PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard had 26 points and 10 assists, Hassan Whiteside had 17 points and tied a season-high with 23 rebounds, and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the San Antonio Spurs 125-117 on Thursday night.
The Blazers got a major boost off their bench from Gary Trent Jr., who scored 18 points. Trent’s points late were important as he hit 4 3-pointers and scored 12 points in the fourth quarter as Portland rallied from a 92-86 deficit.
Trey Lyles had a season-high 23 points and 10 rebounds, DeMar DeRozan added 21 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 points and eight rebounds for the Spurs.
San Antonio built a 10-point lead multiple times in the first half, but Portland stayed within reach on the strength of the play of Lillard (14 points) and McCollum (11 points), trailing 60-59 at halftime.
While DeRozan struggled from the field (6 for 16), he helped the Spurs with 9-for-9 shooting from the foul line.
A pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter by Carmelo Anthony forced a timeout by the Spurs with 5:23 left in the third as they nursed a 75-74 lead. Anthony’ kept Portland close, scoring 16 of his 20 points in the second half.
The Blazers also got a 10-point performance off the bench by Anfernee Simons.
A layup by Caleb Swanigan with 3:16 left in the third quarter gave Portland its first lead since the opening quarter. But that advantage was short-lived as the Spurs closed out the quarter on a 9-0 run for a 92-86 lead after three periods.
The tightly contested game could have late-season implications as both teams are fighting for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Spurs: Through 46 games, Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge has surpassed his career-high in 3-point attempts for a season. He’s shooting 42% on 3-pointers this season.
Trail Blazers: During an active NBA trade deadline, the Blazers made a small move to help save money in luxury tax payments by trading Skal Labissiere and cash considerations to the Atlanta Hawks. Labissiere has been out since Dec. 28. “I’m going to miss Skal,” coach Terry Stotts said of Labissiere. “I was happy for him that he showed he could help an NBA team. And I was disappointed he got hurt. Hopefully he can rehab with Atlanta and continue his career.” The move helped Portland avoid approximately $5 million in luxury tax payments.
Spurs: At Sacramento Kings on Saturday night.
Trail Blazers: At Utah Jazz on Friday night.