Portlands New Star
Ha Seung-jin was in top form in the Trailblazers final game of the regular season. On April 21, during the Lakers-Trailblazers game at the Rose Garden in Portland, Ha Seung-jin scored a surprising 13 points, including three dunks, five assists and one steal during the 24 minutes he played. This was quite remarkable considering his record of 0.7 rebounds and 0.7 points in the past 18 games, averaging 4.4 minutes a game. The fact that he scored 6 out of 7 field goals was also encouraging.
Ha Seung-jin replaced Shareef Abdur-Rahim with 5:30 left in the first quarter. At the 7:53 mark, he dunked the ball with an assist from Ben Patterson. Another slam for Ha came at the end of the third quarter.
About five minutes into the fourth quarter with the score 93-92 Blazers, Ha Seung-jin dunked again and made two free throws, widening Portlands lead, 96-92, and then scored with a hook shot with 1:45 left in the game, helping his team clinch the victory, 106-103.
The NBA website stated that the Portland Trailblazers failed to make it into the playoffs with the teams worst record in 32 years (27-55), but that rookies Ha Seung-jin and Travis Outlaw (20 points) brought hope to the team for next season with their performance in the last game.
The NBA officially ended its regular season with all 16 teams in place for the playoffs. The conference quarterfinals will start on April 24 in a best of seven series.
The LA Lakers, who in the past five years made it to the finals four times, missed the playoffs for the first time in 11 years. Last years first place team in the Western Conference, the Minnesota Timberwolves, also did not get a place in the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the Miami Heat, with former leader of the Lakers Shaquille ONeal on their team this year, is entering into the playoffs as the first place team in the Eastern Conference.
Allen Iverson, the scoring machine, won the scoring title with 30.9 points per game. The last time he won the scoring title was in the 2001-2002 season.