Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge shine in Blazers 3OT win over Spurs

(AP Photo/Darren Abate)

(AP Photo/Darren Abate)

Behind superstar performances from Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge, the Portland Trail Blazers outlasted the San Antonio Spurs 127-117 in triple-overtime.

Lillard was spectacular again for the Blazers. He scored a career-high 43 points, dished six assists and hit multiple clutch shots and a game-saving block on San Antonio’s Danny Green on his attempt to win the game in regulation. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 32 points but also had 16 rebounds, a career-high five steals and two blocks while having to anchor Portland’s defense all night in 48 minutes.

There were so many big plays in this game it’s hard to remember them all. Lillard’s were certainly the most memorable and for the second game in a row, he carried more of the scoring load while Aldridge banged around more in the post. At least the last two games, that’s how Portland’s been making up for not having Lopez. Riding Lillard’s scoring and more of Aldridge banging in the middle and protecting the rim.

Aldridge had a huge rebound in the first overtime on a Wesley Matthews airball. Matthews then made the extra pass on the same possession to Lillard who ended up tying the game.


Lillard’s offensive play was what many will remember from this game. His attacks at the rim and clutch 3-point shooting were what we’ve come to expect.


Let’s just look at Damian Lillard’s play in overtime games over his career.

After tonight, in 14 career overtime games, Damian Lillard is 29-for-41 (71 percent) from the field and 10-for-18 (55 percent) from the 3-point line according to NBA.com’s database.  In his first three seasons, Lillard has been nothing but money in overtime and tonight was no different. He scored 16 of his 43 points in the overtime period on just seven-of-11 (64 percent) shooting.

Of course stars don’t shine without their backdrop and the supporting cast stepped up in big ways. Some of those were unexpected. Dorell Wright came off the bench cold. It looked like his athleticism had slipped earlier in the season and that he was a step slow. He slowed down at the end but he was four-of-five from the 3-point line and injected life into Portland’s second unit on a night when CJ McCollum and Allen Crabbe went a combined 0-for-eight from the field.

And then there was Steve Blake who played 35 minutes, scored 10 points, five rebounds and four assists. He also hit a 3-pointer in double-overtime which eventually forced triple-overtime.

For the second time in two games, the Spurs were taken to triple-overtime on their home court. And for the second time in two games, they lost to a younger challenger to the Western Conference throne. They were without Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard and Popovich was making hockey-style substitutions by swapping five-man units.

It was an interesting game but boy was it competitive. The Blazers got off to a slow start, scoring only 17 points in the first quarter. The Spurs looked like they could get anything they wanted but they couldn’t buy a bucket and were only up by three after the opening quarter, shooting 38 percent.

The Spurs then looked like they were going to take over the game when they started to hit some of their shots and take their lead to 11. But Steve Blake came in and calmed things down and Portland got their rhythm back. It was triple-OT but the Blazers may go back to more small ball.

Their line-up with Dorell Wright at power forward was probably Portland’s best all night long. The line-up of Wright, Aldridge, Blake, Matthews and Lillard was a plus-8 in just six minutes. They put up eight 3-point attempts in those minutes according to NBA.com.

When Batum comes back, you’ll have to wonder whether the Blazers go back to more small ball with Aldridge in the middle. At least on their bench units.

Full Lillard highlights via YouTube user Dawk Ins.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlzDIxWF7i8&w=560&h=315]



Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on ESPN.com's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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