NBA: Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers hang on to edge Magic | Inquirer Sports
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NBA: Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers hang on to edge Magic

/ 01:26 PM March 06, 2023

 Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers dribbles the ball during their game against the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on February 28, 2023 in San Francisco, California.

FILE–Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/AFP

Damian Lillard scored 41 points and Nassir Little sank a go-ahead 3-pointer with 35.2 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to fuel the visiting Portland Trail Blazers to a 122-119 victory over the Orlando Magic on Sunday.

Lillard, who reached the 40-point plateau for the 14th time this season, sank 17 of 20 shots from the free-throw line to offset a 10-for-25 shooting performance from the floor and 4-for-16 effort from 3-point range.

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Lillard also had nine rebounds and six assists for Portland, which snapped a three-game losing skid and exacted a measure of revenge after dropping a 109-106 decision to Orlando on Jan. 10.

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Jerami Grant collected 20 points, seven assists and six rebounds and Cam Reddish added 16 points for the Trail Blazers.

Orlando rookie Paolo Banchero made all seven of his shots in the first half and finished with 26 points for the game. Franz Wagner had 24 points and Moritz Wagner, Markelle Fultz and Jalen Suggs each added 15 for the Magic, who have alternated wins and losses over their last 12 games.

Fultz’s layup forged a tie at 113-113 with 58.8 seconds to play before Little drained a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession.

Orlando and Portland each made four free throws before Banchero sank a pair from the charity stripe with 6.2 seconds to play. Lillard drained two more from the foul line to give Portland a 122-119 lead with 4.3 seconds remaining, and Banchero’s desperation heave at midcourt was off the mark.

Lillard drained 3-pointers on consecutive possessions and Shaedon Sharpe followed with a trey of his own to push Portland’s lead to 92-83 with 2:02 remaining in the third quarter.

Banchero’s layup gave the Magic a 51-46 lead with 2:53 remaining in the second quarter before the Trail Blazers went on a 12-5 run to end the first half. Matisse Thybulle converted a three-point play and Reddish drained a 3-pointer to highlight the surge.

Orlando played without Wendell Carter Jr. (left hip), while Anfernee Simons (right ankle) sat out for Portland.

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TAGS: Damian Lillard, NBA, Portland Trail Blazers

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