PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Trail Blazers kept up their midseason tear through the NBA thanks to their increasingly prolific backcourt duo.
Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum each scored 34 points, and the Blazers beat the Brooklyn Nets, 112-104, on Tuesday night for their season-high sixth consecutive victory.
Lillard became the first player to score at least 30 points in five straight games for Portland since Geoff Petrie in the franchise’s inaugural 1970-71 season, and the first NBA player to do so this season. McCollum added six assists and five rebounds and cracked the 30-point mark in back-to-back games for the first time in his career.
“No question they carried us,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “Sixty-eight points from your backcourt, that goes a long way.”
Brook Lopez had 36 points and 10 boards for Brooklyn, which has lost three of four. Joe Johnson had 19 points and eight rebounds, and Donald Sloan scored 14 points.
“We did not play particularly well on the defensive end in the first half,” Nets interim coach Tony Brown said. “As soon as we got engaged and started being aggressive, things started to turn for us.”
The Nets trailed 68-49 early in the third before charging back. A Lopez three-point play on a hook shot triggered a 19-6 run to get the Nets back within one point just before the end of the third quarter.
Lopez’s floater with 9:55 left in the game gave the Nets an 88-87 lead.
“We had a lot more energy [in the second half] and we knuckled down on defense and got some stops,” Lopez said. “We came out a bit relaxed. I don’t know what it was. There really is no excuse to start that way.”
The game was tied before McCollum and Lillard hit consecutive three-pointers to make it 107-101 with 1:25 left. Lillard sealed the win with four free throws in the last 26.4 seconds.
“We showed some fight,” Lillard said. “We didn’t panic and let the game completely slip away like we’d done in games in the past.”
Mason Plumlee added 13 rebounds and Portland won for the 11th time in 12 games and 15th out of 18 to move into a tie with idle Dallas for the sixth seed in the Western Conference.
“We can’t let our guard down,” Stotts said. “I’m glad we’re making a move.”
Brooklyn’s only points in the final 2:13 came on Lopez’s three-point play with 74 seconds left, which closed the gap to three.
“I needed to close the game out strong,” McCollum said. “[That was] too close for comfort.”
Portland hit five free throws in the final minute, four from Lillard and one from Plumlee.
McCollum and Lillard are the first Blazers teammates to go for 30-plus in back-to-back games since Petrie and Sidney Wicks did so in 1973.
“I catch myself watching him sometimes,” Lillard said of McCollum. “The stuff that he can do, how crafty he is with the ball, the tough shots he can knock down — I didn’t feel like I had to keep the ball.”
Lillard continued his march up the Blazers’ career scoring charts, passing Zach Randolph for 14th in points and Nicolas Batum for third on the three-pointers made list.
Notes & quotes: Brooklyn has lost seven straight away from Barclays Center, and just began a nine-game road trip while its home arena hosts the circus . . . Johnson is three points shy of becoming the 52nd player in NBA history to reach 19,000 career points, and the 10th active player to do so . . . Portland entered having outrebounded its opponents in 10 of the previous 13 contests. On Tuesday, the Nets had the advantage on the glass 47-40, with Thaddeus Young leading the way with 11 boards.