Lillard, Trail Blazers look to drive past Rockets

The Portland Trail Blazers are still likely to make the Western Conference Playoffs, but when (or if) they arrive, the team will have a more hard task ahead of them than previously imagined. Jusuf Nurkic is the third double-digit scorer and Allen Crabbe is grabbing 2.9 rebounds.

Denver traded the Bosnian Beast to Portland for Mason Plumlee, cash and a second-rounder in 2018 back in February. He has been sidelined and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. After a disappointing campaign, they had to win a majority of their last few games to make the playoffs. Their two home games come against a New Orleans team that decimated the Nuggets on Sunday and Oklahoma City, a team led by MVP frontrunner Russell Westbrook.

After scoring 33 points with 15 rebounds Tuesday against his old team, the 7-footer backed it up with a 19-point, 11-rebound performance Thursday night.

Lillard added a game-high 11 assists to lead Portland to its 13th victory in the past 16 outings.

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The Portland Trail Blazers are finishing the regular season on a good note, and the Houston Rockets are the latest to be frustrated by them. He struggled to fit alongside Nikola Jokic in Denver, but his mid-season trade to Portland has been a revelation for both parties. He had six offensive boards as well and hit the ground running right off the bat after firing 13 points in the first quarter. The Rockets ended up tying the game at 105 with 2:29 left, but the Blazers went on a 12-2 run to end the game and shoot the Rockets' comeback bid to smithereens. "We got the slogan for Big Nurk, 'From the bench to the playoffs'".

"I wish those guys a happy summer", Nurkic said. Since getting 70 points March 24 in Boston, Booker has scored 56 points on 20-of-39 shooting in his last two games.

The Suns took the first meeting against Portland on November 2 when Bledsoe hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of overtime in a 118-115 victory. They really rely on their offense because they are one of the worst teams in the league at forcing turnovers, managing just 12.8 per game, and they surrender 109 points per game on 37-percent 3-point shooting.

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