Saturday, December 27, 2014

Sixers stumble to start holiday road swing


Portland, OR -- Damian Lillard scored 28 points with nine assists, Wesley Matthews tallied 25 points and the Portland Trail Blazers cruised past the Philadelphia 76ers, 114-93, on Friday.

Lillard and Matthews connected on 10 of the Blazers' season-high 18 3- pointers, with Matthews converting 7-of-14 tries from deep.

Already playing without center Robin Lopez, LaMarcus Aldridge (upper respiratory illness) and Chris Kaman (child's birth) were both out of the lineup as well. In stepped Joel Freeland, who scored six points and pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds in Portland's fifth straight win at home.

"He came in and he played comfortable," Lillard said of Freeland. "He rebounded really well. We knew we were short-handed. We knew that it was going to be a different type of game. I thought we went out there and did what we needed to do."

Tony Wroten scored 22 points for the Sixers, who had a season-high two-game winning streak snapped. Michael Carter-Williams added 17 points with six rebounds and five assists.

"When you give up what we did from (3-point range) coupled with what we shot from the line... that team can score. That team can score," said Sixers coach Brett Brown.

Philadelphia, which opened up the Western portion of this road trip which takes it to Utah, Oakland, Phoenix and Los Angeles, made just 18 of its 33 attempts from the free throw line.

Philadelphia led in the early going before Portland got settled and went on a 13-2 run that Meyers Leonard capped with a dunk for a 19-12 lead. The Sixers trimmed the deficit to one following a Wroten 3-pointer, then Matthews netted a jumper to give the hosts a 27-24 lead after 12 minutes.

C.J. McCollum's 3-pointer started a 14-4 run midway through the second quarter that gave the Blazers a 52-37 lead.

Philadelphia used a 12-2 run later in the frame to close the gap to six, but Lillard's free throw and Dorell Wright's three stretched the margin to 61-51 at the half.

Matthews hit back-to-back treys as part of an 8-0 burst following a Carter- Williams free throw as Portland made it a 69-52 game early in the third.

The Blazers led 88-74 entering the fourth and led by as many as 23 in the final period.

Notes: The Trail Blazers set a franchise record with at least 15 3-pointers made in back-to-back games ... Portland shot 42-of-88 from the floor, including 18- of-43 from beyond the arc... Nicolas Batum added 14 points in the win ... Philadelphia held a 64-32 edge in the paint ... The Sixers have dropped four of their last five games in Portland. 
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