Blazers beat 76ers to end home losing streak
PORTLAND, Ore. — Jusuf Nurkic got mad, Shabazz Napier got hot, and the Portland Trail Blazers rallied from an 18-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 114-110 on Thursday night at Moda Center.
CJ McCollum bombed in 34 points to lead the Trail Blazers, who snapped a six-game home losing streak.
Nurkic scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter after getting busted in the nose and leaving early in the third quarter. Napier missed his first six shots, then made seven of his final eight to finish with a season-high 23 points for the Blazers, who outscored the 76ers 42-25 in the fourth quarter.
Portland (18-16) won without the services of All-Star point guard Damian Lillard, who missed his third consecutive game due to a strained right hamstring.
“A hell of a win, a hell of a fourth quarter,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “After he came back (late in the third quarter), Nurk (played) with a lot of passion and energy. Shabazz got off to a slow start, but he sparked us in the second half.
“The way we defended in the fourth quarter was outstanding. It was a win that we needed, and I liked how we did it.”
Joel Embiid scored 29 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Dario Saric chipped in 25 points and nine boards for the 76ers, who lost for the sixth time in seven outings.
“It’s a disappointing loss,” Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said. “We had an opportunity without Damian being in there, and we got up 18 points. But give (the Blazers) credit. They did not roll over.”
Nurkic struggled on offense before taking the blow to the nose. After that, the 7-foot Bosnian was a beast.
“I was mad,” he said. “The more I get mad, I play better.”
Was he mad at Embiid, who delivered the blow?
“At everybody,” he said. “I was trying to kill everybody almost, in a good way. I had one thing in my mind when I went back out there — how we were going to win the game.”
The 76ers lost despite shooting .500 (16-for-32) from 3-point range and outscoring the Blazers by 24 points from beyond the arc. Portland won the game at the foul line, making 36 of 47 attempts to only 10 of 14 for Philadelphia.
“The basketball gods were looking out for us,” McCollum said. “We got into the bonus early. We took advantage of the hand-checking and bumping. We were penetrating, and a lot of times, (the 76ers) were forced to foul.”
McCollum scored 18 points as the Blazers seized a 52-51 advantage at halftime. Embiid scored 15 for the 76ers in the half.
The Sixers (15-19) outscored the Blazers 27-8 over the first eight minutes of the third quarter to go in front 78-60. Philadelphia took an 85-72 edge into the final period.
The difference was 88-74 when Portland used a 19-0 run to take a 93-88 lead with 6:18 to go.
The Blazers’ edge was 103-93 after Moe Harkless’ 3-point shot with 3:31 to play.
Philadelphia answered with back-to-back 3-pointers by JJ Redick and Embiid to make it 103-99 inside the final two minutes.
Nurkic made a pair at the line to give Portland a 105-99 lead with 1:44 to go. McCollum’s jumper upped the margin to 107-99, but Saric knocked down a 3-pointer to trim the difference to 107-102. McCollum hit two free throws, but Embiid’s trey cut the 76ers’ deficit to 109-105 with 18 seconds left.
McCollum sank a pair of free throws for a 111-105 lead with 13.4 seconds remaining, but Embiid banked in a 3-pointer from the top to cut it to 111-108 with 9.8 seconds to go.
McCollum hit another gift shot after a 76ers lane violation with 9.2 seconds to play, and Pat Connaughton wrapped things up for Portland with two foul shots with 5.3 ticks left.
What could the 76ers have done to win the game?
“Stop turning the ball over and play better defense without fouling,” Embiid said. “And maybe get some calls going our way, too. (The Blazers) were getting everything.”
NOTES: Portland G Damian Lillard (hamstring), who missed his third straight game, said he could have played but wanted to err on the side of caution. ... Portland F Noah Vonleh (finger) missed his second game in a row. ... Philadelphia G Robert Covington (finger) left in the third quarter. ... Portland’s 42-point fourth quarter was its highest-scoring quarter of the season. ... Portland G CJ McCollum’s 34 points were two shy of his season high.