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Blazers down Pelicans to book playoff spot

Blazers down Pelicans to book playoff spot

PLAYOFFS: Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) reaches in on Portland Trail Blazers forward Thomas Robinson (41) during the first quarter of the game at Moda Center. Photo: Reuters/Steve Dykes

(Reuters) – The Portland Trail Blazers clinched a berth in the NBA playoffs for the first time in three years on Sunday with a 100-94 home court win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and 18 rebounds, and Wesley Matthews added 21 for the Blazers, who had not reached the playoffs since 2011.

Portland, who are fifth in the Western Conference with a 50-28 record, finished near the bottom of the standings the previous two campaigns before breaking out this season.

Behind second-year coach Terry Stotts, and the emergence of last year’s Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard, the Blazers have emerged as a Western Conference factor.

(Reporting Jahmal Corner; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)

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FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2014, file photo, Amanda Knox prepares to leave the set following a television interview in New York. Knox is engaged to Colin Sutherland, a musician who recently moved to Seattle from New York, a person close to the Knox family confirmed for The Associated Press. Knox’s murder conviction in the 2007 stabbing of her roommate has been reinstated by an Italian court, but the former college exchange student maintains her innocence and vows she won’t willingly go back to Italy. Both Knox and Sutherland are 27. No wedding date had been set.

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