Lillard’s late 3 gives Blazers 108-106 win over Warriors

National Sports

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard shoots a 3-point basket over Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Played tough by the Warriors all game, Damian Lillard needed to make something happen.

And that’s exactly what he did.

Lillard hit a deep 3-pointer with 13.7 seconds left to give the Portland Trail Blazers a hard-fought 108-106 victory over Golden State on Wednesday night.

“Now is the time where I’ve got to force it, I’ve got to create the opportunity, even if it’s a tough one,” Lillard said about his thinking as the clock ticked down. “Whatever happens I’ve got to put my foot on the gas a little bit more, and try to make something happen.”

Lillard and Carmelo Anthony each had 22 points for the Blazers, who kept it close most of the way after the Warriors jumped out to an early lead.

Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 35 points. His 3-pointer gave Golden State a 101-96 lead with 3:57 remaining.

Lillard, stifled by the Warriors through the first three quarters, made a 3 that tied it 103-all before Draymond Green’s 3 put Golden State in front with 1:43 to go.

Lillard made free throws to get Portland within a point, then hit a 29-footer to give the Blazers a 108-106 lead with 13.7 seconds left. He took a charge from Green, which prompted an unsuccessful challenge by Golden State, and Portland won its second straight after a four-game losing streak.

“He hit a huge shot, a deep shot,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “That’s what he does. That’s the kind of player he is. Even on a bad night he can get going at any time, so that’s why you have to stay alert the entire 48 (minutes).”

The Warriors were without Kelly Oubre Jr. because of a sprained wrist. Oubre, averaging 15.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, was injured in practice Tuesday. Kent Bazemore made his first start of the season in Oubre’s place.

All eyes were on the matchup between Lillard and Curry, who are among the NBA’s top scorers. Lillard went into the game ranked third in the league with 29.6 points per game, just ahead of Curry at 29.5. Washington guard Bradley Beal tops the list with 32.9.

“He’s a super competitor and never thinks he’s out of a game, and he’s always willing to put himself on the line to make the play, at either end,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said about Lillard. “I think those last two plays speaks volumes for the type of player that he is.”

The Warriors took a 15-2 lead on Green’s layup. Portland chipped away, tying the game at 26 before the end of the opening quarter on Rodney Hood’s 3-pointer. Curry had 16 points in the period and 23 for the half.

Hood’s floater gave Portland a 30-29 lead early in the second quarter, but the Blazers were unable to pull away and Golden State led 56-55 at halftime.

The teams battled for the lead the rest of the way. Anfernee Simons gave Portland an 87-84 lead with a 3-pointer early in the final quarter. The game got heated at times down the stretch, with Portland’s Gary Trent Jr. and Juan Toscano-Anderson exchanging words.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Rookie second-round draft pick G Nico Mannion along with G Jordan Poole arrived in Portland a day ahead of the team after being promoted from the G League Santa Cruz Warriors and went through their COVID-19 testing protocols to join the team, participating in Wednesday’s morning shootaround. “Those guys are ready to hoop, you guys been watching them?” second-year guard Mychal Mulder asked earlier in the day.

Trail Blazers: It was the third and final meeting between the teams this season. They split the previous two, with Portland winning the first and the Warriors winning the second — powered by Curry’s 62 points. … The game could have tiebreaker consequences down the line in the tight Western Conference standings. Portland is 9-9 against West opponents.

THE CHARGE

Kerr said he challenged the charge on Green, believing it was a block.

“It looked like a block to me. I thought he was sliding underneath, but the referees got a look at it and made the call,” he said.

UP NEXT

The Warriors visit the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night before the All-Star break.

The Trail Blazers host Sacramento on Thursday night.

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AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley contributed to this report.

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