The field for the NBA Playoffs has officially been set as of Saturday, with the Portland Trail Blazers claiming the final spot in the Western Conference. Though they will not be favored against the Los Angeles Lakers, the #1 seed overall, they do have a few hopes. One of them, of course, is Damian Lillard, who was named MVP of the ‘bubble’ in addition to scoring 31 points to lead his team to a 126-122 win over the Memphis Grizzlies in the play-in game on Saturday.
Had the Blazers lost, they would have faced a second game on Sunday, but they had no such plans for that. Lillard did stand out, as usual, but they also got help from others to get them over the line. Carmelo Anthony, a man that many had basically forgotten about, came up clutch with a big shot (a three from the corner that put them up by six with just 20 seconds left) and Jusuf Nurkic, grieving for the loss of his grandmother, added 22 points and also grabbed a remarkable 21 rebounds. They will be rank outsiders against the Lakers, for obvious reasons, but that seems to be how this team likes to operate.