Despite a phenomenal game from Damian Lillard, the Toronto Raptors were able to eek out a 117-115 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers Friday night. And the way they were able to secure that win in the final seconds resulted in DeMar DeRozan narrowly missing out on an all-time NBA record.
Late in the fourth quarter, DeRozan set a franchise record by making 23 free throws, overtaking Vince Carter’s previous mark of 22. In fact, DeRozan was 23-of-23 from the line up to that point, tying Dominique Wilkins’ NBA record of most free throws made in a single game without a miss.
However, after Lillard hit a three to make the score 116-115, the Blazers were forced to put DeRozan back at the line with 0.9 seconds remaining. DeRozan proceeded to make his first free throw, and had he made his second one, it would have set the NBA record. But he wisely chose the forgo that record and purposely miss his second attempt to ensure that the Blazers weren’t able to get off a quality shot.
It was a showdown of two of the deadliest scoring backcourts in the NBA, with the Raptors duo of Derozan and Kyle Lowry combing for 64 points, while Lillard and C.J. McCollum had 74, but were the only two Blazers in double figures.
Lillard was just one point shy tying his career of 51, which he set in Portland’s blowout win over the Golden State Warriors just a couple of weeks prior. It was clear early on that it was going to be that kind of night for Dame, especially after he effortlessly sank this half-court buzzer-beater to end the first quarter.
Toronto had a 90-77 led heading into the fourth, but the Blazers – and Lillard in particular – just refused to go away. They staged a 10-0 run midway through the quarter but were never quite able to get over the hump.