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Damian Lillard explodes as Portland close on play-offs…

Damian Lillard tied his career-best score of 61 points as he pushed the Portland Trail Blazers to the brink of the NBA post-season with a 134-131 win over the Dallas Mavericks.

The 30-year-old joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only players with three 60-point games in a season, and did it just two days after shooting 51 points to beat the Philadelphia 76ers.

The guard scored from every part of the court including making all 18 of his free throws, with the highlight coming as he drained a long-range three-pointer to level the score with less than two minutes on the clock.

Portland moved into eighth place in the Western Conference with the win and will ensure a spot in the post-season by beating the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, while Tuesday’s loss will ensure Dallas finish seventh in the conference.

The Nets improved to 5-2 since the restart with a 108-96 victory over the Orlando Magic and the Boston Celtics finished off the Memphis Grizzlies 122-107.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo sent his team-mates on the bench into a frenzy by dunking over the Washington Wizards’ Anzejs Pasecniks, with the Milwaukee Bucks going on to triumph 126-113.

The San Antonio Spurs kept their play-offs hopes alive with a 123-105 victory over the Houston Rockets courtesy of 24 points and 11 rebounds from Keldon Johnson.

The New Orleans Pelicans went down 112-106 to the Sacramento Kings and the Phoenix Suns moved to 7-0 since the restart with a 130-117 victory over the injury-hit 76ers.

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