Orlando, FL - After being mocked for missing key free throws in their loss against Los Angeles Clippers, Damian Lillard bounced back with his 10th 50-point career performance, against the Philadelphia 76ers, as the Blazers trail for the 8th spot in the Western Conference.
While the exchange of words continues between the Clippers' star Paul George and Portland superstar, Lillard responded with a 51-point performance to keep their playoff hopes alive.
It was a historic night for the Blazers as their veteran forward and former NBA superstar, Carmelo Anthony also moved into 15th spot in the NBA's all-time scoring list with 26,411 career points surpassing Boston's forward Paul Pierce (26,397) and NBA star John Havlicek (26,395).
Despite the historic night from Melo, he still praised Lillard for not keeping the yesterday's loss on his mind and dropped the 10th 50-point game in his career, ESPN reported.
The veteran forward scored points with seven rebounds for the Trailblazers as they moved to the 9th spot with 33-39 record and within a half-game for the 8th spot Memphis Grizzlies in the playoff race in the Western Conference.
Anything can still happen in the West and any team can get the playoff-berth. The Blazers are just a half-game ahead of the usual playoff contender San Antonio Spurs and one game ahead against the Phoenix Suns who currently hot with a 4-0 record in the Bubble.
The Trailblazers started the opening quarter with a good ball movement with Damian Lillard holding the steering wheel for the team, holding the early control of the game.
While the Sixers' continues to struggle, with 6:18 left in the opening period another bad news crashed them as their star center Joel Embiid was not able to handle the load left by co-star Ben Simmons due to surgery on his left knee injury. The Sixers' star center exited the game with a left ankle and was not able to come back to the game.
According to CBS Sports, due to the absence of their stars, Josh Richardson rose to the occasion dropping his season-best 34 points with six triples while Alec Burks who came from the bench for the Sixers tallied 20 points.
Usual numbers were given by Tobias Harris who scored 16 points and Al Horford who put 15 points under his name.
The season-best performance coming from Josh Richardson kept the Sixers at the striking distance but when the time whined down, Lillard took the show for another 'Dame time' performance. He converted in a four-point play and dropped a triple beyond the arc to take the driver seat in the last minutes of the game.
Sixers big man Al Horford made a triple to put the game within a point, but Blazers big man Jusuf Nurkic responded and made his two free throws to secure the win and alive in the bubble.
Lillard finished the game with 16-of-28 shooting performance while shooting guard CJ McCollum scored 16 points while European players Jusuf Nurkic and Mario Hezonja are in double digits as well.