2017-18 Portland Trail Blazers Game-By-Game Predictions

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Welcome, Blazermaniacs, basketball junkies and fans of spreadsheet analysis alike. Boy, do I have a treat for you all today!

That’s right, tonight is opening night to another scintillating year of Portland Trail Blazers basketball, and that means one thing… overly detailed predictions that will make me look foolish sooner than later.

The Blazers bring almost the entire gang back, and are poised to make another run at the playoffs this year after squeezing in under the gun last season.  And, while they bring the majority of that squad back, a flurry of big name pick-ups by pretty much every top team in the Western Conference make another playoff appearance far from a sure thing.

If they are to make it again, the Blazers are going to have to continue the high-level play they showed last season after acquiring star center Jusuf Nurkic if they hope to make a return trip to the NBA’s second season.

Not surprisingly, the first few weeks of the schedule will be crucial, as the Blazers look to take advantage of a (comparatively) easier slate of games and also capitalize on their continuity as other top teams work to integrate new players into their lineup.

If the preseason means anything, the Blazers are off to a good start as they have looked excellent in going 5-1 and seem to be a prime candidate to jump out to hot start early on.

Of course, the preseason means just about nothing, so, yeah. Hard to get too excited about that.

And even if it’s just for one game, starting the season without CJ McCollum (suspended for opening night for taking a couple steps away from the bench during a preseason altercation he wasn’t involved in) is less than ideal. Particularly so in a Western Conference were one win or loss could easily be the difference between a playoff berth and a sitting at home waiting for the draft come mid-April.

With that said, let’s take a look at the full 82-game schedule and do some prognosticating!

I’m going full out this year and projecting a result and final score for each and every game on the schedule. While this gives me ample space to be totally wrong about every single game, you will never hear the end of it if I nail even one of my predictions on the nose.

And, just because I know most people don’t really care what I think the score of future games will be, I included some hard-hitting analysis of a select few marquee matchups.

(Note: “hard-hitting analysis” may be replaced with snide remarks and/or lame jokes without warning.)

On to the predictions!

