Thursday, Feb. 11: Trail Blazers 118, Sixers 114
The skinny: Philadelphia may have the best record in the NBA Eastern Conference, but it has an 0-2 record against the Trail Blazers.
A week after the Blazers won at Philly, they rallied to beat the 76ers 118-114 Thursday at Moda Center.
Carmelo Anthony scored 17 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, including two free throws with 3.1 seconds left to break a 114-114 tie. Anthony was fouled by Tobias Harris after taking an inbounds pass.
Then, after Robert Covington tipped away the Sixers' inbounds pass, Damian Lillard sealed the game with two free throws. Lillard, who didn't play in last week's game, scored 19 of his 30 points in the first quarter. He also had seven assists.
The Trail Blazers moved to 14-10 in the first of back-to-back games; they play Cleveland on Friday. The Sixers fell to 18-8.
Joel Embiid had 37 points in last week's game against Portland, and followed it up 35 points and nine rebounds. Ben Simmons, who didn't play last week, had 23 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.
The Blazers were 17 of 38 on 3-pointers to Philly's 6 of 27. That's a 33-point difference in 3-point shooting.
After his 19 first-quarter points, Lillard had one shot in the second quarter as Philadelphia took a halftime lead and then led 93-89 after three quarters. TNT, which broadcast the game, pointed out that the Sixers were 13-0 when leading after three quarters.
But, as Simmons was holding down Lillard on defense, Anthony got hot. He hit three consecutive 3-pointers and made his first six shots of the fourth quarter.
The Blazers led 114-109 after Lillard's jumper with 1:15 left, but Embiid hit a shot and then, after a couple Portland misses, former Blazer Seth Curry buried a 3-pointer for a 114-114 tie with 22 seconds left.
Simmons defended Lillard on the Blazers' possession, before fouling the Portland point guard with a foul to give. Then, Anthony broke free to receive an inbounds pass, and Harris fouled him with Portland in the bonus, and Anthony made the free throws.
Then, Covington's steal and Lillard's free throws put an end to Philly's hopes.
Gary Trent Jr., who led last week's win at Philly (along with rookie CJ Elleby), added 19 points.
Hurting Blazers: Nassir Little (left knee sprain) missed the game, as did the long-term injured Zach Collins, Jusuf Nurkic and CJ McCollum. Elleby didn't get an opportunity to duplicate his play against Philly. He missed the game with an illness.
Then, Kanter took an elbow from Covington and walked off the court bleeding. The gash above his left eye required stitches, but he returned to the game.
Kanter had 10 points and 14 rebounds in another solid performance.
Bench play: Led by Anthony, the Blazers' bench players outscored the Sixers', 45-19.
Giles praise: Kanter battled Embiid for much of the game.
But, coach Terry Stotts gave praise to Harry Giles for his effort in backup post minutes, against Embiid and Dwight Howard.
Giles had seven rebounds (and five fouls) in 14 minutes. Giles tied Trent for the team-best plus-11 rating.
Quotable: "That's what we do on offense," Stotts said, about 3-point shooting, in an interview with TNT. "We might be leading the league in 3-point attempts — it's a big part of our offense." Yeah, again, it made for a 33-point difference against the Sixers.
Quotable 2: "I think in the long run games like this and wins like this really shape our team and make us a really good team," Lillard told reporters.
Next up: The Blazers play Cleveland (10-16) at 7 p.m. Friday at Moda Center.
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