The Portland Trail Blazers lost a close one on Sunday afternoon to the Boston Celtics 128-124 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Arena in the Orlando bubble.
Star point-guard Damian Lillard had an excellent performance — posting a stat line of 30 points and 16 assists, and two — but a late-game mishap by Lillard kept the Blazers from a chance to tie the game.
Down by three with 3.4 seconds left in the game, Lillard passed the ball to Jusuf Nurkic for an easy two, rather than taking a difficult shot from behind the arc.
“In my mind, I was like let me catch it and fire it as soon as I get space,” Lillard said.
“I knew we didn’t have no timeouts. I caught it and I was going to shoot it, but I saw Nurk come wide-open as soon as I caught it. I think I just overthought it.”
The Blazers then fouled Gordon Hayward, who made two free-throws to bring the Blazers deficit back to three.
After a poor pass from Nurkic, the Celtics regained possession and ultimately closed out the game by a margin of four points off of a Jayson Tatum free-throw make.
“This is the playoffs for us,” Lillard said. “We could be here for eight games and go home if we don’t treat it like it is. That’s what we played like.”
The Blazers loss on Sunday caused them to drop from 9th to 10th place in the Western Conference, half a game out of a potential play-in tourney for the eight-seed.