Lillard's Homecoming Spoiled by Blazers as Simons Shines

Lillard's return to Portland suffers loss, young Blazers triumph

Damian Lillard's emotional return to Portland wasn't the fairytale ending he might have hoped for, as his new team, the Milwaukee Bucks, fell 119-116 to his former team, the Portland Trail Blazers.

Despite a warm ovation and video tributes celebrating his 11 seasons with the Blazers, Lillard finished with 25 points but couldn't prevent the young Blazers, led by Anfernee Simons' 24 points, from pulling off the upset.

The game was close throughout, with the Blazers holding a narrow lead at halftime and keeping it tight in the third quarter. Simons hit a key jumper in the fourth to give Portland a 96-91 lead, but the Bucks fought back, even taking the lead late thanks to Giannis Antetokounmpo's alley-oop dunk.

However, Simons had the final say, hitting a floater with 17.1 seconds left to put the Blazers back on top. Antetokounmpo missed both free throws in the final seconds, sealing the win for Portland.

While the loss dampened the homecoming spirit, Lillard acknowledged the emotional significance of the night, saying, "These games have a little bit more juice in them." He received a lengthy standing ovation before the game and appeared emotional during video tributes.

The win was a big boost for the young Blazers, who are rebuilding after Lillard's departure. Deandre Ayton added 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Scoot Henderson, the No. 3 overall pick, chipped in with 15 points.

For the Bucks, the loss was their second in a row under new coach Doc Rivers. They are still in good shape in the Eastern Conference, but concerns about their defense remain. Lillard, acquired to team up with Antetokounmpo for a championship run, will be looking to bounce back and help the Bucks get back on track.

Overall, it was a night of mixed emotions for Lillard, but ultimately, the young Blazers stole the show and celebrated a hard-fought victory on their home court.


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