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Lillard scores 43 in Blazers’ 3-OT win

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SAN ANTONIO — The longer the game continued, the stronger Damian Lillard became.

Lillard scored nine of his career-best 43 points in the third overtime, lifting the Portland Trail Blazers over San Antonio Spurs 129-119 Friday night.

The Trail Blazers guard hit all four of his shots in the third overtime, including his fourth 3-pointer of the game.

“They’re a championship team,” Lillard said. “When you play them, you have to raise your game.”

For the Trail Blazers (21-6), it was their second victory against the Spurs in five days.

San Antonio (17-10), meanwhile, has lost four of its last five games, the last two in triple overtime. The Spurs are 0-4 in overtime games this season.

Forward LaMarcus Aldridge supplemented Lillard with 32 points, 16 rebounds and five steals.

Portland guard Wesley Matthews scored 16 points, and forward Dorell Wright made four 3-point baskets in the second half and overtime periods.

Forward Tim Duncan had 32 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks for the Spurs. Guard Danny Green scored 27.

Duncan, 38, played 43 minutes two days after logging 48 in the triple-overtime loss to Memphis — the most he’s worked since December 2008.

“He was amazing,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

Portland scored the first 11 points of the third overtime.

At the beginning of the first overtime, the Spurs seemed to be in command.

Duncan made two jump shots, guard Manu Ginobili made a shot in the lane, and the Spurs had the first six points.

But Portland relentlessly worked its way back, tying the game with a 3-pointer by Lillard with 13.6 seconds left.

The Spurs led again by six in the second overtime, but Portland overtook them with a 3-pointer by guard Steve Blake with 30.2 seconds left. San Antonio created the third overtime with a shot from the left baseline by guard Cory Joseph.

“We looked like we were dead in the water in the first and second overtimes,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “I was really proud of the way we kept competing.”

Green’s 3-point basket with 5.7 seconds remaining in regulation gave the Spurs a 97-95 lead.

But Lillard drove past Green for layup to tie the game with 1.4 seconds left. Then Lillard blocked Green’s 3-point attempt, and the game went to overtime.

Both teams were missing two starters: guard Tony Parker and forward Kawhi Leonard for the Spurs; center Robin Lopez and forward Nicolas Batum for the Trail Blazers.

Leonard, who has missed four of the past six games with what was initially called a bruised right hand, was diagnosed on Friday with a torn ligament in that hand.

Leonard missed games against New York and the Los Angeles Lakers in San Antonio, returned on Sunday and Monday at Utah and Portland, but fell and landed on his hand against the Trail Blazers.

“It’s not as bad as it sounds,” Leonard said. “I should be back soon.”

The San Antonio Express-News, citing a source familiar with Leonard’s progress, reported that Leonard could return as soon as Monday against the Los Angeles Clippers in San Antonio. That would mean missing a game on Saturday at Dallas.

After two triple-overtime games in three days, the Spurs could be missing other players if Popovich give them the day off.

“We are wearing some guys down,” Popovich said. “Timmy is a big worry in that respect, and so is Manu.”

NOTES: The Spurs were missing G Tony Parker (strained left hamstring) and G Patty Mills (right shoulder surgery). Mills is expected to play in January for the first time this season. … Portland F Nicolas Batum missed the game with injuries to his right wrist and left knee. … Trail Blazers C Robin Lopez will miss at least six weeks with a broken right hand that he suffered during a win over San Antonio on Monday. Joel Freeland started in place of Lopez. … The Spurs’ loss to Memphis on Wednesday in triple overtime left them 0-3 in overtime games this season. Now they are 0-4 in overtime games…. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he had no thoughts on the trade that sent G Rajon Rondo from Boston to Dallas. But Portland coach Terry Stotts, a former Mavs assistant, said, “Dallas definitely got better.”

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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