Lillard shot lifts Blazers in final seconds

PORTLAND — Damian Lillard couldn't believe it. He had a clear path to the hoop.

Last season's Rookie of the Year hit a layup with 6.5 seconds left to give the Portland Trail Blazers a 90-89 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.

"I turned the corner and I was like, it's wide open so I'm going to get to the rim," Lillard said. "It was pretty wide open so I was pretty sure of myself getting all the way there."

The Suns led by as many nine points in the second half but the Blazers went ahead 78-77 on Lillard's hook shot with 6:45 left. The teams traded the lead as time ticked down until Eric Bledsoe's layup put Phoenix up 87-83.

Wesley Matthews made a 3-pointer and Robin Lopez tipped in a shot to put the Blazers in front 88-87 with 1:35 left. Miles Plumlee's layup gave the Suns the lead again, but then Bledsoe missed a shot with 11.9 seconds remaining, giving the ball to the Blazers.

Lillard drove to the hoop and scored, and on the other end Bledsoe's layup against Nicolas Batum was off. Markieff Morris missed a couple of tip-in chances as time ran out.

"It was uncontested," Lillard said. "I got straight to the rim. I had missed a couple earlier but that was the one that counted."

Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said it was a breakdown of basic pick-and-roll defense.

"He's a fast guy, so our bigs have to pick him up. But we were just worried too much about (LaMarcus) Aldridge and didn't make Lillard slow down at all," Hornacek said. "He had a full head of steam."

Lillard finished with 11 points and eight assists in the Blazers' fourth straight win. Lopez had 13 points and 15 rebounds, while Aldridge had 12 points and 12 rebounds. It was the third straight game in which both Lopez and Aldridge finished with a double-double.

Bledsoe scored 23 for the Suns, who defeated Portland 104-91 in the season opener.

Matthews' layup put the Blazers in front 22-17 late in the first quarter, but the first half was marked mostly my missed layups and turnovers on both sides. At one point Blazers guard Mo Williams clapped his hands in frustration after a miss.

Goran Dragic put the Suns in front 35-34 midway through the second quarter with a tip shot.

Dragic was making his first start after an ankle injury sidelined him for three games. He came off the bench Sunday against in a win over New Orleans, scoring 12 points.

Dragic finished with 14 points against the Blazers, but also took 13 stitches above his left eye because of a collision with Williams in the fourth quarter.

"We just bumped heads and he opened up my eye but that's just part of basketball," Dragic said. "It was not intentional, for sure."

Lillard's basket and Aldridge's dunk narrowed it to 43-41 at the break. The Blazers had 12 turnovers at halftime and finished with 17 for the game.

It stayed close in the third quarter but Bledsoe gave the Suns a 58-53 lead on a fast-break layup. Phoenix extended it to 68-59 on Morris' long jumper and another fast-break basket from Bledsoe.

Dorell Wright's pull-up jumper got Portland to 68-67 but the Suns stifled the threat and went back ahead 77-69 after Gerald Green's 3-pointer with 8:50 to go. Portland closed to 77-74 on Matthews' 3-pointer with 7:31 left.

Portland was coming off a 109-103 victory at home over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night, while the Suns were coming off a 101-94 victory over the Pelicans on Sunday to improve to 4-0 at home this season.

Both teams went into the game 5-2.

Clippers 111, Thunder 103

At Los Angeles, Blake Griffin had 22 points and 12 rebounds after being involved in a first-half scuffle that resulted in two ejections, sparking the Los Angeles Clippers to a victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Serge Ibaka of the Thunder and Matt Barnes of the Clippers were ejected, and Griffin received a technical foul for his part in the altercation with 6 seconds left in the second quarter.

Kevin Durant had 33 points, making 15 of 17 free throws, and 10 assists to lead the Thunder, who had won four straight. Russell Westbrook added 19 points and 10 assists.

76ers 123, Rockets 117, OT

At Philadelphia, Tony Wroten had his first career triple-double, James Anderson scored a career-high 36 points and Spencer Hawes made the go-ahead basket with 34 seconds left in overtime to help Philadelphia beat Houston.

Wroten had career highs with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in his first start for injured rookie Michael Carter-Williams, who didn't play because of a bruised left arch.

Timberwolves 124, Cavaliers 95

At Minneapolis, Kevin Love had 33 points, eight rebounds and six assists, Ricky Rubio added 16 points and a career-high 16 assists, and Minnesota beat Cleveland Cavaliers.

Corey Brewer scored 27 points for Minnesota while filling in for Kevin Martin, who was out with an illness, and the Timberwolves outscored Cleveland 29-6 in transition points to run the Cavaliers out of the building.

Spurs 92, Wizards 79

At San Antonio, Tony Parker had 16 points, leading six Spurs in double figures, and San Antonio rolled over Washington.

Boris Diaw had 15 points, Kawhi Leonard added 13 points, and Manu Ginobili and Marco Belinelli each had 10 for San Antonio. Tiago Splitter had 12 points and nine rebounds.

Knicks 95, Hawks 91

At Atlanta, Carmelo Anthony continued his success against Atlanta by scoring 25 points and New York regrouped after blowing a 17-point lead.

The Knicks, relying on 3-pointers, led 47-30 in the second period. New York made only 5 of 25 shots from the field while being outscored 23-10 in the third period, leaving the Hawks with a 68-65 lead.

Raptors 103, Grizzlies 87

At Memphis, Tenn., Rudy Gay scored 23 points in his return to Memphis and Kyle Lowry added 21 to help Toronto beat the Grizzlies.

Gay, who was part of a Jan. 30 trade that sent him to the Raptors after spending his first 6-plus years in the league with Memphis, was 8 of 18 from the field, but missed his first four shots in the game.

Bobcats 89, Celtics 83

At Boston, Al Jefferson had 22 points and 11 rebounds to lead Charlotte over Boston, snapping the Celtics' four-game winning streak.

Gerald Henderson had 13 points, Jeff Taylor 12 and Anthony Tolliver 11 for Charlotte, which ended a two-game skid.

Magic 94, Bucks 91

At Orlando, Fla., Arron Afflalo scored a career-high 36 points, Nikola Vucevic added 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Orlando rallied to beat Milwaukee and snap a three-game skid.

Afflalo was 8 of 11 from beyond the arc, adding six assists and eight rebounds. Maurice Harkless and Victor Oladipo had 10 points apiece for the Magic.

Kings 107, Nets 86

At Sacramento, Calif., Marcus Thornton scored a season-high 24 points after losing his starting spot to rookie Ben McLemore, and Sacramento snapped a five-game losing streak by beating Brooklyn.

Greivis Vasquez had 17 points and 12 assists, and Isaiah Thomas added 19 points, six assists and six rebounds to help the Kings blow out Brooklyn. Sacramento led by 18 points in the second quarter and 23 late in the third before holding off a brief Brooklyn rally in the fourth quarter.

Jazz 111, Pelicans 105


At Salt Lake City, Gordon Hayward had 27 points and 10 assists, and Richard Jefferson added 22 points to help Utah claim its first victory of the season.

Hayward scored 22 points in the second half and the Jazz erased a 16-point deficit to put an end to their worst start in 39 years.

Nuggets 111, Lakers 99

At Denver, Timofey Mozgov matched his career high with 23 points, and Denver beat Los Angeles to win consecutive games for the first time this season.

First-year Nuggets coach Brian Shaw, who was part of five championship teams with the Lakers as a player and assistant coach, beat Los Angeles in his first matchup against his former team.


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