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(Tuesday, December 17th)
Final Score: Portland 119, Cleveland 116
Cleveland, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Damian Lillard's eighth 3-pointer came just before the buzzer and gave the soaring Portland Trail Blazers a thrilling 119-116 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The eventual game-winner was already the fourth in the young season for Lillard, who was simply sensational in posting 36 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in leading the Blazers to their fifth straight victory and ninth in their last 10 games.
Portland led by 10 with two minutes remaining before Kyrie Irving led a late flurry to pull the Cavs even with 7.1 seconds remaining.
Lillard had the final answer, though, as he dribbled out most of the remaining time at the top of the key and rose over Alonzo Gee for the deciding bucket.
"I made a move to get [Gee] off-balance, and I made sure that I was ready when I froze him," Lillard said.
The clock struck zero before officials put four-tenths of a second back on the clock, and Irving drew iron from well behind the 3-point line to officially end Cleveland's four-game home winning streak.
Portland also received 26 points and 15 rebounds from LaMarcus Aldridge, 19 points from Wesley Matthews and 14 points and nine boards from Nicolas Batum.
Irving and Dion Waiters each scored 25 points to lead Cleveland, with Irving also doling out 10 assists in the setback.
Portland appeared to pull away for good with a late 13-3 run, highlighted by two 3-pointers from Matthews and a turnaround jumper by Aldridge that yielded a 114-104 lead with 2:15 remaining.
Irving, though, poured in nine points in a little over a minute to cut the Cavs' deficit to 116-114 with under a minute to play. After Aldridge missed a running hook, Irving drew three defenders in the lane and left a pass for Anderson Varejao on the left block for the game-tying layup.
Lillard responded, and Irving could do nothing except praise the second-year guard.
"Big-time players make big-time shots, and that's what he did in our home," Irving said. "Damian Lillard played a hell of a game and just got hot."
The Blazers trailed by nine midway through the first quarter but trimmed their deficit to 28-26 heading into a back-and-forth second frame.
Neither team led by more than five in the period, and Cleveland scored seven of the final nine points to take a 59-55 lead at halftime.
Lillard made 3-pointers on three straight trips down the floor to give the Blazers a 72-71 edge less than five minutes into the third, and it was a four- point lead in their favor, 92-88, going into the final quarter.
Portland has scored at least 100 points in 10 straight games ... The Blazers have won their first 11 games against the Eastern Conference for the first time in franchise history ... Portland already has 12 road wins, topping its 11-win total from last season ... The Blazers had 35 second-chance points to Cleveland's 10 ... The Cavs were outscored at the foul line, 22-11.
12/18 01:10:00 ET
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