Damian Lillard’s 34 powers Trail Blazers past Rockets
Damian Lillard scored 28 of his 34 points in the second half and finished with nine rebounds and six assists to help the Portland Trail Blazers notch a 140-129 victory over the visiting Houston Rockets on Monday night.
CJ McCollum and Norman Powell added 28 points apiece as Portland (40-29) won its fourth straight game and prevailed for the eighth time in its past nine. Jusuf Nurkic added 22 points and Derrick Jones Jr. had 11 for Portland.
Kelly Olynyk registered 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists and D.J. Augustin scored a season-high 21 points as NBA-worst Houston (16-53) dropped its sixth straight contest and 43rd in its past 48.
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Armoni Brooks and Khyri Thomas added 18 points apiece for the Rockets, and Kenyon Martin Jr. had 15 points and nine rebounds.
The Trail Blazers trail the fifth-place Dallas Mavericks (40-28) by a half-game in the Western Conference race. Portland moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the seventh-place Los Angeles Lakers (38-30) in the battle to finish sixth and avoid the play-in round.
The victory was Terry Stotts’ 400th as Portland’s coach.
Carmelo Anthony (ankle) sat out for the Trail Blazers, and Christian Wood (ankle) missed the game for Houston.
Portland made 12 3-point baskets in the opening stanza to match an NBA record for a quarter. Overall, the Trail Blazers were 18 of 40 from long range (45 percent) while shooting 51.1 percent from the field.
Cameron Oliver scored 13 points and Jae’Sean Tate added 12 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for Houston, which made 49.4 percent of its field-goal attempts and hit 18 of 38 (47.4 percent) from behind the arc.
The Trail Blazers set a franchise record for points in a quarter with 50 in the opening period. McCollum hit all five of his 3-point attempts in the quarter while scoring 21, and the period ended with Portland leading by 17.
McCollum had 26 at the break as the Trail Blazers led 79-63.
The Rockets pulled within seven in the middle of the third quarter. However, Lillard completed his 20-point third period with a trey with 8.6 seconds remaining to give Portland a 111-101 advantage entering the final stanza.
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