The Portland Trail Blazers bounced off an ugly loss in Memphis on Wednesday night and drove to the Moda Center on Friday for a 105-96 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Blazers (47-29) went with a chance to win a playoff spot with a win and a loss from Denver or Minnesota – both won – but reinforced their grip on the third seed and built a three-game Advance in fourth place San Antonio Spurs (44-32) with six remaining games.
Portland broke the game with an entertaining second quarter containing high doses of dunks from Zach Collins and Ed Davis. Portland outperformed Los Angeles 38-26 in the second frame, highlighted by a new career high for Collins.
The Blazers rookie scored 1
"I thought the guys who were in the game (in the second quarter) shared the ball really well, played with a lot of energy on both ends, taking advantage of the opportunities that were there, especially at the offensive end" Blazers coach Terry Stotts said after the game. "I thought Ed and Zach would complement each other well during this track, and much of that was because we played a good defense and a good passing game."
Portland even scored 23 points on Friday night and matched its season well with 30 assists in just 10 turnovers.
The Blazers have now won 16 of their last 19 games and are 19-3 in their last 22 home games.
Jusuf Nurkic was phenomenal for the Blazers, winning his 23rd double-double of the season with 21 points and 12 rebounds. The Bosnian Beast added four blocks, three assists and two steals as she shot 9 out of 17.
Damian Lillard returned after a game loss with a strong all-round performance and finished with 17 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds.
CJ McCollum added 13 points and Evan Turner 12 points, while Al-Farouq Aminu took 11 rebounds with seven points.
Collins finished the bench with 15 points, four assists, two rebounds and one block in 21 minutes.
Lou Williams led 23 clippers in the double-digit range of five clippers.
It was an emotional 24 hours for Lillard, who welcomed the birth of his first child, Damian Jr., on Thursday morning, which he named one of his highest moments of life.
"I do not think there really is a way to describe it," Lillard told the assembled media before the game. "It's a different level, a different kind of excitement, it was my son who looked into my eyes, it was different, I've never felt anything like it."
The injury error struck again as Davis gave in after falling on his right ankle, rebounding towards the end of the third quarter and not returning to the game. The Blazers said the x-rays came back negative.
Lillard's franchise record for consecutive free throws ended on Friday at 64, after sharing a pair in the first quarter. 19659002] CJ'S ASSIST
McCollum was in foreplay for the NBA Cares Community Assist Award for the month of February for his work with the Boys & Girls Club of the Portland Metro Area through his journalistic CJ & # 39; s Press Pass awarded program.
Portland closes its mini-two-game home stand against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday at 6pm.
– Sean Meagher