Instant Analysis: Damian Lillard stays hot, Blazers blow past Spurs

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Instant Analysis: Damian Lillard stays hot, Blazers blow past Spurs originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

It was a tale of two teams on two different paths. 

The Trail Blazers, winners of six of the last seven games, vaulted into the No. 6 seed following a win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night. The San Antonio Spurs had dropped five-straight games until Friday when they came away with a 113-104 victory on the road vs. Sacramento. As the 10-seed in the West, the Spurs need every win they can get to keep their chances of making the play-in postseason tournament.

On Saturday in Portland, however, one team wanted it more than the other.

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What Happened: 

The Blazers got out to a 0-9 start before making their first basket at the 9:40 mark of the first quarter. As the Moda Center crowd woke up, so did the home team. Despite shooting 8-28 from the field in the opening quarter, Portland took a 27-26 lead in large part to Damian Lillard making it to the line eight times in the first 12 minutes. He was a perfect 8-8 from the charity stripe and led the Blazers with 10 points after one.

In the second quarter, Portland began heating up from distance. Lillard hit back-to-back-to-back threes with 3:45 left before halftime while CJ McCollum and Anfernee Simons added another 9 points from distance for Portland. The Blazers took a 57-47 lead over the Spurs at halftime. Lillard led the Blazers with 21 points while DeMar DeRozan added 16 points for San Antonio.

All momentum was lost for the Spurs in the closing two quarters. Portland piled onto its score with Lillard & Jusuf Nurkic connecting in the third quarter and the CJ McCollum and Norman Powell takeover in the fourth.

The Blazers downed the Spurs, 124-102, for their third-consecutive victory and seventh win in the last eight games. 

FINAL BOX SCORE: Trail Blazers 124 Spurs 102  

The Good: 

The Blazers big three of Damian Lillard, Jusuf Nurkic and CJ McCollum combined for 74 of Portland's 124 points. Norman Powell added 18 points while Anfernee Simons came off the bench for 9 points. 

The Bad: 

Robert Covington struggled again on Saturday night. After scoring just three points and eight rebounds in 38 minutes of play vs. the Lakers, Covington recorded just three points (1-5 FG, 1-4 3PT) and 11 rebounds against the Spurs.

The Highlight:

When it rains, it pours in Rip City. In the second quarter, the clock struck Lillard time as he hit back-to-back-to-back 3s. 

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The Stat: 

With his eighth-made field goal of the game, CJ McCollum passed Mychal Thompson (3777) on the Trail Blazers' all-time list with 3,778 career field goals made. 

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Next up:

Portland (39-29) will get a night off before hosting the Houston Rockets (16-52) on Monday at Moda Center. Tip-off for Monday’s game is set for 7:00 p.m. PT on NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers.