What was already a big-game for the Trail Blazers became a must-win by game time.
Already in the thick of the hunt for the final Western Conference playoff spot, Portland saw the Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs win and the Memphis Grizzlies lose, which put their destiny firmly in their hands. Since the Trail Blazers have one more game than the aforementioned teams on the schedule, going 2-0 would give them the 8th seed and the advantage in a play-in scenario.
And what a game it was, the Trail Blazers mounted yet another 4th quarter comeback to drop Dallas 134-131.
But the Mavericks wouldn’t make it easy. Kristaps Porzingis was able to take advantage of slow defensive rotations en route to 36 points and seven three-pointers. Luka Doncic chipped in 25 points, eight rebounds, and 10 assists.
Damian Lillard wouldn’t be denied, however. He became the first Trail Blazer to notch back-to-back 50 point performances, this time with a career-high tying 61 points, including 22 in the fourth quarter. In a game that saw CJ McCollum limp to eight points on 2-14 shooting, Lillard put the team on his back and willed them to victory.
The Trail Blazers control their own destiny now. Beat Brooklyn on Thursday and they’re the eight-seed. Lose and fall mercy to multiple play-in possibilities.
It’s coming down to the wire. Don’t miss that game.