|Date of game: 12/30/2014
Recap: Portland vs. Toronto
Portland, OR (SportsNetwork.com) - Damian Lillard posted 26 points and nine assists, outdueling fellow star point guard Kyle Lowry and helping the Portland Trail Blazers rally past the Toronto Raptors, 102-97, in overtime.
After Terrence Ross opened the extra session with a 3-pointer, Lillard, Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum hit from deep at the other end on consecutive possessions.
Patrick Patterson and Lowry countered with layups to make it 96-94, but a clear path foul on Toronto -- moments after a controversial no-call against Portland -- was the difference.
First, Matthews got caught in the air and threw the ball up for grabs. Ross picked it off and was fouled by Lillard. The referees convened at the monitors to determine whether or not it was a clear-path foul on Lillard but ultimately ruled it a common foul.
After Lowry missed a jumper with 27 seconds left, Greivis Vasquez committed a clear-path foul on Batum. He split two free throws, then Lillard made two to make it 99-94.
Joel Freeland's dunk following a press break in the final seconds sealed it.
LeMarcus Aldridge added 23 points and 13 boards and Matthews scored 19 for Portland, which improved to 15-1 against the Eastern Conference.
"It was a good win to end the year on," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "I was very pleased with the way we kept competing."
Lowry tallied 25 with seven rebounds and five assists for the Raptors, who still hold a half-game lead over Atlanta for the best record in the East.
"We said going in that we need to take out the 3's, we allowed them to get going and that was the difference," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.
Lou Williams made five free throws in 15 seconds early in the second quarter to break a 25-25 tie and start an 11-0 run for Toronto.
Toronto led by at least five until midway through the fourth quarter, when Aldridge followed a Steve Blake 3-pointer with a turnaround jumper to cut the deficit to 77-75.
Lowry scored the next six points for the Raptors on a pull-up jumper and four free throws, but Toronto missed six shots in a row after that. Portland took advantage, drawing within one on Lillard's hanging layup and tying it at 83 when Aldridge split a pair from the line.
Aldridge could have given the hosts a lead, but he missed a sweeping layup and off-balance runner on the same possession.
He made up for the misses two minutes later. Aldridge broke an 85-all tie with a silky mid-range jumper at 1:36.
That score held until late, when an unlikely hero emerged. Freeland blocked Lowry's layup attempt twice in the final 30 seconds. His swat out of bounds with 10.1 on the clock led to Toronto inbounding from underneath their basket. It was passed in to Amir Johnson, who after failing to get the ball to Lowry, went to work in the post on Freeland and converted a difficult hook shot to tie it.
Lillard's driving layup fell short at the buzzer.Game Notes
Portland has won nine of its last 10 ... The Blazers improved to 10-1 when
Matthews scores at least 19 points and 12-2 when they make more than 10 3-
pointers as a team ... Portland is 15-2 at home this season ... Toronto shot
4-for-22 from behind the arc.