Where would the Trail Blazers be without Damian Lillard?
One could write a novel answering that question, but the easy and most timely response would be something in the realm of “With one less victory.”
The 6-3 guard in his fifth season out of Weber State saved the Trail Blazers time and time again Friday night at American Airlines Center, putting up a season-high 42 points on the way to leading Portland to a 105-95 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 19,475.
The Trail Blazers are now 3-3 on the season and 2-1 on the road. WIth the loss, the Mavericks start the season 0-5 for the first time in their franchise history.
Portland led by as many as 16 points in the third quarter, but the Mavericks used a 14-1 run to cut Portland’s lead to 79-76 by the start of the fourth. It would take a 15-point fourth quarter from Lillard to ensure the Trail Blazers would would get their second road win of the season while avoiding an early-season three-game losing streak.
Lillard’s 42 points came by way of 12-of-18 shooting from the field, 5-of-6 shooting from three and 13-of-14 shooting from the free throw line. The 6-3 guard also added four rebounds and four assists in 37 minutes.
While Lillard did the heavy lifted, he did get assistance from a few of his compatriots. Mason Plumlee put up 19 points, his franchise best with the Trail Blazers, to go along with four assists, four rebounds, four steals and a block in 34 minutes. Al-Farouq Aminu shot just 4-of-13 from the field but still managed to put up a double-double of 12 points, 10 rebounds in 33 minutes. No other Blazer scored in double figures.
The Mavericks were led by 23 points from J.J. Barea, with Deron Williams and Harrison Barnes combining for 29 points.
Next up, the Trail Blazers finished up a three-game road trip with a Sunday matinee against the Grizzlies in Memphis.
by Casey Holdahl
First appeared on NBA.com Global