• Lillard’s big night lifts Trail Blazers over Warriors

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    Damian Lillard (No. 0) of the Portland Trail Blazers drives to the basket on Brandon Rush (No. 4) of the Golden State Warriors in the third quarter of Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon.  AFP PHOTO

    Damian Lillard (No. 0) of the Portland Trail Blazers drives to the basket on Brandon Rush (No. 4) of the Golden State Warriors in the third quarter of Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. AFP PHOTO

    LOS ANGELES: Damian Lillard scored a career playoff-high 40 points and handed out 10 assists on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) as the Portland Trail Blazers beat reigning NBA champions Golden State 120-108 to narrow the gap in their playoff series.

    Al-Farouq Aminu collected 23 points and 10 rebounds and C.J. McCollum added 22 points for the Trail Blazers, who trimmed the deficit in the best-of-seven Western Conference second-round series to 2-1.

    The Trail Blazers will try to level the series when they host game four on Monday.

    Lillard connected on 14 of 27 shots from the field, including eight of 13 from three-point range.

    “We were just a lot more aggressive, we played a lot smarter down the stretch than we did the last game,” Lillard said. “I think tonight we kept doing what was working for us.”

    Aminu was eight-for-nine from the field, making four three-pointers for a Blazers team that withstood a career playoff-high of 37 points from Golden State’s Dray­mond Green, who also pulled down nine rebounds and dished out eight assists.

    Klay Thompson added 35 points for the Warriors, who were again without injured star Stephen Curry.

    The young Portland team kept their nerve in the face of a strong start from Golden State. Lillard scored 25 points and Aminu contributed 11 points in the second quarter and the Blazers took a 58-46 lead into halftime.

    Thompson had 24 in the half for the Warriors, who were outscored 36-18 in the second period.

    The Warriors used a 9-0 scoring run to pull within 105-94 with 5:25 remaining, but Portland scored the next five points and the Warriors never got within 12 the rest of the way.

    “I thought we got out-worked,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. “Even though we had a couple of guys who scored a lot of points we didn’t get the flow or rhythm we needed to play at a high level.”

    There was some good news for the Warriors as Kerr said Curry, nursing a sprained right knee, had his first “actual basketball” workout and came out of it well.

    Whether that means Curry might be ready to play in game four, Kerr didn’t know.

    “We’ll see how it goes (Sunday),” Kerr said. “We’ll put him into a three-on-three (workout) and see how he does.”

    AFP

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