Damian Lillard scores 41 points as Portland beats Suns 113-111 in overtime

Damian Lillard scored 41 points and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Phoenix Suns 113-111 in overtime on Friday night for their second straight win to open the season.

Anfernee Simons hit a hook shot with 7.2 seconds left in overtime and finished with 16 points. Jusuf Nurkic had 20 points and 17 rebounds.

Devin Booker led Phoenix with 33 points. His layup gave Phoenix a 109-106 lead early in the extra period.

Lillard’s free throws with 33.9 seconds left tied the score at 111. Booker missed a short jumper before Simons’ hook put Portland in front. Nurkic fouled Deandre Ayton at the other end, but Ayton missed the first and then missed the second on purpose for a missed attempt on an tying basket.

“I told him, ‘I trust you, put on your big boy pants. You got the big contract, you got the game, you put in the work,’” Lillard said of ultimately trusting his partner Simons.

Booker said Ayton’s second miss was right where it needed to be to get a second chance to tie the game. “It’s the NBA,” he said. “Those guys are trying to win too, and they’re pros, so there will be nights like that.”

The Suns led by 12 points in the first half, but Portland fell back to tie it at 79 early in the fourth quarter on Nassir Little’s jumper and came close the rest of the way.

Chris Paul’s driving layup gave the Suns a 101-100 lead with 59.9 seconds left in regulation. After Nurkic made free throws for Portland, Mikal Bridges made the second of two free throws to tie the score at 102 with 37.1 seconds left. Lillard missed an off-balance jumper to send the game into overtime.

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“As we see ourselves now, we have the depth to recover from any shortfall,” Nurkic said. “But ideally, we don’t want to get to that point.”

The Suns were coming off a 107-105 win over Dallas on Wednesday in their season opener. The Suns won 64 games last season but fell to the Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals.

Portland won its opener 115-108 on Wednesday night in Sacramento.

Suns coach Monty Williams is always nostalgic when he arrives in Portland, where he started as an assistant to former Blazers coach Nate McMillan from 2005-2010.

He recalled on Friday how one season McMillan tore his Achilles tendon and was thrust into the role of head coach for a while.

“I’ll never forget it, I was walking on the sidelines because Nate wanted me to communicate with the players. I turned to ask him for a call and he just barked at me: `You make the call!’” Williams said."It was like, ‘I put you there for a reason, so stop being you and be me for a second and make the call.’".

Suns: Williams said he’s taking it easy with Landry Shamet, who started the season sidelined with a left hip strain. “The last thing I want to do is put more pressure on a guy to get back on the court. I just hope our team lets me know when a guy is ready.”

Trail Blazers: Lillard led all scorers with 28 points, including four 3-pointers, in the first half alone. Lillard played just 29 games last season before undergoing surgery to correct a nagging abdominal injury.

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