McCollum leads Trail Blazers in 129-95 rout of 76ers

Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum , left, drives to the basket on Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — C.J. McCollum scored 35 points to break out of a brief shooting slump, and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Philadelphia 76ers 129-95 Sunday night.

McCollum made four three-pointers and hit 13-of-18 from the floor to lead Portland. In his six previous games, McCollum was 35 percent from the floor while going 16 percent from three-point range.

Al-Farouq Aminu had 16 points, Damian Lillard 15 and Jusuf Nurkic 14 for Portland.

Ben Simmons scored 19 points to lead the 76ers, who were without center Joel Embiid due to soreness in his left knee. Embiid leads Philadelphia in scoring (26.5 points) and rebounds (13.3).

His absence was felt inside, as the Blazers out-rebounded the 76ers 59-36.

Early on, it appeared as though Philadelphia might get by without Embiid. The 76ers hit their first four shots and led 13-7. Nothing went right the rest of the first half for Philadelphia, however, as Portland quickly erased the deficit and ran away from the 76ers.

The Blazers had runs of 12-1 and 8-0 to take a 31-20 lead after the first quarter. It was a warmup act for Portland’s 39-point second quarter, where the Blazers started by scoring the first 12 points. McCollum scored 19 of his 26 first-half points during the second quarter, as the Blazers built a 70-41 halftime lead.

After making its first four field goal tries, Philadelphia hit just four of its next 27 shots. It was no match for Blazers, who shot 67 percent (29-of-43) during the first half.

Portland didn’t let up, increasing its lead to 39 points by the end of the third quarter, when the Blazers emptied their bench.

TIP-INS

76ers: Coach Brett Brown said Embiid was held out of Sunday’s game as a precaution. “It’s not anything we’re concerned about,” Brown said. … Replacing Embiid was Amir Johnson, who made his second start of the season.

Trail Blazers: Forward Maurice Harkless (knee) didn’t play. Evan Turner replaced Harkless in the starting lineup. … The 34-point margin is Portland’s most lopsided win of the season.

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