Game Date Team Score   Opponent Score Result
1 18-Oct-2017 Trail Blazers 106 @ Phoenix Suns 104 Win
Blazers rally with star guard CJ McCollum sidelined for his rage issues, with a big night from Moe Harkless (20 points). Meyers tries to goad Alex Len into a fight… while firmly glued to the bench. Len ignores him, and instead commits a game-altering flagrant foul on Damian Lillard. Bad move, Alex. Dame Time: Initiated.
2 20-Oct-2017 Trail Blazers 114 @ Indiana Pacers 96 Win
3 21-Oct-2017 Trail Blazers 96 @ Milwaukee Bucks 108 Loss
4 24-Oct-2017 Trail Blazers 112 vs New Orleans Pelicans 104 Win
5 26-Oct-2017 Trail Blazers 102 vs Los Angeles Clippers 99 Win
6 28-Oct-2017 Trail Blazers 116 vs Phoenix Suns 102 Win
7 30-Oct-2017 Trail Blazers 98 vs Toronto Raptors 101 Loss
8 1-Nov-2017 Trail Blazers 94 @ Utah Jazz 98 Loss
9 2-Nov-2017 Trail Blazers 108 vs Los Angeles Lakers 99 Win
Blazers cruise to an easy win over Lonzo Ball and the Lakers behind 34 points from CJ McCollum and 4 blocks from the Bosnian Beast. After the game, LaVar Ball blames the loss on the Portland crowd: “Realistically you can’t win no basketball games with this many white people in the arena.”
10 5-Nov-2017 Trail Blazers 106 vs Oklahoma City Thunder 106 Loss
11 7-Nov-2017 Trail Blazers 98 vs Memphis Grizzlies 95 Win
12 10-Nov-2017 Trail Blazers 109 vs Brooklyn Nets 102 Win
13 13-Nov-2017 Trail Blazers 114 vs Denver Nuggets 115 Loss
14 15-Nov-2017 Trail Blazers 111 vs Orlando Magic 99 Win
15 17-Nov-2017 Trail Blazers 104 @ Sacramento Kings 102 Win
16 18-Nov-2017 Trail Blazers 115 vs Sacramento Kings 96 Win
Zach Randolph sits on the second night of a tough back-to-back due to “back stiffness.” Not exactly surprising for a guy in his 17th NBA season. That is, until Twitter blows up with numerous reports of Randolph taking in the game action, not from the bench, but from the rack… at Sassy’s.
17 20-Nov-2017 Trail Blazers 92 @ Memphis Grizzlies 98 Loss
18 22-Nov-2017 Trail Blazers 112 @ Philadelphia 76ers 114 Loss
19 24-Nov-2017 Trail Blazers 122 @ Brooklyn Nets 106 Win
20 25-Nov-2017 Trail Blazers 102 @ Washington Wizards 112 Loss
21 27-Nov-2017 Trail Blazers 106 @ New York Knicks 88 Win
22 30-Nov-2017 Trail Blazers 98 vs Milwaukee Bucks 99 Loss
Tough loss to start the home-stand, as Giannis Antetokounmpo steals the win with a game winning dunk…. From just inside the 3-point line.
23 2-Dec-2017 Trail Blazers 104 vs New Orleans Pelicans 100 Win
24 5-Dec-2017 Trail Blazers 108 vs Washington Wizards 106 Win
25 9-Dec-2017 Trail Blazers 106 vs Houston Rockets 122 Loss
26 11-Dec-2017 Trail Blazers 88 @ Golden State Warriors 112 Loss
27 13-Dec-2017 Trail Blazers 105 @ Miami Heat 108 Loss
After a long night of partying on South Beach, the Blazers come out flat, before rallying late behind a big 2nd half from Meyers Leonard (16 2nd half points, including 4/5 3-pointers), thanks in large part due to his glistening new tan. Not only is the a sign Meyers might be ready to finally turn his career around, it more importantly gives us hope that Neil Olshey might be able to dupe Pat Riley into thinking Meyers is actually a decent NBA player, greasing the wheels for a trade down the road.
28 15-Dec-2017 Trail Blazers 102 @ Orlando Magic 104 Loss
Meyers gets more minutes after his big night in Miami, and puts up a scintillating 1/7 night, including allowing Nikola Vucevic to bank in a 3 at the buzzer, keeping up the duel tradition of heartbreaking losses to an undermanned Magic team and frustrating Meyers Leonard performances.
29 16-Dec-2017 Trail Blazers 112 @ Charlotte Hornets 104 Win
30 18-Dec-2017 Trail Blazers 106 @ Minnesota Timberwolves 109 Loss
31 20-Dec-2017 Trail Blazers 101 vs San Antonio Spurs 96 Win
32 22-Dec-2017 Trail Blazers 115 vs Denver Nuggets 109 Win
33 23-Dec-2017 Trail Blazers 108 @ Los Angeles Lakers 104 Win
34 28-Dec-2017 Trail Blazers 104 vs Philadelphia 76ers 99 Win
Jusuf Nurkic and Joel Embiid battle all night in the post, putting up dueling 20-10 stat lines, but, Lillard gets hot late against the young Sixers backcourt. Embiid gets his revenge on Twitter though, racking up over 30k likes and 20k retweets on the plane ride home.
35 30-Dec-2017 Trail Blazers 106 @ Atlanta Hawks 96 Win
36 1-Jan-2018 Trail Blazers 108 @ Chicago Bulls 99 Win
37 2-Jan-2018 Trail Blazers 89 @ Cleveland Cavaliers 101 Loss
38 5-Jan-2018 Trail Blazers 115 vs Atlanta Hawks 104 Win
39 7-Jan-2018 Trail Blazers 101 vs San Antonio Spurs 104 Loss
40 9-Jan-2018 Trail Blazers 96 @ Oklahoma City Thunder 111 Loss
41 10-Jan-2018 Trail Blazers 102 @ Houston Rockets 122 Loss
Rough start to the road trip as the Blazers drop their third straight game, this time to James Harden, Chris Paul and the Houston Flop-ets, er… Rockets. Harden and Paul combine for 67 points. Miraculously, 65 of them come from the free throw line. Even more shocking, it’s only their fourth highest combined total of the season.
42 12-Jan-2018 Trail Blazers 112 @ New Orleans Pelicans 111 Win
43 14-Jan-2018 Trail Blazers 96 @ Minnesota Timberwolves 102 Loss
44 16-Jan-2018 Trail Blazers 95 vs Phoenix Suns 96 Loss
