Jerami Grant’s scoring drive with 3 seconds left lifts Trail Blazers to 106-104 win at Los Angeles Lakers: At the buzzer

The Portland Trail Blazers had seemingly blown a chance to win Sunday with a poor second half that saw them fall behind 98-90 with 4:42 remaining at the Los Angeles Lakers.

But from that point on, the Blazers outscored the Lakers 16-6, with Portland’s final two points coming from Jerami Grant on a driving layup past James and by Anthony Davis with three seconds left. The basket proved to be the game-winner, as the Blazers held on for a come-from-behind 106-104 victory.

James missed a deep jump shot as time expired and the Blazers improved to 3-0 on the young season.

Damian Lillard scored 41 points for the second consecutive game to lead the Blazers. Lillard went 15 of 25 from the field, including 6 of 13 from three-point range, and his most important three came with 12.4 seconds left, when he swished a clutch step-back shot that give the Blazers a 104-102 lead.

Lillard scored 21 points in the first half, helping the Blazers take a 55-48 lead into the halftime locker room. At that point, the Lakers had made just 1 of 16 threes, which helped offset the Blazers’ 12 turnovers.

That sloppy play came back to haunt Portland in the third, when the Lakers (0-3) outscored the Blazers 35-23 while shooting 53.8%.

“They came out and had an excellent third quarter, and you could tell that they picked up their aggressiveness defensively,” Blazers coach Chauncey Billups told reporters. “We hesitated a little bit and they jumped on us. They really did. But again, we’ve got a group that just won’t give in. We won’t give in and we’re gonna keep playing, win, lose or draw.”

That final sentiment proved to be true the fourth quarter. The Blazers got 12 points from Lillard and committed just two turnovers to help fuel the late rally. Portland closed the game with an 11-2 run.

“One of our biggest strengths in these first few games has been sticking with it,” Lillard told reporters. “Showing a lot of resilience and showing trust in each other even after those breakdowns.”

Grant finished with 16 points and Josh Hart added nine points, 16 rebounds and five assists.

The Blazers, who finished the game with 19 turnovers, did a lot of things right to steal the win. But for Billups, everything came down to one key factor.

“We’ve got Damian Lillard, man,” Billups told reporters. “We’ve got Dame. We’ve got Dame and obviously Dame is back and he’s pretty much putting the league on notice.”

Jerami Grant at the Los Angeles Lakers

Portland Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant, left, shoots the game-winning shot against Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo) APAP

The Lakers, who entered Sunday ranked last in the NBA in field goal shooting percentage and three-point shooting percentage, shot 44.6% and most of the shots came in the paint, where they scored 66 points. But the Lakers shot just 18.2% from three-point range (6 of 33), further illustrating their long-range shooting woes.

James finished with 31 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. His final shot came over Lillard, who said he just wanted to make sure that final shot was a deep one.

“He caught it with his back to the basket and I just took up that space and didn’t allow him a line to the rim and I just contested it as good as I can,” Lillard said.

Davis added 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers.


The Blazers moved to 3-0 for the first time since the 2011-12 season, which was delayed by a labor dispute until December. That season, however, the Blazers finished just 28-38. About two months later, they selected Lillard in the 2012 NBA Draft.


The Blazers watched Russell Westbrook miss a 16-foot jumper with the Lakers leading 102-101, got the rebound and went up court only to have Jusuf Nurkic draw a whistle for an offensive foul while setting a screen on Patrick Beverley, who bounced off him and to the floor.

Billups challenged the call and it was reversed.

That led to Lillard’s clutch three, which gave the Blazers a 104-102 lead. On the the other end, the Blazers allowed James to run through the middle of the defense and tie the game with a dunk.

That all set up Grant’s heroics.

Damian Lillard

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, right, loses the ball with Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook defending during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo) APAP


Two days after hitting a game-winning floating hook shot against Phoenix, Anfernee Simons struggled mightily on Sunday. He shot just 5 of 17 from the field and missed all six of his three-point attempts, finishing with 12 points. He also committed five turnovers. However, he did hit a floating bank shot with 36 seconds left to trim the Lakers’ lead to 102-101.


The Blazers host the Denver Nuggets Monday night at 7 p.m. at the Moda Center.

— Aaron Fentress | | @AaronJFentress (Twitter), @AaronJFentress (Instagram), @AaronFentress (Facebook).

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