Lillard’s 50 seals Blazers comeback, Jazz bounce back


Damian Lillard delivered a 50-point performance and led a remarkable fourth quarter comeback as the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 125-124 on Tuesday. . . Lillard drained six three pointers and made 13-of-20 from the field with six rebounds and 10 assists to give the Blazers an improbable victory at Portlands Moda Center Arena. . . The Pelicans looked to be cruising to victory after surging into a 17-point lead with just over six minutes remaining, up 115-98 thanks to big performances from Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson. . . But Lillard then seized control of the contest down the stretch, rattling off 15 points in a 25-7 run for Portland including two ice-cool free throws with 1. 2 seconds remaining to seal the Blazers comeback. . . In the huddles we just kept telling each other that we were the more experienced team, and these are the kind of games were capable of winning, Lillard said afterwards. . . We just stayed the course and showed a lot of resilience. When it seemed it was getting worse, I felt our communication and our trust in each other just kept building. . . Lillards masterpiece leaves the Blazers in sixth place in the Western Conference standings. . . The Portland talisman was backed with 22 points from Gary Trent Jr and 10 apiece from Derrick Jones Sr, Enes Kanter and C. J. McCollum. . . The Pelicans scoring was led by Ingram 30 points and Williamson 28 points. . . – Utah bounce back -. . Elsewhere Tuesday, Donovan Mitchell scored 20 points as the Utah Jazz bounced back from a run of disappointing recent outings with a battling 117-109 road victory over the Boston Celtics. . . Utah arrived at Bostons TD Garden still smarting from a 12-point loss to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, a fourth defeat in six games for the Western Conference leaders. . . However after a sluggish start on Tuesday, which saw the Celtics race into an 11-point lead midway through the first quarter, normal service resumed as Utah asserted themselves late on. . . A 40-point fourth quarter wrapped up a morale-boosting victory which saw the Jazz improve to 29-10 at the top of the Western Conference. . . While Mitchell led the scoring for Utah, Jordan Clarkson provided an invaluable stint off the bench with 20 points — including five three-pointers — in just over 30 minutes on court. . . Clarkson said Utah had been determined to regroup after Sundays defeat to the Warriors. . . This is our last big road trip, and after losing that one to the Warriors we just wanted to come back and get something tonight, Clarkson said. Were just trying to string these wins together. . . We know we can handle our business at home, but on the road weve got to take everything into account, do all the small things well, and thats going to help us win. . . Point guard Mike Conley had 17 points and French international Rudy Gobert added 16 points with 12 rebounds for Utah. . . Jayson Tatum led the Boston scoring with 29 points while Jaylen Brown added 28 as the Celtics fell to 20-19 to remain in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. . . – Sixers pip Knicks -. . Elsewhere Tuesday, the New York Knicks pushed the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers all the way before losing their road game 99-96. . . The Knicks, who ran the second-placed Brooklyn Nets close on Monday, led for long periods but were overpowered in the fourth quarter as the Sixers outscored their opponents 26-14. . . Tobias Harris led the Sixers scoring with 30 points while Ben Simmons had a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Seth Curry had 20 points as Philadelphia improved to 27-12. . . Julius Randle and Alec Burks led the New York scorers with 19 points apiece. . . In Los Angeles, LeBron James had 25 points as the Lakers cruised to a 137-121 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. . . In Miami meanwhile, Jimmy Butler had 28 points as the Heat extended their winning streak to five games with a comfortable 113-98 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Miami improved to 22-18 with the win to remain in fourth place in the Eastern table.

LAVINE’S 36 POINTS LIFT BULLS PAST PELICANS 128-124

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Zach LaVine capped a 36-point performance with a driving layup and four free throws during the final minute, and the Chicago Bulls held off a late rally to beat the mercurial New Orleans Pelicans 128-124 on Wednesday night.

“I’ve got to stay aggressive,” LaVine said, noting that he might have been too eager to pass when the Pelicans tightened the game up in the final five minutes. “It makes the play a little bit easier, because if they don’t stop me, then obviously I’m at the rim or have an open shot.

“I feel comfortable taking those free throws at the end of the game,” LaVine added.

Coby White scored 25 for the Bulls, who led by as many as 19 and were still up 18 in the fourth quarter before the Pelicans’ late surge pulled them as close as 117-113 on Jaxson Hayes alley-oop dunk as he was fouled with 1:49 left.

Hayes missed the free throw, however, and Zion Williamson, who scored 28 points, missed two free throws with a chance to cut it to two with 1:23 left.

“I really feel like I let my team down, man,” said Williamson, who missed eight of 16 free throws in the game and returned to the empty court afterward to work on his foul shots. “I’ve got to be better in that situation. If I want to be one of those great players and I take a lot of responsibility, I’ve got to be ready for those moments.”

TJ McConnell tallies triple-double with steals vs. Cavaliers

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McConnell was one steal shy of tying the NBA’s single-game record but notched a triple-double that broke the main slate on DraftKings. He tallied 16 points on 8-of-8 shooting to go along with 10 steals and 13 assists. McConnell tallied 66 DKFP and helped power the Pacers to a comeback win. Indiana claimed a 114-111 victory.

Indiana Pacers guard TJ McConnell is the ultimate glue guy, and he could etch his name in the NBA’s record books on Wednesday in his team’s matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers. McConnell is known for making hustle plays, but his spectacular defense is what’s turning heads against Cleveland.

McConnell racked up a ridiculous nine steals in the first half. The record for most steals by a player in an NBA game is 11, and there’s plenty of time for McConnell to catch up. The undersized guard is a perfect 4-for-4 from the field with 8 points and has dished out 6 dimes as well in a well-rounded performance. Despite all his ball-hawking, the Pacers trial 61-51.

The Cavs have been careless with the ball and amassed 17 turnovers in the first half. However, they’re shooting a blistering 59.5% from the field and 46.2% from deep. Four Cavs scored at least 10 points in the first half. Cleveland will have to protect the ball a lot better in the second half to hold onto its lead.