PORTLAND, Oregon (AP) — The Portland Trail Blazers aren’t concerned about style points. A mid-December win was enough — tight as it felt against the team with the NBA’s worst record.
Damian Lillard had 31 points and a season-high 13 assists, Hassan Whiteside grabbed 23 rebounds and the Trail Blazers beat the Golden State Warriors 122-112 yesterday.
CJ McCollum scored 30 points and Carmelo Anthony added 17 for Portland. Whiteside also scored 16 points.
“Tonight was just one of those nights,” Anthony said. “It was a physical game, a game that we had to win no matter what. We did that. We need to find a groove, just a rhythm amongst the team and string some wins together.”
After starting the season 4-8, Portland is 12-16 and only a half-game back of the Sacramento Kings for eighth place in the Western Conference standings.
“It was an emotional roller coaster ride,” McCollum said. “We gave up a ton of offensive rebounds, lots of 3s in transition, but we tightened up in the fourth quarter. We did a better job of getting stops and running out.”
McCollum, Anthony and Lillard combined for 78 points a game after combining for 80 in a win at Phoenix. Anthony thinks he’s settling into his role as the team’s third option.
“I’m just playing off of those guys,” Anthony said. “I’m letting them do what they do and I get to take advantage of what’s left and the opportunities that’s out there. That’s all I’ve been doing.”