It’s Tough To Stay Optimistic During Portland’s Early Struggles

Dropped in the Western Conference Finals last season, the Portland Trail Blazers had high hopes entering this season. While they weren’t able to punch their ticket to the dance against the Golden State Warriors, a series win away from the NBA Finals isn’t shabby.

A new season means new opportunity, but the 2019-2020 season hasn’t exactly been all roses for the Trail Blazers. Off-season signings and trades have made the Western Conference stronger and the Trail Blazers are seeing that every time they hit the court.

Ending the month of November, the Trail Blazers own a 6-12 record. There is still time for Portland to improve this month, with games scheduled against Oklahoma City and Chicago. Even though the Trail Blazers find themselves six games below .500, there is still reason for optimism.

For one, there is still time to gather wins and get back into a playoff spot. The month of December is filled with home games, giving Portland and its fans the opportunity to see the Trail Blazers climb back into contention. This is also the perfect opportunity for the Trail Blazers to fix their home record. This season, Portland is 1-4 at home.

December has favorable matchups at home. Portland will play host to the likes of the Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks and Orlando Magic. Winning games against weaker opponents will be crucial to Portland’s success this season.

Portland has 12 losses on the season but they have managed to stay competitive throughout the majority of their losses. 10 of their 12 losses have been by single digits, meaning the Trail Blazers were a momentum swing away from potentially winning games they lost.

While the Trail Blazers may feel the tightness of the NBA squeezing on their chest, there is still time to make a comeback. In their last contest against the Chicago Bulls, CJ McCollum and newly added member Carmelo Anthony stepped up in a huge way. The pair combined for 46 points en route to the victory.

If the Trail Blazers continue to see production from McCollum and Anthony like their previous display, Portland will be on their way to capturing wins. Add in Damian Lillard and a bench that can produce and the Trail Blazers will be on their way to a record above .500.

Despite having a roster with McCollum, Anthony, Lillard and Hassan Whiteside, the Trail Blazers aren’t respected when it comes to betting sites.

According to betting site Betway, as of November 27th, the Trail Blazers are long shots to win the division, Western Conference and NBA Championship.

Starting with the Northwest Division, the Trail Blazers are listed at +1300 to take home the division title. Portland’s odds grow slim when looking at the Western Conference championship. The Trail Blazers are listed at +3000 to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals. And speaking of the NBA Finals, the Trail Blazers are a true underdog as well.

Portland is listed at +5000 to win the NBA Championship. While they are considered longshots to win the title, they own the same odds as the Brooklyn Nets and Indiana Pacers. It will be interesting to see if the Trail Blazers’ odds can improve if the team ends the month of December above .500.

The odds are not in favor of Portland taking home the holy grail of basketball this season, but the Trail Blazers can remain optimistic. They were a series win away from punching their ticket to the NBA Finals last season.

Portland knows all about being underdogs. They were true underdogs last season to win the NBA Championship. While fate didn’t have them winning the title, they were among the few NBA teams standing at the end of the playoffs. Portland broke the hearts of the Denver Nuggets, a team destined to make the Western Conference Finals.

As the season rolls on and the Trail Blazers find their groove, they should be a threat in the West once again. While they may not pick up over 50 wins as they did a season ago, they should find themselves in the playoffs this season. Once you punch your ticket to the dance, anything can happen.

Portland has a handful of players from the WCF that are still around. The Trail Blazers have a decent group together, so the team (and fans) should remain optimistic. There is still time to turn this season around. With the talent displayed by Portland’s starters, they can easily go on a winning streak and climb back into the playoff race.