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Trail Blazers 98, Lakers 94

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PORTLAND — Guard Damian Lillard scored 14 of his 39 points in the final six minutes as the Portland Trail Blazers rallied from a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit to down the Los Angeles Lakers 98-94 Monday night at the Moda Center.

Forward LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points with eight rebounds as the Trail Blazers (27-8) won for the 15th time in 19 outings.

Center Jordan Hill matched his season high with 23 points on 10-for-15 shooting and grabbed 11 boards for the Lakers (11-24), who went without guard Kobe Bryant, held out to rest in the second of back-to-back games.

Lillard scored 15 points to stake Portland to a 47-45 halftime lead. He got help from center Chris Kaman (eight points, nine rebounds, three blocks) and forward Meyers Leonard (eight points, four rebounds).

Hill, who had 12 points on 6-for-7 shooting for the Lakers at the break, scored on back-to-back buckets to key an 11-1 spurt as the Lakers went ahead 63-55 midway through the third quarter. They were on top 73-70 going into the final period.

The Lakers were ahead 76-70 when Leonard converted a four-point play to make it 76-74 with 8:58 remaining. It was 83-76 after Hill made 1 of 2 attempts at the line with 5:54 left.

Lillard started a 12-2 run by draining back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the margin to 85-82 with 4:30 to go. Aldridge followed with consecutive baskets to give Portland an 86-85 advantage with 3:30 to play.

Another Lillard 3 pushed the Blazers in front 91-87 with 2:27 left, but the Lakers went back ahead on five free throws — three by guard Nick Young, two by guard Jeremy Lin, the latter two points with 43.3 seconds to go to make it 92-91 Lakers.

But Lillard scored on a backdoor layup with 36.4 seconds remaining. After Young missed a jumper, the Blazers rebounded and Lillard was fouled. His two free throws with 18.9 left gave Portland a 95-92 advantage.

After a timeout, Lin airballed a 3-point attempt. Aldridge sank a pair at the line with 12.5 ticks left to up the margin to 97-92, but Lin scored on a driving layup to cut the lead to 97-94 with 7.7 seconds on the clock.

Lillard wrapped it up by making 1 of 2 foul shots with 6.7 seconds left.

The Lakers hung with the Blazers all through the first half, taking a 23-22 lead into the final minute of the first quarter. Portland led 24-23 after one period.

L.A. was in front 36-33 when Portland temporarily seized control, going on a 10-0 run to take a 43-36 advantage with 3:35 left in the second quarter. The Blazers settled for a 47-45 edge at intermission.

NOTES: Lakers coach Byron Scott said he was numbed by news of the Monday death of Alina Kupchak, 15-year-old daughter of Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, after a lengthy, unspecified illness. “It just tells you basketball isn’t that important,” Scott said. “For all of us who have kids, especially fathers who have daughters, it’s unimaginable. That’s not supposed to happen. Our hearts go out to Mitch and (wife) Claire.” … Portland coach Terry Stotts was coaching his first game since being named Western Conference Coach of the Month. The Blazers went 13-3 in December. “Sounds cliche, but it’s a team award,” Stotts said. “It’s an honor awarding wins. Looking back over the month, there were a lot of good wins. It’s something to be proud of. Now we move on.” … The Lakers played without G Kobe Bryant, who was left in Los Angeles to rest after playing 32 minutes — and hitting the game-winning shot — against Indiana Sunday night. Also missing was F Wesley Johnson, who hurt his hip against the Pacers. “He could be back by as early as the end of this week, or early next week,” Scott said.

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

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