LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Damian Lillard scored 21 points and Carmelo Anthony hit a big 3-pointer late to help the Portland Trail Blazers to a 110-102 victory over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.
The Blazers led by one before Lillard made one of two free throws. Anthony’s 3 then extended the lead to 107-102 when less than a minute to go.
Lillard raved about the contributions of Anthony, who found a home with the Trail Blazers after spending several months without a team last year following a brief stint with the Rockets.
“I think it’s more disappointing that people are surprised by it," Lillard said. “He’s a Hall of Famer ... he’s a great teammate and that’s what we expect from him."
Coach Terry Stotts loves how Anthony has evolved to help his team.
“Earlier in his career, the ball would have been in his hands to start with," Stotts said. “He has assimilated to his role and this team. He loves the game. He loves the camaraderie, he loves being in the NBA.”
Lillard added two free throws and Anthony, who had 15 points and 11 rebounds, made one in the final minute to secure the victory for Portland, which is fighting for a playoff spot.
“We understand what’s on the line and we know what we got to do to to give ourselves a chance in the postseason," Lillard said. “And that’s what we’re doing."