Thursday, Feb. 4: Blazers 121, Sixers 105
The skinny: Damian Lillard sat out the game, resting with an abdominal strain, joining Jusuf Nurkic, CJ McCollum and Derrick Jones Jr. as starters out of the Trail Blazers' lineup Thursday at Philadelphia.
Probably lining up as a loss, right? Nope. Gary Trent Jr. and teammates had their say as Portland controlled the game throughout and beat the Sixers 121-105.
Philadelphia (16-7) played without point guard Ben Simmons, but Joel Embiid played, although he temporarily left with a hurt knee. He scored 37 points.
But, it didn't matter. Trent scored 24 points to lead six players in double figures scoring, which included rookie CJ Elleby's 15 points off the bench. Portland rattled off the first 14 points of the third quarter to break a halftime tie, and led by 29 points at one point against the team with the best record in the NBA Eastern Conference.
The Blazers (12-9) outrebounded the Sixers 53-37, forced 18 Philly turnovers, led in second chance points (22-8) and the home team went only 7 of 27 on 3-pointers. Portland shot .459 from the field with 13 3-pointers.
Carmelo Anthony had 22 points, Enes Kanter 17 points and 18 rebounds, Rodney Hood 16 points and Anfernee Simons 14 points.
Elleby, in his first extended minutes (31), went 5 of 9 from the field (1 of 5 3-pointers) and 4 of 6 at the free-throw line, and added seven rebounds.
It was an unexpected win, because Lillard rested and was listed on the injury list with an abdominal strain. So, four starters were out, not to mention Nassir Little, who had 30 points in a game earlier this week, and the Blazers still won handily.
Quotable: "You go up and down the line and there were contributions from everybody," coach Terry Stotts said.
Even Robert Covington, the ex-Sixers player, had nine points, six rebounds and four steals.
"I don't think it's unusual that when a player like Dame is out, that everybody knows that everybody has a little bit more responsibility. ... It does change the chemistry of the game."
Quotable 2: "CJ Elleby had a great game for a rookie. He hasn't had much chance to play," Stotts said.
Next up: The Blazers, who are 3-2 on the road trip, finish the trip at 10 a.m. Saturday at the New York Knicks.
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