Lillard nets 51 points as Portland close out Philadelphia 124-121
The Portland Trail Blazers kept their season alive with a 124-121 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers courtesy of a mammoth 51-point performance from Damian Lillard.
He more than made up for missing a pair of key free throws against the Los Angeles Clippers the day before, scoring 15 of his 51 points in the final five-and-a-half minutes to keep his side in the play-offs hunt.
The woes of the 76ers, who have likely lost Ben Simmons for the season, worsened when Joel Embiid left the court in the first quarter with an ankle injury, though he appeared in good spirits as he returned to sit on the bench through the second half.
The Sacramento Kings will be hurting after being eliminated from play-offs contention courtesy of a 129-112 loss to the Houston Rockets.
Houston started poorly with five turnovers in the first quarter before finishing the half five points up, appearing to miss the presence of playmaker Russell Westbrook.
But veteran Austin Rivers stepped up on both sides of the court, defending solidly and scoring a career-high 41 points as the Rockets moved to 4-1 since the league’s restart.
In other games, the Oklahoma City Thunder were 121-103 victors against the Washington Wizards, the Toronto Raptors continued their winning ways by going 108-99 over the Memphis Grizzlies and the Orlando Magic fell 122-119 to the Boston Celtic.
The Brooklyn Nets secured the No 7 seed in the Eastern Conference and improved to 4-2 since the restart after upsetting the Clippers 129-12.
And the New Orleans Pelicans never recovered from a slow start as they were eliminated from play-offs contention in a 122-113 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.