With Damian Lillard back on the court, the Portland Trail Blazers turned in their second victory of the New Year, winning a neck-and-neck battle with the Los Angeles Lakers 118-109. Once again, it was CJ McCollum who led the charge with a game-high 27 points. Lillard finished the game with a 21-point 10-assist double-double.
CJ McCollum has scored 105 points in the past three games (35.0 ppg) on 40-for-77 FG (51.9%).— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) January 6, 2017
The Trail Blazers have now won nine straight games vs. the Lakers, Portland’s longest winning streak vs. the Lakers in series history.— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) January 6, 2017
Trail Blazers center Mason Plumlee emphasized urgency in his post-game interview, appreciating Lillard’s return to action and stressing that every win is important.
Kerry Eggers of The Portland Tribune acknowledged the importance of Evan Turner in the late-game:
Evan Turner scored 15 of his season-high 20 points in the fourth quarter for the Blazers, including 10 in a row with the game on the line midway through the final period. The reserve forward was 5 for 6 from the field and 5 for 6 at the foul line, playing the last 12 minutes to near perfection.
As did Joe Freeman of The Oregonian:
Turner certainly did his part to help the Blazers. Before they took over down the stretch, he kept them within striking distance, scoring 10 consecutive Blazers points during one impressive stretch of the fourth quarter. He finished with a season-high 20 points on 7 of 11 shooting, doing all of his damage in the second half.
"He was huge," Lillard said of Turner. "Down the stretch, when it was back-and-forth, a one-point game, he was hitting midrange pull-ups, getting to his spots on the floor. He was the general out there and we were able to be off the ball, attract the defense, and allow him to get in there and do what he does. I thought he did a great job down the stretch."
The Trail Blazers (16-22) need to continue firing on all cylinders to turn this well-earned win into the start of a streak, as they host the Detroit Pistons (17-21) on Saturday.
Blazer’s Edge Night 2017
Want to assist us in sending 2,000+ underprivileged Portland-area kids to a Trail Blazers game this spring? Check out Blazer’s Edge Night 2017 for information on how to get involved, and help spread the word!