|Date of game: 12/17/2014
Recap: Portland vs. Milwaukee
Portland, OR (SportsNetwork.com) - LaMarcus Aldridge tallied 23 points and 15 rebounds to help the Portland Trail Blazers top the Milwaukee Bucks, 104-97, on Wednesday.
Thomas Robinson matched a career-high with 15 points and pulled down 16 boards for the Trail Blazers, who enjoyed a 52-32 edge on the glass on their way to their third straight win.
"That's him. We see him do that every day in practice, bring that energy," said Portland guard Damian Lillard. "He was the biggest difference."
Lillard led all scorers with 29 points and seven assists for Portland.
In their first game since losing star rookie Jabari Parker to a torn ACL, the Bucks saw Giannis Antetokounmpo go down with an ankle injury just before halftime.
Brandon Knight led the Bucks with 24 points, and Khris Middleton scored 17 off the bench as Milwaukee's two-game winning streak was snapped.
"It's tough to see those guys go down, but we still have to come together as a team and try to play as hard as we can with the guys we got left," said Middleton.
Neither team led by more than five in a back-and-forth third quarter that saw nine lead changes. After the Bucks did not hit a 3 in the first half, Milwaukee heated up from beyond the arc making 6-of-8 shots. That included Middleton's 4-of-4 performance, netting him all of his 12 third quarter points.
Lillard's finger roll as time expired in the third cut Milwaukee's lead to 70-68 after three periods.
After an unusual simultaneous block and charge call led to a midcourt tip, Nicolas Batum made his first basket of the game with 7:39 remaining. His triple from the corner gave the Trail Blazers an 80-79 lead they would not relinquish.
That 3-pointer started an 11-0 run that gave Portland an 88-79 lead with 4:11 remaining with the last four points being scored by Aldridge.
Batum's emphatic slam with three minutes left also drew a flagrant foul, and he hit the free throw to complete the three-point play. The Trail Blazers got the ball back, and the Bucks began fouling Robinson away from the ball, counting on him to miss free throws to try and get back into the game.
Robinson was only 4-of-10 from the charity stripe in the final three minutes, but Portland was still able to hang on.
An early 8-0 run gave Milwaukee a 10-2 lead four minutes into the game. Antetokounmpo scored four points in the spurt on his way to finishing the first quarter with six points and five rebounds, and Knight scored the final four points of the quarter to give the Bucks a 25-18 lead after one.
Milwaukee's defense limited the Trail Blazers to 30.8 percent shooting in the opening 12 minutes. Aldridge and Lillard combined to shoot 6-of-10, and the rest of the team was 2-of-16.
With 4:31 remaining in the first half, Lillard hit a 28-foot shot from beyond the arc to cut Portland's deficit to 39-34. That jump-started a 12-2 Blazers run to close the half and give them their first lead of the game.
After Robinson's alley-oop slam tied the game with 34 seconds left, Milwaukee got more bad news when Antetokounmpo slipped while driving toward the basket. He had to be helped to the locker room, and not long after that, Aldridge's pair of free throws put Portland up 43-41 at the half.
Antetokounmpo did not return to the game.Game Notes
Robinson was starting in place of the injured Robin Lopez, expected to be out
for a month with a broken hand ... The Blazers improved to 12-1 against the
Eastern Conference this season ... Portland is now 5-3 when trailing after
three quarters ... Milwaukee's bench outscored the Portland reserves 39-18 ...
Points in the paint were even at 40.