PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) The Trail Blazers' third straight playoff appearance is all the sweeter for Damian Lillard because few thought Portland would come this far. The Blazers clinched the fifth spot in the Western Conference on Wednesday night and will face the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs. ''Coming into this year, they didn't give us a chance, know what I mean?'' said Lillard, the lone starter from last year's team still on the roster. ''The fact that we found our way back to the fifth spot, it makes
Improved Kemba Walker has Hornets back in the playoffs
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Charlotte is back in the NBA playoffs thanks in large part to the improved play of Kemba Walker. The fifth-year point guard has improved dramatically in nearly every statistical category this season for the Hornets, who are tied with Boston for the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference at 47-34. Not bad for a team that only won 33 games last season. Just as Walker has improved, so have the Hornets - the correlation in their success is undeniable. Walker has upped his scoring average to 21.1 p
Analysis: Miller heads back to Denver after making 47 appearances for the Nuggets over the 2015-16 season, averaging just 7.9 minutes per game. The 36-year-old will have a very similar role during the coming two years as he likely adds most of his value as a mentor to one of the youngest teams in the league.
Analysis: Prior to going down with the injury, Gallinari was in the midst of a career season and finished the campaign with averages of 19.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.6 three-pointers in 34.7 minutes per game. The Nuggets still appear to be in rebuilding mode heading into 2016-17, so with no major offseason additions likely on the way, Gallinari should be expected to shoulder the bulk of the scoring burden for the team once again.