Portland Trail Blazers Need J.J. Hickson’s Rebounding Power

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

J.J. Hickson did everything he could do to try to get the playoff-hungry Portland Trail Blazers a much-needed win against the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday.

But it didn’t happen, with the Blazers suffering a stinging 98-96 setback.

Hickson could hardly be faulted, however. He had a tremendous performance, displaying tremendous rebounding power for the Blazers with 14 rebounds, including 11 on the defensive side. He had three steals and 14 points.

The Blazers are simply going to have to pull out games like this if they’re to have any chance to get into that eighth spot in the West for the NBA playoffs. They lost to a team that has no chance of making the playoffs.

Portland could go for the sixth or seventh spot in the West with a strong finish, but the eighth seed would also get them in. The race for that spot is getting crowded, and a Portland’s 29-33 record isn’t cutting it. Hickson needs to put in stronger performances for his team and try to help the Blazers sneak out as many wins as possible. A winning record isn’t out of the question for Portland, although it’s getting tougher as the key losses mount.

Hickson is averaging 13.4 points and 10.6 rebounds a game. He’s been impressive in recent games. He had 23 points and 11 boards against the San Antonio Spurs in a stunning Blazers victory Friday night, shooting 9-of-15 from the floor. That’s the type of effort the Blazers need for the rest of the season.

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