BOSTON – Damian Lillard scored 33 points to spearhead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 97-92 road win over the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden on Wednesday.
This was the Trail Blazers’ fifth straight win, while the Celtics slipped to their fourth consecutive loss.
Portland led throughout the game, thanks in particular to a strong third quarter showing, in which it outscored Boston by nine points to go into the closing frame with a 10-point lead.
The Celtics briefly looked as though they would be able to stage a late turnaround, beginning the fourth quarter with a 10-2 run to cut the deficit to just two points.
Portland soon took back the momentum to close out the game thanks to a vital contribution from Jusuf Nurkic, who scored eight of his 16 points during that fourth-quarter stretch.
The Trail Blazers (38-23) are in fourth place in the Western Conference, only half a game behind third-placed Oklahoma City Thunder and five games behind leaders Golden State Warriors.
Lillard went 13-of-27 from the field and had seven rebounds, four assists and two steals in 37 minutes of play.
Maurice Harkless had a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds as well as three steals, while Nurkic finished with 16 points, six rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal in 29 minutes.
Harkless played for 37 minutes, going for 8-of-13 from the field and 1-of-2 from the free-throw line.
“We kept our composure, we got stops when we needed one and we made plays down the stretch,” Harkless said after the game.
“We had our hands on the ball all night and that played a big part in our win tonight,” he added.
The Celtics (37-25), who have not won since the All-Stars break and are sitting in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, were led by Kyrie Irving with 31 points off of 14-of-24 shooting.
Jayson Tatum added 14 points and Al Horford scored 13 in 36 minutes of play, going for 6-of-16 from the field, and had five rebounds and gave five assists.