Damian Lillard exploded for 51 points and seven assists on Sunday as the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 124-121, eliminating the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings from playoff contention.
Portland rebounded after a heartbreaking loss to the Los Angeles Clippers the day before, and the Blazers now sit just a half-game back of the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies.
"We let one slip that we should have had yesterday," Lillard told reporters postgame, including Ben Golliver of the Washington Post. "And I'm a big part of why that got away from us. So tonight I was like, that's not going to happen."
New Orleans showed a lack of urgency in a disappointing 122-113 loss to the San Antonio Spurs earlier Sunday. The Pelicans have made the postseason just once during Alvin Gentry's five years as head coach.
"That lack of spirit in the first half really dictates the second half," Pelicans star Zion Williamson said postgame, according to ESPN's Andrew Lopez. "If we came out better, maybe we would've had a different outcome. You just have to learn from that experience and be better."
Sacramento extends its league-leading active playoff drought to 14 seasons. The Kings have won just one game in the bubble.