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Portland Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard drops 51 points in win over 76ers as Blazers continue push towards playoffs

The Portland Trail Blazers are closing in on the post-season, thanks to a HUGE night at the office from Damian Lillard.

After missing a pair of late free throws and a three-pointer with 9.5 seconds to go in a narrow 122-117 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers the day prior, Lillard responded in style in a must-win game, with his fifth 50-point game of the season.

He went off for 51 points on an efficient 16-of-28 from the field, 4-of-12 from the 3-point line, and 15-of-16 at the free-throw line as the Blazers move to a 4-2 record in Orlando.

Lillard scored 18 of his 51 in the fourth quarter on 5-of-6 from the field and 3-of-4 from the 3-point line, including this clutch 4-point play.

Lillard becomes the eighth player in NBA history with at least five 50-point games in a single season and 10th player with 10 50-point games in NBA history.

"He asks a lot of himself and therefore his teammates expect a lot of themselves as well," Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said post-game, praising Lillard's leadership on the night.

"They respect him when he says something, they listen, they try and do what he says. They know his hearts in the right place, it's about winning games and that's what you want.

"As a coach when your fortunate that your best player is your best leader, it makes everybody's job a lot easier and you're usually going to be a better team because of it."

Carmelo Anthony added 20 points and seven assists in the win, passing Paul Pierce and John Havlicek on the NBA's all-time scoring list, climbing to 15th.

He's now just 85 points behind Tim Duncan for 14th.

Following the Blazers win, the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans have officially been eliminated from playoff contention, with the Blazers now just a half-game back of the eighth-seed Memphis Grizzlies, with a play-in tournament on the horizon to decide the final playoff spot in the West.

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