Trail Blazers beat Lakers
One down, two to go. With his struggling team in a short stretch of games it really needs to win, Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts is actually looking ahead a little bit.
Portland got started Thursday night with a 118-109 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. CJ McCollum scored 27 points and Damian Lillard had 21 points and 10 assists in his return from a sprained ankle.
"It's a little bit of a departure for me to talk about the future, but these three games get us back in the mix," Stotts said.
Following their victory Thursday night, the Blazers host the Detroit Pistons on Saturday before heading south to play the Lakers again on Tuesday.
"We've been playing much better; it hasn't always led to wins," Lillard said. "Two of these next three at home, one of them on the road against a team we beat tonight that we know we're capable of beating, we've got to take advantage of that, and not take it for granted."
Evan Turner scored 15 of his season-high 20 points in the fourth quarter as Portland secured its ninth straight regular-season victory over the Lakers, a franchise record.
D'Angelo Russell had 22 points, 10 in the final period, and Jordan Clarkson added 21 off the bench for Los Angeles, which led by 14 in the first half.
Russell's turnaround jumper put the Lakers up 101-99 midway through the fourth. He added a pair of free throws, but Lillard hit a 3-pointer that closed the gap.
McCollum's floater put Portland in front before he hit a 3 with 4:06 to go that pushed the lead to 107-103. He added another basket that extended it, and the crowd chanted "Beat L-A! Beat L-A!"
Turner padded the advantage with a jumper with just more than two minutes left, and the Lakers couldn't catch up.
"It was one of those nights where at the end all of the key plays went their way," Lakers guard Nick Young said.