An irate Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard said a missed goaltending violation "cost us the f****** game" against the Utah Jazz on Friday.

The Trail Blazers were trailing by two points when Lillard's layup was blocked by Rudy Gobert with 13.5 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Jazz center's touch clearly came after the ball hit the backboard.

The three officials on the floor failed to make to make the call, though, and Utah went on to claim a 117-114 victory at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

Speaking to a pool reporter after the game, officiating crew chief Josh Tiven admitted a mistake had been made: "We've since looked at it via postgame video review, and unfortunately saw that we missed the play, and a goaltending violation should have been called."

Lillard was incensed and had to be held back after the buzzer, with his temper still running hot when reporters entered the locker room.

"We get to the last play until the game and they miss an easy call, then they tell us it's an easy no-call, like that was obviously not a goaltend. It cost us the f****** game, man," said Lillard, who finished with 42 points, six rebounds, six assists and two blocks.

"It's an easy call. Three referees out there and they don't call that. And I don't want to see no report about, 'Oh, we should've called it'. None of that. They cost us a game. We're in a playoff race and they cost us a game on an easy call.

"There's no way to take the sting out of it, we can't have the game back, they cost us a game. It's a loss on our record.

"We're in a playoff race and we need every game that we can get and we had that type of effort and they miss an easy call like that, and then you want us to walk away and say nothing? It cost us the game. Of course we're gonna have something to say about it, man, it's BS."

Shooting guard CJ McCollum suggested the officials need to be punished for the glaring error.

"The call they missed was very costly for us, it cost us the game, we can't get it back," said McCollum. "I just don't like the explanation I got, that really p***** me off.

"There's three of you [referees] out there so if one of you doesn't see it the other two are supposed to be in another position to see it, so for you to say, 'It wasn't even close', and one person to say, 'It might've been obvious to you but it wasn't to us', it makes me just think you're not capable of doing the job in the way you're supposed to do it, which means you should be reprimanded, you should be fined accordingly.

"When we make mistakes we're fined, and they cost us a game that could cost people money. So they should be fined accordingly, because that's terrible. Not just bad, terrible."

Portland coach Terry Stotts said: "It's just a shame it was decided on an inexcusable missed call, there's no other way to describe it. They could've called goaltending and reviewed it, but they swallowed their whistles on a play that was pretty obvious.

"It's disappointing that such a great effort was decided by that. Everybody's pretty p***** off. You would think they would get that one right. I don't complain about officiating - they've got a tough job - but a play like that is inexcusable."

Despite appearing to suggest it was not a goaltending violation by shaking his head as Lillard appealed to the referees in the immediate aftermath, Gobert acknowledged the on-court decision was incorrect.

"I was just trying to make a play on the ball, and obviously after watching the replay you can see that's a goaltend," he said. "I was just trying to make a play. Goaltending happens all the time, it's part of the game.

"It's what people are going to talk about, they're not going to talk about us coming back from 14 [points behind] at half-time and us playing well as a team and fighting to come back in the game.

"Obviously it's a big play because it's the last play and it's what everyone is going to remember, but I think we did a great job in the second half. Mistakes are made, officials are humans and I feel it's part of the game."

Brooklyn faced adversity early against Houston on Friday night, but they rebounded to claim a 123-116 victory at Barclays Center.

The Nets fell into a hole early and trailed by as much as 15 in the first half before it found scoring from some surprising places.

Taurean Prince unexpectedly led the way offensively with a team-high 27 points for Brooklyn while Garrett Temple chipped in with 16 points and seven rebounds.

Brooklyn still called Kyrie Irving's number down the stretch and he sealed the game with a step-back dagger on a corner 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. He finished with 22 points on the night.

James Harden continued his ridiculous run at the charity stripe, tallying 36 points and eight rebounds while sinking 14 free throws. But he struggled from deep and made only two of his 16 long-range shots.

Houston has made a name for itself by shooting a large number of threes, but shooting at a 25 percent clip against a Brooklyn team that converted 59.4 percent from downtown didn't help their chances.

The Rockets dropped to 3-2 in the western conference, while the Nets improved to 2-3 in season 2019-20.

Kemba makes himself at home in the Garden

Kemba Walker scored 33 points in the Celtics' 104-102 win over the Knicks at TD Garden.

Russell Westbrook totalled 27 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, and four steals against Brooklyn.

Andre Drummond tallied 25 points and 24 rebounds as the Pistons fell to the Bulls 112-106.

Lopez and Garland wayward

Brook Lopez went 1-of-7 from the field and scored three points in the Bucks' 123-91 rout of the Magic.

Cleveland's Darius Garland missed all 10 of his shots and notched just two points in his team's 102-95 loss to the Pacers.

Tatum ices the game for the Celtics

Jayson Tatum scored 24 points and nailed the decisive basket as the Celtics snuck past the Knicks.

 

 

76ers at Blazers

Philadelphia is undefeated but they face a talented Portland team without Joel Embiid who is serving a two-game suspension for a skirmish with Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns. How will the 76ers respond without their dominant post presence and defensive stud down low? Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum certainly won't make things easy for the Eastern Conference powerhouse.

CJ McCollum has reportedly agreed a three-year, $100million contract extension with the Portland Trail Blazers.

According to ESPN, McCollum's representative Sam Goldfeder has confirmed a deal has been struck.

This extension will be tacked on to the four-year, $106m contract McCollum signed in 2016.

The 27-year-old guard, who seemingly confirmed the news via responses to messages of congratulations on his official Twitter feed, became eligible for the extension last week and will partner with Damian Lillard in Portland's backcourt for the foreseeable future.

Lillard is fresh off a four-year, $196m supermax extension he signed in July and has played alongside McCollum since 2013-14.

McCollum averaged 21.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in 70 regular-season appearances with the Trail Blazers in 2018-19.

He helped Portland finish the year with a 53-29 record, which ranked third in the Western Conference.

Portland were swept aside by the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, though, and are still looking to take the next step and contend for a championship. 

The Trail Blazers are expected to get Jusuf Nurkic back next season as he suffered a season-ending leg injury in March. They also upgraded their frontcourt by trading for Hassan Whiteside and selecting North Carolina's Nassir Little in the 2019 NBA Draft.

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