The Trail Blazers sit today just a half-game out of the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference and only one game behind Utah in the loss column for the No. 7 spot. It's been a surprising season for Portland and a lot of fans have allowed themselves to dream about the team making the playoffs -- which would be an unexpected occurrence for all but the hardcore believers.
But a respected website, basketball-reference.com, says hold on with those Blazer playoff dreams because odds are, it's not going to happen. The Trail Blazers have overachieved in the first half of the season and aren't likely to keep it up.
Basketball-reference.com has done 1,000 simulations of the remainder of the season and in only 15.2 percent of those simulations do the Trail Blazers make the playoffs. The Los Angeles Lakers, three and a half games behind Portland in the Western Conference standings today, actually finish ahead of Portland in the simulated seasons, with a 23.5 percent chance of making the playoffs. However, Houston and Utah finish ahead of both the Lakers and Blazers -- by a huge margin -- for the final two spots in the West.
The Rockets finish seventh in the West with a whopping 89.2 percent chance of making the postseason and the Jazz finish eighth, with a 70 percent chance of making the playoffs.
The basketball-reference.com simulations show Portland going 16-21 to finish off the season, with a 39-43 record at the end.
This is a good time, I think, to ask you what you think. Get your predictions on record for record at the end of the season and Western Conference ranking. Present them in the comments section so we have them on record and when you're correct at the end, we'll give you a chance to go back and gloat.
For me, I'll hold to my prediction at the start of the season -- no playoffs. It's a pretty rough schedule the rest of the way, in case you haven't noticed.