LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – After Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard got up and hit a 3-pointer as he was fouled to put Portland ahead by two with 2:53 remaining in the fourth quarter of Sunday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers, he was turned and looked at the scoreboard.
“I just remember looking up there because I wanted to get to the point where we took the lead and then just hold the lead instead of playing from behind. Because it̵7;s uncomfortable to be like, ‘You’re down two. If they score, they can go to 5 if they make a hit. ‘
“So I just looked there like, ‘OK, now let’s get away from them. Let’s close the game. Let’s stop confusing with our season.” That’s really what I was thinking when I looked there. Like, ‘Okay. Let’s do this. ‘ “
Lillard went on to do just that. After losing two free throws and a potential 3-pointer to the game in the final 20 seconds of Saturday’s loss to the LA Clippers, he responded by scoring 51 points while adding seven assists in 40 minutes to empower the Blazers in a win 124-121 over the Sixers inside the NBA bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort.
With the victory, Portland moved within half a game of the Memphis Grizzlies – who lost to the Toronto Raptors earlier Sunday – for eighth place in the Western Conference and eliminated the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings – both lost Sunday – by squabble over a place in the first league play-off tournament.
He demanded a significant fourth-quarter extension as Portland could suffer a disappointing loss to an insatiable opponent for a second day in a row. After losing to the Clippers with Kawhi Leonard resting for the entire match and Paul George on the bench in moments of death, the Sixers – already without star Ben Simmons due to a left knee injury – lost Joel Embiid six minutes into the game due to i an injury to the left foot.
However, the Blazers saw their offense grow stagnant thanks to tired legs in the second half, and the Sixers – led by 28 points by Josh Richardson – made a push and took a 114-108 lead on a 3-point Richardson with 4:23 remaining.
Portland responded with 12 unanswered points over the next two minutes – covered by seven straight points from Lillard in and – a 3-pointers and an attractive triple in the other possession – that gave the Blazers the lead for good and allowed Lillard will jump again from Saturday’s disappointment.
“I do not think anyone thinks anything less of Dame because he missed free kicks,” said Blazers coach Terry Stotts. “Tonight, he showed his determination and will that he shows throughout his career.
“I don’t think anyone was worried about how he was going to go out and play tonight.”
The same can be said for center Jusuf Nurkic, who gave the Blazers 15 points and six rebounds in 29 minutes as he played in the first Blizzard games in which he has participated since his return from a formidable injury. foot he suffered last season.
“I was not prepared for the back-to-back,” said Nurkic, who said he decided to play after Hassan Whiteside was sent off for a second straight game due to a hip injury. “After this loss, I could not afford not to play. So I tried to fight, and I am happy we won this. We know our season is on the line now, and we can no longer afford to lose.”
The Blazers have two games left: Tuesday against the Dallas Mavericks and Thursday against the Brooklyn Nets. If Portland wins both, a place in the play-off tournament is guaranteed, which starts at 2:30 pm Saturday on ABC.
Thanks to Lillard’s heroism, he was both able to erase Saturday’s disappointment and move Portland one win closer to achieving the goal of doing something of that opportunity by making the play-off, a goal Lillard set for the Blazers before to Arrive in Florida |
“After the game, I got irritated with myself,” Lillard said. “I was irritated. But it’s what it is. I talked to one of my best friends and he was like,” It happened for a reason. You’ve had a lot of great moments, and you usually come out on top … You have to wait for there to be some kind of balance. You have to expect that sometimes you will have to respond to some kind of disaster. “
“I had a chance to get back to court today, so I transferred from it.”
A small part of the win was Carmelo Anthony, one of the best scorers in NBA history, surpassing John Havlicek and Paul Pierce and in 15th place in the NBA all-time goals list. Anthony said it is not something he will celebrate now as Portland fights for a play off point and NBA players are pushing for an end to racial inequality and the promotion of social justice.
“Well, first of all, it ‘s an honor, and I’m blessed to still be able to do it,” Anthony said postgame. “To reach that top 15 places, I would not consider it good. Some brilliant there.
“[But] it is very difficult to celebrate this at the moment. I appreciate it … it is a great historical moment. I do not want to minimize it. [But] “It’s very difficult to talk about it and talk about it when you’re still in this war because there ‘s so much we have to achieve.”