45 18-Jan-2018 Trail Blazers 118 vs Indiana Pacers 104 Win
46 20-Jan-2018 Trail Blazers 108 vs Dallas Mavericks 99 Win
47 22-Jan-2018 Trail Blazers 104 @ Denver Nuggets 103 Win
Nikola Jokic gets the best of former teammate Nurkic, putting up 19 points en route to his third triple-double of the season. However, it’s still not enough as Lillard explodes for 18 in the 4th quarter for the come from behind victory. Pat Connaughton, meanwhile, doesn’t remember the dramatic finish, after accidentally eating from the wrong plate of “brownies” from the local media buffet.
48 24-Jan-2018 Trail Blazers 121 vs Minnesota Timberwolves 118 Win
49 26-Jan-2018 Trail Blazers 109 @ Dallas Mavericks 100 Win
50 30-Jan-2018 Trail Blazers 101 @ Los Angeles Clippers 103 Loss
51 31-Jan-2018 Trail Blazers 115 vs Chicago Bulls 96 Win
52 2-Feb-2018 Trail Blazers 101 @ Toronto Raptors 111 Loss
Blazers drop a tough one to start a quick Eastern Conference swing, as DeMar DeRozen abuses the smaller Portland guards. But the real story is that Nurkic doesn’t make the trip, as Trump’s fifth try at a Muslim travel ban is rumored to be set to go into effect over the weekend, and Nurk doesn’t want to get stuck in Canada because “Drake sucks and maple syrup is overrated.”
53 4-Feb-2018 Trail Blazers 103 @ Boston Celtics 108 Loss
54 5-Feb-2018 Trail Blazers 107 @ Detroit Pistons 102 Win
55 8-Feb-2018 Trail Blazers 107 vs Charlotte Hornets 102 Win
56 9-Feb-2018 Trail Blazers 110 @ Sacramento Kings 100 Win
57 11-Feb-2018 Trail Blazers 96 vs Utah Jazz 95 Win
58 14-Feb-2018 Trail Blazers 114 vs Golden State Warriors 118 Loss
59 23-Feb-2018 Trail Blazers 99 @ Utah Jazz 102 Loss
60 24-Feb-2018 Trail Blazers 108 @ Phoenix Suns 110 Loss
The Blazers drop their annual game to an overmatched Suns squad, as noted Blazer-killer Troy Daniels has a career high 34, including the game winner. On a bright note, Meyers Leonard’s tan gets a much needed mid-winter boost in the Valley of the Sun. So, we got that going for us… which is nice.
61 27-Feb-2018 Trail Blazers 106 vs Sacramento Kings 98 Win
62 1-Mar-2018 Trail Blazers 109 vs Minnesota Timberwolves 118 Loss
63 3-Mar-2018 Trail Blazers 103 vs Oklahoma City Thunder 108 Loss
64 5-Mar-2018 Trail Blazers 112 @ Los Angeles Lakers 108 Win
65 6-Mar-2018 Trail Blazers 123 vs New York Knicks 96 Win
Damian Lillard drops half-a-hundred on the beleaguered Knicks… in 3 quarters, while Caleb Swanigan has 23 of his own, and Al-Faruq Aminu hits a career high seven 3-pointers. The Blazer bench unit of Shabazz Napier, Pat Connaughton, Jake Layman, Zach Collins and Meyers Leonard play the entirety of the 4th quarter, getting outscored 34-11 to set the final margin.
66 9-Mar-2018 Trail Blazers 110 vs Golden State Warriors 121 Loss
67 12-Mar-2018 Trail Blazers 104 vs Miami Heat 100 Win
68 15-Mar-2018 Trail Blazers 99 vs Cleveland Cavaliers 98 Win
After the Blazers get off to a slow start, Zach Collins has his coming out party with a big 3rd quarter on his way to a career night of 19 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks, and the Blazers take down the East-leading Cavs. LeBron does his thing down the stretch, but, misses a chance at a game winning layup as Nurkic bodies him up and to the shock of the crowd, the refs let it slide.
69 17-Mar-2018 Trail Blazers 104 vs Detroit Pistons 106 Loss
70 18-Mar-2018 Trail Blazers 108 @ Los Angeles Clippers 104 Win
71 20-Mar-2018 Trail Blazers 118 vs Houston Rockets 126 Loss
72 23-Mar-2018 Trail Blazers 101 vs Boston Celtics 104 Loss
73 25-Mar-2018 Trail Blazers 108 @ Oklahoma City Thunder 119 Loss
74 27-Mar-2018 Trail Blazers 101 @ New Orleans Pelicans 106 Loss
Portland jumps out to an early double-digit lead and look poised to get a big late season road win… until DeMarcus Cousins sees Meyers Leonard hiding in the 2nd row with the Groucho Marx fake nose and glasses. “Hey, [expletives deleted],  you’re still on this team?!” Cousins exclaims, before proceeding to rack up 42 and 18 for the come-from-behind victory.
75 28-Mar-2018 Trail Blazers 114 @ Memphis Grizzlies 102 Win
76 30-Mar-2018 Trail Blazers 108 vs Los Angeles Clippers 104 Win
77 1-Apr-2018 Trail Blazers 106 vs Memphis Grizzlies 100 Win
78 3-Apr-2018 Trail Blazers 113 @ Dallas Mavericks 110 Win
79 5-Apr-2018 Trail Blazers 106 @ Houston Rockets 122 Loss
80 7-Apr-2018 Trail Blazers 94 @ San Antonio Spurs 102 Loss
81 9-Apr-2018 Trail Blazers 106 @ Denver Nuggets 108 Loss
82 11-Apr-2018 Trail Blazers 103 vs Utah Jazz 102 Win
After a hard-fought battle with division rival Utah, CJ McCollum seals the deal with a deep 3 with under 2 seconds left on the clock to clinch the win, and the 7th seed in the playoffs, avoiding the 70-win Warriors in the first round. Thus, the Blazers actually have a chance in the 1st round…. to not get swept. Hey, gotta celebrate the small victories when the West is this loaded.

 

Final Record: 45-37 (7th place in West)

Home Record: 27-14

Road Record: 18-23

Points Per Game (scored): 106.0

Points Per Game (allowed): 104.8

Point Differential: +1.2

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