Damian Lillard scored 31 points, and the Portland Trailblazers defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 126-122 on Saturday (US time) to reach the 2020 NBA playoffs.
The Blazers next face the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the West playoffs. Their series begin Tuesday.
CJ McCollum added 29 points, Jusuf Nurkic chipped in 22 points and 21 rebounds, and Carmelo Anthony contributed 21 points on a night Lillard’s shot was off.
The Blazers built a 16-point lead in the first quarter, before the Grizzlies woke up, made it a game and forced Portland to play catch-up in the fourth.
A Gorgui Dieng bucket gave Memphis a 101-93 lead, then Portland fought back to go up again 119-113, thanks to McCollum’s timely sniping.
The Blazers put the game away with a triple by Anthony with 21 seconds left.
In the past 3 games, Lillard was averaging 51 points on 56.1% shooting from the field.
Against the Grizzlies, he shot just 6 of 15 from the floor but finished with 10 assists, as his teammates stepped up.
Ja Morant finished with a game-high 35 points, and Jonas Valanciunas chalked up another double-double with 22 points and 17 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who like the Blazers needed to win their last game to set up the play-in, a first in the NBA.
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