Lillard's all-star show

 Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (right) hits a three point shot over Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson.
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (right) hits a three point shot over Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson. PHOTO: REUTERS/ USA TODAY SPORTS

Portland guard carries team to 137-105 whipping of defending champions Golden State

PORTLAND • Guard Damian Lillard said not getting an invitation to participate in the National Basketball Association All-Star Game did not provide extra motivation on Friday night at the Moda Centre.

He could have fooled a lot of people with his performance in the Portland Trail Blazers' 137-105 drubbing of the Golden State Warriors.

Lillard bombed in a career-high 51 points to lead the Trail Blazers (28-27) to the rout of the defending NBA champions and the team with the NBA's best record this season.

Guard C.J. McCollum added 21 points and seven assists and centre Mason Plumlee contributed 12 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Blazers, who won for the ninth time in 10 games.

"Whether I make the All-Star team or not, my focus is on making this team a winning team," said Lillard, who scored 32 points in the second half, with 21 of those in the fourth quarter.

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    Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard scored a career-high points total to lead his team to victory over the Golden State Warriors, the team holding this season's best record.

McCollum, however, provided a little insight into his backcourt mate's mindset.

"Angry Dame," McCollum said. "He was an angry man out there. That's what we need. We need him to be aggressive, assertive, play with a chip on his shoulder.

"He carried us tonight. He hit big shots. He defended. He made hustle plays. He didn't turn the ball over. He played like an All-Star."

Lillard was 18 of 28 from the field, nine of 12 from three-point range and six of seven from the free-throw line.

He had seven assists, a career-high six steals and no turnovers in 31 minutes. In a 5min 18sec span in the fourth quarter, he was seven of eight from the field, including five of five on three-point shots.

"I felt in rhythm," Lillard said. "The ball felt good in my hands. Once I saw the ball go in so much, early in the game, that's what helped me get going later."

Guard Stephen Curry scored 31 points despite not playing the fourth quarter for the Warriors (48-5), who saw an 11-game winning streak ended.

Guard Klay Thompson had 21 points for the Warriors, who suffered their most one-sided loss of the season.

The Blazers shot 53.6 per cent from the field and a sizzling 56.7 per cent from three-point range, knocking down 17 of 30 from beyond the arc. Golden State shot only 39.1 per cent from the field and 12 of 34 from three-point range.

Golden State coach Steve Kerr was most unhappy that his players had 13 turnovers in a third quarter in which the Warriors were outscored 36-17.

"This is the NBA," Kerr said. "There are going to be nights when the other team gets hot. (The Blazers') backcourt is like our backcourt - they can just explode. What I'm not okay with is losing our poise in the third quarter. We tried to score like 15 points in one possession over and over, trying to make home-run plays.

"They kicked our butts. They served everything, but we should have put up a better effort, a better fight in the third quarter."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 21, 2016, with the headline 'LILLARD'S ALL-STAR SHOW'. Print Edition | Subscribe