Lil­lard stars as Port­land hit back in golden style

Blaz­ers cut se­ries deficit against the reign­ing NBA cham­pi­ons

7 Days in Dubai - - SPORT -

The Trail Blaz­ers learned their les­son. Af­ter Port­land let the pre­vi­ous game slip away, Damian Lil­lard had a play-off best 40 points as the Trail Blaz­ers beat Golden State 120-108 to cut the War­riors’ ad­van­tage in the Western Con­fer­ence NBA semi-fi­nal to 2-1.

The de­fend­ing NBA cham­pi­ons were still without Steph Curry, the reign­ing MVP who sprained his right knee in game four of the firstround se­ries against Hous­ton.

“I think we played a lot smarter down the stretch than we did the last game, and we chal­lenged them,” said Lil­lard (pic­tured). “Last game, I think, we played good and then we let up a lit­tle bit, and they turned it on - like cham­pi­onship teams do. “We didn’t al­low that to hap­pen, we kept do­ing what was work­ing for us.” The War­riors travel to Port­land in game four to­mor­row (6.30am UAE) and Dray­mond Green, who scored 37 points in game three, knows it will be tough. “Now they’re feel­ing like they can do it,” Green said about the Blaz­ers.

“We know oth­er­wise. You can ex­pect game to be a bat­tle.”

In Mi­ami, Kyle Lowry got his game back at the per­fect time to help the Toronto Rap­tors to a 95-91 win and a 2-1 lead in their se­ries against the Heat, who are in all kinds of trou­ble.

Shak­ing off epic play-off strug­gles, Lowry scored 33 points - in­clud­ing five straight - in a duel with Dwyane Wade to lift Toronto to vic­tory. “I felt like it was just a mat­ter of time,” said Lowry.

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