Blazers edge Thunder behind Lillard's 36 points, 13 assists
FILE - PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 8: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers is seen ;dtg ;against the Utah Jazzon April 8, 2017 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
By Nick Daschel, Associated Press
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard had 36 points and 13 assists, Jusuf Nurkic added 25 points and the Portland Trail Blazers held off the Oklahoma City Thunder 103-99 on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time).
Lillard, scoring at least 30 points in his fourth consecutive game, scored on a driving layup with 29.5 seconds to give the Blazers a 98-94 lead that the Thunder were unable to overcome.
Nurkic hit 11-of-15 shots and grabbed eight rebounds for Portland (6-4). C.J. McCollum made six three-pointers and scored 22 points for the Blazers, who hit 50 percent from the floor (37-of-74).
Paul George topped the Thunder with 27 points. Russell Westbrook had 25 points and nine assists.
Oklahoma City (4-5) played much of the second half without Carmelo Anthony, who had 15 points and six rebounds. Anthony was ejected from the game with 4:26 left in the third quarter following a flagrant foul. Driving to the basket, Anthony elbowed the chin of Nurkic, who collapsed and lay on the floor for more than a minute.
Portland was beginning to take control of the game before the Anthony ejection, and it only helped fuel the Blazers. Portland separated itself with a 10-0 run to take a 16-point lead. Lillard scored 14 points during the third quarter as the Blazers led 78-67 heading into the fourth.
Portland went scoreless for more than four minutes, and suddenly the Thunder were back in it. Oklahoma City got to 90-88 on two free throws by Westbrook, but consecutive three-pointers by McCollum, and Lillard's layup helped the Blazers maintain the lead. The Thunder's comeback hopes were dashed when, down 98-94 with 20.5 seconds left, Westbrook missed three consecutive free throws.
The game started as an offensive showcase, as the two teams combined to hit 13 of their first 16 shots. The Thunder cooled considerably, though, while Portland shot 58 percent during the first half to take a 50-46 halftime lead.
For a second straight game, the Blazers were without starting forward Al-Farouq Aminu, who sprained his right ankle Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) against Utah.
Thunder: Oklahoma City is 0-4 against Northwest Division foes this season. ... One tradition that continues is Portland fans' booing of Raymond Felton. The Thunder guard was a bust during his one season playing for the Blazers in 2011-12. Felton scored a season-high 15 points.
Blazers: Lillard had seven assists in the first eight minutes . Lillard, who went 15-of-15 from the free throw line, has hit 43 consecutive free throws. ... Nurkic is averaging 24.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists over his past three games.
Thunder: Play at Sacramento on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time).
Blazers: Play host to Memphis on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time).