Lillard leads short-handed Blazers past Wizards, 132-121
By IAN NICHOLAS QUILLEN
WASHINGTON (AP) Damian Lillard scored 32 points, Gary Trent Jr. added 26 while hitting seven 3-pointers and the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers held on for a 132-121 victory over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night.
Enes Kanter had 14 points and 15 rebounds for Portland, which improved to 2-2 on its six-game road trip.
Carmelo Anthony had 21 points off the bench and Robert Covington added 19 for the Blazers, who have been without starters CJ McCollum (foot), Jusuf Nurkic (wrist) and Derrick Jones Jr. (foot) for at least three games each.
Interim starter Nassir Little was also out Tuesday with a sprained left knee, and even Lillard indicated afterward he was dealing with an abdominal ailment.
"We've been having guys dropping left and right, dealing with a lot," Lillard said. "And I've been dealing with some nagging things myself, where coming into tonight, I felt like I could barely move out there to start the game. And I was even thinking, `Should I have sat last night? Or sat tonight?'
"I was pushing and fighting that the whole game, because I knew how important this one was for our season."
Russell Westbrook had a triple-double with 17 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for Washington, the only NBA team without five victories this season.
Bradley Beal scored 37 points and Rui Hachimura added 24 for the Wizards, who were attempting to record consecutive wins for just the second time.
But the Blazers leaped to an early 26-7 lead with an 18-0 run, even as Lillard started slowly. Trent made two 3-pointers during the spurt, and Rodney Hood and Covington each added one.
"We were late to everything," Beal said of Washington's defense. "We were late on our defensive rotations. Offensively we weren't playing fast enough or playing hard enough. They were just kicking our (butts). They got their butts kicked last night by Milwaukee and they came in tonight with a different mindset out of the gate."
Lillard finally scored his first points on a baseline jumper with 3:45 during a first quarter that ended with Portland holding a 40-23 advantage.
Washington got no closer than six until the fourth, when Beal, Hachimura, Davis Bertans and Deni Avdija all hit 3-pointers during a 14-6 run to close it to 122-118 remaining.
Bertans missed an open baseline 3 on Washington's next possession, and Trent sank one from nearly the identical spot on the other end before Lillard followed with a dunk that stretched the lead to nine with 2:12 left.
"We needed everybody tonight, and so many guys stepped up," Covington said. "That was an overall great team win."
Blazers: Coach Terry Stotts said Little suffered his injury in the fourth quarter of Monday's loss in Milwaukee. ... Hood made his third start in Little's place. ... Covington had nine rebounds and Lillard had eight assists.
Wizards: Allowed 115 points over a three-quarter stretch, beginning with Sunday's second half in a 149-146 win over Brooklyn and concluding in Tuesday's first quarter. ... C Thomas Bryant had "successful" surgery on his partially torn left ACL earlier Tuesday, said coach Scott Brooks. Bryant suffered injury on Jan. 9 against Miami.
MELO KEEPS CLIMBING
With his performance, Anthony moved into 13th place on the NBA all-time scoring list with 26,675 points, passing Dominique Wilkins (26,668 points).
"I actually found out that I passed somebody through one of the gentlemen at the scorers' table," Anthony said. "I was checking into the game, and he said something like, `congratulations.' I said `Thank you,' first. And then I went back and said, `Congratulations for what?'" BEAL IN MJ TERRITORY
Beal's performance marked his 16th consecutive game with 25 points or more to begin the season, tying Michael Jordan's NBA record.
Blazers: Continue their road trip at Philadelphia on Thursday.
Wizards: Visit Miami on Wednesday.
Updated February 2, 2021