The Portland Trail Blazers welcomed back Damian Lillard and recovered from a rocky second quarter to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 118-109 Thursday night at the Moda Center. The Blazer star hardly missed a beat, putting up a double-double in his return, but it was the Evan Turner and the Blazers’ bench that came through down the stretch to seal the victory.
The Blazers got off to a good start, and even led by five points after the opening period behind Mason Plumlee and Damian Lillard, who looked sharp after missing five games with a sprained ankle. Lillard hit all four of his shots for 10 points and Plumlee was relentless getting to the rim, throwing down a heap of early dunks as Portland looked to be in control.
But the second quarter belonged entirely to the road team, who blitzed the Blazers for 38 points on mostly outside jumpers as the Lakers suddenly caught fire. Jordan Clarkson had 13 points off the bench, including three treys as Los Angeles rattled off a 15-0 run over a 3+ minute stretch where they pulled ahead by as many as 11 points. Some calming buckets from Lillard and C.J. McCollum helped restore a bit of order heading into the locker room, but Portland clearly had their work cut out for them.
Portland Trail Blazers 53, Los Angeles Lakers 62
The Blazers showed some resiliency in the third, scrapping back with a boost from the bench - Allen Crabbe found his stroke with two triples and Evan Turner went from a scoreless first half to at times carrying the offensive load for Portland during an inspired comeback.
Turner was a force down the stretch, scoring 14 of his season-high 20 points in the fourth quarter as the Blazers dominated the stretch run. McCollum added nine of his own, including a timely three with just over four minutes remaining which gave Portland a breathable four-point cushion at 107-103. Los Angeles had mostly cooled off and didn’t threaten much the rest of the way.
The Blazers will get a day’s rest before hosting the Detroit Pistons Saturday night at the Moda Center - tip is set for 7 p.m. But stay tuned for extended analysis of tonight’s win by Eric Griffith.
Blazer’s Edge Night 2017
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-- Ryan Rosback | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter