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
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Damian Lillard had 21 points before sitting in the final quarter and the Portland Trail Blazers, with their playoff fate sealed earlier Wednesday night, defeated the Denver Nuggets 107-99. CJ McCollum added 17 points for the Blazers, who led by as many as 18 points in the final quarter despite putting all of their starters on the bench. The Trail Blazers were assured of the fifth seed in the Western Conference by virtue of Dallas' 96-91 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. The Blazers will face the Los Angeles Cl
Analysis: After failing to play in both Games 2 and 3, Foye came off the bench in Game 4 to score five points in nine minutes as the Thunder evened the series at two games apiece. Rookie Cameron Payne saw only four minutes Sunday, and The Oklahoman reports that Payne is 'not likely to see the floor again this postseason.' Of course, that may be a bit of a leap at this point, but Payne has committed seven turnovers while struggling as a shooter throughout the series. Coach Billy Donovan appears to have shifted his confidence toward Foye, and the veteran should see a slight bump in his minutes as a result.
Analysis: Limited court time was available for the reserves with coach Billy Donovan riding stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook for 42 and 37 minutes, respectively, but it's still surprising that Foye failed to see the floor, especially as rookie Cameron Payne (seven minutes) played ahead of him. Foye's greatest skill is his ability to hit three-point shots, but with the veteran guard shooting just 33.3 percent from the distance over his last six appearances, there's not much of an incentive for Donovan to hand him minutes.