Blazers blow 14-point lead but recover in time to overcome thrilling Lakers comeback
CJ McCollum had five straight points late to help the Blazers hold off the Lakers. AP

THE Portland Trailblazers honored their 1977 champion team both off the court with their outfit and on the floor with their gritty play down the stretch to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers, 105-98, at the Moda Center on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time).

Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Mason Plumlee all hit huge baskets in the late moments of the match to help the Blazers avert collapse after blowing a 14-point third quarter lead.

Lou Williams’ back-to-back triples capped an 11-6 fourth quarter start that cut the gap to three, 89-86, with 8:47 left. Nick Young then sank consecutive treys midway through the fourth to give the Lakers the lead, 94-91.

But Lillard knotted the game up at 94 with three free throws, before a stepback triple and a layup by McCollum gave Portland back the lead, 99-94, with less than three minutes to play. Then after Lillard and Jordan Clarkson traded buckets to keep the Lakers within five at the 41-second mark, Plumlee slammed the door on LA with a huge dunk to seal the final score and preserve the win.

It was a back-and-forth battle in the first half as the Blazers took a slim 59-58 lead at the break. But Lillard and Plumlee got going in the third to extend the Portland edge to 78-64 with more than five minutes remaining in the period.

McCollum and Lillard each scored 24 to lead the Blazers, who have won two in a row to improve to 20-27. Plumlee ended up with a double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Allen Crabbe and Evan Turner chipped in 12 and 11 markers, respectively.

Williams’ 31-point explosion went for naught as the Lakers lost two in a row and seven of their last eight to fall to 16-33. Clarkson added 22 points off the bench, while Nick Young contributed 15 markers. 

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