If you fell asleep early last night, you missed one of the greatest series ending shots in NBA history. It was Dame Time.
That dagger into every Oklahoma City Thunder fan’s heart was
Damian Lillard’s 50th point of the night. He made a ridiculous ten 3-pointers in the game, and that last one was so far out that it might as well have been from Seattle.
He also had 7 rebounds and 6 assists on a night where C.J. McCollum got into foul trouble early, which forced Dame to put the team on his back. In the first half, he had 34 alone. That was the highest in a playoff half since Steve Nash in 2005.
On that final shot, he buried it in the grill of Paul George, one of the best wing defenders in the NBA. To really rub it in, Lillard waved to the Thunder bench and basically told them to enjoy that earlier-than-expected trip to Cabo.
That game-winning triple isn’t the first time Lillard’s hit a buzzer-beater three to clinch a playoff series either. As a Rockets fan, I really don’t want to link to that shot and have to relive the agony.
In this series, Lillard averaged 33 points and 6 assists, unveiling the capability to consistently make threes from what was once considered Steph Curry only range. He was able to continually make the Thunder pay if they sagged off of him, regardless of where he was on the court.
In the next round, Lillard will go up against either the Denver Nuggets or San Antonio Spurs. Neither team has a single player that is half as exciting as Lillard, and it’ll be interesting to see if either can contain him.
Lillard averaged 31 points against the Spurs and 21.3 points against the Nuggets this past regular season. The way he’s been rolling has me believing that he’ll average at least 30 in the next round and provide a few more classic moments.
Portland was the three seed coming into this series, yet they were underdogs to win the series against Oklahoma City. Lillard went to seldom-heard-of Weber State and was drafted 6th overall. Many people don’t think of Lillard as one of the best ten players in the NBA, but he’s been an All-Star four times and made All-NBA three times.
He’s been counted out almost his whole basketball life, and now is the time to give him his due. Lillard is arguably the most clutch alpha dog remaining in the NBA playoffs and has become must-watch TV. Stay up late for those West Coast games and make sure you have a pot of coffee ready to go in the morning.