NBA: Damian Lillard drops 31 points as Blazers defeat Lakers; Morant hurts ankle but Grizzlies beat Nets in OT

Nikola Jokic had 19 points, 18 assists and 12 rebounds for the 42nd triple-double of his career, and Denver beat short-handed Houston for its first win of the season.

The Associated Press December 29, 2020 12:27:20 IST
NBA: Damian Lillard drops 31 points as Blazers defeat Lakers; Morant hurts ankle but Grizzlies beat Nets in OT

Damian Lillard scored 21 of his 31 points in the second half, and CJ McCollum had 20 points and 11 assists in Portland Trail Blazers' victory over Los Angeles Lakers. AP

New York: Ja Morant exited with a sprained ankle but the Memphis Grizzlies earned their first victory of the season without him, outlasting the short-handed Brooklyn Nets 116-111 in overtime Monday night.

The reigning NBA Rookie of the Year was wheeled to the back of the arena late in the first half after hurting his left ankle when he leaped to block a shot by Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot and landed on the Nets forward’s foot. Morant rejoined his teammates on the bench in the second half with his foot in a walking boot.

He watched Brandon Clarke score the go-ahead basket on a follow shot with 41 seconds left in overtime before the Grizzlies put it away with free throws.

Kyle Anderson scored a career-high 28 points and Dillon Brooks added 24 for the Grizzlies, who had dropped their first two games. Clarke had 16 points and Jonas Valanciunas finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds.

Caris LeVert had 28 points and 11 assists for the Nets, who rested Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving while losing for the second straight night. Brooklyn is also without Spencer Dinwiddie, who will have surgery to repair a partially torn right ACL sustained Sunday.

TRAIL BLAZERS 115, LAKERS 107

Damian Lillard scored 21 of his 31 points in the second half, and CJ McCollum had 20 points and 11 assists in Portland's victory over Los Angeles.

Gary Trent Jr. matched his career high with seven 3-pointers while scoring 28 points in the Blazers’ second straight win over the Lakers at Staples Center.

LeBron James had 29 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the NBA champions, who dropped to 2-2 on their season-opening homestand. Dennis Schröder added 24 points, but the Lakers’ streak of 59 straight victories when taking a lead into the fourth quarter was snapped.

Anthony Davis had 13 points and 10 rebounds in a tentative return from a one-game absence due to a bruised calf.

NUGGETS 124, ROCKETS 111

Nikola Jokic had 19 points, 18 assists and 12 rebounds for the 42nd triple-double of his career, and Denver beat short-handed Houston for its first win of the season.

Jamal Murray added 21 points before leaving with 4:05 remaining in the third quarter after a collision in traffic sent him sprawling to the floor. He held his hand to his head for a couple of minutes but got up and walked under his own power to the locker room for further examination. He was back on the bench midway through the fourth but did not re-enter the game.

James Harden had 34 points to lead undermanned Houston. Christian Wood added 23.

The Rockets have started the season without key components of their roster, including John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Gordon and Mason Jones, who remain away from the team due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Houston dressed nine players against the Nuggets and was coming off a two-point overtime loss at Portland in the season opener Saturday.

JAZZ 110, THUNDER 109

Donovan Mitchell hit a go-ahead layup with 7 seconds left and finished with 20 points, lifting Utah over Oklahoma City.

Bogan Bogdanovich scored 23 points and Mike Conley added 20 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Jazz, who ended a 17-game losing streak in regular-season road games against the Thunder, including games in the NBA’s Orlando bubble last season. Utah’s last win in Oklahoma City came on Oct. 31, 2010.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who hit a game-winning shot in the Thunder’s season-opening win at Charlotte, missed a driving layup in heavy traffic at the buzzer. He had 23 points and seven assists, while Luguentz Dort led the Thunder with a career-high 26 points.

HAWKS 128, PISTONS 120

Trae Young scored 29 points, Bogdan Bogdanovic added 17 and Atlanta beat Detroit in its home opener.

John Collins finished with 15 points for the Hawks, who are 3-0 for the first time since 2016-17. They hit 20 3-pointers while shooting 48% from beyond the arc.

The Pistons dropped to 0-3. They played without star forward Blake Griffin and reserve guard Derrick Rose, who were given the night off to rest.

Josh Jackson scored 27 points in Griffin’s spot. Jerami Grant also had 27.

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