Damian Lillard over the past three game has scored 154 points, but Portland needed every single point in order to stay alive to play into the play in game on Saturday for the eight seed in the Western Conference. Its a feat that has never been done before until now. And we can all thank Paul George and Patrick Beverley, who made fun of Lillard after missing two free-throws down the stretch this past Saturday.
“Since we have been in the bubble, I have been watching every single game I could. Whenever we are not practicing or playing, I’m in the room watching the games or in our meeting room watching the games, ” Lillard shared with TNT’s Chris Haynes after the game.
“So, I was watching a lot of their games [Brooklyn Nets] and coming I was like, who is going to be on their team. What’s going to happen with their team because I saw how many guys didn’t come. Once I saw them play, I knew what we were coming into tonight. I have seen three of their games and I knew it was going to be this type of game,” Lillard. “We were not going to come in and just get them out of there. They play with a lot together, they play with a lot of effort, they believe. And Caris LeVert, is Cold. So, we came out here and earned another win.”
The Blazers beat the Nets 134 to 133 on Thursday night.
NBA Legend and Hall of Famer Reggie Miller dubbed Lillard the MVP of the bubble in Thurday’s coverage of the Nets and Blazers game on TNT.
“This is pop a shot people. This not fair 8 of 13 from downtown for Lillard. 39 points and it is over, he is the bubble MVP,” said Miller.
At one point in the game, the Nets defended Lillard in a old school boxing one to get the ball out of his hands as he went 8-14 from three. Lillard would need the night with 42 points as the Blazers survived the Nets.
“You got to get the ball out of his hands as soon as he crosses half-court,” Miller shared.
During a commercial break, Gary Temple can be heard speaking to rookie Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot stating, that he doesn’t care if it’s CJ McCollum or Michael Jordan you guard Damian Lillard.
“Damian Lillard dribbling up you guard him. I don’t care if that is CJ McCollum, I don’t care if that is Michael Jordan over there you pick him up. That’s the ball right there and Dame got it, he going to shot it from the NBA [logo] you feel me?
Back in April, Ernie Johnson talked to Lillard about his deep range shooting on #NBA Together.
“I can pull up from half-court comfortably,” he said. “I’m gonna do it in one of these games—literally from the half-court line. Watch.”
The main reason why Lillard started shooting from the logo because he wanted to freak out the league. Lillard shared with his Blazers head coach Terry Stotts that it was going to happen, too.
“He was like, ‘Well, I used to get mad when you shot those deep threes, and now you make ’em,'” he said.
“I think if he were in that type of market, he would be more recognizable and they don’t respect him. I got that same situation when I was in Seattle about the All-Star games. But now, they are starting to pick him. He is showing what he can do. He is an Oakland guy and is a dude that has a lot of toughness in him and he is showing it. He made first-team last year, second team this year, and he is going to keep doing it. He’s got that swagger and that dog in him, but he is going to keep going at people. So, I don’t think anything is underrated. I think he is in a bad market.”
While Blazers great, Bonzi Wells likes that Lillard puts in the work to improve his craft.
Wells is in awe of Lillard. “He puts the work in on the court and isn’t all about talking with him,” he told me.
“He goes out there and performs. That is what I respect about him. With that being said, that puts him above all guards in my opinion. What he did in that First Round [in the NBA Playoffs] against Paul George; who I know is a great defender and Russell Westbrook, who is a competitor; but he was able to put on a show like no other. That put him on the top of my list after that series.”