Lillard pours in 41 as Blazers top Wizards in OT

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[March 09, 2016]  By Kerry Eggers, The Sports Xchange
 
 PORTLAND, Ore. -- Since the All-Star break, Damian Lillard is on a roll, and the Portland Trail Blazers are one of the hottest teams in the NBA.

Lillard was at his best again Tuesday night at the Moda Center, scoring nine of his 41 points in overtime as the Trail Blazers beat the Washington Wizards 116-109.

The Blazers (34-31) got critical contributions from a number of other players, too, as they ended a three-game losing streak.

Lillard's backcourt mate, CJ McCollum, drained a jump shot with 5.4 seconds left to force overtime. Reserve guard Gerald Henderson soared to swat away Marcin Gortat's shot at the basket as regulation time expired. Backup forward Ed Davis contributed nine points, 15 rebounds and four assists off the bench.

"They made the winning plays," said Washington's Jared Dudley, who had 16 points off the bench. "Davis was huge getting offensive rebounds, getting them extra possessions. Lillard did what he has been doing, and we couldn't get the bucket at the end (of regulation) to win it."

"We have a lot of unsung guys on this team," said McCollum, who scored 18 points. "We need guys to do what they do well. That's what happened tonight."

Reserve guard Ramon Sessions went for 21 points, John Wall collected 20 points and 11 assists, and Gortat had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Wizards, who lost their third straight.

Lillard's performance was too much for Washington to overcome, though. He was 12-for-25 from the field, 6-for-13 from 3-point range and 11-for-12 from the free-throw line. Lillard also dished out 11 assists and had only one turnover in 44 minutes.

Portland, which has won 15 of its past 20 games, rallied from a 13-point, third-quarter deficit to win.

"We picked our energy up, were more active, had more bounce to our step after that," Lillard said. "We got back to flying around. We were physical. We still made some mistakes, but they were aggressive mistakes."

Sessions and Dudley each contributed 11 points off the bench to fire Washington to a 55-54 halftime lead. Lillard had 15 points and seven assists for Portland at the break.

The Wizards (30-33) started the third quarter with a 12-0 spurt that increased their edge to 67-54. The Blazers responded with a 17-4 run to tie it at 71-71. From there, it was a back-and-forth battle to the end of regulation.

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Dudley buried to 3-pointer for a 101-98 Washington lead with 1:50 remaining. Portland's Meyers Leonard answered with a basket, and Lillard followed with a pair of foul shots to push the Blazers ahead 102-101 with 1:10 to play.

Neither team scored again until Wall knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Wizards a 104-102 advantage with 15.8 seconds to go. McCollum scored on a short jumper to tie it at 104-104 with 5.4 ticks left. Gortat's inside shot was blocked by Henderson at the buzzer.

Lillard scored on a driving layup, then hit a 3-pointer to give Portland a 111-106 lead in overtime. Wall's trey cut the margin to 111-109 with 2:58 left. Lillard converted another layup to make it 113-109 with 23.5 seconds remaining. Leonard wrapped things up with a free throw with 8.3 seconds left.

"That was a really important win for us, especially in fighting back after getting down early in the second half," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "To gut out an overtime win after losing three in a row was big."

Portland pulled a half-game ahead of the Dallas Mavericks for sixth place in the Western Conference. The Blazers are two games ahead of the eighth-place Houston Rockets.

NOTES: The Wizards hurt their cause by making only 11 of 23 free throws. Portland was 24-for-31 at the line. ... Washington G Alan Anderson was ejected after a first-quarter altercation with Portland G Gerald Henderson. Henderson was given a personal foul, and both players technical fouls on the play. ... The Wizards were missing G Bradley Beal (pelvis) and G Gary Neal (leg). ... ... The Blazers won for the ninth time in their past 11 matchups with the Wizards in Portland.

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