NBA 2023-24 Roundup: Milwaukee Bucks falls in Damian Lillard’s return to Portland Trail Blazers

Lillard played 11 seasons with the Trail Blazers before seeking a trade in the offseason and eventually being sent to the Bucks.

Published : Feb 01, 2024 12:58 IST , USA - 5 MINS READ

Anfernee Simons of the Portland Trail Blazers defends Damian Lillard Milwaukee Bucks
Anfernee Simons of the Portland Trail Blazers defends Damian Lillard Milwaukee Bucks | Photo Credit: AFP

Anfernee Simons of the Portland Trail Blazers defends Damian Lillard Milwaukee Bucks | Photo Credit: AFP

Anfernee Simons hit the go-ahead jumper and scored 24 points as the Trail Blazers spoiled Damian Lillard’s homecoming to Portland with a 119-116 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.

Lillard played 11 seasons with the Trail Blazers before seeking a trade in the offseason and eventually being sent to the Bucks.

Simons put the Trail Blazers ahead with a floater with 17.6 seconds left and Jerami Grant added two free throws with 4.6 seconds to go as Portland won its second straight game.

Deandre Ayton had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Trail Blazers. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points and eight rebounds, Lillard had 25 points and seven assists and Khris Middleton had 21 points and eight assists for the Bucks, which has lost three of its past four games.

Suns 136, Nets 120

Kevin Durant heard some cheers in pregame introductions and scored 33 points in his return to Brooklyn as Phoenix surged ahead in the third quarter and went on to win in New York.

Durant played his last game for the Nets on Jan. 8, 2023, before requesting a trade to the Suns and getting his wish at last season’s trade deadline. He complemented his point total with eight assists, five rebounds and two blocks.

Jusuf Nurkic added 28 points and 11 boards and Devin Booker contributed 22 points and eight assists for the Suns. Cam Thomas scored 25 points and Mikal Bridges had 21 for the Nets, who played without Ben Simmons (bruised left knee).

Clippers 125, Wizards 109

Kawhi Leonard recorded 31 points and nine rebounds before sitting out the fourth quarter as visiting Los Angeles dumped Washington.

Leonard added four assists and four steals for the Clippers, which overcame the absence of Paul George (left groin soreness) to post their 23rd win in the past 28 games. James Harden collected 25 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four blocks.

Washington’s Kyle Kuzma scored 23 of his 27 points in the first half. Rookie Bilal Coulibaly scored 19 points and Corey Kispert added 16 off the bench.

Cavaliers 128, Pistons 121

Donovan Mitchell scored 20 of his season-high-tying 45 points in the fourth quarter as Cleveland rallied to beat visiting Detroit.

Darius Garland scored 19 points in his return from a 19-game absence for the Cavaliers, which has won three straight and 11 of their past 12. Jarrett Allen recorded his 16th straight double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Danilo Gallinari led Detroit with 20 points. Cade Cunningham scored 19 points and Bojan Bogdanovic added 17 for the Pistons, who had won two of their previous three games.

Bulls 117, Hornets 110

Coby White had another memorable night in his home state, scoring a season-high 35 points as Chicago beats host Charlotte for the third time this month.

White, from Goldsboro, N.C., has led the Bulls in scoring in all three of its January wins over the Hornets. He had plenty of help this time as five of his teammates also scored in double figures, led by Nikola Vucevic with 22 points and 12 rebounds.

Charlotte, which lost its fifth consecutive game, completed a 0-4 homestand. This was the first of those results to end in a single-digit margin. Miles Bridges connected six 3-point shots to lead the Hornets with 30 points.

Heat 115, Kings 106

Jimmy Butler scored 31 points as hosts Miami beats Sacramento to snap a seven-game losing streak.

The Heat collected 38 assists on 42 baskets. Josh Richardson scored a season-high 24 points, including 16 in the first half, and Bam Adebayo contributed 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Keegan Murray put up a game-high 33 points for the Kings, and its four-game winning streak ended. Domantas Sabonis recorded his 13th triple-double of the season: 19 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists.

Thunder 105, Nuggets 100

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 34 points to lift hosts Oklahoma City over Denver.

Chet Holmgren contributed 18 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks for the Thunder, which has lost two in a row after a five-game winning streak.

The Nuggets were without star Nikola Jokic, who missed the game due to lower back pain. Three players -- Reggie Jackson, Aaron Gordon and Jamal Murray -- each scored 16 points to lead Denver. Gordon added 13 rebounds and seven assists.

Magic 108, Spurs 98

Paolo Banchero scored 25 points and Franz Wagner added 20 as visiting Orlando built a big lead and held off San Antonio.

Wendell Carter Jr. added 14 points for the Magic, who won for the second time in five games.

Devin Vassell led all scorers with 26 points while Victor Wembanyama added 21 and Jeremy Sochan racked up 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Spurs. San Antonio lost for the fourth time in six games.

Timberwolves 121, Mavericks 87

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 29 points on 11-for-15 shooting and Minnesota pulled away for a win over Dallas in Minneapolis.

Rudy Gobert finished with 17 points on 5-for-9 shooting for Minnesota, which won for the fourth time in its past five games. Josh Green scored 18 points on 8-for-13 shooting to lead the Mavericks, who are 4-7 since a three-game winning streak in early January.

The short-handed Mavericks played without Luka Doncic (right ankle sprain), Kyrie Irving (right thumb sprain), Dereck Lively II (broken nose), Dante Exum (right knee bursitis) and Derrick Jones Jr. (left wrist sprain).

Pelicans 110, Rockets 99

Jonas Valanciunas and Brandon Ingram posted double-doubles as visiting New Orleans snapped a three-game losing skid with a victory at Houston.

Valanciunas paired 25 points with 14 rebounds while Ingram added 24 points and 10 boards. CJ McCollum tallied 19 points as New Orleans won without Zion Williamson (foot) and Herb Jones (adductor).

Jalen Green scored a game-high 31 points while rookie Cam Whitmore tallied 17 off the bench for Houston, which had won two of its previous three games.

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