PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – CJ McCollum scored 32 points, Damian Lillard had 31, and the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Dallas Mavericks 125-119 on Friday night.
The all-stars for each team, Lillard and Luka Doncic (38 points, nine rebounds, eight assists) both had great nights. But Lillard had a lot more help from his co-star when Kristaps Porzingis finished with just 11 points and didn’t score a field goal until the early third quarter.
At 4:25 in the second quarter, Porzingis was called for a technical foul after arguing a phone call with the officers. Seconds later, Doncic was also classified as a technical foul. Lillard made both technical free throws and the blazers led 64-60 at halftime.
Lillard collided with two Mavericks players at 2:37 in the third quarter, stayed on the ground and grabbed his left knee for a few minutes but stayed in the game.
The Mavericks led by up to eight in the fourth quarter before Rodney Hood’s 3-hand cut the Mavericks lead by 4:26 to 110-109.
A dunk by Carmelo Anthony with 4:04 left took the lead back for the Blazer. Lillard’s Springer, 3:23 minutes ahead, brought Portland to 113-110, and he followed with a layup for a five point lead.
Doncic’s Floater finished Portland’s 9-0 run 115-12, 2:36, but McCollum isolated himself from Porzingis and hit a 3-pointer to put Portland in the lead 1:17.
Blazer: After two wins, including a 50-point game earlier this week, excitement for Lillard as an MVP candidate is growing. When the topic of comparing Lillard to previous greats came up, Maverick’s trainer Rick Carlisle offered that Portland’s star would be a first of its kind. « He’s a pioneer, » said Carlisle. “A lot of people will compare him to Steph Curry, I see him as different. Lillard really perfected the long 3 point shot from dribbling. It wasn’t long ago that a 3-point shot on the pitch was considered the main sin in this league. He’s one of the people who got every team to work on it in skill development. «
Mavericks: The Mavs haven’t had a crucial player in the past few weeks as Willie Cauley-Stein missed the game due to the league’s health and safety protocols. Carlisle told reporters that Cauley-Stein may have been exposed to the coronavirus and is currently in quarantine for an « unspecified » period.
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