Trail Blazers Notes: Moda Center, Powell, Billups

One of the last teams to reopen their doors to fans this season, the Trail Blazers announced on Wednesday in a press release that they’ll welcome back a limited number of fans to Moda Center in Portland as of Friday, May 7.

The Blazers will only fill the arena to 10 percent capacity, but the timing of the reopening couldn’t be better — Portland will host the Lakers on Friday night in what will be a crucial game in the race to avoid the play-in tournament in the Western Conference. The Lakers will be on the second night of a back-to-back and are expected to be missing LeBron James, so the Blazers will have a great opportunity to pick up a game in the standings and secure the tiebreaker over L.A.

Here’s more on the Blazers:

  • Blazers swingman Norman Powell, who is dealing with right knee patellar tendinopathy, missed Wednesday’s game vs. Cleveland, as Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports notes (via Twitter). While Powell’s knee would probably benefit from rest, he’ll likely want to get back on the court for Friday’s showdown vs. the Lakers.
  • Following a brutal stretch of nine losses in 11 games, Portland bounced back with a 5-1 record on its just-completed six-game road trip. Jason Quick of The Athletic contends that the team is finding its identity at the right time and has benefited from shortening its rotation.
  • In case you missed it, a report from The Athletic on Wednesday indicated that Blazers head coach Terry Stotts will be in serious danger of losing his job at season’s end unless he can “pull a rabbit out of his hat” and lead the club to a deep postseason run. Jason Kidd, Chauncey Billups, and others were cited by The Athletic as possible candidates to replace Stotts, with Mitch Lawrence of SiriusXM NBA Radio (Twitter link) also reporting that Billups is prepared to “throw his hat in the ring” if the job becomes available.
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