Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers defeat Sixers after Carmelo Anthony caught fire in the fourth

Trail Blazers
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The Trail Blazers caught fire from three against the Sixers early Thursday night.

And in the physical matchup with several Blazers taking elbows to the face, Portland kept pace with the No. 1 team in the East.

After jumping out to a 25-17 midway through the first quarter while splashing in 7-of-8 from three, the Blazers looked like the fresher team.

Portland held a 37-36 lead at the end of the first quarter behind Damian Lillard’s 19.

But thanks to Carmelo Anthony's three straight threes to start the fourth quarter, the Blazers rode that momentum until the final horn sounded as they defeated the 76ers 118-114.

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At the break, Philadelphia took a 63-60 lead with Joel Emibbid notching 23 points in the first half, while he and Tobias Harris showed their strong two-man game.

 

But between Ben Simmons' playmaking and Seth Curry's clutch three with 22.1 seconds remaining to tie the game at 114, this one came down to the wire. 

Yet, it was Melo time in the fourth.

He was dialed in. He finished with 24 after scoring a quick 15 points in the first six minutes of the final period. Melo had 15 of Portland's first 19 points of the quarter. 

FINAL BOX SCORE: Trail Blazers 118, Sixers 114

The Good: 

Portland had it going as a team from behind the arc. Whether it was Damian Lillard off the dribble or the ball finding its way to Gary Trent Jr. on the wing, the Blazers shot 50.0 percent from three in the first half. That hot three-point shooting came back in the final period led by Melo. 

After the Sixers turned it up on the defensive end in the second quarter, Lillard got help on the offensive end. And it was once again Enes Kanter to the rescue on the offensive glass. Even going up against Joel Embiid, Kanter showed off his knack for running down the offensive board. 

And, it really was Carmelo Anthony's world and the Blazers and Sixers were just living in it in the fourth quarter. The future Hall of Famer came up with some incredible makes. Thanks to his timely buckets, the Blazers now improve to 14-10. 

The Bad: 

Ben Simmons, who did not play in last weeks matchup between these two teams in which the shorthanded Blazers defeated the Sixers after shooting lights out from three, did disrupt the Blazers offense Thursday night, especially on the fastbreak. On the other end, Simmons showed off his playmaking ability. 

Simmons and Matisse Thybulle made Lillard work for his 30 points. The Sixers used their length and blitzed Lillard often to put all their focus on the Blazers point guard.

 

It was also a dogfight in the paint all night.

Joel Embiid and Enes Kanter battled on the glass as Philadelphia ran its offense through Embiid, he bodied up Kanter more often than not to help the Sixers keep it close.

But Kanter, who said Wednesday following the Blazers practice that it would be a team effort to guard Embiid, was seen waving for help to have his teammates double Embiid in the second half. The double-team did disrupt Embiid, but he was still able to notch 35 points on 13-of-25 shooting. 

The Highlight:

Damian Lillard showed off his deep step-back on the nationally televised game for all to see:

The Stat: 

The Blazers finished the game shooting 44.7 percent from long distance to Philadelphias 22.2 percent.

Next up: Portland will wrap its three-game homestand Friday night in the second night of a back-to-back for the Trail Blazers. The Blazers and the Cleveland Cavaliers will tip-off at 7:00p.m. PST on NBCSNW.