Damian Lillard has taken his game to another level with the absence of Cj McCollum. He finished with 33 points, 12 assists, and 5 rebounds to lead the Blazers to a 126-118 win over the Dallas Mavericks. Lillard was extremely efficient tonight, scoring those 33 points on only 18 shots, shooting 6-12 from the 3-point line and 9-10 from the free throw line.
The game was never really in doubt, as Portland jumped out to a 9 point lead after the 1st quarter, and grew that lead to 18 points heading into the 4th. Both big men, Jusuf Nurkic and Enes Kanter dominated tonight. Nurkic finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds while Kanter added 14 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. The bench unit once again stepped up tonight in the absence of McCollum, they combined for 51 points in the win.
It was a good night to be a Blazer fan as the Thunder, Spurs, and Rockets all lost. With the win the Blazers improve to 44-27 on the year just a half game back of Houston for the 3 seed. Right now only a half game separates the 5-8 seed in the west as all those teams either have a 42-29 or 42-30 record. Up next for Portland, they take on the Detroit Pistons Saturday night in the Moda Center.