PORTLAND — After starting off as one of the hottest teams in the NBA, the Portland Trail Blazers wilted a bit after the All-Star break.
The low point came on March 25 when the Blazers fell 95-85 at Orlando. The loss capped a 4-9 stretch for Portland.
But since then, the Blazers have won nine of their final 10 games and wrapped up the regular season with a five-game winning streak.
“In this league, you’re going to have rough patches,” coach Terry Stotts said. “It’s how you get through them. I was proud of the way we’ve fought through rough times … I thought that it showed our mettle, and you need that going into the playoffs.”
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Portland, the fifth seed in the West, faces the Rockets in the opening round of the playoffs, with Game 1 set for Sunday night in Houston. The Blazers haven’t been to the playoffs since 2011, when they fell in six games to the Mavericks in the first round.
Portland finished the regular season with 54 wins, the team’s most since the 2008-09 season, and bettered their record by 21 wins over last season for the biggest turnaround in franchise history.
• LeBron James’ jersey remains the most popular in the NBA. The league announced the Miami Heat star topped the list of jersey sales for the sixth time.