LOS ANGELES – When Damian Lillard starts knocking down shots, no deficit is insurmountable for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Down 11 to the Los Angeles Lakers with 5:26 remaining? No problem. Lillard scored 19 of his 39 points in the fourth quarter and the Trail Blazers won their 15th consecutive game over the Lakers, 108-103 on Monday night.
“Damian Lillard is special,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “If it’s not obvious, I’ll say it.”
Lillard scored 15 in a row for the Trail Blazers down the stretch, giving them a 104-103 lead with 1:08 remaining by hitting 1 of 2 free throws.
“I’ve seen a lot of great basketball in my life, but today I was like wow. He made it look so easy, effortless,” Shabazz Napier said. “I just saw it in his eyes. He wanted the ball every single time, he wanted to take the shot. He definitely willed us today.”
CJ McCollum had 22 points, and Jusuf Nurkic added 16 points and 16 rebounds.
Portland has won seven straight and nine of its last 10, climbing to third place in the Western Conference.
Julius Randle had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who had their five-game winning streak ended. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 16 points, and Lonzo Ball had 10 points, two rebounds and two assists.
Isaiah Thomas had a chance to tie it in the closing seconds but was stripped by Napier, who then made two free throws. Thomas finished with 19 points.
Los Angeles led 97-86 when Lillard took over. He knocked down four straight 3-pointers, including a step-back to tie it at 97-97 with 3:37 remaining. He was 5 of 7 from the floor and 4 of 5 from 3-point range in the fourth quarter, and added a critical offensive rebound with 32.8 seconds remaining to extend a possession while up 106-103.
“I figured we had to just get really aggressive, start attacking and try to make a run for it,” Lillard said.
Spurs 100, Grizzlies 98
In San Antonio, Tony Parker had 23 points, sparking the Spurs to a win over Memphis before embarking on a difficult road trip.
The Grizzlies have lost 14 straight, but San Antonio’s recent skid has had a greater impact on the Western Conference playoff picture. The Spurs had dropped eight of 10 and fallen from third to sixth in the crowded West, putting them at risk of missing the postseason for the first time in 21 years.
Cavaliers 112, Pistons 90
In Cleveland, LeBron James had 31 points before taking a seat on the bench and Larry Nance Jr. reached career highs with 22 points and 15 rebounds in his first start for the Cavaliers in a rout of Detroit.
Blake Griffin scored 25 to lead the Pistons, who have lost nine straight away from home.
Celtics 105, Bulls 89
In Chicago, Jaylen Brown scored 21 points and Boston pounded the Bulls even though Kyrie Irving sat out because of a sore left knee.
Jayson Tatum added 14 points, while Al Horford and Terry Rozier scored 13 apiece for the Celtics.
Heat 125, Suns 103
In Miami, Hassan Whiteside had 24 points and 14 rebounds, Goran Dragic scored 17 and the Heat moved into the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference by topping Phoenix.
Dwyane Wade, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and Luke Babbitt each had 12 for Miami.
Pacers 92, Bucks 89
In Indianapolis, Bojan Bogdanovic tied his season high with 29 points and grabbed a key jump ball late to lift the hosts over Milwaukee.
Indiana’s Thaddeus Young had 10 points and seven rebounds, while Victor Oladipo finished with 14 points, five assists and five rebounds along with 10 turnovers.
Jazz 94, Magic 80
In Salt Lake City, Rudy Gobert had 21 points and 17 rebounds to lead Utah over Orlando.
Donovan Mitchell scored 19 points and Joe Ingles added 18 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for the Jazz, who have won three in a row and 15 of 17. Still, Utah sits 1½ games outside the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference.