LOS ANGELES — The Lakers led by 11 with less than six minutes remaining, but then Damian Lillard happened.
Lillard scored 19 of his game-high 39 points in the fourth quarter and helped the Portland Trail Blazers end the Lakers’ nine-game home win streak with a 108-103 victory on Monday night.
“Damian Lillard was pretty impressive down the stretch there,” Walton said.
In addition to Lillard’s big night, CJ McCollum had 22 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Jusuf Nurkic added 16 points and 16 rebounds.
Julius Randle led the Lakers with 21 points and nine rebounds. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope contributed 16 points, while Isaiah Thomas added 19 points and seven assists off the bench.
Thomas gave Los Angeles a 97-86 lead with two free throws with 5:26 left in the fourth quarter. But Lillard answered with 11 of the next 14 points for the Blazers, including three consecutive 3-pointers the gave Portland a 100-97 just over two minutes later.
Kuzma scored to pull the Lakers within one, but Lillard came back and hit yet another 3-pointer. Lonzo Ball, who was mired with foul trouble the entire night, came right bath a 3 of his own to the the game at 103 with less than two minutes remaining.
Down three in the final minute of the game, the Lakers forced two misses from Portland, but could not secure the defensive rebound.
Randle described the Lakers’ difficulties securing the two defensive rebounds late in the game as “annoying.”
“I feel like when we’re at home, and when we played (the Blazers) last game, we lost the same way — they had a lot of offensive rebounds,” Randle said. “It’s annoying, it’s frustrating, especially that we kinda lose the same way a little bit.”
After McCollum uncharacteristically missed two three throws, Shabazz Napier stripped Thomas on a potential game-tying 3-point attempt. Napier’s two free throws with one second remaining sealed the deal for good.
“This was a tough one for us just because we feel like we had the game and we let to towards the end,” Thomas said.
Portland pulled within four points in the first three minute of the fourth quarter. But Ivica Zubac scored through contact and covered a free throw, and Kuzma made his second 3-pointer in five tries to give the Lakers a 90-80 lead with 7:50 remaining.
The Lakers started the second half with a quick 7-0 run, giving them a 62-58 lead. The Lakers extended that margin to 12 with two back-to-back 3-pointers by Caldwell-Pope.
Los Angeles led 80-73 entering the fourth quarter after Portland scored the last four points of the third frame.
The Trail Blazers took a 14-point lead with 7:32 left in the fist half and forced the Lakers to call timeout. Randle scored on a drive in the lane, and Travis Wear and Kyle Kuzma followed with back-to-back 3-pointers. Los Angels closed the quarter on a 5-0 run.
The Lakers were down by 11 in the first quarter, but ended the quarter down only three.
Nuggets: Host the New York Knicks today.
Lakers: Host the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.