Blazers advance as Damian Lillard hit a 37-footer at buzzer to reach 50 points

Damian Lillard hit a 37-footer at the buzzer and finished with career-playoff-high 50 points as the Trail Blazers eliminated Oklahoma City from the playoffs in five games with a 118-115 victory in Portland on Tuesday night.

With the game tied, Lillard dribbled just inside of halfcourt near the Blazers’ logo and then pulled up and hit the game-winner.

Lillard waved goodbye to the Thunder bench after nailing the shot, then promptly was mobbed by his teammates. As the Thunder players left the floor, Lillard circled the court, high-fiving fans.

The crowd chanted, “MVP! MVP!”

Lillard had 10 3-pointers, breaking the franchise record.

Portland advances to the Western Conference semifinals to face the winner of the series between the Nuggets and San Antonio. Denver won 108-90 earlier in the night to take a 3-2 lead in that series.

It was the 12th straight road playoff loss for the Thunder, who have been eliminated in the opening round for three straight seasons.

Russell Westbrook had 29 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists for his 10th career playoff triple-double and his second of the series. Paul George added 36 points.

Lillard had 34 points in the first half alone — more than Westbrook and George had combined (32) for the Thunder — but the Blazers had just a 61-60 edge going into the second half.

The Thunder led 90-88 going into the final quarter. Westbrook hit a 3-pointer to extend the lead while Lillard took a break on the bench.

Oklahoma City went up 105-90 with 7:45 left on Dennis Schroder’s pull-up jumper as Portland struggled.

Lillard’s 3-pointer cut the Blazers’ deficit to 108-103, but Westbrook answered with a 3-pointer. CJ McCollum’s bank shot cut Oklahoma City’s lead to 113-109 with 1:39 left. Maurice Harkless added free throws to trim the margin to two.

McCollum tied it with a jumper with just less than a minute left, but George scored on the other end. Lillard’s layup retied it before he hit his epic 3-pointer.

Nuggets 108, Spurs 90: Jamal Murray’s 23 points led six Nuggets in double figures and host Denver routed San Antonio to move one win from its first playoff-series triumph in a decade. Up 3-games-to-2, the Nuggets can wrap up the series Thursday night in San Antonio, where they won Saturday for the first time since 2012, regaining the home-court advantage. All-Star Nikola Jokic had 16 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists and Denver led by as many 30 points at 99-69, after which its starters took a seat.

Raptors 115, Magic 96: Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points, Pascal Siakam added 24 and host Toronto used another stifling defensive effort to win its first-round playoff series in five games. Kyle Lowry scored 14 points as the Raptors finished off the Magic with ease, bouncing back from a Game 1 loss to win by double-digits in three of the next four. Toronto led by as many as 37 in the clincher.

76ers 120, Nets 100: Ben Simmons thumped his chest after a big dunk , Joel Embiid pointed toward an overmatched defender on a slam of his own, and host Philadelphia flexed its offensive muscle from the opening tip to close out the Eastern Conference playoff series with Brooklyn in five games. Embiid again shook off a left-knee problem and had six points and five rebounds in the first two minutes to chants of “MVP!”

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Blazers-advance-as-Damian-Lillard-hit-a-37-footer-13790533.php.

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