After an unlikely season of breakouts, modernist coaching and perhaps magic, the Portland Trail Blazers are close to clawing their way into the bottom half of the NBA Western Conference playoffs.
But what if they make it? Who should our heroes confront in a first-round series next month?
Don't get us wrong: They will lose any of these series. But some losses are more pleasant than others.
Here are the possible foes, ranked by how enjoyable it would be to lose to them.
1. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
The best possible collection of rickety-ass head cases and derelicts in the NBA, the Clippers are nearly incapable of playing an uninteresting playoff series. Expect Chris Paul to tag C.J. McCollum in the testicles.
PORTLAND WOULD LOSE IN: Six games, or the Clippers melt down and Portland embarrasses them in five.
2. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
This series would feature a reunion with Kevin Durant, Thunder owners who made their fortunes in oil, and a team stolen from the other major city in the American Northwest. A delectable stew of resentment, red-state/blue-state anger, and Sonics jerseys.
PORTLAND WOULD LOSE IN: Six, but a mean six. A bloody six.
3. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
The Blazers would get flattened, but at least you'd get to watch the insanely entertaining Warriors in the process. Not to mention, you might be able to buy a cheap second-round playoff ticket if it's looking sweepy.
PORTLAND WOULD LOSE IN: Four. But if they lost in five, it would be surprisingly moving.
4. SAN ANTONIO SPURS
This series has a high upside for catharsis if the Blazers somehow manage to leave LaMarcus Aldridge weeping and broken. But that won't happen. The Spurs are a 3-ton weight that gently crushes your rib cage.
PORTLAND WOULD LOSE IN: Five. Damian Lillard wins one game on his own.