Buzzer-beater by Lillard helps Portland seal win
Damian Lillard sank a three-pointer on the buzzer to cap a 50-point display, as the Portland Trail Blazers completed a late fightback to send Russell Westbrook's Oklahoma City Thunder crashing out of the NBA play-offs yesterday morning (Singapore time).
Needing a win to keep the best-of-seven series alive, Oklahoma City appeared to be on their way to forcing Game 6 after overturning a nine-point deficit at the end of the third period to open up a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter.
But a sensational burst of scoring hauled the Blazers back within striking distance as their home fans at the Moda Centre roared them on.
Lillard levelled the score at 115-115 with a driving lay-up and, when Westbrook subsequently fluffed a chance to restore Oklahoma City's lead with 18.3 seconds left, Portland ace Lillard was left with a chance to grab the win.
The 28-year-old point-guard took his time, eating up the final few seconds before sinking a three-pointer from long range to seal a 118-115 win and a 4-1 series victory.
Portland will face either Denver or San Antonio in the next round.
The Nuggets took a 3-2 lead in their series after a 108-90 win earlier yesterday.
In the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers set up a heavyweight play-off battle after completing comfortable series victories.
The Sixers sealed a 4-1 series win after routing the Brooklyn Nets 122-100, while the Raptors swept to an emphatic 115-96 victory over the Orlando Magic to also clinch their series 4-1. - AFP