Lillard’s 50 seals Blazers’ comeback

Utah 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 Portland’s 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.

Lillard’s 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).

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 Boston’s 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.

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.

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.

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