59 points? Damian Lillard thinks he can top it.

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Moments after scoring a franchise-record 59 points in Portland’s victory over Utah, Damian Lillard said he believed he could top it.

The declaration was quintessential Lillard.

“A lot of players have played here, so just to think about that it’s a great honor, but hopefully I’ll beat it. Hopefully I’ll get past that,’ the Trail Blazers’ focused point guard said. “I think I will.”

Something else that happened following Saturday night’s 101-86 win was also typical of Lillard: He gave the game ball to Utah veteran Joe Johnson, who scored his 20,000th career point during the game.

“That’s an accomplishment for him as well,” Lillard said.

Lillard’s step-back 3-pointer with 1:49 left pushed him past Damon Stoudamire’s previous franchise record of 54 points, set in New Orleans on Jan. 14, 2005. He also surpassed Brandon Roy’s Moda Center record of 52 set back in 2008.

He pointed to his wrist, indicating “Lillard Time” – which becomes a thing in Portland when he takes over games – and then raised his hands before pounding his chest. He shouted to the standing Moda Center crowd: “I got this.”

He finished with nine 3s to match his career high and the Blazers’ record. He set another team record with his 27th game of 30 or more points this season. He is also the only Blazers player to have three games in a season with 50-plus points.

Oh, and he didn’t have a single turnover.

Coach Terry Stotts said simply, “Damian was phenomenal.”

“When he gets it going, it’s fun to watch,” Portland forward Meyers Leonard said.

Lillard came oh-so-close to reaching the 60-point milestone, but two missed free throws with 23.1 seconds left kept him at 59.

Earlier in the week at Utah, Portland fell 106-87. Lillard finished with 16 points, well below his average of 27 a game.

“I think he kind of knew in the back of his mind that he struggled last game against us, and he came in on a mission,” Utah’s Rodney Hood said. “He started off hot and it was hard to slow him down. Once a guy like that gets hot, there’s only so much you can do.”

But more important than the points, at least to Lillard, was the win.

Portland (40-40) has a hold on the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but the team was still threatened by the Denver Nuggets with two games to go. Portland had a pair of losses going into the game against the Jazz.

“Tonight was a game we absolutely had to have, especially with the last two times we played them, they defended really well,” Lillard said. “I was able to overcome that and have a great offensive performance in a much-needed game at the right time. That meant a lot to me.”

Lillard, the sixth overall selection in the 2012 draft, is in his fifth season with the Blazers. The two-time All-Star is also averaging 4.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists.

“Lillard Time” has become a phenomenon in Rip City, with a clever entrepreneur even selling a watch that has the phrase on its face. One fan painted a mural of Lillard tapping his wrist on his garage in Southeast Portland a couple of years back.

In December 2014, he hit a 3-pointer to force overtime in a game against Oklahoma City and exclaimed to the crowd: “Y’all know what time it is” and gestured to his wrist. But the exact game the phrase was coined is unclear.

His league-wide reputation as a clutch player was set the season before when he hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer that gave Portland a six-game, first-round victory over the Houston Rockets and sent the team to the Western Conference semifinals for the first time in 14 years.

“Sometimes you just go out there and watch him when he’s doing his thing,” Portland forward Maurice Harkless said after Saturday’s game. “Tonight was one of those nights.”

Pascal Siakam scores 37, Raptors remain red hot with win vs. Suns

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TORONTO (AP) — Pascal Siakam had 37 points and 12 rebounds and the Toronto Raptors beat the Phoenix Suns 118-101 on Friday night for their 16th victory in 17 games.

Serge Ibaka scored 16 points, Fred VanVleet and Terence Davis each had 14, Kyle Lowry had 13 points and 10 assists and OG Anunoby aded 12 points for the defending NBA champion Raptors.

After Toronto’s franchise-record 15-game winning streak ended with a loss at Brooklyn in the final game before the All-Star break, the Raptors bounced back by starting the second half with their eighth consecutive home victory.

The Raptors have not lost back-to-back games since an overtime loss at Indiana on Dec. 23 and a home loss to Boston on Christmas Day. Toronto has gone 19-1 since.

