Lillard Makes Eight 3-Pointers, Blazers Make It Eight Straight
Portland Strengthens Hold on Third Seed in Western Conference
PORTLAND – The Trail Blazers extended their season-best winning streak to eight games by knocking off the Knicks, 111-87, Tuesday night in front of 19,393 (sellout) at Moda Center. Portland has now won 14 of its past 15 home games.
"We've been on a good run, just playing good basketball on both ends of the floor," said Lillard, who led all scorers with 37 points. "Our team has been on a string; we've been really connected."
Portland’s eight-game winning streak marks its longest since November 9-26, 2014 (nine games), and the third-longest since the likes of Head Coach Terry Stotts and Lillard joined the team in 2012-13. Only Houston and New Orleans have longer win streaks in the NBA right now.
The Trail Blazers are now 39-26 on the season, 13 games above .500 for the first time this year. Portland stretched its Northwest Division lead to 1.5 games over Minnesota and is in third place in the Western Conference standings, one game in front of New Orleans.
"We're winning games in the crucial part of the season," said CJ McCollum. "With the standings being so close, I think it's important you protect home court, beat teams under .500, steal some games on the road and be competitive in games against the higher seeds. I think we've done that of late."
Lillard picked up right where he left off Monday night in Los Angeles, scoring 16 first-quarter points after lighting up STAPLES Center for 19 fourth-quarter points in defeating the Lakers.
Portland’s three-time All-Star was lights out from beyond the arc, making eight of his 11 attempts. He spearheaded a strong team performance from distance, as the Trail Blazer made a season-high 20 shots from deep (on 33 attempts) on the night. Portland’s 20 3-pointers are the third-most in team history, one off the franchise record.
"Dame was just in a great groove," said Coach Stotts. "He's been in a groove for awhile. He was shooting it easy, feeling confident."
The Knicks jumped out to an 8-0 advantage, but Lillard and the Blazers quickly erased that with a 35-28 advantage at the end of the first quarter. New York never regained the lead.
"I thought we found our energy at a point in the second, and then they were able to make a run, but in the third, we really locked in and took over the game."
Lillard has now scored 354 points over the past 10 games. That is more than any Trail Blazer has scored in a 10-game span in team history.
During his big first quarter, Lillard passed yet another Trail Blazers legend – Cliff Robinson – on Portland’s all-time scoring ledger. In just his sixth season, Lillard is already fourth on the list with 10,433 points, behind only Clyde Drexler, LaMarcus Aldridge and Terry Porter.
Lillard made a dramatic climb up the franchise scoreboard just this season. Beginning the year in 11th place, he passed Sidney Wicks, Rasheed Wallace, Mychal Thompson, Geoff Petrie, Jim Paxson, Jerome Kersey and now Robinson in a matter of 58 games. And at age 27, there’s every reason to believe his rise in this and several other team rankings may not stop until he’s reached the peak.
• McCollum scored 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter. He went 5-for-7 from 3-point range on the night.
• Shabazz Napier led Portland’s bench with 12 points (2-3 3-PT, 6-6 FT).
• Jusuf Nurkic notched 11 points (5-8 FG) to go with eight rebounds and four assists.
• Portland has won each of its first seven games after the All-Star break for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.
• Lillard passed LaMarcus Aldridge for third-most free throws made in team history (2,261).
• Ed Davis matched his season high with 14 rebounds (Feb. 9 at Sacramento), while Zach Collins matched his career high with 10 boards. Portland outrebounded New York, 51-39.
• Maurice Harkless (left knee) missed his third straight game.
"It's crazy. The crowd was chanting MVP. They're chanting that for a reason." - Ed Davis on Damian Lillard
The Trail Blazers play their second game of a five-game homestand Friday night against the defending champion Golden State Warriors. Tipoff from Moda Center is scheduled for 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Northwest and NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio 620 AM. Portland’s current winning streak began with a 123-117 win over the Warriors on Feb. 14 at Moda Center.