After hitting one of the most memorable shots in franchise history and pulling the Trail Blazers out of playoff purgatory, the hero sauntered over to the scorer’s table at the Moda Center.

He grabbed the microphone and released two words and one big exhale, exorcising the ghosts of seasons past.

“Riiiiiiiiip Ciiiiiiiity,” Damian Lillard screamed. And the sellout crowd went nuts.

The Silent Assassin exterminated the Houston Rockets on Friday night, hitting an improbable and incredible deep three-pointer at the buzzer, giving the Blazers a 99-98 victory over the Houston Rockets and touching off a scene not seen in Portland in more than a decade.

The win delivered the Blazers a 4-2 edge over the Rockets in their best-of-seven Western Conference playoff series and gave the Blazers their first win in a postseason series since 2000, ending the longest drought in the NBA.

“It was a hell of a win,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “And I don’t know if it could have been more dramatic.”

It was a fitting conclusion for an astonishing series that featured three overtimes in six games, an uncanny number of memorable moments and highlight-worthy plays and big shot after big shot. But in the end — even though the Rockets actually outscored the Blazers by two total points in six games — the unheralded, underdog Blazers had just enough to outlast the Rockets and their star-studded duo, Dwight Howard and James Harden.

The game featured 16 lead changes and 14 ties and neither team led by more than four points in the fourth as the game went back and forth, just as it has all series.

The final three minutes were a slugfest. For every Howard 4-footer, there was a Robin Lopez rebound follow in between Houston trees. For every Nicolas Batum step-back baseline jumper, there was a Howard three-point play.

The end was frenetic and nail-biting and, for a while, it looked like a sellout crowd of 20,204 would go home traumatized. After Batum tied the game at 96-96 by nailing a jumper over Harden with 39.9 seconds left, the Rockets answered.

Out of a timeout, Harden held the ball on the perimeter as most of the clock ticked off. With Wesley Matthews blanketed all over him, Harden eventually went to work and slithered his way toward the hoop before heaving a contested 19-foot jumper with about five seconds left. The shot missed, and the rebound caromed around like a pinball, bouncing from player to player, but eventually landed in the waiting arms of Chandler Parsons, who gathered the ball and completed a reverse layup with 0.9 seconds left.

The Rockets stunningly led 98-96 and it seemed all but certain this crazy series would stretch to a Game 7.

But Lillard made sure that would not happen.

Out of a timeout, he collected a pass from Batum, who was in-bounding the ball along the sideline, and launched a 25-foot three with Parsons leaping at him. It swished and the Moda Center went ballistic.

Lillard, stoic as if he never had a doubt his teardrop would fall, twirled around and mean-mugged. Batum arrived first, hugged Lillard, and their teammates swarmed, jumping and bouncing down the court to the other end, where they eventually sprawled out in a dog pile.

Lillard — whom teammate Earl Watson dubbed “Silent Assassin” after his back-to-back game-winners in December against Detroit and Cleveland — became the first NBA player to make a buzzer-beating shot to win a playoff series since John Stockton burned this same Houston franchise on March 29, 1997, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.