Batum sends Blazers to 89-85 win over 76ers
Posted at: 12/29/2012 11:07 PM
BY JOEL FOWLKS
(AP) PORTLAND, Ore. - Nicolas Batum had 22 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, Damian Lillard added 20 points and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Philadelphia 76ers 89-85 on Saturday night for their eighth straight victory at home.
J.J. Hickson had 16 points and 13 rebounds for Portland. LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 points.
Jrue Holiday had 29 points, nine assists and nine rebounds to lead the Sixers, who have lost eight of 10. Thaddeus Young added 17 points.
Portland led 84-76 late in the game, but Young made two big baskets, including a three-point play to cut the lead to three. Spencer Hawes and Dorell Wright missed 3-pointers for the Sixers, however, and Batum hit three of four free throws to seal it.
Portland was playing for the second consecutive night and was coming off a 104-78 loss at the Los Angeles Lakers. The Sixers were also on a back-to back, having lost 96-89 to Golden State.
Portland led by as many as nine in the first half and was ahead 49-44 at halftime but came out flat in the third quarter, missing seven of its first 10 shots. Meanwhile, Holiday scored 13 points in the quarter to push the Sixers into the lead. He hit a 3-pointer and then a jumper to put Philadelphia up 57-56.
Batum picked up the slack for Portland. He made two free throws and two 3s to take the lead back for the Blazers, who went into the fourth quarter up 70-67. Portland then opened the fourth with a 7-0 run to take a 10-point advantage.
Batum made a difference on defense, too, after being switched to defend Holiday, who had been able to impose his will on Lillard for the first three quarters. Batum locked down Holiday, holding him to 1-of-5 shooting and two points in the fourth.
NOTES: Portland has won four of the last five matchups between the teams, including 107-103 over Philadelphia in their lone meeting last season. ... Blazers rookie C Meyers Leonard had to be helped to the locker room after falling to the floor with an apparent right ankle or knee injury. ... Philadelphia G Jason Richardson returned to action after missing two games with a strained back. He scored five points. .. Blazers G Wesley Matthews missed his fourth straight game with a strained hip.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)