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Red-hot Trail Blazers hit 21 3-pointers in win

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- The Portland Trail Blazers, off to their best start in over two decades, staged another glittering performance on Saturday night.

Forward LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 points and 16 rebounds and the Western Conference-leading Trail Blazers drilled a franchise-record 21 3-pointers en route to a 139-105 rout of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Guard/forward Nicolas Batum added 17 points and nine assists for the Blazers, who hit a season-high point total while improving to 20-4, their best start since they went 22-2 to open the 1990-91 season. They have won three in a row and seven of their last eight.

The Blazers, 21-for-37 from the 3-point arc (56.3 percent), had established their previous franchise high for 3-pointers only four games earlier, when they made 17 (in 23 attempts) against Utah. The NBA record for triples in a game is 23. Portland's total equaled the fourth most in league history.

"I don't know if that's sustainable, breaking records every week, but look, we've got good shooters," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "They have a track record of being good shooters. ... The priority is to get them good shots."

Guard Damian Lillard added 16 points, including four 3-pointers, and former Sixers guard/forward Dorell Wright had a season-high 15 points on 5-for-5 3-point marksmanship.

Eight players cracked double figures for Portland, which shot 56.3 percent from the floor. The Blazers had 41 assists on 52 field goals, their highest assist total since they had 45 at Denver on Nov. 17, 1990.

Guard Tony Wroten scored 18 points to pace Philadelphia (7-18), which allowed more points than in any game this season while extending its season-worst losing streak to six games. Wroten has been filling in for rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams (skin infection, right knee). The Sixers are 1-9 without Carter-Williams this season.

Center Spencer Hawes had 16 points for Philadelphia, all in the first half, and forward Thaddeus Young had 15.

The Blazers began the night averaging 106.4 points and had made 219 3-pointers, each of which was second most in the league. The Sixers were allowing 109.3 points, by far the most in the league, and had yielded 221 triples, which was also worst.

They allowed as many 3-pointers as they have ever allowed in a game, something that coach Brett Brown said might be due in part to the fact that they were playing their second game in as many nights.

Young did not disagree.

"Guys are not going to have their legs fully rested and they're not going to be ready sometimes," he said. "This is one of those games where they were making all their shots and all we can do sometimes is throw our hands up. It's like, what else is there to do?"

As Brown said, "I want to leave it far behind -- really, really far behind."

Aldridge scored 12 points and Lillard seven in the third quarter, when Portland outscored Philadelphia 40-15 to stretch a 71-64 halftime lead to 111-79. The Blazers went 7-for-12 from the arc in the quarter, with Lillard, Wright and guard/forward Wes Matthews making two apiece.

"I think a lot of the ones we missed in the first half, we got them in the third quarter, and we made them," Lillard said. "Once we started feeling it, we broke the game open."

The Blazers were up by as many as 37 in the fourth quarter.

The teams traded salvos during a freewheeling first half, one that saw 15 ties and 17 lead changes. The Blazers, who shot 11-for-20 from 3-point range in the half, used a 12-4 flurry at the end of the second quarter to establish a 71-64 lead at the break.

The 71 points were the most Portland had scored in any half this season, and the Sixers scored more than in any other first half.

In addition to Hawes' 16 first-half points, Young and Wroten had 13 each. Philadelphia went 6-for-7 from behind the arc, including the first career 3-pointer by third-year forward Lavoy Allen.

Batum notched all 12 of his first-half points in the first quarter. Guard Mo Williams had 11 off the Blazers' bench.

NOTES: Blazers C Meyers Leonard and Sixers C Daniel Orton were each ejected with 7:19 left, after Leonard was assessed a second-degree flagrant foul for throwing Orton to the floor and Orton was assessed a technical foul for retaliating. ... Sixers coach Brett Brown reiterated that there is no timetable for the return of G Michael Carter-Williams from a skin infection on the front of his right knee. Brown did say, however, that "at some point in the not-too-distant future he'll start practicing and we'll build him up to a playing level. I think that's getting closer." ... Blazers G C.J. McCollum has been cleared to play three-on-three. McCollum, the team's first-round draft pick last June, has yet to play this season because of a fractured left foot. Coach Terry Stotts said there is no timetable for McCollum's return while adding that he has made "good progress" in his rehabilitation. ... Brown pronounced himself a fan of Portland F LaMarcus Aldridge, noting that he is a terrific jump shooter at 6 feet 11. "He's one of these guys that contradicts (the belief that) long twos aren't good," Brown said. "He can post, and he can pick-and-pop, and he can play, and he does it with such extraordinary feel for a man of his length and size. ... I think he's just a very hard player to guard, in a bunch of ways."
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