The Portland Trail Blazers are all but eliminated from the playoffs, but they did find a bright spot in Victor Claver Monday night.
The Blazers have been playing without the injured LaMarcus Aldridge and that obviously doesn’t help. They have lost four in a row and haven’t had much to cheer about with the playoffs slipping from their grasp.
Claver had one of his best games of the season Monday night when he received 29 minutes against the Utah Jazz in a 112-102 loss. He shot 4 of 5 from the floor, 2 of 3 in 3-pointers and 2 of 3 from the free-throw line for 12 points. He also had five rebounds, two assists and one steal.
He had scored double figures in previous games, but his 12 points were a season-high. With Portland’s backs to the wall, Claver came in and gave the team excellent minutes. At one time, it looked like the Blazers might be able to pull out a win.
But, it was the second-straight loss to the Jazz which was especially critical. The Jazz are among the teams the Blazers needed to beat twice to pass in the NBA West playoff race. Losing twice to Utah essentially cost the Blazers a chance to make up plenty of ground against the Jazz in the standings.
Claver’s play means the Blazers have some other options to look at for next season. With post-season play almost out of the picture, it will be time eventually to look at other options. One of them is Claver, who the Trail Blazers will want to keep for a while.