Lillard scores 71 as Blazers beat Rockets

Lillard scored 13 three-pointers

By Web Desk
February 27, 2023
Damian Lillard in action against Houston Rockets  — Reuters 

Damian Lillard led the Portland Trail Blazers to a 131-114 victory over the Houston Rockets with 71 points, which ranks joint eighth all-time in NBA history.

Only Wilt Chamberlain, who reached a high of 100 points five times, Kobe Bryant, who has 81, and David Thompson, who has 73, have scored more points in a game.

At the Moda Center in Portland, Lillard scored 13 three-pointers, one fewer than the NBA record held by Klay Thompson. But Lillard's total set a Trail Blazers record.

"I got it going early on and I stayed aggressive," said Lillard. "I wanted to be in attack mode. I know it's a team effort, but I feel like I've got to do what I can to make sure we get some wins. We've got 22 or 23 games left and we need to win as many as possible."

Meanwhile, Blazers' coach Chauncey Billups showered praises on Lillard's performance.

"It was a masterful performance - a piece of art. We don't get the chance to experience things like this a lot, and I've been around the league a long, long time - 71 points, that's just incredible.

"Having 41 points at half-time was insane, and then he came out in the second half and in the third quarter he just made every right play." he said.

With a 29-31 record in the Western Conference, the Trail Blazers are just outside of the play-in spots.

Only Chamberlain (32) and Bryant (six) have scored more than 60 points in a game more frequently than Lillard.

Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers scored 71 points last month against the Chicago Bulls.

In other games, the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns 104-101 to extend their winning run to 14 games, while the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Dallas Mavericks 111-108 after coming back from a 27-point deficit.