Damian Lillard heats up early as Blazers rout Knicks to stay a game behind West 8th-seed Nuggets
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined for 50 points against the Knicks. AP

DAMIAN Lillard scored 30 points and the Portland Trail Blazers used a first half surge to cruise past the New York Knicks 110-95 on Thursday night (Friday, Manila time) at the Moda Center to keep its playoff hopes alive.

Lillar made 4-of-7 three-pointers and also finished with five assists and four rebounds for the Blazers, which never trailed in the game.  

With the win, Portland (33-38) moved to within a game behind Denver (34-37) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Lillard scored 15 of Portland’s 37 points in the first quarter en route to a 14-point lead. The home team led by as much as 23.

CJ McCollum added 20 points and four rebounds while Jusuf Nurkic tallied 16 points and grabbed 10  rebounds.

Kristaps Porzingis scored 18 points for the Knicks, who played without Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose. Courtney Lee added 16 points. 

Lillard is on a roll, averaging 31.2 points since the All-Star break and has scored 25 or more in eight straight games, a career-best streak.

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