Friday, November 27, 2015   

(NBA playoffs) Lillard leads Blazers to stay alive
(05-13 17:53)

Damian Lillard scored 25 points as the Portland Trail Blazers stayed alive in the NBA playoffs with a 103-92 victory over San Antonio on Monday.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 19 points for the Trail Blazers, whose victory in game four of the Western Conference second-round playoff series prevented a Spurs sweep, AFP reports.
They'll head back to San Antonio for game five on Wednesday, with the Spurs still up 3-1 and looking to wrap up the series and reach the conference finals for a third straight season.
"We did what we needed to do and we're looking forward to going to San Antonio and keep competing and keep playing our basketball,'' Portland coach Terry Stotts said.
"It was a good game, but we've still got another three to go,'' he added.
No NBA team has ever won a best-of-seven playoff series after losing the first three games.
The winners of the series will face either the Los Angeles Clippers or Oklahoma City in the conference finals.
The Clippers and Thunder are 2-2 going into game five at Oklahoma City on Tuesday.
The Spurs had dominated the first three games against Portland, winning them by a combined 56 points.
But with their backs against the wall, the Blazers came through, using a strong third quarter to pull away.
Portland led throughout the second half, and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich rested stars Tony Parker and Tim Duncan after his team fell behind by 20 in the final quarter.
Nicolas Batum scored 14 points, pulled down 14 rebounds and handed out eight assists for Portland, while Will Barton contributed 17 points off the bench.
"We had a lot of good performances out there tonight,'' Stotts said. "Nic was aggressive. He was the backup point guard and got us through the spells where Damian was out of the game. I thought it was a very good all-around team effort.
"Defensively, we were solid. We didn't have very many lulls that have enabled them in the past to have their runs.''
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said the Blazers played "with great passion and physicality'' that his team didn't match.
"That's why they won,'' Popovich said.
The Blazers outscored the Spurs 62-44 in the paint and 15-8 in second-chance points.
Tony Parker led the Spurs with 14 points, after scoring at least 29 in three of his last four games.
Tim Duncan had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Spurs, who connected on just three of their 18 attempts from three-point range.
Portland led 50-48 at halftime and stretched that lead with an 11-2 scoring run.
Portland led 85-68 after three and San Antonio never cut the gap below 10 in the final frame.   
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