SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Damian Lillard woke up Tuesday morning feeling out of sorts and didn’t get much better through the first three quarters against Sacramento. When Portland needed him the most, however, their All-Star guard came through in a big way.
It wasn’t necessarily Michael Jordan dropping 38 on Utah in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals but it was more than enough to help the Trail Blazers kick off the new year the right way.
Lillard shook off a sluggish night to score five of his 25 points in overtime, and the Portland rallied after blowing a 14-point halftime lead to beat the Sacramento Kings 113-108 on Tuesday night.
“They outplayed us for most of the second half,” a weary Lillard said. “At that point you have to come together as a group and kind of forget about everything that’s happened. You have to make plays happen from that point on to pull out a game and I thought we did a great job of that.”
Jusuf Nurkic had 24 points and a career-high 23 rebounds to help Portland to its fourth straight win over Sacramento. CJ McCollum added 16 points, and Maurice Harkless had 11 points and nine rebounds.
“The effort it took to come back and win in overtime, I was really impressed with our guys,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “To make a comeback like that you have to be good at both ends, and we were.”
Lillard wasn’t much of a factor until late in the fourth quarter when he scored seven of Portland’s final nine points, including a layup with 15.5 seconds remaining to force overtime.
The Blazers dominated after that while outscoring the Kings 10-5 in the overtime. Lillard made three free throws and a 20-foot jumper to spark Portland’s finish and erase an otherwise rough night shooting from its backcourt tandem of Lillard and McCollum.
Lillard went 8 of 21 from the floor. McCollum shot 8 of 19.
“I woke up this morning feeling a little beat up, a little bit tired,” Lillard said. “But I’ve been a lot more sick.”
Kings coach Dave Joerger said Lillard was the difference, especially down the stretch.
“He picks and chooses his spots of when he wants to go,” Joerger said. “He just went around people and shot layups.”
Buddy Hield scored 27 points for Sacramento. Nemanja Bjelica added 14 points and 16 rebounds, and Bogdan Bogdanovic had 19 points.
De’Aaron Fox had 13 points on 6 of 19 shooting and missed a jumper at the end of regulation.
“We just have to execute at the end of the game,” Fox said. “We had makeable shots and we just didn’t make them.”
Portland led by 64-50 at halftime and was up by seven entering the fourth before Sacramento went on a big run led by Bogdanovic. He scored 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and scored all five of the Kings points in overtime.
Hield made five 3s and had 19 points in the first half, but Seth Curry and Nurkic combined for 30 points before halftime.
Blazers: Curry had a season-high 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting. … Nurkic had a double-double by halftime. … Harkless returned after sitting out against Philadelphia on Saturday because of a sore left knee. … Portland had five turnovers in each of the first three quarters.
Kings: Bogdanovic missed his first eight shots. … Hield made five 3s. … Cauley-Stein had five points and 11 rebounds.
NURKIC’S BIG NIGHT
Sacramento had no answer for Nurkic in the middle. Joerger was so frustrated that he benched 7-foot center Willie Cauley-Stein early in the first quarter after Nurkic had five points as part of a 10-3 run. Portland’s big man also a good job getting to the line, making 14 of 16 free throws to go with five blocks, five steals and seven assists.
“Nurk’s been on a role,” Stotts said. “Tonight may be probably the best game he’s played as a Blazer. He did a little bit of everything.”
Blazers host Oklahoma City on Friday.