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Trail Blazers hold off Nets to clinch spot in play-in tournament

Portland will face the Grizzlies over the weekend to decide who will be the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.

Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers reacts after making a three point basket during the second half against the Dallas Mavericks at The Field House at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 11, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Photo by Kim Klement - Pool/Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers clinched a spot in the play-in tournament with a 134-133 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday. The Trail Blazers will face the Memphis Grizzlies in the play-in round to determine who will be the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. The first play-in game will be held on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET. Game 2 would happen Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET if need be.

Brooklyn made it tough on Damian Lillard all night, but the All-Star guard eclipsed 40 points for a third straight game. Although the Nets were doubling Lillard as soon as he passed half court for a significant portion of the game, he finished with 42 points, 3 rebounds, and 12 assists to tally a game-high 72.75 DKFP. He showcased his unlimited range by knocking down eight shots from beyond the arc.

Lillard got a lot more help in this game than he did against the Dallas Mavericks. C.J. McCollum notched 27 points, 4 rebounds, and 7 assists to make up for the poor shooting night he had in his last game. He battled through the pain caused by a broken bine in his back to rack up 49.5 DKFP. Jusuf Nurkic’s was no slouch either and put up 22 points and 10 rebounds in a double-double effort.

Some thought the Nets would roll over and rest its players as a team that has already clinched a playoff berth. Caris LeVert went all out though by scoring 37 points with 6 rebounds and 9 assists in 33 minutes. He assumed his usual workload and took 29 shots. It’s clear that Brooklyn had every intention of going for the win.

Jarrett Allen has blossomed in the bubble and matched Nurkic’s double-double. The Nets big man recorded 14 points and 10 rebounds to finish with 40.75 DKFP. Garrett Temple exceeded expectations with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Nobody was expecting this kind of barn burner, but the playoff picture is solidifying.