Damian Lillard wanted fans in the Moda Center. He got his wish, and he made it worth the price of admission.
Portland’s All-Star put up a game-high 38 points on 18 shots; it’s his fifth straight game against the Lakers with at least 30 points. Lillard hit 12 of his 18 attempts including 5-of-9 from deep. He also made all nine free throw attempts.
The Trail Blazers (38-29) needed the win to earn the head-to-head (H2H) tiebreaker over Los Angeles in case the teams end up with the same record when the season ends in just over a week. Portland also has H2H tiebreaker against Dallas.
Portland’s win also moves them into the sixth spot out West, which means they avoid the No. 7 seed. Remember, seeds 7-10 end up in the play-in tournament. So, for now, the Trail Blazers are in a good place.
Overall, the game wasn’t pretty, and fans in the arena (and on social media) let the referees have it. CJ McCollum and Norman Powell scored when the Blazers needed to stop the bleeding, and when the Lakers were doubling Lillard.
McCollum had 21 points, while Powell finished with 19 points. We can’t forget Jusuf Nurkic; the Bosnian Beast had a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds, he also had five assists.
Anthony Davis looked healthy despite leaving the Lakers (37-30) game on Thursday against the Clippers with back spasms. Davis led Los Angeles with 36 points against the Blazers.
Up next, Portland squares off with San Antonio on Saturday night — tip-off at 7 p.m. PT — as the second night of a back-to-back inside the Moda Center.