PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) –– Damian Lillard hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer and the Portland Trail Blazers stunned the Houston Rockets 99-98 to take their playoff series in six games and advance to the Western Conference semifinals for the first time in 14 years.
In the raucous postgame celebration, Lillard took the public address microphone and shouted “Rip City!”
Portland, making its first playoff appearance since 2011, had been eliminated in the first round in its last six trips, and hadn’t advanced to the second round since 2000.
Dwight Howard’s layup and foul shot put the Rockets up 96-94 before Nicolas Batum’s fadeaway jumper tied it again with 39.9 seconds left. Chandler Parsons scored on a reverse layup with 0.9 seconds left to give Houston the lead before Lillard won it.
Portland will face the winner of the series between San Antonio and Dallas.