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Best of NBA: Damian Lillard's last-second shot lifts Blazers over Lakers

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Best of NBA: Damian Lillard's last-second shot lifts Blazers over Lakers

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Damian Lillard made a 3-pointer with 0.7 seconds left and the Portland Trail Blazers extended their winning streak over the Los Angeles Lakers to 13 games with a 113-110 victory on Thursday night.

Lillard finished with 32 points, and Portland snapped a two-game skid. Jusuf Nurkic added 28 points for Portland.

Brook Lopez had 27 points and rookie Kyle Kuzma added a season-high 22 for the Lakers, who were short-handed after Larry Nance Jr. injured his left hand in the second half. Fellow rookie Lonzo Ball was 0 for 2 from the field with no points, four assists and three rebounds.

There were a few fans in the crowd at Moda Center wearing Ball's No. 2 jersey for his first appearance in Portland. But most fans booed him heartily during player introductions.

Nance was hurt late in the third quarter and went to the locker room. He did not play the rest of the way. Nance was averaging 11.1 points and 7.9 rebounds for the Lakers.

Portland took a 106-105 lead on Lillard's free throws with 1:56 left. Kuzma made a hook shot on the other end, but Lillard answered with a layup before Nurkic made free throws for a 110-107 lead. The standing crowd chanted "Beat LA!"

But Kentavious Caldwell-Pope quieted the fans with a 3-pointer off an assist from Ball to tie it with 15.5 seconds left. Lillard hit the winner over the outstretched arm of Brandon Ingram after letting some time run off the clock. To the roar of the crowd, Lillard pointed to his wrist to indicate "Lillard Time" (see full recap).

Warriors overcome sluggish 1st half to beat Spurs
SAN ANTONIO -- Klay Thompson scored 27 points, Kevin Durant had 24 and the Golden State Warriors overcame a lethargic first half to beat the injury-riddled San Antonio Spurs 112-92 on Thursday night.

Steph Curry added 21 points for Golden State in its first meeting against the Spurs since sweeping the Western Conference finals en route to the NBA title.

The Spurs played without Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, as they did in the conference finals. Unlike those blowout victories, Golden State struggled to close out San Antonio.

Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and 10 rebounds, continuing his resurgent season. Kyle Anderson added 16 points in place of Leonard, whose return from an injured right quadriceps is still undetermined.

The Warriors took their first lead two minutes into the third quarter at 60-57 on Durant's 3-pointer.

Aldridge and Pau Gasol took and made the Spurs' first two 3-pointers. The Spurs made four of their first six 3-pointers in running to a 22-12 lead. San Antonio led 31-12 lead after Golden State went scoreless for 4 1/2 minutes midway through the opening period.

Golden State slowly cut into the lead behind its defense. After shooting 48 percent in the first quarter, the Spurs were held to 33 percent in the second quarter. San Antonio was 1 for 5 on 3-pointers and 7 for 21 overall in the second quarter.

The Spurs finished 7 for 24 on 3-pointers, failing to make a 3 in the second half after draining six in the opening quarter (see full recap).

Give and Go: What should Sixers be thankful for the most?

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Give and Go: What should Sixers be thankful for the most?

Each week, our resident basketball analysts will discuss some of the hottest topics involving the Sixers.

Running the Give and Go are NBC Sports Philadelphia anchor/reporter Marshall Harris, NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com producer/reporter Paul Hudrick and NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com producer/reporter Matt Haughton.

In this edition, we examine what the Sixers should be thankful for the most on this Thanksgiving.

Harris
At first glance, you take a look at Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and remember that they combined for 31 games last season and the impulse is to say health. However, we can’t ignore the injuries that have befallen the team outside of those two engines. The Sixers have been hurting without the likes of Markelle Fultz, Jerryd Bayless, Nik Stauskas and Justin Anderson at their full disposal of late. So health hasn’t been their thing, really.
 
What the Sixers should be thankful for is that despite being shorthanded, they made it through 17 games of the season with a winning record. That’s in spite of 10 of those games being on the road and two games each against Golden State and Houston already in the books. 

Since a 1-4 start, the Sixers have lost just three times in their last 12 games, and two of those losses were to arguably one of the greatest teams in history in the Warriors. Suddenly everyone is reaching for their abacus or calculator, and they should be. Who had the Sixers with a winning record at Thanksgiving?
 
