LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Damian Lillard scored 61 points and made nine 3-pointers, willing Portland to a 134-131 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night that moved the Trail Blazers into eighth place in the Western Conference.
The Blazers will clinch a spot in the play-in series with a win Thursday against Brooklyn.
It was Lillard’s sixth 50-point game of the season. He’s the 12th player in NBA history to score 50 points in back-to-back games after dropping 51 on the 76ers on Sunday.
He scored in every way imaginable, from well beyond the 3-point line, on blow-by drives, short jumpers and at the foul line. Lillard finished 17 of 32 from the floor and 9 of 17 from beyond the arc while making all 18 free throw attempts.
Carmelo Anthony added 26 points on 10-of 17 shooting for Portland.
Kristaps Porzingis scored 36 points and Luka Doncic had 25 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds for the Mavericks, who will finish No. 7 in the West.
Porzingis put the Mavericks up 130-127 with 1:52 left when he drained a 3 from the left wing. But Lillard came back with a remarkable 3-footer from 36 feet away that hit the back of the rim, bounced several feet above the top of the backboard and down through the net.
Porzingis fouled out on the following possession after being called for an offensive foul.
Lillard then drew a double-team and dished to Haasan Whiteside for a dunk to put the Blazers up by two. Doncic split a pair of free throws to cut the lead to one with 40 seconds left.
After Lillard missed a fallaway jumper, the Mavericks appeared to take the lead on Dorian Finney-Smith’s 3-pointer from the corner, but Trey Burke was called for an illegal screen and officials waived off the basket.
CJ McCollum made two free throws to put the Blazers up by three with 3.9 left. Tim Hardaway Jr.’s 3-pointer from the corner hit the side of the backboard as time expired, denying the Mavericks a chance to send the game into overtime.
The game featured the two leading scorers since the NBA restart, with Doncic entering averaging 33.4 points and Lillard 33. Lillard was hot from the start, scoring 25 in the first half as the Blazers took a 66-58 lead.
Blazers: Seth Curry did not play due to a leg injury. … Blazers finished the first quarter on a 15-0 run to lead 38-31.
Mavericks: Porzingis showed his full offensive arsenal in a 16-point first quarter, scoring on pick-and-rolls, lob dunks, deep 3s and at the foul line.
Blazers: Play Nets on Thursday.
Mavericks: Play Suns on Thursday.
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