After months of preparation, and two weeks of seeding video games inside the NBAs Disney World bubble, everything boiled down to the Portland Trail Blazers matchup with the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night. And after an extraordinary back-and-forth game, the Blazers clinched an area in the play-in series with a 134-133 win. Portland will now satisfy Memphis, and the Grizzlies have to beat the Blazers two times to advance to the very first round to take on the Lakers. The situation was pretty simple. Win, and the Blazers advanced to the play-in, lose, and the Suns would have remained in. Damian Lillard, after everything hes performed in the bubble, wasnt letting the latter happen. He finished with 42 points and 12 assists for his fourth 40-point night in the seeding games. It was another incredible efficiency by Lillard, however Caris LeVert almost broke the Blazers hearts. The young Brooklyn guard was stellar in his own right, going for 37 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists, but his prospective game-winner clanged off the back of the rim– conserving Portland and ending Phoenixs season. Here are some crucial takeaways from the game: Blazers win, theyre inThe seeding video games really end on Friday, however Thursday was the last truly significant day, as the four groups defending two areas in the Western Conference were all in action. Early on, the Phoenix Suns beat the Dallas Mavericks to complete 8-0 in the bubble, however they still needed aid. They didnt get any from the Milwaukee Bucks, as the Memphis Grizzlies travelled past a Giannis Antetokounmpo-less team to clinch a spot in the play-in series. With wins by the Suns and Grizzlies, the San Antonio Spurs were removed before they could even take the court, ending their remarkable 22-year playoff streak. Therefore, heading into the final game of the night, the situation that began rather complicated early in the day ended up being extremely specific. It was go or win home for the Blazers, and they got the task done– barely, but they got it done. Even more essential than simply making the play-in, the Blazers leapt past the Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed while doing so. Thats substantial, because it suggests the Blazers have to win just as soon as to clinch the playoff berth, while the Grizzlies will now need to beat them two times in a row. Dame does it againThey have not revealed the Kia NBA Player of the Seeding Games– business branding on awards is so cool– yet, but theres no concern its going to be Damian Lillard. The guy was an outright force of nature over the previous few weeks, basically ready the Blazers into the play-in by himself. Thursday night was no various. The Blazers were bent on getting the ball out of his hands, trapping him early in the first quarter when he came off pick-and-rolls, and presuming as to double-team him at midcourt by the 4th quarter. And it simply didnt matter. There were certainly stretches where he went peaceful, however when he turned it on there was nothing the Nets could do.He ended up with 42 points and 12 helps, on 13-for-22 from the field, and 8-for-14 from 3-point land, which is an extraordinary game in any circumstance, let alone an elimination game where youre facing continuous double groups. In general, he was accountable for 69 of the Blazers 134 points– over half of them. On a night like that, there are numerous things you can highlight, however nothing was more remarkable than his 3-point shooting. He hit some outrageous shots from the corner, and at one point early in the 4th quarter pulled up with his heels on the NBA logo at midcourt. It was just an unbelievable showing. Blazers dominate second-chance pointsLillard was clearly the primary story in this game, as theres no possibility the Blazers even come close to winning without him. There were other things going on down in Orlando, and one of the biggest was the Blazers supremacy in terms of second-chance points. The Nets got in the bubble missing a variety of key gamers, and among the most significant challenges for the group that did decrease to Orlando was an absence of size; Jarrett Allen was the only healthy gamer over 6-foot-9. While playing so small was an increase for their offense, it also made them vulnerable on the glass– in particular on the defensive end, where Allens fondness for chasing blocks typically leaves him out of position for rebounds. Portland made the most of that weakness in a major method, grabbing 14 offensive rebounds. More significantly, they converted on those additional chances, scoring 29 huge second-chance points, which wasnt simply a season-high, but the most second-chance points theyve had in a video game considering that 2014. When you permit a team to shoot 55 percent from the field as the Blazers did, you have to find a way to keep pace, and the Blazers did so on the glass..
And after an amazing back-and-forth video game, the Blazers clinched a spot in the play-in series with a 134-133 win. Win, and the Blazers advanced to the play-in, lose, and the Suns would have been in. It was win or go house for the Blazers, and they got the job done– hardly, but they got it done. The Blazers were objective on getting the ball out of his hands, trapping him early in the first quarter when he came off pick-and-rolls, and going so far as to double-team him at midcourt by the fourth quarter. Sports jackets dominate second-chance pointsLillard was clearly the main story in this video game, as theres no opportunity the Blazers even come close to winning without him.