Portland, OR (SportsNetwork.com) - Wesley Johnson's alley-oop lay-in off an inbounds pass with 6.9 seconds remaining sent the Los Angeles Lakers over the Portland Trail Blazers 107-106 in an entertaining battle on Monday.
The Blazers came in with 21 more wins than LA, but trailed for most of the game until Damian Lillard's free throw with 34.6 seconds remaining gave them a 106-105 lead -- the team's first since it was a 6-4 game.
Wesley Matthews could have put the game away but missed a 3-point try that led to a breakout for Kent Bazemore, who tried to split a pair of defenders and had the ball knocked out of bounds with 7.1 seconds showing.
Replay was used to overturn the original call of Blazers ball, and Mike D'Antoni drew up an inbounds play that saw Bazemore lob one for Johnson from the sideline. Despite LaMarcus Aldridge being draped all over him, Johnson got the go-ahead bucket to fall, and the Lakers survived Lillard's off-balanced 25-footer at the buzzer.
"Bazemore made a great pass and Wes did a good job of executing," D'Antoni said. "Everyone had to do their job, and we executed it pretty well."
Pau Gasol and Jodie Meeks led LA with 22 and 21 points, respectively, while Bazemore and Johnson both netted 14 in just the third back-to-back win for the club since the beginning of January.
Robin Lopez and Nicolas Batum combined for 36 points and 31 rebounds for the Blazers, who got 21 points from Aldridge and 20 from Lillard in the setback.
Portland kept chipping away at an early 15-point deficit and finally got over the hump when Lillard went to the line with the score tied at 105-105.
After making the first free throw, Lillard missed the second and wrestled the rebound away from Gasol along the baseline. Matthews, though, was forced into a rushed fallaway from the corner that drew iron, and Bazemore grabbed the pivotal rebound that ultimately led to the deciding bucket.
The Lakers earned easy buckets in the opening quarter on the strength of eight forced turnovers, which led to 11 points and helped the visitors jump out to a 33-20 cushion heading to the second.
"They started the game off a lot better than we did and we ended up playing out of a hole," Lillard said.
The Blazers cleaned up their mistakes in the second quarter, but every time they were within striking distance, LA held them off.
It was a 63-56 game at the break and an 87-84 Lakers advantage after three frames.
Portland had a five-game winning streak snapped ... The Lakers won the battle in the paint 58-40 and had a 32-9 advantage in fastbreak points ... Portland wound up with 20 turnovers ... The Blazers shot just 11-of-19 from the foul line.