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Portland's season is epitomized by Lillard's huge 3: NBA's surprising success story

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    Portland Trail Blazers' LaMarcus Aldridge walks off the court following the team's loss in Game 5 of a Western Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 104-82. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (The Associated Press)

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    Portland Trail Blazers' Robin Lopez, right, and San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan, left, battle under the boards in the second half during Game 3 of a Western Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, May 10, 2014, in Portland, Ore. The Spurs won 118-103. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (The Associated Press)

Damian Lillard provided the emblematic moment for the Trail Blazers' resurgence, a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that propelled Portland into the second round of the playoffs for the first time in 14 seasons.

Following the 3 against the Houston Rockets, which gave the Blazers a 4-2 series victory, Lillard grabbed the public address microphone at courtside and screamed "Rip City!"

The Blazers were considered an iffy pick to even get to the playoffs, let alone make it past the first round. But a couple of key acquisitions and maturation in its star players made Portland one of the most promising teams in the NBA.

Portland won 54 games and returned to the playoffs after a two-year absence.