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Hot-then-cool Trail Blazers are back to warm playoff feeling
Hot-then-cool Trail Blazers are back to warm playoff feeling

The Portland Trail Blazers expected to make the playoffs. They never envisioned practically wrapping up a spot by the day after Christmas. A 24-5 start gave them the best record in the NBA and made them the league's biggest marvel. "I would lie," center Robin Lopez admitted this week, "if I said the beginning of the season didn't surprise me." The next three months would be startling in a different sort of way. The Blazers have gone 25-23 since their world-beater days, though they're on the verge of clinching their first playoff berth since 2011 and still have a chance to secure home-court advantage in the first round. Their prolonged struggles...

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