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PORTLAND, Ore. — There’s not plenty of consensus amongst NBA pundits concerning the Portland Path Blazers, with the group sliding in someplace between No. 10 and No. 14 within the newest batch of NBA energy rankings.

However one factor everybody agrees on is how nicely Shabazz Napier has performed whereas filling in for Damian Lillard, who has missed six of the previous eight video games with numerous proper leg strains.

Napier’s emergence has been a season-lengthy story in Portland. He is averaging profession highs in factors (9.5), rebounds (2.three), steals (1.three), subject-aim proportion (forty eight.7), three-level proportion (forty one.three) and free-throw proportion (eighty three.1) and minutes (20.6). However it’s his play in six video games with out Lillard out (5 begins) that has made the nationwide media concentrate. (Story continues under)


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In 5 begins, Napier has averaged 18.2 factors, 5.four assists, four.eight rebounds and a couple steals in 36 minutes per recreation. He is additionally capturing effectively, making forty seven.eight % of his area objectives, 39.1 % of his three-pointers and eighty four.2 % of his free throws.

Within the one recreation with out Lillard that Napier did not begin, he performed 37 minutes off the bench and completed with 14 factors, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and three steals.

Napier’s manufacturing has helped the Blazers to a four-2 report within the six video games Lillard has missed. The Blazers are on a little bit of a scorching streak, having gained 5 of their previous seven video games.

The Blazers (21-18) are tied for sixth place within the Western Convention with the Denver Nuggets, only a half recreation behind the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder for fifth.

Portland embarks on its most troublesome street journey of the season, beginning Tuesday. In a six-day stretch, Portland performs the Thunder…