Siakam connected on 12 of 19 attempts, going 5 of 9 from 3-point range.

That was just one fewer than the six 3-pointers the Suns managed on 34 attempts. Phoenix shot 17.6%t from long range, its lowest mark of the season. No Suns player made more than one shot from distance.

Devin Booker scored 21 points and Deandre Ayton had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Phoenix. The Suns lost for the seventh time in nine games.

Ayton returned to the starting lineup after missing the final two games before the All-Star break because of a sore left ankle.

Phoenix trailed 93-78 through three quarters, but the Suns cut the gap to six points, 96-90 on a basket by Ayton with 8:08 left to play. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson made a pair from the line, and VanVleet and Siakam both scored to put the Raptors up 102-90 with 6:58 remaining.

Booker missed a 3 with 4:45 left that would have made it a four-point game. Anunoby scored on a dunk and, after another missed 3 by the Suns, Ibaka banked home a 3-pointer to restore Toronto’s 12-point cushion.

Moe Harkless says no buyout with Knicks: “I’ll be here the rest of the year”

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Moe Harkless went from a guy often starting and playing critical minutes for a contender in the Clippers to being the matching salary in a trade and finding himself on the woeful Knicks.

“It is definitely an adjustment with the way things are,” Harkless told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “Everything is different, the culture and everything.”

If there was a player nobody would blame for wanting a buyout and the chance to get back to a team playing for something, it would be Harkless.

That’s not happening. Multiple reports have surfaced that he is not talking buyout with New York running up to the March 1 deadline. The latest comes from Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Then Harkless was even more direct speaking to Bondy.

“I’ll be here the rest of the year,” he said.

Harkless has fans in NBA front offices, with the Lakers rumored to be among them (although they are about to land Markieff Morris in a similar role). Harkless could play good defensive minutes on the wing down the stretch for a team, buying rest for key guys, plus in the playoffs he could be advantageous in certain matchups.

Morris and the Knicks have time to change their minds, but it sounds like he will play out the season in New York then be a free agent next summer.

Lakers reportedly will waive DeMarcus Cousins to clear roster spot

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If the Lakers are going to add Markieff Morrisas has been rumored — or anyone else via free agency, they are going to need to clear out a roster spot.

That has the Lakers looking to waive DeMarcus Cousins, a report broken by Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Cousins signed with the Lakers over the summer but never set foot on the court with them after tearing his ACL during summer workouts (which led to a scramble and L.A.’s fortuitous signing of Dwight Howard). He was around the team and rehabbing, and while they would never officially rule him out, Cousins was never expected to play.

He was not waived before because his $3.5 million salary might have been useful in a trade. When that didn’t materialize at the deadline it, became likely he could get waived.

It’s highly unlikely a team picks up Cousins this season, while he continues to rehab from his injury. However, it might be a good roll of the dice this summer by a team to sign him to a minimum contract for next season. Cousins still has some NBA basketball in him, if he can just stay healthy.

Karl-Anthony Towns has fractured wrist, to be re-evaluated in two weeks

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Karl-Anthony Towns was a surprise scratch from the Timberwolves last game before the All-Star break, a “left wrist injury” delaying the home debut of him with D'Angelo Russell (they did play a road game together in Toronto). Then came the rumors he could miss a few games when play started up again.

It’s going to be more than a few games, more than a few weeks.

Towns has a fractured left wrist, the team announced Friday. He is out and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. From the team press release:

“While Towns has been diligent in treatment with a goal of return to play, he has been assessed by multiple specialists over the last several days and the team continues to gather information on the optimal management strategies.”

Towns had been playing through wrist pain for a couple of weeks before this diagnosis.

Towns is having a career year on offense, averaging  26.5 points a game while shooting 41 percent from three (on 7.9 attempts per game), plus grabbing 10.8 rebounds a night. That has not translated into wins for Minnesota, however.

Towns being out doesn’t hurt the Timberwolves in the short term, they have fallen far out of the playoff chase in the West. However, this cuts into time Towns and Russell could have used to grow accustomed to each other’s games. It’s time lost for the coaching staff and front office as they evaluate the fit of players they have around Towns and Russell.