NBA: Damian Lillard fires 40, Blazers blitz LeBron-less Lakers | Inquirer Sports
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NBA: Damian Lillard fires 40, Blazers blitz LeBron-less Lakers

/ 01:54 PM February 14, 2023

Damian Lillard Blazers NBA

Dennis Schroder #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers defends against Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers during the first quarter at Moda Center on February 13, 2023 in Portland, Oregon. Amanda Loman/Getty Images/AFP

Damian Lillard scored 30 of his 40 points in the first half to help the Portland Trail Blazers roll to an easy 127-115 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night.

Lillard drained eight 3-pointers while reaching the 40-point mark for the 11th time season. He also had six rebounds and five assists as Portland won for the seventh time in its past 11 games.

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LeBron James (sore left ankle) sat out his third consecutive game for the Lakers. Los Angeles is hopeful that the newly crowned all-time NBA scorer king can play Wednesday against the visiting New Orleans Pelicans.

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Anthony Davis paced the Lakers with 19 points, 20 rebounds and three blocked shots. Los Angeles has dropped six of its past nine games and stands six games below .500 with just 24 regular-season games remaining.

Lillard has scored 30 or more points in 15 of the past 19 games.

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Portland made 23 3-pointers (out of 47 attempts) to make it a three-way tie for second-best output in franchise history. The Trail Blazers made 24 against the Charlotte Hornets on March 1, 2021. Overall, Portland shot 47.4 percent from the field on Monday.

Shaedon Sharpe scored 15 points off the bench for Portland while Anfernee Simons and Matisse Thybulle added 14 apiece. Nassir Little had 11 points as the Trail Blazers gained a split of the four-game season series with Los Angeles.

Malik Beasley scored a team-high 22 points off the bench for the Lakers. D’Angelo Russell added 16 points, Troy Brown Jr. had 13 and Austin Reaves tallied 10 for Los Angeles, which made 44.2 percent of its field-goal attempts and was 12 of 37 from behind the arc.

Portland played without Jerami Grant (concussion).

The Trail Blazers were 10 of 14 from 3-point range in the opening quarter while taking a 34-19 lead. The Lakers were 1 of 10 from behind the arc in the period.

Lillard exploded for 24 second-quarter points while sinking six treys. One of his 3-pointers pushed the lead over 20 for the first time at 51-30 with 6:36 left in the half.

Lillard made two 3-pointers in the final minute of the half while helping Portland build a 65-46 edge.

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Los Angeles shot 61.9 percent from the field in the third quarter and still couldn’t dent its large deficit. The Lakers trailed 101-79 entering the final stanza.

Lillard reached 40 on a driving hoop to make it 113-89 with 7:40 remaining. He exited the game 38 seconds later, and Los Angeles cut into the margin in the final minutes.

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