What many people thought was certain for the last few months is now official: Portland is now eliminated from the NBA playoffs after their 125-107 loss Monday to the Phoenix Suns.
The Trail Blazers are now 4.5 games out of the eight spot in the Western Conference, which is coincidentally occupied by the Suns, with only four games remaining.
Despite the chance of reaching the postseason still entering the game, Coach Kaleb Canales decided to rest some of his starters and showcase some of the younger talent on the team.
Out of the lineup were Nic Batum and Raymond Felton; in were Johnny Flynn and Luke Babbitt in their places.
Phoenix took advantage of Portland's young squad, pick-and-rolling them death for a whopping 60 points in the paint. Center Marcin Gortat lead the Suns with 20 points, who as a team shot 60% from the field.
Steve Nash also helped the Suns shoot out to their early lead, and lead they would never yield, with a game-high 13 assists, ten of which came in the first half.
The Suns would eclipse the 30-point mark in each of the first three quarters and added 28 in the fourth. All together, it was the most points an opponent has scored on the Blazers this season.
The Suns improved their record to 18-9 since the All-Star break.
The Blazers were lead by JJ Hickson and Jamal Crawford, who each added 22 points. Luke Babbitt contributed 18 points, a new career high for him, while also knocking four three-pointers.
Johnny Flynn and Nolan Smith, in place of Raymond Felton, had 4 and 14 points, respectively, and each added at least 5 assists.
Your Blazers Insider, Jason Quick, joined the MSP to break down where the Blazers go from here now that they are unable to secure a playoff berth; plus, who's the next in line the Blazers are targeting in its GM search. Have they given up hope on Steve Kerr?
Dwight Jaynes of CSSNW.com reacts to the Blazers inability to make the playoffs, their GM search and who the Blazers need to target in the off season and bring back from its current roster.
Portland returns home Wednesday against the Jazz for what will be their final home game of the season.
Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM.