game against Denver matters if Portland wants to start the playoffs at home. The Trail Blazers sit as the four seed in the West but are just one game up on red-hot Utah (seven wins in a row) going into Sunday (and the Jazz play what’s left of the Lakers Sunday). Lose this one and the Trail Blazers are likely tied for the final spot at the end of the night. Also, Portland also could catch the Rockets for the three seed, but Houston would have to help out with some losses.