Lil­lard scores 61 in huge win

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS -

Damian Lil­lard tied his ca­reer high with 61 points, will­ing the Trail Blaz­ers to a 134131 vic­tory against the Mav­er­icks on Tues­day in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The win moves the Trail Blaz­ers (34-39) into eighth place in the West­ern Con­fer­ence, and they will clinch a spot in the play-in se­ries with a win Thurs­day against the Nets. The Griz­zlies (33-39), Suns (33-39) and Spurs (32-38) are all lumped to­gether just be­hind Port­land.

Lil­lard made nine three-point­ers in his sixth 50-point game of the sea­son. He’s the 12th player in NBA his­tory to score 50 points in back-to-back games af­ter scor­ing 51 on Sun­day against the 76ers.

Gian­nis tossed for head-butt

Gian­nis An­te­tok­oun­mpo was ejected in the se­cond quar­ter of the Bucks’ 126-113 vic­tory against the Wizards af­ter head-butting Moritz Wag­ner. Wag­ner took a charge from An­te­tok­oun­mpo, who didn’t like the call in what had be­come a phys­i­cal game. Dur­ing a break in the ac­tion with Mil­wau­kee chal­leng­ing the call, An­te­tok­oun­mpo ap­proached Wag­ner and started jab­ber­ing at him be­fore head­but­ting him. It was his third ca­reer ejec­tion.

The Bucks al­ready have clinched the top seed in the East­ern Con­fer­ence.

In other ac­tion

Devin Booker scored 35 points and the Suns pro­tected their play­off hopes by beat­ing the 76ers 130-117, to re­main un­de­feated (7-0) in the NBA restart. Booker be­came the Suns’ ca­reer leader with his 91st 30-point game, break­ing a tie with Wal­ter Davis.

Kel­don Johnson had 24 points and 11 re­bounds, and the Spurs kept alive their chance of be­com­ing the first team in NBA his­tory to make 23 con­sec­u­tive play­off ap­pear­ances with a 123-105 vic­tory against the Rock­ets, who played with­out guards James Har­den (rest) and Eric Gor­don (an­kle).

Jeremiah Martin and Ti­mothe LuwawuCaba­r­rot each scored 24 points in the Nets’ 108-96 vic­tory against the Magic. The Nets are locked into the No. 7 seed in the East­ern Con­fer­ence and the Magic are eighth.

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