Trail Blazers centre Plumlee bullish over play-off chances


Portland Trail Blazers centre Mason Plumlee is confident his team can make an impact in the NBA play-offs, having surprised many this season.

Plumlee arrived from the Brooklyn Nets at the start of the season and few expected the Trail Blazers to be vying for a spot in the post-season, but that is exactly what they are doing.

Despite the departures of LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs), Nicolas Batum (Charlotte Hornets) and Robin Lopez (New York Knicks), the Trail Blazers are sixth in the Western Conference and preparing for a play-off run.

"Our focus for the entire season has been to get better each day, and to improve in every area of the game," Plumlee told NBA Australia.

"If we have an issue, we'll address it whenever that may come up, but what has worked for us so far has been our day-to-day approach.

"It has really made this season a lot of fun for us as players, and that's not going to change now, man.

"We expect to be a better team tomorrow, and we expect to be better by the time the play-offs come round. We expect to go into the play-offs and win games."

Portland's form this season has been thanks in part to Damian Lillard.

Lillard is averaging 26.1 points and 6.9 assists, while the 25-year-old guard has posted more than 40 points in a game on four occasions, including 51 against the Golden State Warriors last month.

"The neatest thing about Damian is that he's not the loudest, so when he does speak, everyone listens to what he's got to say," Plumlee added of Lillard's presence in the locker room.

"Obviously, he has the respect of the locker room because of the way he carries himself. He leads by example on the court, and off the court, too.

"Any time you go out there and lead by example, you instantly gain the respect of the locker room."