The Palace of Auburn Hills has been rough a venue for Lillard, who shot 4-for-18 during his only trip to Detroit as a rookie last season and finished 6-for-21 (including 0-for-7 from deep) on Sunday. Nevertheless, the last make made up for the 15 misses, as Lillard provided the winning margin and helped Portland improve its West-leading record to 21-4.
With 13 seconds remaining and the score tied at 109, Portland set up Lillard in a high screen-and-roll with LaMarcus Aldridge on the final possession. After using the pick, Lillard went to work one-on-one against Rodney Stuckey, driving to his left from the right angle before spinning back around to his right as he closed in on the free-throw line. Pulling up to shoot with less than two seconds on the clock, Lillard lofted a fall-away jumper from about 14 feet that swished in with just 0.1 seconds remaining.
Detroit was out of timeouts so that was the ballgame.
"Once [Stuckey] took away the first move, I spun over my other shoulder," Lillard said, in comments recorded by CSNNW.com. "I figured he would try to meet me at the basket, if I tried to spin, so I just faded away off the spin. It was good [defense], he had a good contest, but I was able to get the shot off. It felt good. I had a lot of shots I let go tonight that felt good that didn't fall. So when that one went in, I was like, thank you, we can finally get out of here."
According to NBA.com/stats, Lillard is now 14-for-28 (50 percent) in clutch situations this season, defined by the final five minutes of a game (plus overtime) with either team leading by five points or less. That percentage is tied with Heat forward LeBron James for third-best in the league among players with at least 20 clutch attempts, trailing only Spurs guard Tony Parker and Hawks center Al Horford.
Lillard finished with 23 points, seven assists and three steals in 41 minutes. Aldridge led the Blazers with a team-high 27 points (on 11-for-25 shooting) and added 12 rebounds. The Pistons got a game-high 31 points (on 13-for-17 shooting) from Josh Smith, who also tallied seven rebounds and four assists. Andre Drummond added 13 points (on 6-for-15 shooting) and 14 rebounds. Detroit fell to 11-14 with the loss.