Next Year's Risers

Next Year's Risers
Adam Levitan identifies talented players likely to get a bump in minutes next season, such as Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo.
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LaMarcus Aldridge set a Blazers franchise record with 46 points on Sunday, adding 18 rebounds, two assists and two blocks in a thrilling OT road victory in Game 1.

Aldridge averaged 26.5 points and 15.5 rebounds vs. the Rockets this season and he clearly has their number, as neither Terrence Jones nor Dwight Howard could contain him defensively. He made 17-of-30 FGs and 10-of-13 FTs and even sank both of his 3-point attempts, despite having made just three during the entire regular season. The Rockets' official Twitter account summed things up late in the game, saying, "We finally stopped LaMarcus Aldridge. He fouled out."
Apr 21 - 1:22 AM

Mo Williams scored three points on 1-of-6 shooting in Sunday's comeback, as the Blazers won in OT despite their bench combining for seven points on 14.3 percent shooting.

Portland's bench averaged a league-low 24.7 points per game during the regular season, so the lack of production is nothing new, but to come back in the series they'll need to get some production from Williams, Thomas Robinson, Dorell Wright and Joel Freeland.
Apr 21 - 1:21 AM

Damian Lillard was kneed in the thigh by Dwight Howard on Sunday, but he kept playing and finished with 31 points, nine rebounds and five assists in his first NBA playoff game.

Lillard didn't seem bothered by the injury, catching fire down the stretch and sinking a clutch 3-pointer to tie the game with 29 seconds remaining, en route to a thrilling OT victory. He'll probably be stiff and sore in the morning but with Game 2 scheduled for Wednesday the Blazers' dynamic second-year PG should be ready to go.
Apr 21 - 1:20 AM

Chandler Parsons made 10-of-21 shots including three 3-pointers to score 24 points in Sunday's overtime loss to Portland.

The Rockets were led by Parsons, James Harden (27 points) Dwight Howard (27 points) and an almost manic effort from Patrick Beverley, whose nine points and six rebounds are a poor reflection of his impact on Game 1. The Rockets will look to regroup and even the series in Game 2 on Wednesday.
Apr 21 - 1:19 AM

Terrence Jones had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds in the Rockets' heart-breaking OT loss in Houston on Sunday.

Jones made 6-of-10 FGs while chipping in two assists and two blocks but he struggled defensively in a tough matchup vs. LaMarcus Aldridge, who blew up for 46 points in the road win. Rockets coach Kevin McHale used an eight-man rotation and gave DNP-CDs to both Donatas Motiejunas and Omri Casspi.
Apr 21 - 1:18 AM

Robin Lopez struggled in his matchup with Dwight Howard on Sunday, posting six points on 2-of-7 shooting with eight rebounds and one block.

The Blazers didn't give Lopez any help in the post defensively and Dwight made them pay, though Portland's decision to intentionally foul Howard led to four straight missed FTs and turned the momentum around with five minutes remaining. Lopez had a +/- rating of -15, which was easily the worst of any player, and it will be interesting to see if Portland alters their defensive approach on Wednesday.
Apr 21 - 1:17 AM

Trevor Booker shifted to the bench and had three points, six rebounds and one assist in his new role behind Nene on Sunday.

Booker logged 19 minutes which isn't too much lower than the 25 per game he averaged as a starter this season. He made only 1-of-3 shots and struggled against the length of Chicago's frontcourt, but coach Randy Wittman seems ready to ride Booker ahead of Drew Gooden (three minutes) and Al Harrington (two minutes).
Apr 20 - 11:30 PM

Nene started on Sunday for the first time since spraining his MCL in late February, finishing the Wizards' Game 1 victory with 24 points on 11-of-17 shooting, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block.

Nene had insisted on playing no more than 20 minutes once he returned from his injury, but he logged 35 minutes on Sunday and his conditioning didn't seem to be a problem. He feasted on the Bulls with a sequence of wide open mid-range jumpers and he was the key to stealing home court advantage. That's no big surprise since the Wizards had a 30-23 record with Nene in the lineup this season, but just 14-15 without him.
Apr 20 - 9:56 PM
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