With the 2020 All-Star Weekend officially in the books, the race for the postseason has picked up serious steam. The Milwaukee Bucks recently clinched a playoff berth and became the fastest team in league history to do so.
While many teams are on course to punch a ticket for the playoffs in the coming weeks, some are gearing up for a final push. The contest to secure the 8th seed is projected to get more intense in the Western Conference, considering that the 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th spots are only separated by 5 games.
In such a crunch scenario, every matchup becomes that much more important and the schedule for these final few games starts to assume a major role. Let's take a look at the five squads who will have a relatively easier ride down the stretch.
#5 Portland Trail Blazers
After making it to the Western Conference Finals last year, the Portland Trail Blazers are scrambling to attain a playoff seeding this year around. With Zach Collins (shoulder), Jusuf Nurkic (leg fracture) and Rodney Hood (Achilles) missing considerable time this year, the Blazers have found it really hard to keep the offense rolling smoothly all year long.
Now that they have just 24 games left in the regular season, their remaining schedule strength stands at just 0.471, which should spark hope for the ailing Portland side. They are just 2.5 games behind the 8th seed Memphis Grizzlies, currently sitting at the 9th spot on the Western Conference leaderboard.
However, Damian Lillard - who is their leading scorer with 29.5 PPG - recently went down with a groin injury and is slated to miss at least 3-4 games. The Blazers will host the Celtics next, before leaving for a three-game road trip.