Chicago, ILL — In the last few games, Damian Lillard found his shooting touch. He hit a three-pointer just before the horn sounded to give the Portland Trail Blazers a close 123-122 victory against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night at the United Center.
Portland was down 122-117 with 11.5 seconds left on the clock. Lillard hit a trey from downtown with 8.9 seconds to go to trim the Bulls’ lead to 122-120.
“It was good to have something go our way,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said.
Lillard had 44 points with five rebounds, and nine assists for the Blazers (10-8), who evened their record to 1-1 on their current six-game trip.
Enes Kanter poured in 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Portland, who lost to Chicago earlier in the season.
Early in the third Chicago (7-10) rallied, trimming the deficit to seven, at 93-86, by the end of the third quarter. The Bulls went up 103-101 on Tomas Satoransky’s three-pointer with 7:59 to play.
Gary Trent Jr. tied up Zach LaVine on the inbounds, leading to a jump ball call and giving Portland one last shot. Lillard shot over the outstretched arms of Markkanen hitting a three at the buzzer to seal the win.
Chicago took the lead with 7:58 left in the fourth quarter on a three pointer by Tomas Satoransky, who helped spark the comeback, the game went back and forth down the stretch until Markkanen’s dunk off a Thad Young pass gave the Bulls a 115-113 lead with two minutes left to play in the game.
Chicago came out smoking in the first hitting 6 of 12 three-pointers from the floor taking a 34-32 lead. LaVine didn’t take a shot in the first, playing seven minutes, but started to get his shooting stroke by hitting a pair of threes on his first two attempts in the second quarter.
But it was short lived for the Bulls’ three spree for the half. They wound up shooting 3-for-15 from downtown in the second quarter while shooting 26 percent from the field as the Trailblazers took a 64-53 lead into the break.