Former Portland "enforcer" Lucas passes away at 58

PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) - Former Portland Trail Blazers All-Star power forward Maurice Lucas has died from cancer at the age of 58, the Blazers announced on Monday.

Known as "The Enforcer" because of his bruising competitive nature on the court, Lucas is best remembered for being instrumental in Portland's NBA championship win in the 1976-77 season when he averaged a team-leading 20.2 points per game.

He spent parts of five seasons with the Blazers where he was named an All-Star in three straight years from 1977.

"Portland and the NBA lost one of their greats today," owner Paul Allen told the team's website.

"Maurice Lucas was an amazing man and I count myself lucky to have known him. He was one of the greatest Blazers ever. I'll miss him. I and the entire Blazer family send our condolences to his wife Pamela and their children."

A rugged rebounder and scorer, Lucas averaged 14.4 points and 8.8 rebounds during his 12 years in the NBA played with Portland, New Jersey, New York, Phoenix, the Los Angeles Lakers and Seattle.

In recent years he served as an assistant coach for the Blazers from 2005 until last season.

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)