“We had to have this one,” Damian Lillard said after scoring a game-high 41 points to lead the Trail Blazers past the Magic on Sunday in Orlando, 122-119.
Lillard struggled from the floor in the first half but turned things around in a major way in the second half, finishing 17-for-20 from the free-throw line as well. Up by a point with 2:07 left, Lillard was called for a charging foul, but Chauncey Billups challenged the call and the ruling was reversed to a blocking foul on Orlando’s Jalen Suggs. Lillard hit both free throws, and hit 8 free throws in the final three minutes, to seal the win.
Portland improves to 30-34 overall, a half-game back of Utah for the 10-seed in the West, and are one of five teams within a game of one another for the 9-seed.
The team’s six-game road trip continues tonight at the struggling Detroit Pistons (4:00 p.m.), before swinging through Boston, Philadelphia, and New Orleans, before coming back home to face the New York Knicks on Tues., March 14th.