CLEVELAND: Damian Lillard’s 3-pointer in the final second gave the Portland Trail Blazers a 119-116 win over the Cavaliers on Tuesday. It was the second buzzer beater in three nights for Lillard, who also beat the Detroit Pistons at the buzzer on Sunday.
The Cavs had four-tenths of a second left following Lillard’s shot, but Kyrie Irving’s heave from about 30 feet hit the back of the iron at the buzzer.
The game was tied at 101 with 6:05 left following a basket from Dion Waiters, but the Blazers scored the next eight points and the Cavs were scrambling for the game’s final few minutes. A terrific three-point play from Irving on a drive and foul with 33.8 seconds left pulled the Cavs within 116-114. The Blazers went to LaMarcus Aldridge coming out of a timeout, but Aldridge missed a shot over Tristan Thompson in the lane and Alonzo Gee grabbed the rebound.
The Cavs tied it at 116 with 7.1 seconds left when Irving drove the lane and dumped it off to Anderson Varejao for the basket underneath, but Lillard hit the long 3-pointer to win it.
The Blazers outrebounded the Cavs 56-44, resulting in 35 points off offensive rebounds. It was enough to derail an otherwise terrific game from the Cavs, who shot 47 percent and only turned the ball over six times.
Irving had 25 points and 10 assists and Waiters had 25 points and five assists (including 11 points in the fourth quarter), but the Cavs couldn’t overcome the discrepancy in rebounding. Andrew Bynum had 13 points and nine rebounds, but didn’t attempt a shot in the second half.
Damian Lillard had a season-high 36 points and 10 assists, falling a basket shy of his career high in scoring, and LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and 15 rebounds for the Blazers, who are now 3-0 on this trip east and improved to 22-4, tops in the talent-rich Western Conference.
The Cavs scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter, including six from Waiters, but couldn’t sustain the momentum. Lillard ended the drought with a free throw nearly three minutes into the quarter, then followed it with one of his eight 3-pointers. The Blazers made 15 3s as a team.