Damian Lillard made a three-pointer at the buzzer and the Portland Trail Blazers stunned the Houston Rockets, 99-98, Friday to take their playoff series in six games and advance to the Western Conference semifinals for the first time in 14 years.
In the raucous postgame celebration, Lillard took the public address microphone and shouted “Rip City!” Portland, making its first playoff appearance since 2011, had been eliminated in the first round in its last six trips.
Dwight Howard’s layup and foul shot put the Rockets up 96-94 before Nicolas Batum’s fadeaway jumper tied it again with 39.9 seconds left. Chandler Parsons scored on a reverse layup with 0.9 seconds left to give Houston the lead before Lillard, who scored 25 points and made six of 10 three-point tries, won it.
at Dallas 113, San Antonio 111: Monta Ellis scored 12 of his 29 points to lead a fourth-quarter comeback, Dirk Nowitzki added 22 and the eighth-seeded Mavericks forced a Game 7 with top-seeded San Antonio, bouncing back from consecutive losses by handing the Spurs their first road defeat when leading after three quarters this season.
“Put all of our chips on the table and see what happens,” said Ellis, whose three-pointer put Dallas ahead for good at 94-92.
Tony Parker scored 22 points to lead the heavily favored Spurs, who won all four games against the Mavericks during the regular season and had a 10-game winning streak against them after taking the opener.
The only other time these teams played a Game 7, Nowitzki had an improbable three-point play to force overtime in San Antonio in 2006. The Mavericks went on to win the second-round series and reached the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.
“Well, it’s the ultimate thrill,” said Nowitzki, who is 4-0 in Game 7s in his career. “Nothing matters anymore. Just this one game.”
at Brooklyn 97, Toronto 83: Deron Williams scored 23 points, shaking off a second-half injury, and the Nets forced a seventh game in their first-round series.
Despite appearing to hurt his left foot or ankle early in the third quarter, Williams dominated his matchup with Kyle Lowry and helped the Nets put it away with a three-pointer with 1:13 left that made it 92-79.
Game 7 is Sunday in Toronto, with the winner advancing to face the defending champion Miami Heat, which has been off for a week. DeMar DeRozan scored 28 for the Raptors, who will have to go the distance if they are to win a seven-game series for the first time in franchise history. They haven’t won any postseason series since 2001.
Lowry scored 11 points after scoring 36 in the Raptors’ Game 5 victory.