Aldridge, Trail Blazers rally to beat Bucks 104-97

Associated Press

December 18, 2014

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, drives against Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Knight during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014.

PORTLAND, Ore. Thomas Robinson was rewarded with a standing ovation during his very first NBA start.

Robinson had 15 points and 16 rebounds while starting in place of injured center Robin Lopez, sparking the Portland Trail Blazers to a 104-97 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.

"I was a little nervous," said Robinson, averaging only 7.6 minutes going into the game.

The third-year forward assessed his performance as just "OK," but fans at the Moda Center cheered wildly for him. Robinson became the third Blazers player to put up at least 15 points and 15 rebounds in his first start: The other two were Bill Walton and Maurice Lucas.

Robinson's outburst was welcome on a team that faces uncertainty in the absence of Lopez, who broke his hand Monday in the third quarter of a victory over San Antonio.

"I was just happy to see him get that opportunity because I know how hard he works and how positive he is, being that he hasn't played a lot this year," Portland guard Damian Lillard said.

Portland Trail Blazers forward Thomas Robinson, right, shoots against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, from Greece, left, and center Zaza Pachulia, from Ukraine, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014.

Lillard had 29 points and seven assists, and LaMarcus Aldridge added 23 points and tied his season high with 15 rebounds. Portland has won three straight and eight of 10.

Brandon Knight had 24 points for the Bucks, who played their first game since Jabari Parker was hurt. The heralded rookie will miss the rest of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the third quarter of Milwaukee's victory Monday over Phoenix.

Parker, the second overall pick in this year's NBA draft, will require surgery. The one-and-done star out of Duke averaged 12.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game for the Bucks this season.

Milwaukee took another blow late in the first half when forward Giannis Antetokounmpo sprained his left ankle.

Antetokounmpo grimaced in pain under the basket while his teammates surrounded him, but after several tense moments he walked unassisted off the floor and straight to the locker room.

The second-year forward from Greece was averaging 12.2 points and 5.9 rebounds going into the game.

Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge, left, drives on Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, from Greece, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014.

"It's tough to see those guys go down but you've still got to come together as a team and play as hard as you can with the guys you have left," Bucks center Larry Sanders said. "We were still fighting and grinding out there."

Khris Middleton started the second half in Antetokounmpo's place and finished with 17 points.

Knight had 10 points in the first quarter as the Bucks took a 25-18 lead. Antetokounmpo made a pair of free throws that gave Milwaukee a 39-29 lead its biggest of the game but the Blazers rallied to tie it at 41 after Robinson's late basket. Portland pulled in front on a pair of free throws from Aldridge to lead 43-41 at the break.

Wesley Matthews hit a 9-foot jumper to give the Blazers a 55-51 lead midway through the third quarter, but the Bucks kept up the pressure and led 70-68 going into the final period.

After Robinson's putback tied the game at 77, Nicolas Batum hit a 3-pointer and Joel Freeland added a short jumper to put the Blazers ahead 82-79 with 7:11 left. Portland extended the lead to as many as 13 points down the stretch.

Late in the game, the Bucks resorted to fouling Robinson often. He made five of 15 attempts from the free throw line.

"I'll go home, see what I messed up, and come back and be better," Robinson said.


Bucks F Antetokounmpo injures left ankle

PORTLAND, Ore. Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has left the Milwaukee Bucks' game at Portland with a sprained left ankle.

Antetokounmpo grimaced in pain under the basket late in the first half while his teammates surrounded him, but he eventually walked off the floor and straight to the locker room.

Khris Middleton started the second half of Wednesday night's game in Antetokounmpo's place. The Bucks announced he would not return.

The second-year forward from Greece was averaging 12.2 points and 5.9 rebounds going into the game against the Trail Blazers.

It has been one rough week for Milwaukee, which lost rookie Jabari Parker for the season when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Monday at Phoenix.