Lillard guides Trail Blazers to sixth consecutive win.
Prior to the season starting, the usual candidates in the Western Conference were tipped for success this year with aspirations of reaching the play-offs.
However, the Portland Trail Blazers were arguably on few, if any, of those lists, but that hasn’t stopped Damian Lillard and Co. starting the season on fire.
With their 118-110 overtime win over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, Portland moved into second spot in the West as they improved their record to 8-2 for the season.
Having secured the Rookie of the Year award last year, Lillard has been in impressive form thus far and showed few signs of being affected by second-season syndrome.
Both the point guard and LaMarcus Aldridge each scored 25 points, while Nicolas Batum added a season-high 24 as the Blazers sealed the win despite blowing a 17-point lead in regulation.
Rudy Gay was again influential for the hosts with another double-double (30 points, 10 rebounds), and while DeMar DeRozan scored 29 points, it wasn’t enough for the Raptors to complete the comeback.
Portland knocked down a season-high 15 3-pointers as they continue to heat up from beyond the arc, and they’ll be hoping to extend their winning streak further when they visit the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.
Elsewhere, a career-night for Jordan Hill (24 points and 17 rebounds), helped the Los Angeles Lakers on their way to a 114-99 win over the Detroit Pistons.
While the likes of Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks and Nick Young all played their roles in the victory, it was another confidence-booster for coach Mike D’Antoni as the talk begins to build over Kobe Bryant’s return.
The Mamba isn’t expected to be back for another few weeks, but the Lakers moved to 5-7 for the season to show that they have a capable roster this year, especially considering that Steve Nash has also been sidelined with injury for the most part.
Nevertheless, they will look to put together a run ahead of the Christmas schedule and hope that their two former MVPs return to fitness ahead of the New Year for a play-off push.
In the other game of the night, the Memphis Grizzlies inflicted another home loss on the Sacramento Kings, with a 97-86 win.
Zach Randolph had a game-high 22 points for the visitors, while none of the Kings starting line-up made it into double figures.
DeMarcus Cousins was restricted to just 9 points and 5 rebounds, with Travis Outlaw ending with a team-high 18 points.
Portland Trail Blazers 118-110 Toronto Raptors
Memphis Grizzlies 97-86 Sacramento Kings
Detroit Pistons 99-114 Los Angeles Lakers