----- Damian Lillard finishes with 48 points, nine rebounds, and 10 assists as the Portland Trail Blazers top the Los Angeles Lakers 127-119 Friday night at Staples Center.
On a night when the Lakers remembered Kobe Bryant, Damian Lillard was the one player on the floor with the "Mamba Mentality."
Lillard finished with 48 points, nine rebounds, and 10 assists leading the Blazers to a surprising 127-119 win over the Lakers in their first game since Kobe Bryant perished in a Helicopter accident Sunday.
Lillard connected on 17 of his 30 shots including 7-of-12 from three-point range. His seven 3-pointers gave him 40 in his last five games, setting an NBA record.
''I don't feel like anybody feels like we walked away as a winner tonight, given the circumstances,'' Lillard said. ''The memories that we'll take away from it was just sad and just tough. It's good that we had to compete, so being on the winning side is a positive, but I don't think anybody walks away from this moment and this situation a winner.''
Lillard had some help in the win. Hassan Whiteside continued his solid play finishing with a double-double 30 points, 12 rebounds while adding five blocks and Trevor Ariza finished with just two points, but had five steals and played superb defense on Lebron James throughout the night.
“Scoring isn’t the only way to impact a game,” Ariza said. “We have unbelievable scorers on this team. For me, I learned early that in order to help your team win, you have to do other things. For me tonight, I had a huge matchup. I had to focus as much as I can and lock in as much as possible.”
Portland Head Coach Terry Stotts knew it would be a challenge for his team going into the game with all of the emotion surrounding the tribute to Bryant.
''We've had five days and two games to kind of understand the emotions that were going to be out there,'' Stotts said. ''I know it was a tough game for the Lakers, watching them during the tribute, during LeBron's talk. I thought it was a difficult game for them to play. I mean, it was difficult for both teams, but I think we've had some time to go through the grieving process.''
The Trail Blazers trailed by two-points at halftime, but took control with a 43-point third quarter. In the period, Lillard made six of his seven shots from distance, eight of 11 overall, scored 23 points and had three assists.
Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 37 points and Lebron James finished with 22 points, eight rebounds, and 10 assists.
''I think everybody was emotional tonight,'' said James. ''We all have our individual reasons why emotion hits us, and then we all have this brotherhood and this family, being a part of this Laker organization, which automatically brings in even more emotion.''
Up Next- The Trail Blazers play the second of a back-to-back tomorrow night at Moda Center against the Utah Jazz. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7:30 PM.
Chad's Take- One of the most remarkable regular season wins I have ever seen from this team. Damian Lillard is a superstar.