Source: USA TODAY
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Damian Lillard’s off-balance jumper with 0.1 seconds left in overtime silenced the Palace crowd and gave the Portland Trail Blazers a 111-109 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night.
After Rodney Stuckey tied the game at 109 with 13.3 seconds left, Blazers coach Terry Stotts called timeout and called a one-on-one play for Lillard, the reigning rookie of the year.
Guarded by Stuckey, Lillard ran the clock down before starting his move. He got a pick, but Stuckey was able to stay in front. But Lillard was able to hit the step-back jumper and the Blazers pushed their Western Conference-best mark to 21-4. The effort came one night after the Blazers set a team record with 21 triples in a 139-105 victory at Philadelphia.
The Pistons (11-15) continue their two-game swing against the NBA’s best team’s Monday night when they travel to Indiana.
Josh Smith led the Pistons with 31 points as he was determined to power it inside all night. He was 13-for-17 from the field.
LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers with 27 points and 12 rebounds, and Robin Lopez was the unsung hero with 12 points and 13 rebounds — six at the offensive end.
The Pistons blew a 13-point lead from early in the fourth quarter with their usual collection of bad possessions and forced shots, but It looked like the Pistons might hold off the rally when Stuckey (17 points) hit a jumper with 1:28 left to make the score 99-96.
Aldridge missed a jumper, but a Brandon Jennings turnover with 42.9 seconds gave the Blazers life.
Lillard hit one free throw and missed the second, but the ball was out of bounds on the Pistons.
The Pistons forced a miss from Nicolas Batum, but Wesley Matthews was fouled fighting for position. He hit both free throws to tie the game at 99-99 with 30.8 second left.
After a timeout, a play was designed for Stuckey and he missed a short runner down the lane with 11 seconds left.
Lillard tried for the go-ahead bucket, but Jennings stripped him and the ball went out of bounds off the Blazers.
The Pistons established Smith early with the very first shot, a missed hook. Everything else from Smith in the first half was inside, with the only three-point attempt coming late in the first half when Jennings played too much one-on-one and he passed the ball to Smith with five seconds left on the shot clock. Smith was forced to take a triple and he missed badly.
But the Pistons had no answer for Aldridge as he scored nine points in the first quarter as the Blazers took a 29-22 lead.
The Pistons surged with a 20-6 run to open the second. Smith scored eight points during the run.
The Blazers briefly regained the lead on an Aldridge basket, but the Pistons took a 51-50 lead into halftime.
Vince Ellis covers the NBA for the Detroit Free Press, a Gannett affiliate.