CHICAGO — Damian Lillard hit a fadeaway 3-pointer as time expired to give the Portland Trail Blazers a 123-122 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.
Lillard finished with 44 points on eight 3-pointers.
It appeared the Bulls had the game in control after Coby White made a pair of free throws to give them a 122-117 lead with 11.5 seconds left. Lillard came down and hit a long 3-pointer with 8.2 seconds to play.
Following the inbounds, the Blazers trapped Zach LaVine in the corner and forced a jump ball with 6.2 seconds left. Gary Trent Jr. was able to control the jump ball over the athletic LaVine. Lillard picked up the loose ball and fired a 3 from near the sideline to win it.
“I think this one is special because in these situations, where we are down five with I think 11 seconds left, those are moments where the winning team thinks they have the game pretty much wrapped up and the opposing team is discouraged,” Lillard said.
“(The coaching staff) will all tell you I am the most ambitious person in the world. They take me out when we’re down 10 with 15 seconds left and I am coming out of the game (ticked) off. In my head, I play out every situation how we can somehow come out on top. This is special because it usually never works out how I see it in my head.”
Blazers coach Terry Stotts knows Lillard will always give the Blazers a chance with his no-quit attitude.
“I know what Dame is going to give you. He’s going to give his effort. He never quits. No matter how far we are down he always believes we have a chance to win, and that attitude, that confidence is infectious,” Stotts said.
After blowing a 20-point lead in the first half and losing to Chicago at home, the Blazers followed that up by blowing a 19-point lead in the third quarter. Lauri Markkanen and Tomas Satoransky brought the Bulls back with back-to-backs 3s to give Chicago a 103-101 lead with 7:58 left in the game.
LaVine’s 3-pointer with 32.1 seconds left to put Chicago up 120-115.
Chicago coach Billy Donovan thought the jump ball was called too quick by referee Dannica Mosher.
“It was about as quick as a jump ball as I’ve ever seen. You can’t challenge that. I didn’t think it was a really good call at that point and time,” Donovan said. “Listen, we have to be stronger in those situations. I could’ve helped a little more by possibly calling a timeout to advance the ball.”
Enes Kanter had 22 points and 11 rebounds for Portland, which is 5-3 on the road. Trent finished with 18 points.
Lillard extended a 64-53 halftime lead with eight quick points. He hit consecutive 3s, the second from 33 feet, to give the Blazers a 75-58 lead with 9:34 left in the third quarter. He finished with 15 points in the quarter.
“He put the whole teams on his shoulders and did his thing,” Kanter said.
Markkanen scored 31 points and LaVine had 26 for the Bulls.
Trail Blazers: Robert Covington was back in the starting lineup after missing two games with a concussion.
Bulls: Thaddeus Young just missed a triple-double. He finished with eight points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists. … Chicago is 2-6 at the United Center.
Trail Blazers visit Milwaukee on Monday.