Lillard’s 3-pointer in OT lifts Blazers over Warriors
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Damian Lillard certainly left his mark over the years at Oracle Arena, and again in perhaps his final visit to a building he frequented as an NBA-crazed boy.
Lillard hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 6.3 seconds left in overtime and scored 21 points back home in Oakland, sending the Portland Trail Blazers past the Golden State Warriors 110-109 in a wild one Thursday night.
Lillard shot 7 for 20 with friends and family cheering him in the Blazers’ final scheduled trip to Oracle Arena before the Warriors move to San Francisco next season.
“That’s a hell of a way to go out,” Lillard said. “We needed this win. It was a big game for us, especially having to play them two times in a row, having to play such a solid game.”
Kevin Durant missed a 13-footer off the front rim as the final buzzer sounded but finished with his second triple-double of the season: 26 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.
“I’ve got to make that shot, plain and simple,” Durant said.
Jusuf Nurkic had 27 points and 12 rebounds for the Blazers, who helped coach Terry Stotts pass Rick Adelman for second place on the Blazers’ career wins list with 292 behind Jack Ramsay’s 453. Stotts sipped some celebratory bubbly afterward.
The Warriors couldn’t overcome a comedy of errors in losing a second straight at home. They took a 127-101 beating from the Lakers on Christmas night.
Seth Curry largely outplayed big brother and Golden State star Stephen — whose poor pass with the Warriors leading by two was stolen on the sequence that led to Lillard’s shot.
Stephen Curry made a 3-pointer with 10:46 to play in regulation, then his little brother rattled off 11 in a row with three consecutive 3s.
Klay Thompson’s shooting struggles continued. He went 6 for 19 and was just 2 of 9 on 3-point tries on the way to 15 points.
Curry’s 33-footer with 8:42 left in the third on a pass from Draymond Green got Golden State within two, then Curry found Green for a tying layup the next time down to make it 55-all.
A series of silly mistakes followed: Thompson made a steal and threw it toward midcourt and Green couldn’t keep the ball from going over the line for a backcourt violation, as Portland regained possession. Then, Green clanked a one-handed dunk try off the back of the rim. This after he had earlier thrown a pass off Thompson’s head.
The Warriors missed nine of their initial 11 free throws and finished an uncharacteristic 6 for 15 at the line.
“Unacceptable to miss that many free throws,” Durant said.
In the opener of a home-and-home series, both teams were trying to rebound from embarrassing Christmas losses in which the 3-point shooting was dismal: Golden State following that flop to the Lakers at home and the Blazers a 117-96 defeat at Utah.
In his last five games against the Warriors, Lillard has averaged 31 points, shooting 42.4 percent and 38.8 percent on 3s.
“I represent this city, so when I come here I want to represent myself well. I have a lot of family and friends coming to see me play, so you’re excited about that. You’ve got energy, that’s what it is,” Lillard said.
LILLARD’S ORACLE MEMORIES
When Lillard was 9 or 10, he came to a Rockets-Warriors game with his brother and lucked into getting to take a shot on the court.
“My brother and I were up at our seats and Steve Francis was doing his pregame workout and the ball bounced up and into the stands and I ran down the stairs and got it and I was going to throw it back and he was like, ‘No, come shoot it.’ And I went on the court and shot a 3 and airballed. That’s the story.”
Lillard clearly had mixed emotions about the Warriors’ upcoming move, saying: “You wish it wasn’t happening. You know how much it means to the city of Oakland to have something positive happening, especially with the team having so much success right now. ... So it’s sad to see them moving on.”
Golden State’s 311th straight sellout Thursday became a new franchise best, topping a run of 310 consecutive sellouts from March 9, 1989, to April 19, 1996.
Trail Blazers: Portland pushed Golden State into nine first-half turnovers while committing just two. ... The Blazers were 21 of 23 on free throws.
Warriors: Durant has scored 20 or more points in his last nine games 23 of 24. ... Golden State lost by 20-plus points at home twice in the previous six seasons but has done it four times already.
Trail Blazers host Warriors on Saturday. The Warriors last played an opponent in two straight regular-season games against the Lakers on Nov. 23-25, 2016.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports