NBA regular season

Bucks fall in Damian Lillard’s return to Portland


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Bucks fall in Damian Lillard’s return to Portland

ALL LOVE. Bucks star Damian Lillard and Blazers forward Jabari Walker hug it out after the game.


Despite seeking a trade in the offseason, Damian Lillard receives a long, rousing ovation in Portland, but the Trail Blazers wind up upsetting the Bucks

Anfernee Simons hit the go-ahead jumper and scored 24 points as the Trail Blazers spoiled Damian Lillard’s homecoming to Portland with a 119-116 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, January 31 (Thursday, February 1, Manila time).

Simons put the Trail Blazers ahead with a floater with 17.6 seconds left and Jerami Grant added two free throws with 4.6 seconds to go as Portland won its second straight game.

Deandre Ayton had 20 points and 11 rebounds, Grant scored 18 points, Scoot Henderson had 15 points off the bench, and Malcolm Brogdon tallied 14 for the Trail Blazers.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points and 8 rebounds, Lillard had 25 points and 7 assists, and Khris Middleton had 21 points and 8 assists for the Bucks, who have lost three of their past four games.

Lillard played 11 seasons with the Trail Blazers before seeking a trade in the offseason and eventually being sent to the Bucks.

Lillard, the Trail Blazers’ all-time leading scorer, received a long, rousing ovation when introduced before the game. He tapped on his wrist to signify it was “Dame Time” and acknowledged the crowd multiple times.

Lillard exploded through the lane for a dunk with 1:13 left in the fourth quarter to bring Milwaukee within 115-114.

After Malik Beasley forced a turnover, Lillard picked up the loose ball and fed Antetokounmpo for a dunk to give the Bucks a 116-115 edge with 37.9 seconds left.

Simons answered with the floater that put Portland ahead to stay.

Lillard was then forced to give the ball up due to solid defense by Ayton and Brogdon. Brook Lopez took a three-point attempt with about eight seconds left, and it bounced off the rim.

Lillard was just 9-of-23 from the field, including 3-of-13 from three-point range.

Lopez scored 19 points and Bobby Portis added 11 for the Bucks, who made 48.9% of their attempts and were 13-of-45 (28.9%) from behind the arc.

Portland shot 53.3% from the field, including 12-of-28 from three-point range (42.9%). Duop Reath had 10 points for the Trail Blazers.

Simons hit a 15-footer with three seconds left in the third quarter as Portland held a 96-91 lead. Brogdon scored the first 5 points in the fourth period to make it a 10-point margin.

Lillard buried one of his patented 30-foot, three-pointers to bring the Bucks within six with 8:57 left.

Portland led 67-65 at the half. Lillard and Antetokounmpo each scored 15 points in the half for Milwaukee, and Henderson had 15 for the Trail Blazers. –

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