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HOUSTON — Damian Lillard didn’t become the all-time leading scorer in franchise history Saturday night against the Houston Rockets, although he did make a number of highlights while helping his team shake off one of their worst performances the night before.

After being shut out by the Mavericks in Dallas on Friday night, the Trail Blazers completed the Texas Three-Strike with a 107-95 win over the Rockets in front of a crowd of 16,217 at the Toyota Center on Saturday night.

“I am satisfied with the victory. We responded,” Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups said. “I thought defensively we were really good all night, very competitive, pretty physical.”

The Trail Blazers are now 17-13 overall, 10-7 on the road and 2-1 midway through a 10-day six-game road trip. Portland is 2-0 against Houston this season.

Lillard entered Saturday at 17,995 points, just 46 behind Clyde Drexler for the most points in franchise history. And while Lillard is more than capable of putting up those kinds of numbers, the second half of Game 2, in which Portland led by 22 points in the second half, didn’t provide a strong opportunity. finally took first place in the points book.

“He’s not going to do it just for the sake of it,” Chauncey Billups said. “It will come the right way, playing the right kind of ball. Unless something crazy happens, it will be the way he plays very soon. He plays at a very high level.”

However, one highlight and an all-time top 10 list was playing for Lillard on Saturday night, back. 6-3 point guard in his 11th season out of Weber State, making all three in 33 minutes of action.

First, with his fifth point, and one with 4:32 to play in the first quarter, Lillard surpassed the 18,000-point mark, making him just the second Trail Blazer, the eighth active player and the 77th player in NBA history. collect that many points.

“It’s an honor to have that level of success and score so many points, but I have to give credit to the people who made it possible. to become,” Lillard said. “I have to thank the coaches, my first coaching staff, Terry Stotts, David Vanterpool, Nate Tibbetts, Dale Osborne, Jay Triano, Caleb Canales, I could go on and on, Jim Moran, everybody. All the vets that played with me just pushed me, but the coaching staff that from day one gave me the freedom to play and play a lot of minutes and play through mistakes and stuff like that. A lot of guys don’t get that opportunity from day one and don’t get the freedom that I’ve had to get to this point in my career, so I guess I owe a lot of people credit for this opportunity.

“And I have to thank God for allowing me to be healthy for most of my career, to stay clean and to stay clean mentally as well. A lot of people I have to thank have played a role in helping me reach this type of milestone.”

Then, with his second steal of the game, which came when he intercepted a Bruno Fernando pass with 6:50 to play in the second quarter, Lillard hauled in a Cliff Robinson pass for 697 in the sixth.

“I’m not usually a stealer, but I’ve been in this league a long time, so if you play enough games, you’re going to have some steals.”

The last notable statistical moment for Lillard came late in the fourth quarter. With a comfortable 20-point lead, Billups took the bench end with just over five minutes to play in regulation. But the Rockets managed to cut Portland’s lead to 11 with just over two minutes to play, forcing Billups to put these starts back into the game.

“I know you’re young, you’re sitting there most of the game, but playing in the NBA is a luxury,” Billups said. “You come in, you have to play the right way. We have such a lead, I never have to go back into our starting lineup and risk an ankle or something just trying to get to this game. But I’ve seen that film so many times before where a team starts to build momentum and keep going and keep going and we turn it over, we get bad shots, we don’t play right. I wasn’t going to let that happen.”

After reentering the game in the first possession, Lillard made a 27-foot three-pointer, his fourth of the night, to cut Portland’s lead to 14 while also passing Jamal Crawford for the eighth three-pointer in NBA history. 2222.

“I’ve had a lot of opportunities, I’ve made a lot of three-pointers,” said Lillard, who now has 60 three-pointers, one behind Jason Terry for seventh all-time in three-pointers made. “I feel like I’m a really good shooter, so if you have a chance to shoot a lot of them, you’ve got to shoot a lot, and I have. It’s also a pleasure.”

Lillard, who tied Crawford, Terry and LeBron James for ninth all-time to finish in the Top 10, made 2,222 three-pointers and also took advantage of why he’s not considered one of the best. league’s all-time great shooters despite his ranking. He was quick to point out that Stephen Curry, whose 3,248 threes are tied for first on the all-time list by a wide margin, is the greatest shooter in NBA history, but that he’s no slouch either, despite what some of his critics might argue.

“I always see things on social media where they talk about the greatest shooters of all time, and they always act like it’s crazy when people mention me,” Lillard said. “I think how many triples I’ve done, how consistently I’ve been doing them, the level of difficulty I’ve been doing triples for years and years and years, I just think it’s kind of crazy that people don’t mention me in them. discussions.

“Obviously I think Steph is the greatest ever, but I think after him I don’t understand why I’m not clearly in that discussion, not just with the labels, but how I paint it, how I making it difficult for everyone. time, how easy I hit the ball. I’m looking forward to continuing to climb that list, so when I get into that top two, top three, I’m interested to see what people will say about me as a shooter at that point.”

That discussion, as his search for Drexler’s past, will have to wait for another night. But while highlights are nice, the real goal on Saturday night was to get back on the winning side of things, which they managed without too much trouble.

“We had to make some adjustments, but we did what we had to do to tighten up, win the game, and we did that,” Lillard said. “We were able to create some separation with our defense and another good win.”

Anfernie Simmons, who is on track to make several franchise Top 10 lists, led all scorers with 32 points on 11-of-21 shooting from the field. Yusuf Nurkic scored 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and one block in 27 minutes. Josh Hart joined Lillard for a double-double, though, with 12 points and 13 rebounds in 31 minutes.

Having played all three Texas teams over the past four days, the Trail Blazers now travel to Oklahoma City to face the Thunder in back-to-back games. The first is scheduled for Monday at 5:00 p.m


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