Blazers surging to finish line
Portland still battling for fifth in West
Damian Lillard had 32 points and nine assists and Enes Kanter had 18 points and 13 rebounds, leading the Portland Trail Blazers to a 141-105 rout of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
Lillard scored 16 points in the first quarter and 14 points in the third as Portland scored its highest point total of the season and moved bqack to within one-half game of the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers for fifth place in the West.
The Trail Blazers are seventh and would be the top seed in the play-in tournament, but could finish as high as fifth with six games remaining, including Friday at home against the Lakers.
“We’re playing our best at the right time,” Lillard said afterwards. “We’ve had our ups and downs, but the feeling around our team is much better now. We were kind of searching for a while, but everything just clicked and came together.”
Carmelo Anthony added 16 points off the bench, Jusuf Nurkic had 15 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks, and Canton, Ohio, native CJ McCollum scored 10.
“Knowing where we are in the standings, I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “With the tiebreakers that are involved, it’s going to be a pretty interesting end of the season.”
Portland has won five of its last six heading into the final week of the season. The Blazers play three of the top four teams in the West: Utah, Phoenix and Denver, in the final three games.