Damian Lillard scored 41 points for the second game in a row, Jerami Grant converted the game-winning layup with three seconds remaining and the Portland Trailblazers remained unbeaten after a 106-104 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday afternoon at Crypto.com Arena.
Portland trailed 102-95 with just under two minutes to go but closed the game out on an 11-4 run to pick up their third consecutive win.
The Blazers improved to 3-0 on the year after failing to make the postseason last season with Lillard sidelined with an abdominal injury.
“More importantly, we got Damian Lillard. Obviously, Dame is back and is pretty much putting the league on notice,” said Blazers coach Chauncey Billups.
The Lakers fell to 0-3 after another close loss.
LeBron James finished with 31 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists, while Anthony Davis had 22 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks for Los Angeles (0-3).
Lonnie Walker had 15 points and Russell Westbrook had 10 for the Lakers
The Lakers started the game with a 10-2 lead but the Blazers quickly responded and closed the period on a 30-14 run to take an eight-point advantage heading into the second quarter, 32-24.
“There’s no way you’re supposed to lose this game,” Davis said.
Los Angeles forced 19 turnovers and gave themselves a chance to win the game defensively, but the team struggled to make shots yet again.
“We can’t shoot a penny in the ocean, but it hasn’t stopped us from defending,” James said following another poor shooting game.
Los Angeles shot 1-16 from three-point range in the first half and 18 percent for the game on only six makes (6-33).
“We were getting some of the same shots (down the stretch) we were getting (earlier),” James said. “Just didn’t make them. (Westbrook) got some good looks and wasn’t able to knock them down. Defensively, we couldn’t get multiple stops in a row. And Dame was Dame down the stretch.”
The Blazers led 55-48 at halftime. James made two three-pointers in the third as the Lakers took an 83-78 lead into fourth after outscoring the Blazers by 12 in the third.
However, after leading for a majority of the fourth quarter, Los Angeles began to unravel by scoring only six points in the final 4:42 of play.
The Blazers relied on Lillard late, as he took over the game by scoring 12 points in the final 5:06.
With the Lakers leading by one with just under 30 seconds remaining, Westbrook looked for a 2-for-1 opportunity but missed the mid-range shot with about 18 seconds on the shot clock.
Portland then came down and Lillard converted his sixth three-pointer on a tough contested step back on the next possession to take a 104-102 lead with 12.4 seconds left.
After a timeout, James attacked straight down the lane for an uncontested tying dunk with 7.7 seconds to go, but Grant made a driving lay-up on the Blazers final possession of the game with only three seconds remaining to give Portland a 106-104 win.
“We all trusted the next guy to do their job,” Lillard said. “We were able to get stops, not turn the ball over and hit our shots.”
The Lakers will next travel to take on the Denver Nuggets (2-1) on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.