Blazer report: Blazers get another strong showing from Lillard

By Candace Buckner, Columbian staff writer

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PORTLAND -- Damian Lillard picked up his second foul midway through the first quarter and though the early whistles might have slowed him through the half, the rookie bounced back with yet another strong game.

Lillard finished with 29 points, seven rebounds and six assists and became the first rookie in NBA history to post at least 20, 5 and 5 four times in a season.

Lillard was especially spectacular when Patty Mills tried to defend him. Showing no love for the former Blazer, Lillard twice froze Mills with a slick dribbling game and capped it by step-back jumpers.

Pop and Sager Show

Whenever the Spurs play on TNT, viewers at home should expect one Gregg Popovich snarky moment at the expense of colorfully-dressed sideline reporter Craig Sager.

With this game being on TNT, the Pop and Sager show started nearly 90 minutes before tipoff. Upon walking out for his customary pregame press conference, Popovich spotted Sager -- wearing Carolina blue, snakeskin loafers, no less.

Before taking a question, Popovich asked the cameramen if he was shooting footage of the shoes.

"Now, that's a need for attention, don't you think," Popovich said, never looking at Sager. "I guess we all like to be recognized a little bit, but geez."

Proving to have a sense of humor, Sager played along. While reporters laughed, Popovich touched Sager's arm to show that it was all in good jest.

Happy birthday, Nic

Batum celebrates his 24th birthday today by gifting $2,000 to the NBA.

In the second quarter, Batum tried stuffing Spurs point guard Tony Parker while in transition. Instead of getting the block, Batum was charged with the foul and quickly expressed his disagreement.

Batum grabbed the ball, and slammed it to the ground before complaining loudly while walking away. The outburst produced a technical foul, Batum's first of the season and thus a $2,000 fine.