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Lillard scores 39 to rally Blazers past Lakers 98-94

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard scored 39 points and made the go-ahead basket with 36 seconds remaining as the Portland Trail Blazers rallied from a 10-point deficit in the second half to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 98-94 Monday night.

Lillard hit four 3-pointers, and scored 16 points during the fourth quarter to lead the Blazers (27-8). He has scored at least 39 points in three of his past nine games.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points, and reserve center Meyers Leonard had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Portland.

Jordan Hill led Los Angeles (11-24) with 23 points and 14 rebounds. Five Lakers scored in double figures, including Jeremy Lin with 14 points.

Kobe Bryant, the Lakers’ leading scorer at 23.6 points per game, stayed home for a scheduled day of rest. It was the fourth game Bryant has skipped after sustaining two leg injuries the past two seasons.

The Lakers briefly took a 92-91 lead with 43 seconds remaining on two free throws by Lin. But then Lillard immediately went to work, driving to the basket for the go-ahead layup 7 seconds later.

Portland secured the win with free throws by Lillard and Aldridge.

Los Angeles took control early in the third quarter, running off 10 consecutive points to take a 61-54 lead. The Lakers led by as many as 10 before Lillard helped the Blazers cut the deficit to 73-70 heading into the fourth.

Lillard hit a trio of 3-pointers during the fourth quarter, two during a 12-2 run that gave the Blazers an 88-85 lead.

Neither team was able to shake loose in the first half. The Blazers led by as many as seven, but the Lakers closed the second quarter on a 9-4 run to cut the halftime deficit to 47-45.

The first-half highlight came when Nick Young chased down a ball in the backcourt, stepped over midcourt and hit a 40-foot 3-pointer to beat the 24-second shot clock.

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TIP-INS

Lakers: Los Angeles forward Wesley Johnson, who injured his hip Sunday against Indiana, could be back as early as next week, coach Byron Scott said. … Lakers forward Ryan Kelly, who had played just 46 minutes in the first 44 games, made his first start of the season. … G Ronnie Price took an elbow to the mouth during the third quarter and did not return.

Trail Blazers: Terry Stotts was selected Western Conference coach of the month for December. Portland went 13-3 in December, tying a franchise record for wins in one month. … C Chris Kaman made his first start of the season. Robin Lopez (broken right hand) and Joel Freeland (right shoulder) are out for an extended period.

UP NEXT

Lakers: Wednesday at Los Angeles Clippers.

Trail Blazers: Thursday at home against Orlando.

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