Here’s the thing, two weeks ago Jim Lynam told me the Sixers would be a top four seed in the East. I wasn’t ready to embrace that idea. I’m ready to admit my 39-win prediction may not be up to the task. Perhaps we all need to recognize that the Sixers, youth and all, are up to the challenge of not just squeaking into the playoffs. At their current rate of growth, they look like a team that could get the 45 wins they’re already on pace to achieve and maybe even more.

Hudrick
Health is the obvious thing to be most thankful for, but I'll take it a step further. The Sixers should be thankful that the best is yet to come.

Any other season during The Process, Markelle Fultz's situation — being the No. 1 overall pick that the team traded up to acquire that suffered a weird injury the team appeared to mishandle — would be considered a catastrophe. To say Fultz has become an afterthought would be a stretch, but his situation has certainly taken a backseat to Embiid, Simmons and the Sixers' success.

We won't know the full extent of Fultz's impact and role for quite some time. But the thought of Embiid, Simmons and Fultz on the court together should still tantalize Sixers fans. I'm still dying to see what Fultz can do in pick-and-roll situations with Embiid and even Simmons.

Am I worried about the jumper? Yeah, a little. But this is a guy who took five threes a night in college and shot 41 percent from distance. He then went on to shot 38 percent on five treys a contest during three summer league games. I still believe the shot is there. He just needs to get his confidence back and his shoulder healthy.

And don't listen to the doubters. Markelle Fultz is an excellent basketball player and was the top pick in the draft for a reason. He's not Anthony Bennett or Andrea Bargnani. This kid can play.

And the Sixers should be thankful when looking at his future.

Haughton
While Embiid already shared what he’s thankful for on this holiday, the Sixers can only look back on how they landed the budding big man and smile.

Let’s rewind a bit. Embiid was well on his way to being the No. 1 overall pick in 2014 as he averaged 11.2 points on an insane 62.6 percent shooting, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game during his lone season at Kansas. That was until he suffered a stress fracture in his back late in the season that sidelined him for the Big 12 and NCAA Tournaments.

Even after the back injury, Embiid appeared on his way to locking up the top spot in the draft … until the next setback. This time it was a broken foot suffered just before the draft that cast serious doubt about his long-term health.

As Sixers fans know all too well, that troublesome foot caused Embiid to miss his first two NBA seasons. However, what they’ve witnessed since has been nothing short of spectacular. In just 46 career games, Embiid has averaged 21.0 points (48.2 percent shooting), 8.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.3 blocks. His superstar ability has captured the hearts of the team’s faithful, and his huge social media presence has only made them love him even more.

As for the two players taken before Embiid, their careers don’t exactly appear to be trending in the same direction. No. 1 overall selection and Embiid’s Kansas teammate, Andrew Wiggins, has shown flashes of brilliance. However, his production with the revamped Minnesota Timberwolves is down this season after signing a massive extension of his own, and questions remain about whether he can go from being a very good player to great. As for No. 2 pick Jabari Parker, he’s been a stud on the court for the Milwaukee Bucks but is recovering from a second left ACL tear since 2014.

All in all, Embiid is the prize of the crop and fell into the Sixers’ laps. So this Thanksgiving the Sixers should take a moment to reminisce about the process that brought them “The Process.”

Joel Embiid has plenty of reasons to be thankful

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Joel Embiid has plenty of reasons to be thankful

Joel Embiid is very appreciative. He is healthy, signed a mega-contract and has become the face of a franchise on the rise. 

The night before Thanksgiving, following a 20-point win over the Trail Blazers, Embiid reflected on why he is thankful.

“I’m thankful for my family,” Embiid, who grew up in Cameroon, said. “I live by myself, they don’t live here. But my mom is actually here.”

Embiid’s mother took in Wednesday’s action from courtside at the Wells Fargo Center and was all smiles as her son put up 28 points (11 for 19 shooting), 12 rebounds and two blocks in the 101-81 victory (see game recap).

Embiid also recognized the Sixers’ faithful, who have pulled for him during injury after injury and never wavered from their trust in the process.

“I’m thankful for the city of Philadelphia,” Embiid said. “This has become my home and I hope to be here for the rest of my career. I’m just thankful for the fans and just everybody around me, people that have been supporting me.” 

Embiid even gave a shoutout to the media, which doesn’t always happen, especially after a team struggled for so long.

“You guys hype me up so much,” he said. “So thank you.”

And last but not least, the player with 1.02 million followers on Twitter and another 1.4 million on Instagram, Embiid is grateful for every like and retweet. 

“I’m thankful for social media,” he said. 

#Fitting. #Thankful. #HappyThanksgiving