LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) -- 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.
Coach Terry Stotts loves how Anthony has evolved to help his team.
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.
James Harden led Houston with 23 points and nine assists on a night he was slowed by foul trouble.
Jeff Green added a season-high 22 points as the Rockets lost for the first time in the bubble after winning their first two games.
The Blazers were up by six midway through the final quarter after CJ McCollum and Lillard made consecutive baskets. But Green scored all Houston’s points in a 7-1 spurt that tied it at 98 a minute later.
McCollum finished with 20 points as the Blazers pulled within 1 1/2 games of eighth-place Memphis.
The game was tied again later in the fourth when Gary Trent Jr. made a 3-pointer to put Portland up 103-100. A driving layup by Harden cut the lead to one with about 2 minutes to go.
Danuel House made a 3-pointer to get the Rockets within two midway through the third quarter. Lillard then scored all of Portland’s points in a 9-3 run that pushed the lead to 82-74 with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the third.
Lillard had a three-point play and then sank 3s on consecutive possessions to allow the Trail Blazers to build the lead. Harden spent the last five minutes of the third quarter on the bench after picking up his fifth foul on the three-point play by Lillard.